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. However, Justice Mishra was quick to clarify that no sitting judge of the top court was specifically named in CBI's FIR.
The question is "How to fix the damage", Justice Mishra asked in a poser to the counsel present in the court room. The allegations amounted to a deliberate attempt to scandalise the institution and denigrate the system, he said.
He, however, did not dismiss two petitions filed by advocates Kamini Jaiswal and Prashant Bhushan's NGO since aspersions have been cast even on him as a bench headed by him was handling the case in which the scam of alleged Rs 2 crore bribe given to the judges.
The Constitution Bench further held that "no Judge can take up the matter on his own, unless allocated by the Chief Justice of India, as he is the master of the roster".
"The court proceedings were extraordinary in that the CJI was asking all kinds of lawyers who were not parties to say things against the order of Court 2, w/o hearing petitioner". The order of Chelameswar-led bench was "binding on the CJI" as all civil and judicial authorities have to act in aid of the Supreme Court in terms of Articles 144 and 147 of the Constitution.
The situation can be redeemed, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said, by the "unconditional withdrawal of the petition" by the petitioner advocate. 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. Quddusi, who had also served as a judge in the Chhattisgarh High Court, was arrested along with Lucknow-based Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences' chairman BP Yadav, his son Palash Yadav and three others, for allegedly trying to settle a matter relating to a medical college barred from admitting new students.
Signed by two registrars of SC, Kapil Mehta and Rajkumar Choubey, Saturday's administrative order informs members of the bar that oral mentioning, in respect of matters not being listed or assigned to any other bench, will be allowed only before a bench headed by CJI at 10.30am.
But Bhushan refused to do so, saying there was no direct allegation against the CJI.
The petition was filed by advocate Kamini Jaiswal seeking an SIT probe into the medical admission scam, involving a retired HC judge, on alleging nexus between middlemen and judges of the higher judiciary.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said this while hearing a plea by the Tamil Nadu government, which sought a clarification on the matter.
"Do baseless accusations against the Chief Justice of India not amount to contempt?"