Rebellion in Supreme Court: Four Senior Judges address the media

Sergio Conner
January 13, 2018

Justice Chelameswar himself described as an "extraordinary event" the news conference during which he said "sometimes administration of the Supreme Court is not in order and many things which are less than desirable have happened in the last few months".

Raising several questions over the issue of "judiciary's freedom" in the country, four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court of India including Kurian Joseph, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan Lokur held a press conference on Friday revolting against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra.

Misra has not been accused of taking bribes but was fiercely criticised, including by senior lawyers, for repeatedly intervening to ensure only judges of his choice could hear the matter. The traditions were embraced by this Court which came into existence nearly a century after the above mentioned chartered High Courts.

The four judges also touched upon another controversial issue, the memorandum of procedure (MoP) on appointment of judges over which the Supreme Court had locked horns with the government. "I think Congress should know that", Mr Patra said. "It needs to be looked at from the highest level of the Supreme Court", Mr Gandhi told reporters.

She also said "extreme interference" of the Centre in the functioning of the judiciary was "dangerous" for democracy, but did not elaborate. All citizens who love the idea of justice are looking at this issue.

Former solicitor general of India N Santosh Hegde said he was "devastated" by their action which has caused "irreparable" damage to the institution.

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Separately, there are also allegations a previous chief justice self-selected a bench of judges for another case that involved accusations against him and other members of the judiciary. The judge who is set to retire in June will deliver his judgment in a case seeking amendments to the Representation of People's act filed by NGO Lok Prahari.

In a nutshell, the letter cites Chief Justice Misra's listing of matters of constitutional importance before benches excluding the senior most judges, as the main gripe of the four judges.

"The press conference and the letter followed a meeting of the four judges with the Chief Justice of India this morning which, apparently, failed to resolve the issues and obliged the four judges to address a press conference".

India's Supreme Court is the highest judicial forum and the final court of appeals in the country. In 2011, Justice Gogoi apprised Justice Kapadia about the "glaring irregularities and illegalities, both procedural and substantive" which were "evident" in the judgement delivered by the HC judge.

Speaking of late CBI Judge Brijgopal Loya's case - whose death was said to have occurred under mysterious circumstances - Bhushan said: "It should have been listed before senior SC judges in view of the importance of the case, but instead was listed in Court Number 10, which is of Justice Arun Mishra".

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