Supreme Court terms bribe allegations against judges 'very serious'

Judicial appointments SC junks plea seeking Centre’s response on delay in memorandum of procedure

Judicial appointments SC junks plea seeking Centre’s response on delay in memorandum of procedure

The 5-judge bench of CJI Misra was hearing a petition filed by Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Judicial Reforms (CJAR).

In short, the Constitution Bench declared that it is the prerogative of the Chief Justice of India to decide what case has to be heard by which judge.

The bench also referred to the convention in this respect.

The five-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice today observed that he alone can call a constitution bench because that is "the principle of law, judicial discipline and decorum of court". During the proceedings, lawyer Prashant Bhushan made certain allegations that the bench said was contemptuous.

Even as Justice Chelameshwar was hearing the case, the Supreme Court registry placed before him a note that carried a copy of other proceedings - which were not revealed to those in attendance - signed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

Justice Amitav Roy told Mr. Luthra "your main grievance that you were not considered for appointment as a judge of this court".

On October 27, a bench of justices AK Goel and UU Lalit had issued notice to attorney general on the issue.

"No condemnation in the court".

As some lawyers wanted the bench to haul up Bhushan for contempt, CJI Misra said, "He is not worth contempt".

As litigants, junior lawyers and the media watched on, a large group of lawyers urged the Bench to "restrain" the Press from reporting the hearing.

"I am not going to pass any order to restrain media". Chief Justice Misra however declared that he held the freedom of speech in the highest regard and will not restrain reporters as long as they stay within their territories.

Hearing a matter relating to a CBI FIR into alleged bribes taken in the name of judges, the apex court asked CBI to keep in safe custody documents of an FIR in which an ex-Odisha High Court judge is also an accused.

He said that there is nothing personal and the court should help him protect the institution.

A petition filed by Supreme Court advocate Kamini Jaiswal on Thursday sought an investigation into the case by a court-monitored Special Investigation Team.

The bench by the CJI didn't include Justice Chelameswar who is the second senior-most judge in the Supreme Court.

On Friday, the petition filed by Prashant Bhushan - similar to Jaiswal's - came up before the bench of Justice Sikri, who expressed displeasure in the manner in which the matter was being taken up.

The court said the two petitions will be heard by an appropriate bench after two weeks and there will be no more hearing in the case till then.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said nobody can undermine the importance of the case as the allegations are very serious and need consideration.

This judicial order renders ineffective an order passed by a two-judge Bench led by Justice J. Chelameswar merely a day ago to constitute a Bench of the five seniormost Supreme Court judges to hear a corruption case on November 13, 2017. The Chief Justice said Mr Bhushan was making "wild allegations" against him, according to the Press Trust of India.

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