Medical Colleges Admission Scam: SC Dismisses Plea Seeking SIT Inquiry, Imposes Fine Of Rs 25 Lakhs On Petitioner
The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea filed by Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) seeking Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into an alleged bribery by Medical Council of India (MCI) and imposed a fine of Rs 25 lakh, said a report by Live Law.
The three-judge bench of the SC was headed by Justice RK Agrawal. The bench said that the fine amount will be used as a fund for Supreme Court Bar Association. The case pertains to the medical college bribery scam against IM Quddusi (retired Orissa High Court judge) who was arrested by the CBI under Prevention of Corruption Act. Quddusi allegedly had used his influence to help UP based Prasad Education Trust in settling a matter involving their plea in setting up a medical college. The Trust owned one of the 46 medical colleges that were barred from admitting students. The accused were granted bail, which was not challenged by the CBI.
What Prashant Bhushan has to say?
Advocate Prashant Bhushan appeared for the CJAR. He argued before the Supreme Court that SIT inquiry led by a former Chief Justice of India was necessary to protect the judicial integrity in this case. During the hearing, Bhushan told CBI, which is probing the matter, that it should hand over the material in the case to SIT headed by a former CJI.
On November 27, a bench of justices RK Agrawal, Arun Mishra and AM Khanwilkar heard the arguments which were put forth by the Attorney General K K Venugopal and advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for CJAR. The AG told the court that this petition is the verbatim copy of an earlier petition which was dismissed by a different bench on 14 November. He further said that the PIL is misconceived and the argument submitted by Bhushan, that he wanted to protect the integrity of the judiciary, is disingenuous.
Bhushan retorted that all the aspects were not dealt by the apex court in its earlier verdict. He said that he had filed this petition “to save the dignity, independence and integrity of the judiciary.” The SC bench then questioned Bhushan, “How come CJAR files a petition, being an unregistered body? Even, the affidavit also nowhere mentions the name of the person through whom the petition is filed,” reported by Live Law.
This is what Bhushan Tweeted:
SC dismisses petition of Campaign for Judicial Accountability seeking court monitored SIT Investigation in CBI FIR, alleging Conspiracy, preparation&planning by medical college to bribe SC judges.SC leaves Investigation with CBI& imposes costs of 25 lacs! Intimidating petitioner?
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) December 1, 2017
To the question posed by the SC bench, Bhushan said the petition was filed by the secretary of CJAR and he will furnish all the required details.
SC dismissing SIT probe
The CBI is conducting an inquiry into the case. Bhushan had argued that the investigation should not be handed over to an agency that is controlled by the executive. The three-judge SC bench on 14 November had dismissed a petition filed by senior lawyer Kamini Jaiswal who sought an investigation into medical colleges bribery case. The court said it would not take any contempt action against the lawyers, but it “strongly deprecated” their attempt at getting the case heard by a particular court.
On 14 November, the apex court had dismissed a plea seeking an SIT probe of bribery in the name of judges saying that it was “wholly scandalous.” Criticising the attempt to seek recusal of one of the judges in the matter, a bench of Justices R K Agrawal, Arun Mishra and A M Khanwilkar said, “we find that it is another attempt to bring the system in disrepute. Casting of unwarranted aspersions tantamounts to seriously jeopardise the independence of the judiciary“, said a report by The Times of India.
A medical college belonging to the Prasad Education Trust was denied permission by the Medical Council of Indian to operate. But a middleman allegedly assured the Trust that permission would be granted through the judiciary. To facilitate this, money was allegedly paid by the parties. The CBI conducted raids on several people and found that all the accused had hatched a criminal conspiracy to obtain judicial orders from High Courts and Supreme Court in favour of the trust. This led to the arrest of former High Court Judge IM Quddusi.