January 12, 2018

Four Top SC Judges Take On Chief Justice, Address Media


In an unprecedented move, four senior Supreme Court judges addressed the media at the residence of Justice Chelameswar to place before the nation their concerns, which, as per them, failed to move the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

The press conference is being attended by Justices Jasti Chelameshwar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph. It is the first in the history of independent India and a first for the Supreme Court.

Democracy in India is at stake, said four senior Supreme Court judges as they went public with complaints against the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra. The four judges - who rank just after the Chief Justice in order- said that "things are not in order" with what they described as "the administration of the Supreme Court". An independent judiciary is essential for a functioning democracy, they said. Asked if they believed the Chief Justice should be impeached, they said, "Let the nation decide."

The second most senior Judge Justice Chelameswar said "administration of the Supreme Court is not in order and many things which are less than desirable have happened in the last few months," on behalf of the four judges.

"It is an extremely painful moment for all four of us and there is no pleasure in holding this press conference," he said, adding that democracy will not survive without free judiciary.

Asked whether assignment of Judge Loya case is seen as reason behind the historic press conference by the top 4 judges, Justice Gogoi, who would be succeeding present CJI in October this year, said: "yes"

"There is an issue of assignment of a case which is raised in that letter (to CJI), Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

While hearing the Sohrabuddin encounter case, Justice Loya had died, wherein the prime accused, was then Gujarat Home Minister and now BJP President Amit Shah.

"Difference of opinion regarding Judge Loya's case was one instance of difference with the CJI," he said.

In sharp words against the CJI, Justice Chelameswar said "We met the CJI with a specific request which unfortunately couldn't convince him that we were right therefore, we were left with no choice except to communicate it to the nation that please take care of the institution."

"We tried collectively to persuade the Chief Justcie of India that certain things are not right and remedial measures need to be taken, but unfortunately we failed", he said, adding "we have tried our best, now we are placing it before the nation. This is integral to survival of our democracy."

"The hallmark of a good democracy is an independent and impartial judge. The judge is symbolic here, it is an institution," he said.

Justice Chelameswar said, "wise men should not say in future that we sold our souls."

"There have been instances where case having far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution had been assigned by the Chief Justice of this court selectively to the particular case or the composition thereof," the strong-worded letter read.

"It is with great anguish and concern that we thought it proper to highlight certain judicial orders passed by this Court that adversely affected functioning of justice delivery system & independence of HCs besides impacting administrative functioning of CJI's office," the letter further read.

Asked whether they wanted the Chief Justice to be impeached, Justice Chelameswar said "don't try to put words in my mouth".

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