Prashant Bhushan wants internal inquiry against CJI over medical scam allegations

NEW DELHI: Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to institute an in-house judicial inquiry against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra against allegations of misconduct against the latter.

Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 16

Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to institute an in-house judicial inquiry against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra against allegations of misconduct against the latter.

In a letter addressed to the four of Supreme Court’s most senior judges days after they called a press conference accusing the CJI of arbitrarily allocating work to colleagues, Bhushan, convenor of Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms' (CJAR), said CJI Misra should have resigned over the allegations.

Among the allegations Bhushan’s NGO wants investigated against Misra is his handling of a controversial medical college scam in which CJI Misra himself is an “interested party”. Other cases include a controversial land allotment made to the CJI when he was a practising lawyer in Odisha. The allotment was later rescinded, allegedly over fraudulent information he had provided in his affidavit.

Bhushan claimed that there was enough prima facie evidence in the medical college scam case to establish that bribes were paid by the management to influence the case, although he made it clear that there was no clear evidence against CJI Misra. 

“The court did a number of flip-flops. First, it allowed the case to be withdrawn from it and allowed the Allahabad High Court to take it up. It later reversed the high court judgement and allowed a fresh plea,” Bhushan said at the press conference.

He said the Central Bureau of Investigation had approached the CJI to allow a case to be registered against the high court judge who allegedly took a bribe of Rs 1 crore to give a judgement in favour of the college management.

“When the Supreme Court set aside the high court order, he (the judge) was to return the bribe money,” he said. The CBI then intercepted the conversations, and asked the CJI for permission to catch the judge red-handed, but was turned down.

He said that the case in the Supreme Court was later transferred from a Bench of senior senior judges already hearing the case, including Justice Chelameswar, to three-member Bench of junior judges.

He however said that CBI should not investigate the allegations because it could compromise independence of the judiciary. 

The government could use the evidence to blackmail the court, he said, instead calling for an internal inquiry into the allegations.

He also said that the complaint had not been sent to the CJI because it would amount to conflict of interest.

The case relates to allegations of intended kickbacks to senior judicial functionaries over a medical college run by Prasad Education Trust. The central government had barred the college from admitting students because it did not comply with Medical Council of India’s requirements.

The trust appealed the central government's decision in Allahbad High Court and later the Supreme Court. 

A retired judge of the Odisha High Court, IM Qudussi, is a suspect in the case and was arrested in September last year.

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