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Anyone, however high, is subject to rule of law: Judge Sikri

“Anybody and everybody, however high, has to be subject to the rule of law... We as judges have a duty to protect the rule of law and justice,” Justice A.K. Sikri orally observed on Friday.

Justice Sikri’s observation came on a day replete with high drama over a corruption case involving an alleged criminal conspiracy to bribe Supreme Court judges hearing a medical college case.

The two-judge Bench of Justices Sikri and Ashok Bhushan was hearing a petition filed by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR), represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, to transfer the corruption probe from the CBI to a Special Investigation Team for fair investigation.

Mr. Bhushan even made a direct allegation that the CBI’s FIR “is squarely directed at the Chief Justice of India”.

 

‘Proper probe must’

“No doubt there has to be a proper and thorough investigation,” Justice Sikri observed.

Though Mr. Bhushan pleaded that the CJI should not be part of any Bench hearing the petition, Justice Sikri's Bench ordered the petition to be placed before the Chief Justice of India for “passing appropriate order for listing this matter”. Justice Sikri’s Bench even impleaded the Supreme Court Bar Association.

On November 9, another two-judge Bench led by Justice Jasti Chelameswar had ordered a Constitution Bench to be set up to hear Ms. Jaiswal's petition which is identical with the CJAR petition in the same corruption case.

Ms. Jaiswal had said the case involved the highest echelons of the country’s judiciary and should not be left to the CBI to investigate.

Lawyers, during the Constitution Bench hearing, countered Mr. Bhushan that it was not up to petitioners or their lawyers to decide whether a judge should recuse from hearing a case. The ultimate decision lay solely with the judge.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 8:04:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/anyone-however-high-is-subject-to-rule-of-law-judge/article20110133.ece

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