SC rejects petition on alleged judges bribery scam, calls it ‘contemptuous’

A Supreme Court bench rejected on Tuesday a petition seeking a court-monitored investigation into an alleged bribery racket that is said to have attempted to sway members of the judiciary.

The petition was seen to have divided members of the top court last week, when a constitutional bench passed a ruling saying only the chief justice was authorised to assign cases — overturning a fellow judge’s order that would have sent the petition to a 5-judge bench.

“We hope all will work and unite for the welfare of this institution. Even we are not above the law but everything needs to be as per the law,” the judges said, rejecting the plea filed by lawyer Kamini Jaiswal.

Justice Arun Misra, the judge who authored the verdict, said no judge was mentioned in the FIR filed by CBI against the UP organisation — Prasad Educational Trust. “Case didn’t mention any judge nor it could as per law. No matter was pending in SC when FIR was registered.”

The 3-judge bench said the petition was contemptuous in nature, but it stopped short of initiating contempt proceedings.

The court also said the senior advocate who mentioned the petition before the other judge, justice J Chelameswar, indulged in “forum shopping” and did not inform the court about the second case.

Forum shopping refers to the practice of litigants approaching courts that are thought most likely to give a favourable verdict.

The petition was mentioned in front of Chelameswar a day after it was presented before another set of judges. Chelameswar referred the matter to a Constitution bench, but this order was struck down later.

According to the investigation being carried out by the CBI, Lucknow-based Prasad Education Trust allegedly paid money to middlemen who promised to secure a favourable ruling regarding its medical college licences. The trust’s colleges had been banned from admitting students by the Union health ministry, a ban against which it went to court.

Retired Orissa high court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi is one of the key accused.

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