The Supreme Court on Monday is scheduled to hear a petition filed by advocate Kamini Jaiswal that asks for an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team into a medical college corruption case. The matter is related to an alleged conspiracy to bribe Supreme Court judges for a favourable order.
A three-judge bench, led by Justice RK Agrawal, will hear the plea on Monday. Their ruling may implement the order laid down by a five-judge Constitution bench on November 10 that the chief justice of India is the “master of the roster” and no other judges of the Supreme Court can constitute benches.
On November 9, a two-judge bench led by Justice J Chelameswar had directed Jaiswal’s petition to be heard by a bench of the five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court on November 13. But the next day, a Constitution bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in an unprecedented hearing, said “the chief justice is the master of the roster and he alone has the prerogative to constitute the benches of the court and allocate cases to the benches so constituted”.
The bribery case
Jaiswal’s petition was mentioned on November 9 before a two-judge bench headed by Justice Chelameswar for urgent hearing. The judge decided to take up the petition in the afternoon, considering the allegations. This bench referred the matter to a larger five-judge Constitution bench.
The petitioners said the bench should exclude Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who handled cases related to the Medical Council of India earlier this year, as there would be a conflict of interest. When Justice Chelameswar was hearing the case, the Supreme Court registry placed a note before him signed by the chief justice on how matters of “mentioning” – or bringing up a case ahead of its listed date – are to be handled.
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 Misra nullified Justice Chelameswar’s order from November 9.
On Monday, the bench of justices RK Agrawal, Arun Mishra and AM Khanwilkar may refer to the order laid down by the chief justice-led Constitution bench and decide the fate of the order passed by Justice Chelameswar’s bench on November 9.