April 26, 2018

To Resolve Rift In Judiciary, Bar Council To Meet Judges Tomorrow

14 January 2018, 12:10 | Marta Robbins

PTI File

PTI  File

The unprecedented move by the four judges including Justice J Chelameswar, the second senior judge after Chief Justice Dipak Misra, brought to fore the simmering differences between the country's top judge and some senior judges in the apex court in recent months.

"There have been instances where case having far reaching consequences for the Nation and the institution had been assigned by the Chief Justices of the Court selectively to the benches "of their preference" without any rationale basis for such assignment". This case was allotted to Justices Arun Mishra and MM Shantanagoudar, who issued notices to the Maharastra government, now headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party seeking a response. We don't want people to say 20 yrs later that we did not take care of the institution. "(The) PM must answer the reason for sending this special messenger to (the) Chief Justice of India", tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

He said the four judges "failed to persuade CJI that certain things are not in order and therefore he should take remedial measures". It might be best for the CJI to take the initiative and try to resolve the matter with all the brother judges.

The hope is the other good judges, of whom there are many, will come together and help mend fences, improve processes and "shut the window before the chill sets in", as a Bloomberg Quint commentator puts it.

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.

He said it was "most unfortunate" that four senior judges held a press conference, sending out a message that all was not well with the Supreme Court and that the issue should have been "sorted out internally".

They said the issue should not be politicised and the dignity of the institution of the Supreme Court be maintained. Some of these things that they have raised was being discussed in various quarters.

" Judiciary and Media are the pillars of democracy".

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"The prime minister and law minister had said yesterday itself that it is judiciary's internal matter and govt won't be interfering in the matter, and we appreciate the government's stand", he added.

Justice Gogoi took part in the hearings pertaining to the Sahara group and the Aamby Valley auction, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and a ruling which said politicians would not be allowed to use public funding for campaigning.

Describing the allegation made as "extremely important", Rahul Gandhi requested for a "proper" investigation "from the highest level of the Supreme Court".

As the matter on MoP resulted from a decision of the Constitution Bench in 2016, the letter said, "It is hard to understand as to how any other Bench could have dealt with the matter....any issue with regard to MoP should be discussed in the Chief Justices' Conference and by the Full Court".

Some legal luminaries also said the turn of events had raised a question mark about the credibility of the judicial system.

"After a meeting this evening to decide the way forward, one of the key office bearers of the council said they have chose to apprise judges of sentiment of bar and resolve the matter "peacefully and quickly".

The four judges said that they had met the CJI, citing all administrative flaws, but they had to come before the media to make the nation aware of the situation after no solution emerged.

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