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SC judges vs CJI: What a divided legal fraternity has to say about the revolt

 The allegations made by four sitting apex court judges against CJI Dipak Misra have evoked sharp reactions from a divided legal fraternity of the country.

SC judges vs CJI: What a divided legal fraternity has to say about the revolt

New Delhi: In an unprecedented press conference here on Friday, four top Supreme Court judges trained guns on Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and said that free judiciary in the country may be under threat.

Stating that certain concerns were raised with the CJI and remedial measures were suggested, the four judges - Justices J Chelameswar, Kurian Joseph, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan Lokur - said that the CJI did not listen to them.

"Administration of the Supreme Court is not in order. Many things less than desirable have happened in the last few months. We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. We tried to collectively persuade the Chief Justice that certain things are not in order and remedial measures are necessary. Unfortunately, our efforts have failed in convincing the Chief Justice of India to take steps to protect this institution," Justice J Chelameswar - the No.2 in the apex court hierarchy - said at a hurriedly called press conference at his residence.

Justice J Chelameswar said the four of them were convinced that "for the survival of democracy an impartial judge and justices are needed".

Their allegations evoked sharp reactions from a divided legal fraternity of the country with some supporting their cause and others chiding them for immature and childish behaviour.  

Read: Complete letter of 4 top SC judges who revolted against CJI

Here are some quick reactions:-

Shrihari Aney, former Attorney General

These are very senior judges & come only after CJI. They wouldn't have taken the step without thinking. If it has fallen upon them to take action, it's up to us to understand what led to that.

Hansraj Bhardwaj, former Union Law Minister 

It's the loss of prestige of the entire institution. If you lose public's trust what remains? Judiciary must remain a pillar of democracy. It's a responsibility of Law Minister to see how it functions. 

Justice(Retd) AK Ganguly

Feel very disturbed over the issue, this should not have happened, but it has and there might be strong reasons for them. The consequence would be it would create apprehensions in minds of people.

Indira Jaising, Supreme Court advocate 

I think it's a historic Press Conference. It was very well done. I think we, the people of India, have a right to know what is going on within the judiciary & I welcome this.

Mukul Mudgal, retired HC judge

There must be some serious reason that they were left with no other option but to hold a Press Conference. But what connection Loya has with this? I know nothing about this & I don't want to make comments about any political matter.

PB Sawant, former Supreme Court judge

Judges had to come before media and take this unprecedented step. This means that there is a serious dispute, either with Chief Justice of India (CJI) or some internal dispute.

Kapil Sibal, senior lawyer and Congress leader 

Deeply sad and pained, also feel a sense of agony that highest court of land should come under such severe stress that forces judges to address the media.: 

Ujjwal Nikam, senior lawyer

This is a black day for Judiciary. Today's press conference would cause a bad precedent. From now on every common man could look at all judicial order with suspicion. Every judgement will be questioned.

Subramanian Swamy, BJP

We can't criticize them, they are men of great integrity & have sacrificed a lot of their legal career, where they could've made money as senior counsels. We must respect them. PM must ensure that the 4 judges & CJI, in fact, whole SC come to one opinion & proceed further: 

Prashant Bhushan, lawyer & politician

"It is certainly a very serious development which has cast a huge shadow on the Chief Justice. Somebody had to confront the situation, where CJ is blatantly misusing his powers, hence the unprecedented step":  

 Justice RS Sodhi (Retd)

I think all 4 judges should be impeached, they have no business to sit there and deliver verdicts anymore. This trade unionism is wrong. Democracy in danger is not for them to say, we have parliament, courts, police functioning. Issues don't matter. It is their complaint on administrative matter. They are only 4, there are 23 others. 4 get together and show the Chief Justice in a poor light. It is immature & childish behaviour: Justice R S Sodhi (retd) on press conference

KTS Tulsi, advocate SC on 4 judges' letter to CJI

It's quite shocking. There must have been compelling reasons for the senior-most judges to have adopted this course of action. One could see pain on their faces while they were speaking.