Former Supreme Court Judge Justice G.S. Singhvi, Former Law Commission Chairman Justice AP Shah, Former Chief Information Commissioners Mr. Wajahat Habibullah and Mr. Shailesh Gandhi and Ativist Aruna Roy have expressed shock at the Supreme Court's dismissal of the CJAR's Petition demanding an independent probe into allegations of corruption in the higher judiciary.
“We are shocked at the way the Supreme Court has dismissed the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms petition demanding an independent probe into allegations of corruption in the higher judiciary in the case of a medical college and a CBI FIR in this matter. Rather than taking note of the serious allegations and taking steps to restore the credibility of the judiciary, the Supreme Court has imposed costs of Rs. 25 lakh on the petitioner organization”.
“The approach of the Supreme Court in the matter has been deeply concerning. Rather than taking steps to investigate the matter and uphold citizens trust in the judiciary, the focus of the court appears to be to dismiss any form of questioning in matters of alleged wrong doing and corruption. The court’s observations that the petition is “wholly frivolous…contemptuous, unwarranted, aims at scandalizing the highest judicial system of the country,” is evidence of this misplaced priority. The petitioners had a reasonable basis in terms of the facts recorded in FIR registered regarding the alleged conspiracy to pay bribes to secure favourable judgments.”
The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) has petitioned the citizens through change.org, urging them to "act now to save the judiciary".
The Court had been petitioned after an FIR was filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), alleging that a conspiracy was hatched by certain persons, including a former Orissa High Court Judge I.M. Quddusi to bribe SC judges hearing the case of a debarred private medical college.
Since the matter of the medical college was being heard by a Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, the CJAR had demanded that the Petition be not heard by the CJI but by five other senior-most Judges. This was, however, not allowed and the CJI did deal with the Petition on the administrative as well as judicial side.
Thereafter, last week, the Apex Court had dismissed CJAR's plea, observing that it was "wholly frivolous…contemptuous, unwarranted, aims at scandalizing the highest judicial system of the country". The Court had also imposed costs of Rs. 25 lakhs on it.
The petition further states that the Supreme Court's approach in the matter has left them "extremely disappointed" and asserts that a "robust and credible system for investigating complaints against judges and holding them accountable for their misconduct and corruption must be put in place".
Seeking the support of the citizens, it finally asserts, "We believe that the people of this country are the real stakeholders in the institution of the Judiciary and in the judicial system and therefore, must come together to protect this important pillar of democracy. By this statement we ourselves join in this critical campaign and support CJAR to carry forward its work."