Declining to open the “dangerous doors” to let litigants make sweeping charges against judges for passing orders, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a PIL seeking registration of an FIR against its former judge and Chairman of Press Council of India, Justice C K Prasad, over some alleged illegal orders issued by him during his tenure.
A bench led by Justice Dipak Misra nixed the petition by lawyer Prashant Bhushan, stating there was a “statutory protection” accorded to the judges even if they pass some orders, which were arguably vague or absurd.
Meanwhile, a four-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India H L Dattu has Thursday dismissed the curative petitions, seeking a reconsideration of the order passed by Justice Prasad on the judicial side. “An order may be absurd or improper or even in violation of some rules, the real question is whether an order by a High Court or Supreme Court judge can be questioned like this. Please try and understand the inherent dangers of your arguments… it will open dangerous doors if we allow anybody to say anything against anyone… it is not to be allowed in a democracy,” the bench told senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, who appeared for his son Prashant. Prashant was not present during the proceeding.
Shanti Bhushan had argued that irrespective of a person being a former judge, this court must allow the process of law to operate in the wake of the alleged “gross misconduct” by him in issuing orders in a case despite knowing his kin were involved in the matter and that the case was being heard by a different bench.
He said an FIR should be lodged against the former judge and steps should also be taken to remove him as PCI chairman.
The former law minister further cited a letter written by Supreme Court Bar Association President Dushyant Dave to the Chief Justice of India, complaining about the alleged judicial misconduct.
The court, however, said it would not pay heed to any letter written by the Bar Association’s president and that the petition deserved to be dismissed on merit.
Questioning the locus of Prashant, the bench held that any person aggrieved by the contentious orders could file an application for review or take recourse to the curative petition or any other remedy available to him in law.
“But the petitioner cannot be allowed to make such a prayer invoking the conceptual facet of PIL under Article 32 of the Constitution of India,” it noted.