The Supreme Court on Thursday sought an unconditional apology from a private TV channel reporter who conducted a sting operation and obtained bailable warrants from an Ahmedabad court against the then President, Chief Justice of India, an apex court judge and a senior advocate in 2004.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India G Balakrishnan was not satisfied with the explanation offered by Zee News and its reporter for carrying out the sting operation purportedly showing corruption in lower judiciary in Gujarat. “We are not satisfied with your affidavit,” the court said.
“You have given bribe to lawyers, this is not a bona fide act,” the court added. Earlier, the bench turned down advocate Gaurav Sharma’s request to adjourn the case as senior advocate Harish Salve, who was to argue the matter was not available.
“You must tender an unconditional apology… Everyone in the country feels that any case can be filed by anyone,” it said posting the hearing after four weeks. The channel had showed three advocates from Ahmedabad allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 40,000 for securing bailable warrants against Kalam, Khare, Singh and Jain (since dead).
On July 26, 2007, the court had told Zee News reporter Vijay Shekhar, who had claimed to have done it to expose corruption in lower judiciary, that it was clear from reports of the CBI and the High Court that it was an isolated incident and threatened to initiate criminal action against him for bringing the entire judiciary into disrepute.
Where eyewitnesses’ testimony is found to be credible and trustworthy, medical opinion pointing to alternative possibilities cannot be accepted as conclusive evidence, the Supreme Court has said.
The court was dealing with a criminal appeal from Andhra Pradesh wherein the appellant accused was sentenced to life for murder by the trial court and the High Court had upheld the verdict.