Rebellion in Supreme Court: Four Senior Judges address the media

SC judges' press conference: BJP says Congress trying to politicise internal issues of the judiciary

Four senior judges of the Supreme Court on Friday mounted a virtual revolt against the chief justice, listing a litany of problems that they said are afflicting the country's highest court and warned they could destroy Indian democracy.

It was 11 am on Friday when a tweet spread like wildfire in the corridors of the Supreme Court of a possible Press conference to be held by the four senior-most judges at 4, Tughlaq Road, the official residence of Justice Jasti Chelameswar in an hour.

One of the four senior judges of the SC, Justice Jasti Chelameswar, said: "Democracy can not survive without free judiciary".

Justice Chelameswar, the second-most senior judge in the Supreme Court after the chief justice, said: "We tried to persuade the CJI to take steps but failed".

Former Law Minister Hansraj Bharadwaj said the allegations made by the judges are a loss of prestige for the entire institution. So we are saying this before the nation, said Justice Chelameswar.

His judgement was seen by many as a way to vent his personal sentiments against the Collegium system that has been an impediment to his promotion to become the Chief Justice.

When reporters asked about the issues, the top court judges said they included "allocation of cases by CJI Dipak Misra".

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"An independent and strong judiciary is the basic feature of the Constitution".

"We met CJI this morning". Logically, this is an internal matter of the judiciary, one that is best settled through deliberations in a full court meeting of all the Supreme Court judges themselves. Eventually, a five-judge Bench headed by Justice Misra overturned the order and asserted that the CJI was indeed the master of the roster and that he alone could assign cases and decide on the composition of benches. "There have been departures from it and I think this is the reason which must have compelled them", Mudgal told a TV channel.

Terming the concern voiced by the judges as "extremely important", Congress president Rahul Gandhi also called for a probe into the mysterious death of judge BH Loya, who died in 2014 when he was hearing the sensational Sohrabuddin Sheikh murder case in which BJP chief Amit Shah was an accused but later discharged.

More than a week before the four judges of the apex court took to the press to say that the court's administration needed an overhaul, parliamentarians across political parties came together in the lower house to criticise the judiciary for interfering in the political domain.

The Supreme Court past year rejected a government move to have representatives in the group handling appointments and transfers of judges to the highest courts. "This issue has damaged the image of judiciary and affected the confidence of the public in judiciary", he said.

Speaking on behalf of the four judges, Justice Chelameswar expressed his lament over the corrosion and compromise taking place within the institution of the judiciary and especially within the portals of the Supreme Court. Unless this institution is preserved, "democracy will not survive" in this country, Chelameswar said in the unscheduled press conference, in the first of its kind event in independent India. From now on every common man could look at all judicial order with suspicion.

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