Four retired judges of the apex court have written a letter to CJI Dipak Misra asking him to resolve the crisis affecting the judiciary soon
14 January, 2018, 00:08
In a stunning move, four of the senior-most judges of India's Supreme Court have publicly slammed the functioning of the country's top court and warned that democracy will not survive without an independent judiciary.
The letter, written about two months ago, said there have been "instances where cases having far reaching consequences for the nation and the institution have been assigned by the chief justices of this court selectively to the benches "of their preference" without any rationale basis for such assignment".
"We will write a letter to the government for the same, but is not that big a matter to be brought in public", he added.
It was a day when four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court placed their case before the public to decide in the interest of the nation, they said. While those like Indira Jaising hailed the historic nature of the conference, others have called the conference as something that will "set a bad precedent". However, the Chief Justice of India cancelled a verdict to this effect, issued by a bench consisting Justice J. Chelameshwar, by setting up another bench. Justice Chelameswar ordered a hearing on the petition at 12.45 pm and issued an order to place the petition before a five-judge bench in which the CJI and the next four most senior judges involved.
"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. All four judges - Justices Chelameshwar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurien Joseph are known to be "sober and responsible" and have done what they did because there was no other way to stem the rot in the system. "It will certainly be solved since it has come to the attention", he told reporters. The SCBA said this would remedy the issue raised by the senior judges that cases of importance were not being assigned to them.
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"Administration of the Supreme Court is not in order". They had on Friday said, "Unless the institution is saved, democracy would be in danger".
Justice Chelameswar said 'we owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation.
Four top Supreme Court judges on Friday had taken an extraordinary step when they made a decision to speak to media against the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra calling the administration in the top court 'not in order.
"Politics by political parties of the country, outside the judicial purview, trying to drag issues which are internal to the judiciary and politicise that is something which should not be attempted", BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, adding, "The Congress party has attempted the same, it has tried its best to politicise internal issues of judiciary". The council also said it hopes that the matter will be resolved "at the earliest". "All of the wild guesses will go all over the country and all kinds of things will be said about the Supreme Court". She maintained that judiciary and media are the pillars of democracy and that interference by the Centre in the workings of judiciary is risky for democracy.
Following the Press conference, the three judges who joined Chelameswar left for the airport as they had to catch separate flights. Extreme interference of Central Government with Judiciary is unsafe for democracy, " she added.
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