High Court adjourns plea on appointment of judges

Casey Dawson
November 11, 2017

In September, the CBI had arrested retired Orissa High Court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi and five others, including the chairman of a private medical college in Lucknow, in connection with the medical admission scam case.

"CBI has raided and the case is lodged".

Interestingly, when the bench led by Justice Chelameshwar heard the matter on Thursday, he received a note from the Chief Justice's office, the contents of which are not known.

"But, at the same time, we are also duty bound to place the developments that when the hearing of the matter was in progress, the Officer of the Registry placed a xerox copy of the proceedings purportedly issued by Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India, a copy of which is annexed to this Order", Justice Chelameswar writes in the order.

The Supreme Court today referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench a plea alleging that bribes were taken in the name of judges. The CBI had conducted searches at eight locations, including the residence of the Justice (retired) Quddusi before filing a case against him.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a PIL filed by a lawyer challenging the appointment of four judges to the apex court-justices A.M. Kanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud, M.M. Shantanagouder and L. Nageswara Rao in July 2016.

The bench, however, on an oral request of Suri and Bhatia impleaded SCBA as party and tagged the matter with earlier petitions, which has been listed for hearing before a constitution bench of first five senior-most judges of the apex court on November 13.

The bench said if the principle of law, judicial discipline and decorum of the court was not followed, there would be "anarchy" and "chaos" in the administration of justice as well as the functioning of the institution. But when the Chief Justice is not available, such as when he or she may be presiding over a Constitution bench - as was the case on Thursday - the mentioning usually goes to the second senior-most judge of the court.

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"You are doubting the integrity of everybody in the system", Justice Mishra, who is not among the top five senior judges, said. Mr. Luthra asked at the top of his voice "your lordship what do you know about me".

His second tweet had said, "The court proceedings were extraordinary in that the CJI was asking all kinds of lawyers who were not parties to say things against the order of Court 2, w/o hearing petitioner".

In its order, the bench reiterated the sole authority of the Chief Justice as the master of the judges roster, which means he alone had the right to decide on the forum of a bench.

He said there are serious apprehensions and therefore this matter should be taken up at 12.45 PM today.

The Supreme Court on Friday constituted a seven-judge bench to examine a plea on bribing of judges to obtain favourable outcomes.

Disposing the petition by lawyer R.P. Luthra, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Amitava Roy recalled the October 27 order by a two-Judge bench relating to delay in the finalisation of the memorandum of procedure.

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.

Justice Arun Mishra referred to Bhushan's argument that the CJI should recuse from hearing the case and said, "Mr Bhushan, your comment was not appropriate".

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