Published: Fri, November 10, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

SC refers plea on bribes taken in judges' name to Constitution bench

SC refers plea on bribes taken in judges' name to Constitution bench

He said there are serious apprehensions and therefore this matter should be taken up at 12.45 PM today.

Earlier in the day, the apex court had agreed to urgently hear the plea regarding allegations of bribes being taken in the name of judges.

Disposing the petition, the court said: "In view of the aforesaid analysis, there is no justification or warrant to keep the special leave petitions pending and the same are, accordingly, disposed".

The court said that the constitution bench would comprise five senior most judges of the top court. A draft MoP, drawn up in March this year, has not been finalised since the government and Collegium are yet to agree on some of its clauses, including whether a candidature can be rejected on national security grounds.

At the outset, former Supreme Court Bar Association president and senior advocate Dushyant Dave said the Chief Justice of India could not hear this matter as the allegations are related to a case heard by the bench headed by him.

The judges and judicial officers of subordinate courts got the last pay hike in 2010, a three-fold jump, from their salaries decided in 1999.

Luthra contended no new judges to the high court can be appointed in the absence of the fresh MoP. In its October 27 order, the apex court said that even though there was no time limit fixed for finalisation of the MOP, the issue can not linger on indefinitely and "there should be no further delay in finalisation of MOP in larger public interest". "Even though no time limit was fixed by this court for finalisation of the MoP, the issue can not linger on for indefinite period".

On October 27, a bench of justices AK Goel and UU Lalit had issued notice to attorney general on the issue.

In a surprising move, around the same time, a Constitution Bench headed by CJI Misra, which was hearing on the power tussle between the Delhi Lieutenant Governor and the elected government, abruptly rose at noon to reassemble at 2 pm.

"It is a matter of grave concern".

"There is a feeling that there is delay... Access to justice is a fundamental right", Vishwanathan told the judges, requesting them not to dispose of the matter. The pendency is shocking.

But this did not go down well with CJI Misra who said: "You are giving a speech... We have heard you and your petition is dismissed". "We don't intend to say it here". "These issues can't be debated here".

Justice Sikri told the petitioner "this is not a drama to be enacted in the court". But Luthra continued even after the bench had delivered its order.

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