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Cases "prompting" judges' rebellion: Loya's death, 2G, aadhaar, Chhattisgarh sexual violence, medical college graft

By Our Representative
Even as supporting the four senior-most judges' open defiance of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, India's well-known legal rights NGO, Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR), has pointed towards seven instances of what they call "abuse of power" by the CJI which is "destroying the image of the Supreme Court and subverting the course of justice."
According to CJAR, two of the seven cases relate to writ petitions by CJAR and senior advocate Kamini Jaiswal regarding the need to probe into allegations mentioned in a CBI FIR regarding conspiracy to bribe in order to obtain a favourable judgment in the case of a medical college, pending before the apex court.
According to CJAR, on November 8, 2017, after the CJAR writ petition was numbered and the case was mentioned for urgent listing, Justice J Chelameswar’s bench ordered it to be listed before him on November 10. However, during lunch, CJAR’s counsel was informed that in the light of an order by the Chief Justice this case is assigned to another bench and therefore would be coming up on Friday not before Court 2 but before the other bench.
Justice Dipak Misra
"On November 10, 2017, the matter was heard by a bench headed by Justice Sikri. The same afternoon the matter was suddenly heard by a Constitution bench headed by CJI and junior judges handpicked by him. Then it was referred to a bench headed by Justice RK Agarwal. On December 1, the CJAR writ petition was dismissed by imposing a cost of Rs 25 lakh on the petitioner", says CJAR.
As for Jaiswal's petiton, CJAR says, the bench of Justices Chelameswar and Nazeer passed an order directing that, in view of the importance and sensitivity of the matter, the matter would be listed for November 13, before a bench of the five senior most Supreme Court judges.
"However, when the CJAR matter was heard on the November 10 by the Constitution bench, it rendered void the order passed by Justice Chelameswar, even though the said matter was not before the court. The matter was then listed on December 13 before a bench presided by Justice RK Agarwal, which by judgement dated November 14, 2017, dismissed the writ petition", notes CJAR.
The third case is the writ petition filed the NGO, Common Cause, challenging the appointment of Special Director, CBI. It was mentioned before Justice Chelameswar, who directed it to be listed before a bench consisting of Justices Gogoi and Navin Sinha.
Suneeta Pottam
"Justice Navin Sinha recused himself. The matter was next listed on November 17, 2017 before a bench presided by Justice RK Aggarwal, although on that very day Justice Ranjan Gogoi was sitting not with Justice Navin Sinha but with Justices RF Nariman and Sanjay Kishan Kaul. The matter ought to have been placed before that bench", CJAR believes.
The fourth case is the writ petition by the Centre for PIL, seeking court monitored investigation into the 2G scam. Earlier, the matter was being heard by CJI Khehar. Mentioned before Court 2 and order was passed by Court 2; on the next date, in supplementary list, the matter was deleted from Court 2 and listed before CJI Misra.
"CJI had to recuse since he had dismissed the original petition in Delhi High Court. So matter got shifted to bench of Justices Arun Mishra and L Nageshwar Rao. Justice Rao recused since he had earlier appeared in the matter. Then the matter got listed before a bench of Justice Arun Mishra, of which Justice Rao is not a member", says CJAR.
The fifth case, says CJAR, is the writ petition filed by tribal activist Suneeta Pottam seeking transfer of a case pending before the Chhattisgarh Hifh Court to the Supreme Court, as a similar matter (Nandini Sundar v. State of Chhattisgarh, WPC 250/2007) is pending before the apex court. It related to sexual violence and torture of tribal women in Chhattisgarh by police and administration.
"Both Nandini Sundar matter and Suneeta Pottam were being heard by Justice Lokur who also issued notice in Suneeta Pottam. However, the matter has now been transferred to Chief Justice Dipak Misra’s court", says CJAR.
Late justice Loya
The sixth case is a writ petition filed by Justice KS Puttaswamy (Retd) on aadhaar against the Government of India. On August 11, 2015, a bench comprising of Justices Chelameswar, Bobde and Nagappan directed that the matter be referred to a larger bench. Chief Justice Khehar reconstituted the bench on July 18, 2017 which comprised of himself and Justices Chelameswar, Bobde, Chandrachud and Nazeer, which then referred the question whether privacy is a fundamental right to a larger bench of nine judges.
"The privacy matter was decided on August 24, 2017 and at least one of the judges, Justice Nariman, at the end of his judgment, directed that the matters be sent back for adjudication to the original bench of three judges in light of the judgment. The bench constituted to hear the aadhaar matter now comprises of Chief Justice Misra and Justices Sikri, Khanwilkar, Chandrachud and Bhushan to the exclusion of the other judges who were hearing the matter earlier", CJAR says.
And the last one relates to a case seeking an independent probe into the death of special CBI judge BH Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. "On January 11, 2018, bench of Chief Justice Mishra and Justices Khanwilkar and Chandrachud heard the petition and ordered that it be listed on January 12, 2018. The matter was heard on January 12, 2018 by a Bench headed by Justices Arun Mishra and M Shantanagoudar", says CJAR.

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
This is an unfortunate scenario and the last thing needed at a time when there are so many unpleasant controversies facing the nation. We can only hope that the judiciary comes out stronger after passing through this test of fire and that the legislature stays out of it completely.

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