Corruption at top: Do Supreme Court judges take bribes?

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His second tweet had said, "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".

Justice Chelameswar, who is the senior-most judge after the CJI, had ordered setting up of the five-judge bench of top judges of the apex court as a petition by an NGO and an advocate had claimed there were allegations against Justice Misra.

Extending the same principle, the bench said Chief Justice of India is the "Master of Rolls" in the top court and any order passed by any bench assigning any matter to itself or directing the composition of benches won't be binding.

On Thursday, a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar heard a petiton moved by advocate Kamini Jaiswal, which sought an independent Special Investigation Team monitored by the court to investigate the alleged scam.

In September, the CBI had arrested retired Orissa High Court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi and five others, including the chairman of a private medical college in Lucknow, in connection with the medical admission scam case.

"The request that the chief justice should not deal with the matter should have been made to him".

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.

Justice Arun Mishra reacted: "Is that not a bad reflection on us that only five senior judges should hear the matter".

The happenings in the court on Thursday, too, were intriguing.

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The decision has triggered a volatile debate because Chief Justice Dipak Mishra has been asked by some petitioners to recuse himself from the case because he was involved in earlier hearings on the same case including as recently as last month.

It begs the question as to why the note took two days to get to Justice Chelameswar's court?

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

What happened in the court on Wednesday is also interesting.

A proposal to set up a panel to look into the salary hike of judges of lower courts is likely to come up before the Union Cabinet on Friday, a senior functionary said.

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.

"There cannot be a command or an order directing the CJI to constitute a bench of specific strength", the bench said while making it clear that neither a two-judge, nor a three- judge bench can direct the CJI to constitute a specific bench.

The apex court had yesterday referred to the constitution bench, a plea alleging that bribes were being taken using the names of apex court judges, promising to secure favourable settlement of a case. CJAR, in its petition says: "As it appears from the FIR lodged by the CBI, an attempt was being made to unduly influence the outcome of the petition which was pending before this Hon'ble Court".

Disposing the petition by lawyer R.P. Luthra, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Amitava Roy recalled the October 27 order by a two-Judge bench relating to delay in the finalisation of the memorandum of procedure.

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