Supreme Court terms bribe allegations against judges ‘very serious’

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday termed the allegations of bribes taken in the name of judges as “very serious” and asserted that no one would be allowed to “impure the stream of justice.”

The top court observed that whoever, how mighty he is, cannot evade law and said that justice will be delivered.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said nobody can undermine the importance of the case as the allegations are very serious and need consideration.

“CBI has raided and the case is lodged. No one can undermine the importance of this case. This matter is very serious. Our endeavour is that nobody impures the stream of justice. Whoever, how mighty he is, cannot evade law. Justice needs to be delivered,” the bench said.

It also told advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitoner NGO Campaign for Judicial Accountability, that it was “pained to see how the matter was listed before it.”

“When the matter was mentioned on November 8 and directed to be listed a before an appropriate bench, then what was the need to file a second petition before Court number 2 yesterday. You could have told me and if possible, I would have recused. You know me,” Justice Sikri said.

Bhushan said he was more pained as on November 8, the Registry had informed him that the matter which was directed to be listed in Court number 2 itself stood transferred to another bench as there was a prior order of the CJI to that effect.

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

“There has to be a thorough and proper investigation into the matter. The issue needs to be examined whether the CBI be allowed to continue with the investigation or, as you have prayed, the SIT be allowed,” the bench said.

Bhushan said the court has ordered for a hearing by a Constitution Bench, so “what else can be asked for. … You (Justice Sikri) may be part of that bench.”

To this, Justice Sikri said “I am not interested. If you say, I may recuse from that bench”.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President and senior advocate R S Suri and Secretary Gaurav Bhatia said the SCBA wanted to be impleaded as a party in the matter.

Bhushan said he was not opposed to the SCBA plea but a proper application for impleadment should have been filed.

The bench, however, on an oral request of Suri and Bhatia impleaded SCBA as party and tagged the matter with earlier petitions, which has been listed for hearing before a constitution bench of first five senior-most judges of the apex court on November 13.

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.

The court had termed as “disturbing” the allegations levelled in CBI’s FIR that also made former Orissa High Court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi as one of the accused.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave had on Thursday submitted that the medical admission matter, the genesis of CBI FIR, was being heard by the bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and hence, he should not be involved with it either on the judicial or on the adminstrative side.