India apex court 'in crisis' over retired judge corruption case

  • India apex court 'in crisis' over retired judge corruption case

India apex court 'in crisis' over retired judge corruption case

The Supreme Court has rejected a petition filed by lawyer Kamini Jaiswal, seeking a special probe into judge's alleged bribery case, calling it "contemptuous" and "derogatory", media reports said.

Reserving the order to be pronounced on Tuesday, the bench of Justice R.K. Agrawal, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar on Monday described the conduct of the petition lawyer Kamini Jaiswal as "reckless and short on propriety which has damaged the institution".

A three-judge bench, comprising Justice A K Agarwal, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice Arun Mishra, held that there can not be an FIR against a judge. "If such allegations [are] to be considered like in this manner, then no judge will be spared", Justice Arun Mishra had told Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for petitioner Jaiswal. The bench had observed that "the damage has been done to the institution by the filing of such a plea and unnecessary doubts were raised about its integrity".

Kumar, who also sits on the executive committee of the judicial reform group that lodged the petition, said the chief justice had "completely mishandled" the case.

Signed by two registrars of SC, Kapil Mehta and Rajkumar Choubey, Saturday's administrative order informs members of the bar that oral mentioning, in respect of matters not being listed or assigned to any other bench, will be allowed only before a bench headed by CJI at 10.30am.

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 goal.

"We can not fall prey to such unscrupulous devices adopted by the litigants so as to choose the benches, as that is a real threat to the very existence of the system itself and it would be denigrated in case we succumb to such pressure tactics", it said.

The apex court made it clear that Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) FIR is not against any judge.

Critics accuse the Indian chief justice, Dipak Misra, of intervening to ensure only judges of his choice can hear a sensitive case relating to corruption involving a retired high court judge. The petitioners had said that the bench should exclude Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who handled cases related to the Medical Council of India earlier this year, as there would be a conflict of interest.

After taking the arguments of state governments and findings of M Nagraj case in 2006 into consideration, the decision to transfer the case to the constitutional bench was taken.

The hearing ended with an open warning to Prashant Bhushan when he insisted that the FIR by the CBI is sensitive and puts serious allegations. The college moved the Supreme Court against the government's order.

Bhushan went on to question the bench and asked, "Would heavens have fallen had the five senior-most judges heard the case?"

The top court held that filing of such petitions and the zest with which it was pursued, has brought the entire system in the last few days to unrest.