Medical college bribery case: Supreme Court dismisses plea for SIT probe

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking court-monitored probe into an alleged case of bribery in the name of judges in UP Medical College scam, saying such a plea has raised unnecessary doubts over the integrity of judges.

The CBI, in its FIR, lodged on September 19, has named several persons, including former Orissa High Court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi, as accused in an alleged corruption case.

Lawyers claimed during hearings of the writ petition that the Supreme Court provided information on Justice Abedin to the ACC. Proper verification of facts were not made before filing this petition.

The court held that the filing of multiple petitions on the same issue and not informing Justice J Chelameswar's Bench that the earlier CJAR petition was already listed for hearing before another Bench was unethical.

The Supreme Court's Registrar General, Appellate Division Additional Registrar Arunava Chakraborty, the ACC Chairman and Justice Zainul Abedin had been asked to reply to the rule within 10 days. We hope that the Chief Justice may not be involved in this."Shanti Bhushan, in turn, insisted that the matter should be referred to a Constitution Bench to decide on scope of Articles 142 and 144".

Prashant Bhushan, the counsel in both the petitions, citing conflict of interest, contended that CJI Misra should keep away from the proceedings. He argued that the petitions were filed due to seriousness of the allegations in the CBI's First Information Report.

The apex court, which had banned the sale of liquor within 500 meters of highways across the country, had on July 11 relaxed the scope of its verdict and allowed liquor shops alongside highways in municipal areas on a petition filed with regard to the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Apparently contesting the position that CJI alone was the "Master of Rolls", Shanti Bhushan said that any order passed by any bench of the top court was binding on everyone.

"Thus, the instant petitions, as filed, are a misconceived venture inasmuch, as the petition wrongly presupposes that investigation involves higher judiciary, i.e. this Court's functionaries are under the scanner in the aforesaid case", it continues. It said the power to initiate contempt called for extreme care and caution for securing public respect and care for the judicial process.

The Supreme Court said that allegations against the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, were baseless and there was no need to seek his recusal.

".Such unscrupulous allegations and insinuations can not be allowed to be hurled by oral prayer made on behalf of the petitioner for recusal". The allegations amounted to a deliberate attempt to scandalise the institution and denigrate the system, he said. "It is against the settled proposition of law", the 34-page judgement says. An independent team, she has petitioned, is essential for uncovering the truth.

Bhushan contended that no direct allegations were made against the chief justice. However, the court leaned in favour of bringing a quietus to the issue, saying good will should prevail.

Vanessa Coleman