Four Indian Supreme Court judges slam administration of…

Both the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (SCAORA) criticised the judges' move to hold the press conference.

CJI Dipak Misra has not responded to the allegations.

The judges said that unless this institution is preserved, "democracy will not survive in this country and added that they wrote the letter to the CJI with "great anguish and concern".

The other three judges, at the interaction with the media were, Justices Kurian Joseph, Madan Bhimrao Lokur and Ranjan Gogoi. They said they had met the chief justice earlier Friday and "raised issues affecting the institution". Unfortunately, the efforts failed. "Such steps will bring more transparency in the judiciary rather than creating problems", he added.

"We want that the matter be solved at the earliest", he said. We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation.

The leaders briefed him about the political and legal implications of the unprecedented development, which was termed as "an extraordinary event in the history of judiciary".

In Kochi, Justice Kurian Joseph, one of the four judges who had made his differences with the CJI public, said: "These issues are not personal but institutional".

Attorney General K K Venugopal feels the issues should not have been aired in public, but the issues will be resolved internally by the SC.

Mishra, however, praised the government's reported stance to not interfere as the controversy was part of the "judiciary's internal matter".

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Justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, Joseph and Lokur had expressed anguish over the CJI's decision to assign this case to a particular bench and not to the any of the top judges.

Though who are "they" -a line which also appears in the letter written to CJI by judges two months back - is something the four eminent jurists needs to clarify, the immediate trigger for the revolt is apparently assigning a petition in the case regarding Mumbai Judge BH Loya death to a bench of a junior judge. However, the Chief Justice of India cancelled a verdict to this effect, issued by a bench consisting Justice J. Chelameshwar, by setting up another bench. "This must be guarded against at all costs". He also decides on the composition of the bench that will hear a specific case. Not to talk about the chaos that would result from such departure.

"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".

She also said "extreme interference" of the Centre in the functioning of the judiciary was "dangerous" for democracy, but did not elaborate.

Former Judge Santosh Hegde said, "The nation should be ashamed of what happened today".

Leading the attack was Chelameswar, the second-most senior judge of the bench, who went on to say the absence of impartiality in judicial matters is serious enough to imperil Indian democracy. No accusations have ever been made against them.

Justice Gogoi said "nobody is breaking the rank and it is discharge of debt to nation which we have done". 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.

"If there is a dispute, they will sort it out themselves".

# [The press conference] could have been avoided.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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