SC notice to Centre on plea to ban pesticides

Supreme Court

The institution is under siege

Justice Chelameswar, who is the senior-most judge after the CJI, had termed as "disturbing" the allegations levelled in a CBI FIR and ordered setting up a bench of five top judges of the court as a petition by Jaiswal had alleged there were allegations against Justice Misra. Observing that his actions had scandalised the court, the bench comprising Justices RK Agarwal, Arun Mishra and AM Khanwilkar reserved their judgement on maintainability of the petition that sought a court-monitored probe into the medical colleges scam, where judges were suspected of accepting bribes for a favourable outcome. "The Chief Justice Bench of the High Court wants a clarification whether the exemption applies only to Chandigarh", Rohatgi said. The other petition in the court was filed by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms. The allegations amounted to a deliberate attempt to scandalise the institution and denigrate the system, he said.

He said that much damage had been done by filing this petition and now the question is how to remedy the situation. "It can be done by withdrawing the petition", Venugopal said. "Although it does not name any acting judge directly but talk of bribes to influence a pending case...it's serious", Mishra said.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, contended that large parts of the farming belts of the country have been polluted and contaminated by pesticides.

The bench of Justice Chelameswar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer's - now invalidated - November 9 order - had said: "Having regard to the totality of the circumstances, we deem it appropriate that this matter be heard by the Constitution Bench of the first five Judges in the order of seniority of this Court".

The hearing, which got increasingly heated, found Justice Mishra warning the petitioners that if such behavouir was allowed to go unpunished, no judge would be spared. However, on November 10, a five-judge constitution bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra had ruled that "no judge can take up a matter on his own, unless allocated by the chief justice of India, as he is the master of the roster".

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