The Supreme Court today directed a trial court of Jammu and Kashmir to proceed with a matter against NGO ‘Transparency International India (TII)’ relating to a media report on alleged corruption in lower judiciary. A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar asked the judicial magistrate-first class to proceed in “accordance with law” in the matter in which the lower court had sought the presence of officials of TII, Centre for Media Studies (CMS) and others to respond to the show cause notices issued against them earlier.
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The matter relates to a report of a survey conducted by the global anti-corruption NGO and on the basis of which a Jammu and Kashmir-based newspaper had published an article on alleged corruption in lower judiciary in the state.
“In view of the above, while disposing of the writ petition, we direct the officer holding the charge of judicial magistrate first class to proceed with the matter in furtherance of the original show cause notice dated May 4, 2006,” the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul, said.
The bench agreed with the contention of senior counsel Jayant Bhushan, representing TII and CMS, and said the judicial magistrate had “absolutely no jurisdiction” to pass the order to ensure presence of the petitioners before it.
“We, however, are satisfied in accepting the arguments that the judicial magistrate has absolutely no jurisdiction to pass the impugned order whereby it attempted to enforce presence of the petitioners…in order to respond to the first order dated May 4, 2006,” the bench said.
The apex court had in September 2006 stayed the execution of warrant of arrest issued by the magistrate against the petitioners and had also stayed the proceedings pending there.
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