Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Supreme Court order today on fate of judge 'bribery' pleas

Supreme Court The institution is under siege
Kristopher Love | 14 November, 2017, 11:47

Nariman also quoted in this regard the first African-American judge Thurgood Marshal who presided over the US Supreme Court from 1967 to 1991; he had said: "All our Judges (and lawyers) must always keep in mind: that the only real source of power that Judges can tap is the respect of the people". It is expected to pronounce an order on the maintainability and propriety of Jaiswal's petition on Tuesday, and decide if filing two petitions with identical facts amounted to "forum shopping".

The court held that there can not be an FIR against a judge. The veteran lawyer's remarks invited strong reaction from the Bench. Why did Bhushan do forum hopping? "Case didn't mention any judge nor it could as per law".

Bhushan contended that no direct allegations were made against the chief justice. Prashant Bhushan retorted that the CBI is mere tool in the Government's hand and judicial independence will be affected if they continue with the probe. Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra is not among the three judges who will hear the case today, which is based on a medical college in Lucknow reportedly paying bribes to judges to reverse its blacklisting by the government.

"Agreeing with the oral order passed by the Constitution Bench headed by the CJI that there can not be any kind of command directing the CJI to constitute a Bench", Nariman said: "It is an accurate summing up of the true legal position".

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued notice to Ministry of Environment, National Board for Wildlife and the National Tiger Conservation Authority on the plea which has also sought relocation of persons living near tiger reserves.

Justice Chelameswar, who is the senior-most judge after the CJI, had termed as "disturbing" the allegations levelled in a CBI FIR and ordered setting up a bench of five top judges of the court as a petition by Jaiswal had alleged there were allegations against Justice Misra.

Retired Orissa High Court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi was arrested by the CBI in September in connection with a corruption case.

The Supreme Court on Monday sought the response of the Centre and others on a plea seeking to save endangered tigers whose numbers are dwindling across the country.