Loose Talk Against Chief Justice Is Damaging, Warns Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of India. Source

Referring to the petition filed by Jaiswal, the bench said, "It was a deliberate attempt to scandalise the judiciary".

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said it would pass a classificatory order on the plea of Tamil Nadu government, which was asked by the Madras High Court to approach the top court for clarification on the issue.

Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the two petitions and the events over the last week had damaged the institution. Senior counsel Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for MLA Vetrivel opposed the transfer and said all the matters are to be heard by a larger bench of the high court and this court could await that decision.

The petition contends that alleged bribes were taken using the names of apex court judges for getting favourable order for a private medical college seeking relaxation in government order that barred from enrolling new students in medical courses.

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". "Now the question is how to fix the damage?"

The CJI-led bench had over-ruled the order of Justice Chelameswar directing a Constitution bench hearing, saying, "If any such order has been passed by any bench that can not hold the field as that will be running counter to the order passed by the Constitution bench".

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The CBI's complaint or FIR says a former Odisha High Court judge, who was arrested and then given bail last month, offered to help the medical college get a positive verdict in the Supreme Court.

However, by afternoon on November 8, he was informed that Chief Justice Dipak Misra had already assigned the matter to the bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan for hearing on November 10.

The Chief Justice has been hearing a related case on the medical college; some lawyers have expressed concern about whether he's keeping enough distance from the investigation on judicial corruption.

On November 9, another petition was filed by advocate Kamini Jaiswal which was mentioned for an early hearing by senior counsel Dushyant Dave. But when the CJI was sitting in a Constitution bench, urgent cases could be mentioned before the judge next in seniority, which at present is justice J Chelameswar.

It would be interesting to see what form this tussle between the senior-most Judges of the apex court would take as the CJI heading a Bench for hearing a case in which he himself faces graft allegation would go against the principles of natural justice.

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