On the day it was claimed that the crisis plaguing India’s top court has been amicably resolved, Supreme Court announced the composition of a five-judge constitution bench headed by the Chief Justice, which does not include the four judges.
The four judges – Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph who took on the Chief Justice at a press conference on Friday last week, don’t feature in the list of members of the constitution bench, reported PTI.
Instead, the news agency reported, the five-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AK Sikri, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan, will commence hearing on a range of crucial matters from 17 January. These cases include the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act and its 2013 judgement re-criminalising gay sex between consenting adults among others.
This is after it emerged that Justice Arun Mishra on Monday had reportedly broke down during the informal meeting held by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra with the judges of the Supreme Court.
A report news agency IANS had said that the reason why Justice Arun Mishra reportedly broke down was because, as the news agency reported, he felt the four senior most judges had “unfairly” targeted him questioning his “competence” and “integrity.”
Noted lawyer Dushyant Dave on Sunday had made stunning allegations that Justice Mishra had links with BJP leaders.
Interestingly, the combination of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AK Sikri, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan last year heard a host of constitution bench matters from 10 October, including the power tussle between the Centre and the Delhi government over administrative jurisdiction.
One of the key grievances raised by the four senior most judges on Friday was how the CJI was arbitrarily assigning key politically sensitive cases to judges, who were relatively inexperienced.
The four judges had used this to build their dominant argument concluding that the administration in the Supreme Court was ‘less than desirable’ and not in ‘order.’ They had received instant support from many top retired judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
A group of retired Supreme Court and High Court judges had written an open letter to the CJI agreeing with the ‘grave concern’ expressed by the four senior most SC judges over how politically sensitive cases were being assigned to relatively junior judges.