Four top Supreme Court judges on Friday took an extraordinary step when they decided to speak to media against the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra calling the administration in the top court ‘not in order.
Leading the rebellion was the second most senior senior judge, Justice Chelameswar, who said that ‘in the past few months, less than desirable things have been happening.’
He said, “We’ve told the Chief Justice but our pleas have failed. We don’t want people to say 20 yrs later that we did not take care of the institution. Democracy won’t survive without free judiciary.”
The judges, Justices Chelameswar, Kurian Joseph, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan Lokur, said that one of the contentious issues was the high-handedness of CJI Misra in how cases of far-reaching importance were assigned to judges in an arbitrary manner.
When asked, Justice Gogoi confirmed that they were not happy how the case involving the mysterious death of Judge BH Loya was assigned to a bench. Loya was hearing the fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Shaikh at the time of his death. One of the accused persons in the alleged murder of Sohrabuddin was the BJP President Amit Shah.
The Supreme Court was to hear the case on Friday, but adjourned the matter by four weeks.
Top legal names have termed Friday’s development extraordinary with far-reaching consequences on Indian democracy. Supreme Court lawyer, KTS Tulsi, told ANI, “It’s quite shocking. There must have been compelling reasons for the senior-most judges to have adopted this course of action. One could see pain on their faces while they were speaking.”
Retired High Court Judge Mukul Mudgal said, “There must be some serious reason that they were left with no other option but to hold a Press Conference. But what connection Loya has with this? I know nothing about this and I don’t want to make comments about any political matter.”
Lawyer Indira Jaising said, “I think it’s a historic Press Conference. It was very well done. I think we, the people of India, have a right to know what is going on within the judiciary and I welcome this.”
Former High Court judge, Justice HS Sodhi said that the judges should never have gone to the public adding that their action had damaged the credibility of the judiciary internationally.