Stunning Mutiny In Supreme Court Ranks,4 Judges Take On Chief Justice

File pic of AG KK Venugopal

At a hurriedly called press conference at his residence, justice J Chelameswar and three other colleagues said the Supreme Court administration was "not in order" and their efforts to persuade Justice Misra even yesterday morning "with a specific request" failed, forcing them to "communicate with the nation" directly.

In it they mentioned instances of cases with "far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution" that were selectively assigned by the chief justice without rational "basis for such assignment". "We don't want wise men saying 20 years from now that Justice Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur and Kurian Joseph sold their souls and didn't do the right thing by our constitution".

Minister Choudhary, however, had said on December 29 - to a question from Ambika Soni and T Subbirami Reddy on the "Status of Finalisation of MOP for the appointment of the judges" - that "GoI after due deliberations, proposed changes in the existing MoP and the draft MoP was sent to the CJI vide letter dated 22.03.2016. We place it before people of country", Justice Gogoi said.

The responses coming in from over the various quarters are falling in every spectrum of morality, while the justices urged the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter urgently.

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, Dipak Misra will address the media shortly after 2.00 pm. "Democracy can not survive without an independent judiciary", the judge added. The judges had resented against the listing of PIL on Loya before Court No. 10 comprising Justices Arun Mishra and MM Shantanagoudar. We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. When the Memorandum of Procedure was a subject matter of a decision of a Constitution Bench of this court in Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association and Anr. vs Union of India, [(2016) 5 SCC 1] it is hard to understand as to how any other bench could have dealt with the matter,"the letter alleged. PM must ensure that the 4 judges & CJI, in fact whole SC come to one opinion & proceed further".

The statement earnestly appealed that the Full Court of the Supreme Court should take up the issues raised by the four judges and find solutions that are consistent with the traditions and conventions of the judiciary pointed out by them and that will preserve the independence of the judiciary.

The hard-hitting remarks against the CJI come on a day when Supreme Court took up for consideration the issue of alleged mysterious death of special CBI judge B H Loya, who was hearing the sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

R.S. Sodhi, a retired Supreme Court justice, said the judges' decision to express their grievances openly was appalling. It clearly indicates that the Judges were aware that a solution could not be found within the restricted area because of the external influence of the government.

"Looking at its own flaws is the first step to correcting an institution, to deepening true constitutional democracy", said Karuna Nundy, a Supreme Court lawyer.

The Supreme Court is now hearing a plea to investigate Loya's death, local media said.


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