Friday, December 1, 2017

Supreme Court dismisses CJAR petition, imposes costs of 25 lakh

The controversy in the Supreme Court surrounding the medical college scam and alleged bribery of judges came to a close today, as the Court dismissed the petition filed by Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR).

The matter was heard by the same Bench that had heard and dismissed Kamini Jaiswal’s petition in this regard – Justices RK AgrawalArun Mishra and AM Khanwilkar.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for CJAR, had argued that it was imperative that an SIT headed by a retired Chief Justice of India be formed in order to preserve and protect the integrity of the judiciary.

He apprised the Bench of the FIR filed by the CBI and reiterated that such a sensitive issue should not be left for investigation by a body controlled by the executive.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Central government, had argued that the submissions made by Bhushan were repetitive and very similar to the ones made in the earlier petition filed by Kamini Jaiswal.

The two petitions had sparked an unprecedented controversy in the Supreme Court.

Both petitions stemmed from an FIR filed by the CBI in which there were allegations of an attempt to influence high public functionaries for settling a case in the Supreme Court. This particular case was heard by a Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.

Unprecedented events in the Court followed, as the petitioners had demanded the recusal of two judges – CJI Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khanwilkar – from hearing the case, alleging conflict of interest, since both judges were part of the Bench that had heard the medical college matter.

Interestingly, Jaiswal’s plea was identical to the petition filed by CJAR (which had been listed before another Bench). This would lead to allegations of forum shopping for attempting to bypass the CJI’s prerogative to list cases. The Court had noted the same while dismissing that petition, and also rebuked the petitioners for contemptuous conduct.

And now, the petition filed by CJAR has met with a similar fate, with the Court additionally imposing costs of Rs. 25 lakh on the petitioner.

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