14 January, 2018
The four justices at yesterday's news conference - besides Chelameswar, they included Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph - are the most senior after Misra. Chelameswar said they had met CJI Dipak Misra yesterday morning and "raised issues affecting the institution".
Reacting to the press conference called by four Supreme Court Judges, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij on Saturday said keeping in view the dignity of the posts they were occupying, the Judges should have first resigned from the post and then come out in the open with their views.
"Since all our efforts failed". "Such steps will bring more transparency in the judiciary rather than creating problems", he added. They questioned whether it wouldn't reflect badly when the CJI sends an important case to a bench of his preference.
Jasti Chelameshwar said that "We tried to persuade the CJI that certain things are not in order". 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". Asked if they believed the Chief Justice should be impeached, they said, "Let the nation decide".
Lawyers bodies on Saturday stepped in to end the crisis that struck the top court in the country with the Supreme Court Bar Association asking the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to assign all PILs including the pending ones to the court of five judges.
Though who are "they" -a line which also appears in the letter written to CJI by judges two months back - is something the four eminent jurists needs to clarify, the immediate trigger for the revolt is apparently assigning a petition in the case regarding Mumbai Judge BH Loya death to a bench of a junior judge. "This must be guarded against at all costs", the four judges said on Friday.
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The institution wields enormous influence in the South Asian nation and has in the past revoked laws passed by the parliament that it regarded as infringing upon citizens' rights.
"They also made a point about judge Loya's case". A powerful "contempt of court" legislation only strengthens its muscle. "As a retired Judge of the Supreme Court, I feel devastated", he said.
In its statement on the issue, read out by Surjewala, the Congress said it was perturbed by the developments and that observations made by the judges and the issues raised by them at their press conference were "extremely disturbing" and have a "far-reaching" consequences for the values that are held sacred - safeguarding democracy and preserving the independence of the judiciary. "The delay in disposal of cases is one of the things that is causing concern to people and diminishing their confidence in the system, and Judges going public with their allegations have further dented people's faith in the system", Justice Hegde said. The term is used when a particular litigant-with the help of a lawyer-tries to manage his case hearing by a particular judge who may give the litigant a favourable decision. "This is our duty to the nation", Justice Gogoi said.
The letter has attacked the theory of "CJI being the master of the roster" cited by the CJI while deciding benches.
He said all these issues had to be sorted out through an in-house mechanism and that the matter should not to be politicised.