Why Supreme Court Judges Revolted Against CJI?

CJI Dipak Misra

Unless this institution is preserved, "democracy will not survive in this country", they had said. Justice Kurian Joseph said he and Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and J Chelameswar acted exclusively in the interest of judiciary and justice.

They wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in which they expressed concerns over the functioning of the Supreme Court.

Four senior most judges of the Supreme Court on Friday called a press conference and said the situation in the top court was "not in order" and many "less than desirable" things have taken place. The SCBA said this would remedy the issue raised by the senior judges that cases of importance were not being assigned to them.

As the matter on MoP resulted from a decision of the Constitution Bench in 2016, the letter said, "It is hard to understand as to how any other Bench could have dealt with the matter....any issue with regard to MoP should be discussed in the Chief Justices' Conference and by the Full Court".

The leaders briefed him about the political and legal implications of the unprecedented development, which was termed as "an extraordinary event in the history of judiciary". Today's press conference would cause a bad precedent.

There was no immediate official response from the CJI office.

Asked whether he felt that the judges should not have come out in the open with their grievances against the Chief Justice, Joseph said, "Any problem, everyone can see two sides".

"It urges stake holders to exercise restraint and requests them to resolve all issues internally and within the constitutional framework", the resolution said. Mishra said, " Prime Minister and law minister had said yesterday itself that it is judiciary's internal matter and govt won't be interfering in the matter, and we appreciate the government's stand".

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The justices gave few details of the incidents they were referring to, but released a letter they had written to Misra.

The chief justice did not immediately respond to telephone calls from Reuters to seek comment.

Their decision came after a meeting on the wake of unprecedented press conference by 4 senior Supreme Court judges on Friday, where they questioned the conduct of the CJI and claimed that their efforts in convincing the latter to take steps to protect the institution have gone in vain. "This must be guarded against at all costs".

IMAGE: Justice Chelameswar said "we owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation". He also decides on the composition of the bench that will hear a specific case.

"Any departure from the above two rules would not only lead to unpleasant and undesirable consequences of creating doubt in the body politic about the integrity of the institution. This must be guarded against at all costs", they wrote in a letter to CJI earlier a year ago. Top judicial experts, ranging from practicing senior advocates to retired judges and attorney generals have expressed shock over the unfolding of events.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi also said that the points raised by the judges are "extremely important" that "must be looked into carefully".

The critics of the four judges stress that they have hurt the respectable position of the judiciary which in India mostly remain unquestionable till date.

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