NEW DELHI: The tumult in the country's top court over the alleged role of judges in admissions to private medical colleges ended on a rather tame note on Tuesday, with a three-judge bench rejecting the petition seeking an SIT probe into the matter while limiting itself to merely "deprecating" the conduct of advocate-petitioner Kamini Jaiswal as "unethical, unwarranted and contemptuous".
Pic Courtesy- Parliment.Uk
Just a day after the court repeatedly warned the petitioner against committing contempt, the bench decided to exercise restraint in order to not deepen the crisis within and the split in the bar. It said the power to initiate contempt called for extreme care and caution for securing public respect and care for the judicial process.
The reluctance to take action notwithstanding, the bench minced few words in delineating the offence it found the petitioner guilty of.
After dismissing the petition, the bench of Justices R K Agrawal, Arun Mishra and A M Khanwilkar said, "It is the duty of the bar and the bench to protect the dignity of the entire judicial system. We find that filing of such petitions and the zest with which it is pursued has brought the entire system in the last few days to unrest... We deprecate the conduct of forum-hunting, that too involving senior lawyers of this court."
Concluding the 38-page judgment on a conciliatory note, the bench said, "Let good sense prevail over the legal fraternity and amends be made as a lot of uncalled-for damage has been made to the great institution in which the public reposes their faith."
Jaiswal had engaged senior advocates Dushyant Dave, Shanti Bhusan, and Prashant Bhusan on three different days — Thursday, Friday and Monday — to argue her petition in the SC. On Monday, the Bhushans had requested the recusal of Justice Khanwilkar. The three-judge bench found the request "contemptuous".
The bench said it was "far-fetched and unimaginable" to attempt connecting the arrest of an ex-judge of Orissa HC in the medical scam case with the proceedings before a bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra, which in fact had refused any relief to the college in question.
"The submissions so raised...in this petition, and the entire scenario created by filing of two successive petitions, are really disturbing. The entire judicial system has been unnecessarily brought into disrepute for no good cause. It passes comprehension how it was that the petitioner presumed that there is an FIR lodged against any public functionary,"
the bench said.
It rejected the petitioner's arguments that the CJI should not have judicially or administratively dealt with her petition as it concerned proceedings in the CJI's court and that it should have been heard by a bench of the first five senior judges as directed by Justice J Chelameswar on Thursday.
The bench said,
"It appears that in order to achieve this end, the particular request has been made by filing successive petitions day after the other and prayer was made to avoid the CJI to exercise power for allocation of cases which was clearly an attempt at forum-hunting and has to be deprecated in the strongest possible words.
"Making such scandalous remarks also tantamounts to interfering with administration of justice...Such things cannot be ignored and recusal of a judge cannot be asked for on the ground of conflict of interest. It would be the saddest day for the judicial system of this country to ignore such aspects on unfounded allegations and materials."
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