NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea seeking an SIT probe into alleged bribery of senior judges in a case involving a blacklisted medical college and expressed displeasure at the “unfounded” allegations levelled by the petitioners against the Chief Justice of India and other judges.
Calling the petition “scandalous” and the conduct of advocate Kamini Jaiswal and lawyers of the NGO Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) “contemptuous”, a three-judge Bench observed that the listing of a second petition seeking SIT probe against judges while the first one was already pending before another court amounted to “forum shopping”.
“Damage has been done to the institution by such petitions. Unnecessary doubts were raised against the integrity of this great institution we are all part of. Let us all unite together and work again for the glory and welfare of the institution,” the Bench of Justices R K Agrawal, Arun Mishra and A M Khanwilkar said.
“An effort was made to create ripples in this court. Serious and unwanted shadow of doubt has been created for no good reason whatsoever by way of filing the petition which was wholly scandalous and ought not to have been filed in such a method and manner. It is against the settled proposition of law,” the court said in its 38-page ruling.
The Bench also clarified that the FIR filed by the CBI in the bribery case was not against any judge of the Supreme Court, nor could any FIR be filed against any judge through a judicial order.
The court, however, made a point to stress that no one, not even the judges, was above law. “We must tell you that we are also not above the law, but it must follow due procedure. But this matter should stop here, this is what we expect,” said Justice Mishra, who read the verdict on behalf of the Bench.
The petitioners had sought the recusal of CJI Dipak Misra and Justice Khanwilkar from hearing the bribery case. Taking strong exception to that, the court said, “We find that it is another attempt to bring the system in disrepute. Casting of unwarranted aspersions tantamounts to seriously jeopardising the independence of the judiciary.”
Forum shopping decoded
‘Forum shopping’ refers to a practice adopted by litigants to get their cases heard by a particular judge or Bench with an aim to seek a favour-able order. It can be done by either plaintiff or defendant or both parties. But it has no sanction in law and is regarded as a serious offence across the world
Judges not at mercy of cops
Referring to a Constitution Bench judgment of 1991, the SC made it clear there was no question of registering an FIR against any sitting judge. The independence of judiciary could not be left “at the mercy of the CBI or police”, the three-judge Bench said