Four judges criticise India's top court in rare public spat

Congress Party is deeply perturbed Congress on Judges Conference

As an open rebellion broke out in the judiciary with four top Supreme Court judges levelling charges against the Chief Justice of India, the Opposition parties moved swiftly and are likely to move a "symbolic" impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra in the Rajya Sabha.

# Supreme Court Judge J.Chelameswar says, 'All 4 of us are convinced that unless this institution (Supreme Court) is preserved & it maintains its equanimity, democracy will survive in this country, or any country.

Efforts to alert the chief justice that certain things were not in order and that remedial measures were needed had failed, prompting the news conference, Chelameswar said. Talking about the coming out of the Supreme Court judges in the way they had, the Congress President said that such a thing had never happened before and was unprecedented. 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. "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 CPI (M) meanwhile said the integrity and independence of the judiciary, is a vital pillar of the Constitution and non-negotiable.

I think all four judges should be impeached, they have no business to sit there and deliver verdicts anymore.

The institution wields enormous influence in the South Asian nation and has in the past revoked laws passed by the parliament that it regarded as infringing upon citizens' rights. Even this morning, on a particular issue, we, four of us, went and met the Chief Justice with a specific request.

The cases referred by CJI to benches are not distributed among the senior judges. Eventually, a five-judge Bench headed by Justice Misra overturned the order and asserted that the CJI was indeed the master of the roster and that he alone could assign cases and decide on the composition of benches. The four judges seemed a tad uncomfortable at the barrage of questions from journalists.

Describing the concerns expressed by four senior-most Supreme Court judges as "unprecedented and sensitive", key opposition parties today demanded a probe into the issues flagged by them, including that of the mysterious death of judge BH Loya.

The four judges said they would not resign and would be back to work on Monday.

Supreme Court judge Jasti Chelameswar along jusctice Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph during a press conference in New Delhi on Friday.

Some of the MPs in the Lok Sabha, who spoke against the judiciary while discussing the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2017, were advocates themselves. And it is the failure of the CJI to do so that has prompted the judges to respond in such a way.

He further said the judiciary must be respected, must be kept independent and made the strongest pillar of democracy. All four had written to the CJI earlier, Justice Chelameswar said.

█ █ The judiciary is the sanctuary of the common man.

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