Divisions in SC surface in open; four judges attack CJI

Supreme Court judges during a press conference in New Delhi

Supreme Court judges during a press conference in New Delhi

The Collegium, comprising senior-most judges of the Supreme Court - Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph - has, according to media reports, recommended unanimously the appointment of Malhotra and Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph as judges of the apex court.

Efforts to alert the Chief Justice that certain things were not in order and that remedial measures needed to be taken had failed, prompting the news conference, Chelameswar said.

"The press conference of the four senior judges of Supreme Court was absolutely unprecedented".

The press meet will be held by Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Kurien Joseph.

Talking on behalf of the four judges, Justice Chelameswar said that the administration of the nation's apex court was not in order.

"This is an extraordinary event in the history of any nation, more particularly this nation and an extraordinary event in the institution of the judiciary".

In November, a magazine had raised questions about Loya's death after speaking to his family members in Maharashtra. Unfortunately, we couldn't convince him. She was also the second woman lawyer to be appointed as senior advocate by the Supreme Court, three decades after the first, Justice Leila Seth, was designated.

They said they had no choice but to "address the nation" because the chief justice had "refused to listen to their concerns" earlier.

The four judges said they would not resign and would be back to work on Monday.

Holding that the Chief Justice was only the first among equals, the four judges contended that in a matter of determination of roster there were well-settled and time-honoured conventions guiding the Chief Justice, be it the convention dealing with the strength of the bench required to deal with a particular case or the composition thereof.

"We are nobody to decide, let the nation decide", Justice J Chelameswar said when asked if they think that Chief Justice should be impeached.

Less than desirable things happened in the past 2 months.

"In spite of that therein is pernicious silence from all authorities on this issue which has created serious doubt in the mind of the public at large about safety and security of judges ensuring independence of judiciary", the petition read.

Indian Supreme Court has 25 judges appointed by the president, including the chief justice.

Justice Gogoi said, "Nobody is breaking the rank and it is discharge of debt to nation which we have done". We wanted a particular thing to be done in a particular manner. The court has been facing criticism for not bringing more women judges into its fold even as more and more gender-sensitive and women-centric cases reach the Supreme Court for adjudication.

The apex court has adjourned the next hearing on the issue for Monday, 15 January.

Before his death on December 1, 2014, Loya was presiding over a Special CBI court in Mumbai, where he was hearing the case of the alleged extra-judicial murder by Gujarat police of alleged extortionist Sohrabuddin Sheikh.

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