High Court adjourns plea on appointment of judges

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The matter will be heard by an appropriate bench after two weeks. The petition was taken up for hearing by the bench headed by Justice Chelameswar.

In a good news for 21,000 judges of the lower courts, the Union Cabinet on Friday gave its nod to set up a commission to recommend hike in their salaries.

"But, at the same time, we are also duty bound to place the developments that when the hearing of the matter was in progress, the Officer of the Registry placed a xerox copy of the proceedings purportedly issued by Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India, a copy of which is annexed to this Order", Justice Chelameswar writes in the order. The lawyers also alleged forum shopping by the petitioners, reports say. The CBI had conducted searches at eight locations, including the residence of the Justice (retired) Quddusi before filing a case against him. Gaurav Bhatia of the top court's bar association said that the Chief Justice's "administrative powers" stand subverted if he is not involved in deciding a constitution bench. The five-judge bench which upturned Chief Justice Chelmeswar's order comprised of CJI Dipak Misra, Justices RK Agrawal, Arun Mishra, Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar.

"It can not be presumed if he (Bhushan) says that it (FIR) is against any judge of any court".

On Thursday, a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar heard a petiton moved by advocate Kamini Jaiswal, which sought an independent Special Investigation Team monitored by the court to investigate the alleged scam.

The cases, being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, involve allegations that former members of the higher judiciary took bribes to manipulate court orders in favour of medical colleges that had failed to get official registrations.

On Wednesday, a petition was filed seeking a SIT probe into the matter before Justice Chelameswar and he agreed to hear it. "Strong action needs to be taken against any such attempt", SCBA members said while requesting the bench to initiate contempt proceedings in the matter.

He said the contents of the petition filed before it was per se contemptuous.

"Getting orders by terrorism should not be tolerated by this court".

Bhushan left the court in a huff midway during the hearing, alleging that he was not being allowed to speak while the court has heard "all and sundry".

Issuing the order, a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra cited a 1998 order of the apex court that held that the chief justice of a High Court will be the Master of Rolls and assign cases to different benches.

Post FIR raids more than Rs 2 crore was recovered and CBI made arrests including that of Justice Qudussi.

Terming as "disturbing" the allegations levelled in CBI's FIR that also made former Orissa High Court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi as one of the accused, the top court said the plea would come up for hearing before the constitution bench on November 13.

Both the petitioners also doubt the intentions of the CBI.

On Friday, the CJAR petition was heard by a bench headed by Justice AK Sikri, who referred it to the Chief Justice for listing and to resolve the issue of a similar petition already having been referred to a Constitution Bench by Justice Chelameswar.

Justice Arun Mishra referred to Bhushan's argument that the CJI should recuse from hearing the case and said, "Mr Bhushan, your comment was not appropriate".