More importantly, the fate of the petition demanding independent investigations into allegations of judicial corruption also hangs in the balance. "The CJI could not have presided over the bench". No eligibility criteria for the appointment of judges to the apex court are laid down till date, and in absence of the same, the elements of nepotism, favoritism and arbitrariness can not be ruled out.
The new order came amidst demands from the petitioners that the CJI keep away from the proceedings of this particular case. But when the Chief Justice is not available, such as when he or she may be presiding over a Constitution bench - as was the case on Thursday - the mentioning usually goes to the second senior-most judge of the court. "This despite having a direct conflict of interest".
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".
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave - who argued the matter for Jaiswal on Thursday - said: "What happened today reflects ultimate fall of this great institution".
Referring to the FIR filed by the CBI in the matter, Bhushan said, "Whole conspiracy was to bribe the bench hearing the (medical college) matter". A two-judge bench can not refer a matter like this to a constitution bench.
He said the contents of the petition filed before it was per se contemptuous.
"Hence, it becomes essential that this case is investigated under the supervision of a Special Investigation Team headed by a retired Chief Justice of this Hon'ble Court and that the investigation is not left to an agency fully controlled by the government i.e. the CBI which has lodged the FIR and now undertaking the investigation", the PIL demands.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a PIL filed by a lawyer challenging the appointment of four judges to the apex court-justices A.M. Kanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud, M.M. Shantanagouder and L. Nageswara Rao in July 2016.More news: GOP Leaders Bolt From Senate Candidate Moore After Sex Claim
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The move comes after directions from the Supreme Court in May.
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.
The copy of the note submitted by the registrar on 9 November, is curiously dated and signed 6 November. The two were accused of assuring the college representative of getting favourable orders from the top court.
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. Justice Chelameswar's bench ordered it to be listed before him on 10 November. Justice Misra said a new bench would be formed to hear the petitions and adjourned the matters by two weeks.
The FIR talks of a middle man named Biswanath Agarwala from Odisha, who was engaged with the objective of influencing the Judges.
"CBI has raided and the case is lodged".
It also said that unless the position about the CJI's powers "is clearly stated, there will be utter confusion" and affect the court's smooth functioning. The bench also impleaded the Supreme Court Bar Association in the petition on the forum's request.