SC hear plea for probe into medical admission scam

The order passed on Wednesday is contrary to one passed on October 27 by a two-judge bench which said "the issue can not linger on for an indefinite period".

Making it clear that they were not underestimating the seriousness of the matter, the court in its order said that let the appropriate order be passed to tag the petition by the NGO Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms with the one by advocate Kamini Jaiswal, which was referred to a five-judge constitution bench on Thursday by the bench of Justice Chelameswar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer.

The CJI told the petitioner that after the Constitution bench had upheld the collegium system of appointments and quashed the National Judcial Appointments Commission law, there was no need to go into these issues.

In their petition, A.N. Venugopala Gowda, a retired judge of the High Court, and S. Basavaraj and B.M. Arun, both advocates, have pointed out the difficulty faced by advocates, litigants and the existing 25 judges owing to delays in disposal of cases as 37 judge posts are vacant in the High Court.

The activist advocate was also rebuked by Justice Arun Mishra, who observed that FIR can not be lodged against sitting judicial officer of lower courts, judges of the higher judiciary, the Vice President of India or the President of India because they have immunity.

The Chief Justice also rejected the suggestion that media be restrained from reporting the proceedings and that it be held in-camera.

This decision was made by a bench formed afresh to review Thursday's order by Justice Chelameswar.

Though two years had elapsed the MoP is yet to be finalised and hence the recommendations made by the apex court collegium for appointment of the four Judges are void and could not be acted upon, he said and sought a direction in this regard.

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The entire matter is related to this Lucknow-based medical college only, which was denied permission to take fresh admissions by the UP government as it was not having the required infrastructure.

The cases, being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, involve allegations that former members of the higher judiciary took bribes to manipulate court orders in favour of medical colleges that had failed to get official registrations. "It therefore casts an aspersion on the judiciary at the highest level", the petition by CJAR says.

Bhushan left the court in a huff midway during the hearing, alleging that he was not being allowed to speak while the court has heard "all and sundry".

Justice Chelameswar, who heard one of the petitions yesterday and ordered that it be heard by a five-judge constitution bench comprising the first five judges, did not specify if the Chief Justice would be part of it. The two were accused of assuring the college representative of getting favourable orders from the top court.

The CBI had recovered Rs 1 cr from Agrawala during a raid conducted in Delhi.

The CJI also said he had set up the five-judge constitution bench as a two-judge bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, while hearing a separate plea with similar allegations of bribery earlier in the day, had said that the matter should be placed before the CJI for passing an appropriate order. The bench also impleaded the Supreme Court Bar Association in the petition on the forum's request.

The bench said the Chief Justice takes a call on which bench a matter is to be listed.

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