NEW DELHI: A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court is likely to hear today a plea claiming that alleged bribes were taken using the names of apex court judges promising to secure favourable settlement of a case.
A bench of justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer had ordered on November 9 that the plea be heard by a five-judge Constitution bench of the senior-most judges of the apex court.
However, on November 10, in an unprecedented hearing, a five-judge constitution bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra had ruled that "no judge can take up a matter on his own, unless allocated by the chief justice of India, as he is the master of the roster".
It had over-ruled the order of Justice Chelameswar directing a Constitution bench hearing, saying, "If any such order has been passed by any bench, that cannot hold the field as that will be running counter to the order passed by the Constitution bench." The plea filed by advocate Kamini Jaiswal is now listed for hearing before a bench of justices R K Agrawal, Arun Mishra and A M Khanwilkar at 3.30 pm tomorrow.
The hearing on November 10 had brought the tussle within top judiciary to the fore with the Constitution bench overturning the order of a two-judge bench to set up a larger bench to hear the graft case allegedly involving judges.
The showdown over the issue of supremacy of constituting a bench in which the authority of CJI, was allegedly undermined by a bench headed by Justice Chelameswar.
Justice Chelameswar, who is the senior-most judge after the CJI, had termed as "disturbing" the allegations levelled in a CBI FIR and had ordered setting up a bench of five top judges of the court as a petition by Jaiswal had claimed there were allegations against Justice Misra.
The CBI, in its FIR, lodged on September 19, has named several persons, including former Orissa High Court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi, as accused in an alleged corruption case.
Quddusi, who had also served as a judge in the Chhattisgarh High Court, was arrested along with Lucknow-based Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences' chairman B P Yadav, his son Palash Yadav and three others, for allegedly trying to settle a matter relating to a medical college barred from admitting new students.