Prashant Bhushan files PIL in SC alleging abuse of office by Justice C.K. Prasad;demands removal as PCI Chairman
A PIL has been filed by advocate and activist Prashant Bhushanin Supreme Court seeking registration of FIR against Justice C.K. Prasad (former Judge of Supreme Court and presently Chairperson of Press Council) alleging abuse of office and criminal misconduct. He has also sought his removal as the Chairperson of Press Council of India.
His continuation as the Chairperson of the Press Council of India, according to the Writ filed through activist lawyer Ms. Kamini Jaiswal, “goes against the principles of rule of law, probity in public life and institutional integrity, and therefore violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India and the principles laid down by this Hon’ble Court in the CVC appointment case (2011) 4 SCC 1.”
Mr. Bhushan alleges that CBI has not registered an FIR or a regular case against Justice C.K. Prasad despite “serious facts coming to light which show abuse of office and criminal misconduct”.
Mr. Bhushan had earlier made complaints to the CBI and the CVC against the alleged abuse of office and misconduct. He alleges that the non-registration of FIR is in violation of the Constitutional Bench judgment of the Supreme Court in Lalita Kumari’scase, which had established that registration of FIR/RC is mandatory once information regarding commission of cognizable offence is received by the law enforcement agency.
The Writ Petition, reiterates the allegations which Mr. Bhushan had earlier levied against Justice Prasad in his letter to the CVC and the CBI. He alleges that Justice Prasadhad abused his position as a Judge.
Mr. Bhushan has referred to a letter written in February by Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, currently the President of Supreme Court Bar Association, to the then Chief Justice of India, P. Sathasivam, which states that Justice C.K. Prasad while hearing a Special Leave Appeal (crl) no. 7232/20113, had ordered to list civil appeal no. 9454-3455/2013 (though he intended that civil appeal no. was 9454-9455/2010 be listed) as the matter were of similar nature on his own and without any of the counsels asking for the same. On the next of hearing when matter came up on board, civil petitions were not listed because of wrong civil appeal no being mentioned in the previous order. The court again ordered to tag the matter as urgent.
When both of the matters when came up for hearing on 25th February 2014, at the outset itself, Justice C.K. Prasad who was heading the Bench, accepted the submission of Senior Advocate C.U Singh, that both the matters were not connected to each other. It is alleged that despite, there being no connection, civil appeal no 9454-9455/2010 was taken up and in the absence of any effective representation from City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO), the civil appeal was allowed without any debate. It was pointed that the settlement was rejected earlier by a three Judge Bench of the Supreme Court through an order dated 25.04.2013. This had led to Mistry Construction obtaining the respective tender and 35 hectares of prime land worth hundreds of crores which was rejected by the Bombay High Court in a detailed judgment.
Mr. Bhushan earlier, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Modi, had demanded that an independent body should be set up which would exclusively deal with the appointments of retired Judges to important offices. This step will, it said, “restore the trust of people in the credibility of various offices and the judiciary.” Read the LiveLaw story here.
Mr. Dave had referred to the above developments as “extraordinary”, and “unparalleled, reflecting gross abuse of judicial power to cause damage to public running into an unspecified amount.”
The controversy was however, put to rest in September, for a short period of time, by a Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justice Chelameswar and Justice P.C. Ghose, after they dismissed the Review Petition filed by City & Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO) and had indirectly dismissed Dave’s allegations. Read the LiveLaw story here.
LiveLaw had learned that a Senior Advocate, who is known for his integrity, has even given a Certificate for filing curative petition.
The petition also refers to the fact that subsequent to the filing of the complaint Mr. Anil Sinha was appointed as the CBI Director. However, MrBhushan, alleges that Mr. Sinha’s hasconflict of interest in the complaint with regard to dealing with the complaint filed by Mr. Bhushan against Justice C.K. Prasad.
The matter had raised significant legal and ethical questions, even compelling Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer and Justice K T Thomas to write to the Chief Justice of India, urging him to take suitable action regarding the allegations in Dave’s letter. Read Justice Krishna Iyer’s letter and Live Law’s coverage of the same, here.