New Delhi: Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, convener of the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms, on Tuesday fired a salvo at Chief Justice Dipak Misra, demanding a probe against him in the Lucknow medical college scam dealt by him. He told a Press conference here that he has submitted a written complaint against the CJI to five senior-most judges, including four rebel judges and Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, on the role he played in the scam unearthed by the CBI.
Building pressure on them to insist on an in-house procedure in the scam, transcripts of the phone tape of which were in papers on Tuesday, Bhushan accused the CJI of using both his judicial and administrative powers to kill the scam case and help the private medical college. He cited how the CJI tried to stop the Bench of Justice Jasti Chelameswar from passing an order on November 8 for a Constitution Bench of the senior-most judges to probe the scam on a petition filed by senior advocate Kamini Jaiswal.
A registrar had then rushed to the court and handed over a memo to the judge to bind his hands. Justice Chelameswar not only pronounced the order but attached the memo with it. Bhushan has alleged that the memo was written on November 8 at the instance of the CJI but it was ante-dated as November 6, which is a clear forgery. Why the registry did not submit the memo to the judge two days ago if it were really written on November 6, he asked.
According to him, the CJI was then presiding over the Constitution Bench when he adjourned the proceedings on learning about the case going on in the court of Justice Chelameswar and got the memo rushed to prevent the order that may go against him. Bhushan said the CJI first revoked the order passed by Justice Chelameswar and then used his administrative powers to get the scam complaints by him and Kamini Jaiswal quashed by the Bench of junior judges. This is a clear case of bench fixing, he asserted.
He claimed the CJI also refused permission to a CBI team that met him on December 6 to allow it to book an Allahabad High Court judge on the basis of the tapes indicating that he had taken the alleged bribe of Rs 1 crore to allow the admission process in a private medical college of Lucknow and stop seizure of its bank guarantee of Rs 2 crore. The case relates to the government barring the medical college from giving admissions for two years.
The CBI, which arrested a retired Odisha High Court judge and others involved in alleged bribes to help the medical college, had evidence of the Allahabad High Court judge being forced to return Rs 1 crore he had allegedly taken since his order helping the college was overturned by the Apex Court, but the CJI refused to allow it to arrest him, Bhushan said.
He even traced back an old case of Chief Justice Misra when he was a lawyer in Odisha to accuse him of being a habitual forger to assert that it is better if such a person is stopped forthwith from presiding over the highest court of the land. He cited how then lawyer Misra had secured land by filing a false affidavit that neither he nor his family owns any agricultural land. The allotment made on the basis of the fraudulent claim was cancelled years ago but the land was surrendered only in 2012, he added.