SC wonders how its two-judge bench usurped powers of CJI

Nov 11, 2017, 01:00
SC wonders how its two-judge bench usurped powers of CJI

The matter came up for hearing in the Bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice D Gupta, which set November 22 as the next date of hearing.

Meanwhile, the petitions refer to a FIR registered by the CBI on 19 September where it alleged a criminal conspiracy by several people including one retired Judge of the Orissa High Court, Justice IM Quddusi and officers of the Prasad Education Trust, a trust running a medical college, to bribe and influence judges of the High Court and Supreme Court and secure favourable orders for the recognition of a medical college run by the trust, whose recognition had been denied by the Medical Council of India.

The CJI told the petitioner that after the Constitution bench had upheld the collegium system of appointments and quashed the National Judcial Appointments Commission law, there was no need to go into these issues.

In a good news for 21,000 judges of the lower courts, the Union Cabinet on Friday gave its nod to set up a commission to recommend hike in their salaries. It also included criticism of that order, an exchange between the chief justice and lawyer Prashant Bhushan - with the latter asking the former to recuse himself from the case and the former refusing to do so, and a demand by a group of lawyers for a contempt petition against Bhushan for casting aspersions on the Chief Justice.

The order passed on Wednesday is contrary to one passed on October 27 by a bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit which said: "We need to consider the prayer that there should be no further delay in the finalisation of MOP in the larger public interest".

Extending the same principle, the bench said Chief Justice of India is the "Master of Rolls" in the top court and any order passed by any bench assigning any matter to itself or directing the composition of benches won't be binding. "The allegations pertain to the functioning of this court...having regard to the nature of the case, it is also necessary to make an interim order regarding the custody of the case diary and all the materials collected by the second respondent during the course of the investigation of the above-mentioned crime..."

The bench of Justice J. Chelameswar said it would hear the matter later on Thursday after senior counsel Dushyant Dave mentioned the matter for an early hearing.

The cases, being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, involve allegations that former members of the higher judiciary took bribes to manipulate court orders in favour of medical colleges that had failed to get official registrations.

In yet another development, seven Congress MLAs today filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court regarding the matter of OI.

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It begs the question as to why the note took two days to get to Justice Chelameswar's court?

Risking charges of contempt of court, Bhushan walked out of the court complaining that he had not been allowed to speak.

Jaiswal's petition was filed even as a plea by the NGO Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms seeking a similar probe in the case was already listed before the bench headed by Justice A.K. Sikri.

The CBI had recovered Rs 1 cr from Agrawala during a raid conducted in Delhi.

The court also issued notice to Centre and the CBI on the plea seeking setting up of SIT headed by ex-SC judge under its monitoring.

Both the petitioners also doubt the intentions of the CBI.

The bench said the Chief Justice takes a call on which bench a matter is to be listed.

Bhushan told CJI Misra, "FIR is lodged directly against you".

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