The Bar Council of India (BCI) has formed a seven-member team to meet all judges of the Supreme Court, barring the five senior-most judges, to discuss the present crisis in the apex court. Further, it passed a resolution saying no political party or leaders should take undue advantage of the situation arising out of the press conference by four senior Supreme Court judges. The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) also met and expressed “grave concern” over the differences between the senior judges and Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, while also taking note of concerns raised by the four senior judges. The SCBA passed two resolutions: the first saying the differences of four judges with the CJI should be considered by the full bench of the apex court, and the second suggesting all PILs to be taken up only by the CJI or benches led by members of the SC collegium. In an unprecedented move in the country’s judicial history, Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph had held a press conference yesterday and mounted a revolt against CJI Dipak Misra, questioning him on the ‘selective’ allocation of cases and certain judicial orders passed by him. Former Supreme Court judge N Santosh Hegde “wholly” condemned the action of four senior judges in going public over internal matters of the judiciary, saying it affected the reputation of the institution and may amount to contempt of court. Justice Kurian and Justice Gogoi asserted that there was no constitutional crisis in the apex court. Kurian also stressed that the issues they had raised required no external intervention and would be resolved by the judiciary itself.
Attorney general K K Venugopal adopted a positive outlook and observed that the problems in the top judiciary will be settled sooner than expected.
“Unity among Supreme Court judges will return by Monday. We hope the entire issue will be settled in the larger interest of the institution. Judges are persons of wisdom and statesmanship and experience. We hope they won’t allow the issue to escalate,” Venugopal said.
Meanwhile, the Congress cornered Prime Minister Narendra Modi to demand an explanation after it was widely reported that his principal secretary turned up at the CJI’s residence a day after the presser held by the four SC judges. DMK working president M K Stalin called for President Ram Nath Kovind’s intervention should the aggrieved judges and the CJI be unable to resolve their differences internally. Judges of the top court should hold dialogue and make efforts to resolve the issue to safeguard democracy.
By-Nikita Goel, Convenor, Student Reporter Committee, INBA