Published: Sun, November 12, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

High Drama in SC During Lucknow Medical College Bribery Case Hearing

High Drama in SC During Lucknow Medical College Bribery Case Hearing

In yet another eventful day at India's Supreme Court as the apex court grapples with allegations of impropriety, a five-judge panel headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra annulled an order passed by Justice J Chelameswar in the medical college scam case.

Following the annulment of this order passed on November 9, the CJI has posted the matter for a fresh hearing on Monday before a three-judge bench of Justices R.K. Agrawal, Arun Mishra and A.M. Khanwilkar.

"You have heard persons who are not even parties to the case for an hour".

Perturbed by Thursday's order, the CJI said there were hundreds of matters listed in the court daily and if the orders were passed like this, then the court can not function.

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Members of the Supreme Court Bar Association led by its president RS Suri supported the Chief Justice and sought institution of contempt proceedings against Bhushan, who according to them had made frivolous charges against not just the CJI but also the Supreme court.

Story to be updated. He had ordered setting up of a bench of five top judges to examine whether a retired CJI-supervised SIT probe was required into allegations that middlemen were in nexus with certain judges in a racket to manipulate judicial orders to enable admissions into debarred medical colleges. The note by the registrar on the directions of the CJI, says that on 6 November, the CJI had directed that matters brought up by oral mentioning either be presented to the CJI at 3 pm or any such time as is indicated by him or to a bench directed by him.

The order was heavily criticised and an exchange between the chief justice and lawyer Prashant Bhushan took place in which Bhushan asked Mishra to recuse himself from the case. He listed the case for hearing by a Constitution Bench of the five-senior most judges of the court, minus the Chief Justice himself. At this, Justice Sikri said that whether the Chief Justice should have dealt with the matter or stayed away should have been left to him. He also said that the allegations made by some lawyers against the Chief Justice should be treated as contempt of court.

The Law Ministry has proposed to appoint the Second National Judicial Pay Commission to recommend salary hikes for the 21,000 lower court judges.

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The Chief Justice had made a similar point earlier this month. What was wrong with Justice Chelameswar's order referring the matter to the five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court? "Things are very disturbing and nobody can be a judge in his own case", Dave said. The trust sought relief from the Supreme Court and the Allahabad high court. The bar within itself is debating these issues.

Bhushan reportedly told CJI Misra, "You are alleged to be a part of this scam".

Friday's ruckus comes two days after the CJI-led bench set aside the order of a bench of justices A K Goel and U U Lalit which issued notice to Centre seeking an explanation for the delay in finalising the memorandum of procedure (MOP) for appointment of judges to SC and HCs, an issue which only the bench headed by Chief Justices was handling. He further agreed to a request by the petitioner's lawyer and said the Chief Justice may not be part of the bench because he had previously heard the Prasad Education Trust case.

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