The Supreme Court on Friday refused to strike off its stinging remarks against the Allahabad high court, asking it to 'introspect and not to react'.
While disposing of the high court's application for expunction of the remarks, a bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra clarified, "There are many excellent and upright judges too there, keeping the flag of the high court flying high by their integrity and hard work."
Rejecting to the arguments of senior counsel P P Rao that a clarification that some are excellent and good judges would still put their integrity in doubt, the bench remarked, "It is not just time to react but also to introspect."
"We can quite appreciate the anguish of some of the judges of the high court, but we cannot overlook the fact that there are times when introspection is required and not mere reaction," it said.
The bench, however, refused to rule out that the high court is completely bereft of the 'uncle judge syndrome', which refers to judges passing favourable orders for parties represented by lawyers personally known or related to them in the high court.
Referring to its November 26 order, the bench said, "It has been mentioned in the order that many lawyers who are relatives of judges are scrupulously taking care that no one should lift a finger on that account.
"Others, however, are shamelessly taking advantage of this relationship," it said.
In a strong indictment of the Allahabad high court on November 26, the apex court had said, "There is something rotten in Allahabad high court", raising serious questions about the integrity of several of its judges.
The bench emphasised in its order that its remark was not aimed against all the judges but only some of them.
"It is totally false to say that all judges of the Allahabad high court are corrupt. It is nowhere mentioned in our November 26 order that all judges are corrupt," the bench said.
"We have not painted everyone with the same brush," it said, adding, "What is mentioned in the order is that there are complaints against certain judges, not all judges."
Reacting to Rao's persistent plea that the clarification would not be sufficient, Justice Katju angrily retorted during the hearing, "Do not tell all those things. I and my family have more than 100 years of association with the Allahabad high court.
"People know who is corrupt and who is honest. So do not tell me all this," said Justice Katju, adding, "Tomorrow, if Markandey Katju starts taking bribe, then the entire country will know about it. So do not tell me as to who is honest and who is corrupt."