Supreme Court rejects PIL on appointment of judges

A Supreme Court bench disposed of a case related to the delay in finalising the new procedure to appoint judges

A Supreme Court bench disposed of a case related to the delay in finalising the new procedure to appoint judges

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.

In September, the CBI had arrested a retired Odisha High Court judge, IM Quddusi accusing him of conspiring to bribe senior High Court and Supreme Court judges for favorable decision in a case related to Prasad Education Trust.

The CJI told the petitioner that after the Constitution bench had upheld the collegium system of appointments and quashed the National Judcial Appointments Commission law, there was no need to go into these issues.

"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 issue at hand was yesterday's order of the two-judge bench of Justice J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer setting up a five-judge constitution bench of senior most judges of the apex court to hear a plea relating to a graft case in which a retired judge of the Orissa High Court Justice Ishrat Masroor Quddusi is an accused.

Justice Chelameshwar referred the case to a five-judge Constitution bench.

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".

After a 90-minute hearing, the bench cited its 1998 judgement that held that the Chief Justice of a High Court was the master of roll and said that same applied to the top court, adding that there can be no doubt that the CJI is the first amongst the equals, and definitely exercises certain administrative powers. However, the petition was later moved to a bench headed by Justice AK Sikri.

It is up to judges to decide whether to opt out of cases they are assigned to or may have links to. "You must take back your statement", the bench said. "Strong action needs to be taken against any such attempt", SCBA members said while requesting the bench to initiate contempt proceedings in the matter. The five-judge bench which upturned Chief Justice Chelmeswar's order comprised of CJI Dipak Misra, Justices RK Agrawal, Arun Mishra, Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar.

On Wednesday, a Public Interest Litigation by activist group Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms, asking for the CBI investigation to be handed over to a court monitored Special Investigation Team came up before a bench headed by Judge Jasti Chelameswar. The investigating agency said the group had colluded to bribe judges.

The Supreme Court today wondered how could two of its judges usurp the power of the Chief Justice of India to set up a bench, while some lawyers alleged that an NGO and an advocate were indulging in "forum shopping". Justice Misra said a new bench would be formed to hear the petitions and adjourned the matters by two weeks.

The names of the college's trustees B P Yadav and Palash Yadav is also there in the FIR lodged by the CBI.

The High Court of Karnataka on Friday adjourned till November 15 further hearing on a PIL petition seeking a direction to the Union government to expedite the appointment of judges to the High Court.

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