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CJI vs SC judges: Bar Council of India delegation meets Justice Chelameswar

On January 12, 2018, four senior-most judges of the Supreme court had mounted a virtual revolt against Chief Justice of India.

CJI vs SC judges: Bar Council of India delegation meets Justice Chelameswar
Pic courtesy: PTI

New Delhi: A Bar Council of India delegation led by its chairman Manan Kumar Mishra met Supreme Court judges on Sunday to discuss the unprecedented crisis that has hit the judiciary.

The BCI had on Saturday formed a seven-member delegation to meet and discuss with the apex court judges issues arising out of the press conference by four senior-most judges of the top court.

On January 12, 2018, Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph had mounted a virtual revolt against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra at a press meet in Delhi on Friday raising a litany of problems including assignment of cases. 

Meanwhile, two top court judges - Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao - on Sunday met Justice Chelameswar, who had led the four judges in the unprecedented press conference at his official residence, PTI quoted sources as saying.

The meeting of these judges took place soon after the BCI delegation met Justice Chelameswar at his residence.

Besides Mishra, the delegation comprises BCI co-chairman S Prabakaran and other members - Vijay Bhatt, Apurba Kumar Sharma, Pratap C Mehta, Rameshchandra G Shah and TS Ajith. BCI's vice-chairman Satish A Deshmukh is a special invitee of the delegation.

On Saturday, the BCI had termed the press conference by the judges as an "unfortunate step" and had added, "From the letter of the judges, it appears that there were certain differences between the chief justice of India and these judges on the issues relating to roster and the listing of some cases."

It had also cautioned political parties and politicians "not to criticise the judiciary and/or to make it an issue because it would weaken the independence of our judiciary which is the protector of our democracy".

At the same time, the council had expressed the hope that judges of the top court would realise the "seriousness of the issue and in future, they may avoid any such situation of which the politicians or the political parties could take undue advantage and/or which could cause harm to our judiciary."

The four judges of the apex court had on Friday raised questions on 'selective' case allocation and certain judicial orders. Justice Chelameswar, the second senior judge after the CJI, 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, 2018.

Unless this institution is preserved, "democracy will not survive" in this country, Justice Chelameswar had said.

He had also said that all the four judges had "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."

(With PTI inputs)