This was clearly an instance of overzealous action by those who believe they are guardians of probity in public life.
The Supreme Court has dealt summarily with a plea seeking a probe into alleged bribery of senior judges. The judges on the bench had reason to feel annoyed with the tactics of lawyers in filing a second petition in the case involving a blacklisted medical college while one was pending before another court.
Condemning such “forum shopping”, the bench termed the plea as contemptuous and may have been magnanimous in not initiating contempt action against the petitioners. This seems to be an unwarranted case of badgering of judges, including the Chief Justice, who was dragged into the matter by lawyers seeking his recusal. This was clearly an instance of overzealous action by those who believe they are guardians of probity in public life.
What cannot, however, be compromised is dispensation of justice in a transparent way, towards upholding which no one must be considered above being probed if the facts so warrant, and has the sanction of the highest court. The Chief Justice may have the power to allot benches for all hearings, but it stands to reason he will be not be a part of proceedings over the alleged corruption of a former high court judge.
Those who wish to fight corruption in high places also have to follow the letter and spirit of the law and not resort to tactical grandstanding, which may bring the institution of the judiciary into disrepute. The respect it has earned as a fair dispenser of justice, often tasked with adjudicating sensitive matters involving all branches of government and the legislature, should not be lowered.