Chief Justice may meet revolting judges today

But indications were available that a resolution could be worked out from the remarks made by Justices Kurian Joseph and RanjanGogoi and Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, the government''s highest law officer.

IANS
New Delhi, Publish Date: Jan 13 2018 11:59PM | Updated Date: Jan 13 2018 11:59PM
Chief Justice may meet revolting judges todayFile Photo

As the crisis triggered by the revolt of four Supreme Court judges lingered, Chief Justice Dipak Misra and the rebel judges may meet on Sunday to resolve the problems raked up by them as two of the dissenting judges on Saturday sought to play down the issue.

Three of the four judges, who had attacked the Chief Justice at a press conference here on Friday, were away from the capital and are expected to return on Sunday afternoon. There was no official confirmation about reports that Justice Misra will be meeting with the rebel judges.

But indications were available that a resolution could be worked out from the remarks made by Justices Kurian Joseph and RanjanGogoi and Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, the government's highest law officer.

Justice Joseph said in Kochi that there was no constitutional crisis in the apex court and the issues they had raised appeared to have been sorted out.

"We did this for a cause and I think (the) issues appear to have been sorted out. This was not against anyone nor are we having anything personal. It was meant to see that more transparency is there," said Justice Joseph.

He, however, did not elaborate.

Justice Joseph said the issues they had raised in an unprecedented press conference on Friday triggered no constitutional crisis.

"There will be no constitutional crisis and there are only problems in procedures and that will be corrected."

He said the judges had "written everything in the letter" they released on Friday and which they had sent to Justice Misra a couple of months ago.

Asked whether he felt that the judges should not have come out in the open with their grievances against the Chief Justice, he said: "Any problem, everyone can see has two sides. Whatever we have to say we have written in the letter." 

In reply to a question on why they failed to brief the President of the issues, he said the President is only the appointing authority.

Ranjan Gogoi, who was in Kolkata for a meeting of legal services authorities, also ruled out any crisis hitting the top court. "There is no crisis," he said, but refused to make any further comments.

The Attorney General, meanwhile, expressed the hope that the problems in the top judiciary would be "settled" by Monday.

The Bar Council of India (BCI) met here on Saturday and unanimously decided that a seven-member delegation of the bar would try to meet majority of Supreme Court judges on Sunday in an attempt to persuade them to resolve the issue at the earliest.

The four senior most judges - Justices JastiChelameswar, RanjanGogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph – Friday alleged that the CJI has been arbitrarily assigning important cases to benches headed by junior SC judges, ignoring senior ones.

Addressing the media on the lawns of Chelameswar's bungalow on Tughlaq Road, barely 200 metres from the CJI's residence, the judges said they were forced to hold the press conference because a letter they had sent to the CJI two months ago pointing out mistakes had gone unanswered.

"We tried to persuade the CJI that certain things are not in order. Unfortunately, the efforts failed. We are convinced that unless corrective steps are taken immediately, the judiciary will lose its strong and independent tag, an essential hallmark of a vibrant democracy," Chelameswar told reporters on Friday.

Supreme Court Bar Association, which also met today to discuss Friday's news conference by the judges, said they'd unanimously passed two resolutions which they will send to the CJI.

"First, all the differences between the judges and the CJI, be it regarding the roster or MOP, should be considered by the full court and resolved at the earliest, preferably on Monday. Second, in order to restore the credibility of the institution, a system should be introduced wherein all PILs filed in the top court do not go beyond the first five judges of the SC collegium," said Vikas Singh, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

Congress questions Modi:

Congress on Saturday asked Prime Minister NarendraModi why he sent his Principal Secretary NripendraMisra to Chief Justice DipakMisra's residence here a day after four senior judges told the media that all was not well with the Supreme Court.

NripendraMisra was seen on Saturday sitting in his car outside Justice Misra's residence in New Delhi.

"As PM's Principal Secretary, NripendraMisra visits CJI's residence at 5, Krishna Menon Marg; PM must answer the reason for sending this special messenger to Chief Justice of India," tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala. (With inputs from Agencies)

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