January 17, 2022

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Rs 25 lakh ‘cost’ a stigma: CJAR tells SC

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Rs 25 lakh ‘cost’ a stigma: CJAR tells SC
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Rs 25 lakh ‘cost’ a stigma: CJAR tells SC
Rs 25 lakh ‘cost’ a stigma: CJAR tells SC

NEW DELHI: Smarting for four years under the stigma of being saddled with Rs 25 lakh “cost” for filing a “frivolous” PIL to “scandalise” the judiciary in the medical admission controversy, the Committee for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) on Tuesday requested the Supreme Court to rephrase the order to direct it to donate the cost amount for advocates’ welfare.
A three-judge bench of the SC had on November 14, 2017 disposed of a PIL filed by advocate Kamini Jaiswal, a patron of CJAR, raising the alleged attempts being made to settle cases relating to the medical admission scam pending before the SC and had referred to the CBI’s FIR naming a judge of the Orissa HC.
A fortnight later, the same bench took up a similar petition filed by CJAR seeking a direction to constitute an SIT headed by a retired CJI “to probe in the matter of alleged conspiracy and payment of bribes for procuring favourable order in a matter pending before this court”.
The SC had on December 1, 2017 said, “The petition is not only wholly frivolous, but contemptuous, unwarranted, aims at scandalising the highest judicial system of the country, without any reasonable basis and filed in an irresponsible manner, that too by a body of persons professing to espouse the cause of accountability.”
The bench had dismissed the PIL with Rs 25 lakh cost, which was to given to Supreme Court Bar Association Advocates’ Welfare Fund.
CJAR made two attempts, first through a review petition and then through a curative petition, to get out of trouble but failed. It deposited the cost amount. On Tuesday, CJAR counsel Rajeev Dhawan pleaded before a bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar to substitute the word “cost” with “donation” to remove the stigma cast on the organisation, which he termed a platform.
He said, “Penalty will impose a stigma on a large number of eminent people associated with the platform, including ex-SC judge PB Sawant and senior advocates. Reputation of many persons are at stake. We are seeking a small favour.” Advocate Prashant Bhushan said the cost amount has been deposited with the SC and that could be transferred to the advocates’ welfare fund to put it to better use. Justice Khanwilkar said the matter would be put up before a three-judge bench.

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