The Supreme Court on Saturday issued a circular that from now on, all unassigned or unlisted cases can be mentioned only before the chief justice of India.
“It is hereby notified...that henceforth, oral mentioning, in respect of matters that have not already been assigned/listed before any other bench, will be allowed only before the court presided over by the chief justice of India at 10.30 am,” the circular says.
The order comes a day after a controversy erupted in the Supreme Court over the medical colleges bribery scam being mentioned in court. A similar case filed by advocate Kamini Jaiswal has now been listed for November 13, to be heard by a three-judge bench of justices RK Agrawal, Arun Mishra and Khanwilkar. The three judges were part of the proceedings on Friday.
“Mentioning” involves bringing up a case in front of a court ahead of its listed date on the grounds that the matter needs to be taken up urgently. Chief justices have dealt with this process in different ways. A case is usually mentioned in the chief justice’s court. But when the chief justice is not available, such as when he or she may be presiding over a Constitution bench, the case is mentioned before the second senior-most judge.
On Thursday, a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar heard a petition moved by advocate Kamini Jaiswal, which sought an independent Special Investigation Team monitored by the court to look into the medical colleges bribery scam. The case, which the Central Bureau of Investigation is looking into, involves allegations that former members of the higher judiciary took bribes to manipulate court orders in favour of medical colleges that had failed to get official registrations.
Justice Chelameswar had referred the case to a five-judge Constitution bench. A similar petition was slated to be heard by another bench on Friday. But in dramatic developments, a new five-judge bench formed on Friday by Chief Justice Dipak Misra nullified Justice Chelameswar’s order from Thursday.