A petition seeking SIT probe into graft allegations against former Orissa High Court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi was rejected on Tuesday by a Supreme Court bench. While rejecting the petition by lawyer Kamini Jaiswal, the Supreme Court bench, consisting of Justice RK Agrawal, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice AM Khanwilkar, said that the whole controversy has questioned the integrity of the top Indian judiciary and has also brought the image of judicial in doubt. “Unnecessary doubts about the integrity of the institution have been created,” the bench observed.

While pronouncing the judgment, Justice Arun Mishra observed that the conduct of advocate Kamini Jaiswal and Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) lawyers as “forum-shopping, contemptuous, unethical, derogatory.” Although the SC bench called the petition contemptuous in nature, it did not initiate the contempt proceedings.

Earlier when the petition was filed, a judge ordered the petition to be sent to a 5-judge bench but a Constitutional Bench quashed the order and said that only Chief Justice of India has the authority to assign cases. With an evident divide in the opinions, the 3-judge SC bench tried to do the damage control. The bench said, “We hope all will work and unite for the welfare of this institution. Even we are not above the law but everything needs to be as per the law.”

The matter triggered when Union Health Ministry banned colleges affiliated with Prasad Education Trust in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The trust then moved to court against the ban and as per the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) reports, Prasad Education Trust allegedly paid bribes to middlemen in order to gain favourable ruling from the court for the licenses of its medical colleges.