SC sets up five-judge bench to examine alleged judge-middleman nexus

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday set up a bench of five most senior judges to examine whether a retired CJI-supervised Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe was required into allegations that middlemen were in nexus with certain judges of the higher judiciary in a racket to fix judicial orders to enable admissions into medical colleges debarred from admitting students for lack of infrastructure.

The unusual development followed the sensational allegation levelled by advocate-petitioner Kamini Jaiswal that the scandal of medical admissions being probed by the CBI involved SC and HC judges+ . A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer agreed to hear the case within two hours of it being mentioned by senior advocate Dushyant Dave for urgent hearing, sending ripples of excitement through the apex court corridors.

There was unprecedented drama as word spread that Justice Chelameswar had decided to hear a petition making allegations against the CJI at 12.45pm. The suspense heightened, as a five-judge constitution bench headed by the CJI, which was hearing the fight between the AAP government and the Centre, got up at 12.15pm, a good 45 minutes before the lunch break.

The matter concerns the arrest of former Orissa HC judge I M Qudussi and others+ for allegedly helping a medical college in Uttar Pradesh, which was found by the Medical Council of India (MCI) to be deficient in infrastructure required to impart medical education, enrol fresh students on the strength of orders controversially passed by two judges of Allahabad HC’s Lucknow bench. The two HC judges accepted a plea by the college to admit students despite an SC order specifically prohibiting subordinate courts from doing so.

Raising the matter, Dave said the CBI FIR narrating activities of retired Qudussi and alleged middlemen revealed their alleged deep nexus with judges of constitutional courts.

Justices Chelameswar and Nazeer agreed with Dave about the sensitivity of the issue and said the matter was “too important for the institution and the country”. They said, “The FIR contained certain allegations which are disturbing. The allegations pertain to the functioning of this court. Dave makes submissions highlighting various aspects of the matter, details of which we do not propose to make in this order. But, at the same time, we are also duty bound to place the developments that when the hearing of the matter was in progress, the officer of the registry placed a xerox copy of the proceedings purportedly issued by the Chief Justice of India.”

As carried in TOI

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