NEW DELHI: For the first time in the history of Independent India, four of the senior Supreme Court judges have on Friday called for a press conference, taking the nation by surprise. The senior judges expressed that they have taken the unusual step of addressing the media, as they are left with no choice despite doing all that is necessary to solve the internal issues.
The four judges viz., Justice Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan Lokur, and Justice Kurian Joseph, who ranked second to fifth in the order of seniority after the Chief Justice of India have alleged that the CJI has not been responsive to their requests despite several attempts to persuade him. While pointing out irregularities within in the apex court in a 7-page media release, the judges went on to describe the current situation of the judiciary as a 'danger to Indian democracy'.
The main allegation of the four senior judges is that the Chief Justice of India has not been transparent when it comes to discharging his duties. The judges pointed out that the CJI used his discretionary powers to allocate important cases which affect national interest, selectively to his bench rather than allocating them on a rationale. The judges have also expressed dissatisfaction with the improper investigation into the mysterious death of special CBI judge Justice BM Loya, who was hearing a high-profile case at the time of his death. On a whole, the apex judges totaled out that the CJI is not discharging his duties sincerely while citing instances where the CJI used his powers to allocate important cases to himself rather than the other four senior-most judges-led benches.
The press conference of the Judges sparked a wide-range debate across the country with many prominent personalities questioning the independence of the judiciary. All the major decisions of the Supreme Court in the last one year have now come under the scanner. Not to mention, it also includes the mandatory linking of Aadhar with various services. Is the government playing its role inside the judiciary?. The government stated that it considers the press conference as an internal issue inside the judiciary. If it has been an internal issue, why did the judges chose to address the nation? It clearly indicates that the Judges were aware that a solution could not be found within the restricted area because of the external influence of the government. Is the CJI working in favor of the Central government?. What is the need for him to allocate cases which involved larger impact on the nation only to himself?
Congress President Rahul Gandhi hit back at the Centre for not allowing the judiciary to function independently. Mr. Gandhi said that the government should work on bringing in more transparency in the judicial process with minimal interference from the Centre. Meanwhile, Attorney general Venu Gopal met the CJI and assured the media of a resolution within 24 hours.