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CJI may meet four SC judges on Sunday as two 'rebels' say 'no crisis within judiciary'

Four senior judges of the Supreme Court on Friday had mounted a virtual revolt against the country's chief justice.

CJI may meet four SC judges on Sunday as two 'rebels' say 'no crisis within judiciary'
File photo (PTI)

New Delhi: Chief Justice Dipak Misra may meet the 'rebel' Supreme Court judges on Sunday to resolve the problems raked up by them even as two of the dissenting justices on Saturday sought to play down the issue, IANS reported.

Three of the four judges, who had attacked the Chief Justice at a press conference on Friday, were away from the national capital and are expected to return on Sunday afternoon.

However, there was no official confirmation of reports that Justice Misra will be meeting with the judges.

Meanwhile, Justice Kurian Joseph said in Kochi that there was no constitutional crisis in the apex court and the issues they had raised appeared to have been sorted out.

"We did this for a cause and I think (the) issues appear to have been sorted out. This was not against anyone nor are we having anything personal. It was meant to see that more transparency is there," he said. Justice Joseph, however, did not elaborate.

"There will be no constitutional crisis and there are only problems in procedures and that will be corrected," he added, saying that the judges had "written everything in the letter" they released on Friday and which they had sent to Justice Misra a couple of months ago.

Asked whether he felt that the judges should not have come out in the open with their grievances against the Chief Justice, Justice Joseph said, "Any problem, everyone can see two sides. Whatever we have to say we have written in the letter." 

In reply to a question on why they failed to brief the President of the issues, he said the President is only the appointing authority.

On the other hand, Ranjan Gogoi, who was in Kolkata for a meeting of legal services authorities, also ruled out any crisis hitting the top court. "There is no crisis," he said but refused to make any further comments.

Here's what happened:

Judges J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph of the apex court had on Friday raised questions on 'selective' case allocation and certain judicial orders.

Justice Chelameswar, the second senior judge after Chief Justice Dipak Misra, himself had described as an "extraordinary event" in the annals of the Indian judiciary when the judges addressed a joint news conference during which he had said "sometimes administration of the Supreme Court is not in order and many things which are less than desirable have happened in the last few months."

The judge had accused Justice Misra of not taking any "remedial measures" on some of the issues which affected the functioning of the apex court that they had raised. Justice Misra became the CJI on August 28, 2017, and he is due to retire from on October 2 this year.

Unless this institution is preserved, "democracy will not survive" in this country, Justice Chelameswar had said at the unscheduled press conference. The presser was held at his residence.

Justice Chelameswar had also said that all the four judges "failed to persuade CJI that certain things are not in order and therefore you should take remedial measures. Unfortunately, our efforts failed."

Asked what these issues were, he had said they included the "allocation of cases by CJI", and had added, "we owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. Our efforts have failed in convincing CJI to take steps to protect the institution."

Asked whether they wanted the Chief Justice to be impeached, he had said, "let the nation decide," PTI reported.

The four judges, in their seven-page letter to the CJI, had said, "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 Hon'ble Chief Justice of India."

The letter had also said that 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. 

"We are not mentioning details only to avoid embarrassing the institution but note that such departures have already damaged the image of this institution to some extent," it had added.

(With Agency inputs)