The Supreme Court Bar Association will meet this evening to discuss the situation arising out of the unprecedented press conference held by four senior-most four judges of the Supreme Court. In an unprecedented development on Friday, Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurien Joseph addressed the press claiming the administration of the Supreme Court is not in order.
In a measured reaction, the union government has called it an internal matter of the judiciary, something which the judiciary is capable of resolving on its own.
On Friday noon, what was the first ever press conference by the sitting judges of the Supreme Court, the judges said “unless this institution is preserved, democracy will not survive in this country”.
“Four of us met the Chief Justice of India today morning and raised issues affecting the institution,” Justice Chelameswar said, adding “The situation in Supreme Court is not in order and many things have happened in recent past”.
We tried to persuade Chief Justice of India that certain things are not in order. Unfortunately we have failed, said Justice Chelameswar in a strongly-worded presser.
“And all four of us are convinced that democracy is at stake and many things have happened in recent past,” he said.
Asked what these issues were, he said they included the “allocation of cases by CJI”. Justice Chelameswar said “we owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. Our efforts have failed in convincing CJI to take steps to protect the institution.”
“This is an extraordinary event in the history of any nation, more particularly this nation and an extraordinary event in the institution of judiciary … It is with no pleasure that we are compelled to call this press conference. But sometimes adminstration of the Supreme Court is not in order and many things which are less than desirable have happened in the last few months”, he said sharing letter the four judges have written to the Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra.
“Nobody is breaking the rank and it is discharge of debt to nation which we have done,” said Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
In their seven-page letter to the CJI, said “It is too well settled in the jurisprudence of this country that the chief justice is only first amongst the equals — nothing more or nothing less.”
The letter reads, “It is with great anguish and concern that we have thought it proper to address this letter to you so as to highlight certain judicial orders passed by this court which has adversely affected the overall functioning of the justice delivering system and the independence of the high courts besides impacting the administrative functioning of the office of the Chief Justice of India.”
“There have been instances where cases having far reaching consequences for the nation and the institution have been assigned by the chief justices of this court selectively to the benches ‘of their preference’ without any rationale basis for such assignment. This must be guarded against at all costs,” it said.
(With inputs from PTI)