Supreme Court judges' unprecedented media address sends tremors across the country

Ivan Schwartz
January 13, 2018

Bhushan said, the SC judges have made people aware of the "extraordinary abuse of power" by the CJI. It is being conjectured that the 4 senior most judges are concerned that the crucial case may be handed over to a "junior bench" by the CJI.

Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph - held an unusual news conference in the national capital on Friday, January 12, about the administration of the Supreme Court, including the role of Chief Justice Dipak Misra. There was ample evidence over the last few months that the highest court was in a state of ferment; the question is whether it could have been handled internally rather than be dragged into the open like this. "Second, Assignment of cases selectively to the benches of their preference without any rational basis", Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. The SEC's judges are selected by the chief judge and approved by the commission's personnel office, U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco said in court papers.

# I think it's a historic Press Conference. Detailed discussions were held by the Collegium of five judges (including yourself) and the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) was finalised and sent by then Chief Justice of India to the Government of India in March 2017. The judges might have also tried to follow an in-house resolution system that possibly failed, while the judges' who have take this extra measure will have to answer collectively not just to the institution, but also the nation. "This issue has damaged the image of judiciary and affected the confidence of the public in judiciary", he said.

The judges released a letter they had written to Chief Justice Misra a couple of months ago.

They said the problems that afflicted the top court of the country could destroy democracy. "Any attempt to fish for opportunity to politicise issues when none exist is politically wrong", he said.

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Critics say the SEC fares much better before its own judges than it does in federal court.

"This morning the four of us went and met him on a particular issue and we couldn't convince him", said Justice Chelameswar refusing to be drawn into the specifics of what that contentious issue was. Speaking on similar lines, Ravindra Babu said that an All India Judicial Services on par with the IAS should be constituted, while several MPs suggested live telecast of proceeding in the higher courts and the Supreme Court.

"In the PIL concerning the death of Judge Loya, we believe that the matter must be entrusted to the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court who should ensure that under their supervision there is a thorough and impartial investigation of the case by an independent SIT", it said. Karnan underwent a six month jail term which ended in December a year ago. We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation.

The government did not wish to be seen as "interfering" in any manner on a sensitive matter concerning the judiciary, which could be misconstrued by either of the sides.

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