The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking court-monitored probe into an alleged case of bribery in the name of judges in UP Medical College scam, saying such a plea has raised unnecessary doubts over the integrity of judges.
While calling the efforts and conduct of advocate Kamini Jaiswal and lawyers of the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) ‘forum-shopping’, ‘contemptuous’, ‘unethical’, ‘derogatory’, the Chief Justice Dipak Misra-appointed special Supreme Court bench of Justices RK Agrawal, Arun K Mishra and AM Khanwilkar decided against instituting contempt of court proceedings against them, mindful of the “welfare of the great institution.”
“Let us unite and work for the welfare of the great institution,” the bench observed. The court said the petitions triggered a turn of affairs that have damaged the institution.
“Unnecessary doubt was raised about the integrity of this great institution,” Justice Mishra read out from the judgment about the effect of the petitions.
The bench also said that the original Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) petition by Prashant Bhushan will continue with the constitution bench formed for the purpose.
Reading short points from the judgment, Justice Mishra said that the Nov 10 decision of the Constitution Bench that only the Chief Justice of India has the authority to constitute benches in the Supreme Court is binding.
The judgment noted that the CBI’s FIR in the medical college case was not against any sitting judge. Besides, it quoted the K Veeraswami judgment to specify that no FIR can be registered against a High Court or Supreme Court judge without prior sanction from the President.
The bench further deprecated petitioners’ attempt for the recusal of Justice AM. Khanwilkar on the ground that he was a part of the Bench that heard the medical college bribery case. The court held that such a demand amounted to contempt.
The court said the petitions were filed without proper fact-checks that amounted to events which were derogatory and contemptuous. However, the court leaned in favour of bringing a quietus to the issue, saying good will should prevail.
“We still expect and hope the matter will stop at this,” Justice Mishra said, speaking for the bench, while dismissing Jaiswal’s petition.
The court held that the filing of multiple petitions on the same issue and not informing Justice J Chelameswar’s Bench that the earlier CJAR petition was already listed for hearing before another Bench was unethical. It held that such forum shopping was contemptuous.
“Petition dismissed,” he announced, adding, “in hope and expectation that they (the counsels) will work towards prosperity of the institution.”
The dismissal takes care of the technical irregularities of two similar petitions being filed before two benches.
The other part of the troubling petition is the allegation in the CJAR petition of someone in the apex court having been approached by the arrested former Judge of the Orissa High Court I M Quddusi and his cohorts. That is a key issue that has to be dealt with.