SC to examine if Speaker's decision can be scrutinised
NEW DELHI: Controversial former judge IM Quddusi has asked a trial court in Delhi to investigate the leak of transcripts of phone conversations between him and two other accused in the medical college bribery scam. The former Orissa High Court judge is out on bail after his arrest last year in connection with allegations of bribing judges.
Justice Quddusi has been accused by the CBI of ensuring that the Supreme Court would rule in favour of a medical college in Lucknow that was seeking to reverse its blacklisting by the government.
In his petition before the court, the former judge has claimed that he has "grave suspicion and apprehension of interference of third parties into the investigation". He also questions whether the transcript has been "leaked by someone within the CBI or they have been stolen". He held out the fear that since the case was being widely reported, it may become "trial by media".
The court has asked the CBI to respond to the petition by Monday. The call transcripts featuring retired Judge Qudussi, alleged middleman Vishwanath Agarwala and BP Yadav of the Prasad Education Trust, allegedly show how college officials had planned to bribe senior functionaries of the Supreme Court and Allahabad High Court to get a favourable judgement.
The case is one of the triggers for the unprecedented rift between Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and the four judges who publicly criticized him last week. One of the "rebel" judges, Justice Jasti Chelmeswar, who is the most senior judge after the Chief Justice, had in November called for five judges to start hearing the judge bribery case.
Just a day later, Chief Justice Misra cancelled that ruling saying he alone has the power to call a constitution bench because he is "master of the roster". The Chief Justice had earlier been asked by some petitioners to exit the case because he was involved in earlier hearings on the same case.
Justice Chelameswar and the three other judges went public with their criticism of the way important cases are assigned and implied that Chief Justice Misra was abusing his position as the "master of the roster".