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An NGO today expressed disagreement over the recent Supreme Court verdict imposing a cost of Rs 25 lakh on it by terming its PIL seeking SIT probe into the alleged bribery case in the name of judges as "wholly frivolous, contemptuous, unwarranted." In a statement, NGO Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR), said contrary to the charge that the plea was mala fide and intended to defame the judiciary, it had approached the top court with the intention to protect its "independence, integrity and reputation" and that of the judiciary in general. "The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) strongly disagrees with the order of the Supreme Court dismissing the Writ Petition filed by the campaign to ensure a fair and impartial investigation into the allegations of bribery of judges of the higher judiciary, to obtain favourable orders for medical colleges," the NGO said. The top court on December 1 had junked the NGO's plea and imposed a cost of Rs 25 lakh on it, noting that a similar plea filed in individual capacity by advocate Kamini Jaiswal, who is also one of the patrons of CJAR, was dismissed earlier. The petition had claimed that allegations of bribery were levelled for securing settlement of cases relating to medical colleges, in which retired Orissa High Court judge, Ishrat Masroor Quddusi, is also an accused. However, the details of the judgement which was uploaded today on the apex court website gave reasons for the dismissal and imposition of exemplary costs of Rs 25 lakh on CJAR. The apex court said it was constrained to say that the petition, in particular the manner in which it has been pursued without any remorse by questioning the decision of the top court, including the plea taken in the earlier petition, was gross abuse of the process of court. "Therefore, it has to be dismissed with exemplary costs in order to ensure that such attempt is not repeated in future," the apex court added. A bench comprising justices R K Agrawal, Arun Mishra and A M Khanwilkar 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. "What an irony of fate, the petitioner has itself forgotten its accountability and filing of such petition may entail in ultimate debarment of such petitioners from filing so-called public interest litigation which in fact has caused more injury to cause of public than subserving it," it said. The NGO said in its statement that it believed that the "unprecedented" order imposing costs of Rs 25 lakh on CJAR is a "case of 'costs in terrorem' (a legal threat) in an attempt to intimidate the campaign into not taking up cases of judicial misconduct and corruption and deter it from demanding accountability of the judiciary.
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