India's democracy under threat, say 4 SC judges

13 January, 2018, 05:08 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • The four Supreme Court judges held a press meet in Delhi on Friday

"It is an extraordinary event in the history of this nation, any nation, and certainly in the history of this institution", is how he began, setting the tenor of the press conference. I have no doubt that (the four) judges of the Supreme Court have good grievances against the Chief Justice of India.

"I am in agreement with the goal of the press conference".

Justices J S Khehar, Lokur, Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel had declared the NJAC Act unconstitutional while Justice Chelameswar upheld it.

Four senior judges of India's Supreme Court have lashed out at the workings of the country's top court, directing blame at Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

"Democracy in this country would not survive without an institution as important as the Supreme Court, and a free judiciary", Justice Chelameshwar said. Something dire had transpired in the chamber of the CJI on Friday morning which led to the precipitous press conference. The four judges had tried to meet the CJI to prevail upon him to take corrective action and not assign cases arbitrarily but in vain. The four judges had met CJI Misra in his chamber a little before he was to hold Court at 10.30 am. What was in the note, they wouldn't say.

Justice Gogoi said "nobody is breaking the rank and it is a discharge of debt to the nation which we have done". He was here at the press conference sharing his anguish, putting his elevation on the line. Justice Gogoi's revelation of the same when asked by members of the press is perhaps the most important part of today's presser. It comprised just one word.

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The clash comes in the wake of a controversial order in November in which the CJI declared that the chief justice "is the master of the roster" having exclusive power to decide which case will go to which judge.

In the above context, we deem m it proper to address you presently with regard to the Order dated 27th October, 2017 in R.P. Luthra vs. Union of India to the effect that there should be no further delay in finalizing the Memorandum of Procedure in the larger public interest. "Extreme interference of central government with judiciary is unsafe for democracy", she said. If so which are these specific instances?

With talk of impeachment and resignation doing the rounds, and political mileage being milked out of the situation, the question remains as to whether the manner in which the four judges chose to express their dissatisfaction stands the test of judicial propriety. How will Friday's events impact future collegium meetings?

I think all four judges should be impeached, they have no business to sit there and deliver verdicts anymore.

Conventionally, it is the outgoing CJI who recommends to the President of India the name of the senior-most judge for appointment as his successor. Their strategy may well be Maun Ki Baat.

"This press conference strikes at the root of institutional integrity of the higher judiciary". Sohrabuddin was an extortionist who with his wife Kauser Bi was killed in a fake encounter. "Day by day a conflict is emerging and unless it is stopped by the judiciary, in 10-15 years, there will be a direct conflict", said Banerjee.

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