In an unprecedented meeting with the Press by four senior sitting Supreme Court judges, for taking on the Chief Justice Dipak Misra, accusing him of not strictly adhering to rules in assigning cases of politically sensitive to appropriate benches which they said can create “doubt” about the integrity of the Apex Court, not only have exposed the divisions at the top, also had made people aware of the “extraordinary abuse of power” by the latter, which has shocked the nation.
In any normal practices, the Judges or the Court, normally shy away from the Media, on the other hand even the Legal Experts normally walk a very tight rope while reporting court cases, fearing of Contempt of Court as most matters could be Prejudice. While January 12, 2018 will go down into the history where four senior most SC Judges addressed the media at the residence of Justice J. Chelameswar, along with him the three are Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur. The media was caught off-guard, was unclear how to report such unprecedented interaction with the Media for the first time.
Although the Court is expected to resume its normal business by Monday (January 15), as most of the Judges were off either for social engagement or personal duties during the weekends, there were mixed reaction in the Judiciary circle, some have praised the move to expose the misuse of power, while others have demanded the immediate impeachment of the sitting Judges for going to the Media.
While addressing the Media, Justice Chelameswar informed that the Supreme Court administration was “not in order” and released an undated letter they wrote to Justice Misra in which they conceded that the Chief Justice was the master of roster but this was not recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues.
Such Press Conference is an extraordinary event in the history of judiciary and more particularly in this nation. Even for this event, Supreme Court Justice Chelameswar stated that it is with no pleasure that four of the sitting Judges have been compelled to do this.
Administration of the Supreme Court is not in order. Many things less than desirable have happened in the last few months; Justice Chelameswar stated that the Judiciary owes a responsibility to the institution and the nation.
All the four sitting Judges stated that they have tried to collectively persuade the Chief Justice that certain things are not in order and remedial measures are necessary. Unfortunately, their efforts have failed in convincing the Chief Justice of India to take steps to protect this institution; hence they were compelled to hurriedly call the press conference.
On being asked specifically if they were upset over reference of the matter seeking a probe into the suspicious death of Special CBI Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, Justice Gogoi said: Yes. But in the seven-page letter they said they were not mentioning details only to avoid embarrassing the institution because: such departures have already damaged the images of this institution to some extent.
Such clashes among the judges in the Highest Court only exposed discrepancy even in the Judiciary System, which is considered as the Most Learned. The general masses, and most of the state governments do not even dare to raise any queries, but dutifully carry out the instructions of the SC like the soldier who have been sent to the war zone have no right to question but to carry out the Order.
The Indian Judiciary System after the January 12, 2018 Press Conference of four sitting Judges has been split wide open. One section will make all attempts to restore the glory and confidence of the Institute, while the other is now taking the matter further in demanding to streamline the administrative procedures. However, the masses who are seeking justice will still have to continue to be grilled along with such roller-coaster ride caused by the rift in the Apex Court.