The four judges in the order of seniority - Justice Jasti Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Kurien Joseph - at a Press conference held at 4, Tughlaq Road, the official residence of Justice Chelameswar, unanimously expressed their angst about how the CJI refused to act on their letter expressing these concerns addressed to him nearly two months ago.
Regarding the turn of events, Jose feels that more or less the mainstream media and the main opposition parties who were silent on the The Caravan expose were now forced to take up the issue.
"The four of us gave a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) some months ago", the Justices revealed.
"If they had to come for a press conference, they should have said something substantial", Supreme Court Bar Association President Vikas Singh told ANI on Saturday. "It is with no pleasure that we are compelled to call this press conference".
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It also provides an opportunity to the BJP led NDA government and the Supreme Court to put in place a transparent process for appointing judges. He said appointment has already been fixed with 50 percent of the judges.
Chelameswar was accompanied by Justices Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph.
"Even the matters listed on Monday, January 15 (including the Judge Loya case) should also be transferred as per our request", the SCBA said in a release that called the differences among the judges a "matter of grave concern" and requested the full court to consider the issue.
Expert generally feel that it's hard to tell whether Friday's events will lead to a stronger Supreme Court or one weakened by a combination of infighting, questionable procedures, and opacity, which the government may use to its purposes. Some of these things that they have raised was being discussed in various quarters. Attorney General K K Venugopal said that the judges should have avoided the media. The four judges now termed as "rebel judges" observed that things are not in order in the highest judiciary and in the administration of the Supreme Court such as allocation of cases to suppliant judges without due consultation or consensus with fellow judges merely because the CJI is the master of the roster. "Nothing beyond that", Justice Joseph said in Malayam. I think that is also something which needs to be investigated properly and looked at from the highest levels of the Supreme Court... "But if they had to come to a press conference that they should have said something substantial and just creating the doubts in the minds of the people will not serve the interest of the judiciary".
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In its statement on the issue, read out by Surjewala, the Congress said it was perturbed by the developments and that observations made by the judges and the issues raised by them at their press conference were "extremely disturbing" and have a "far-reaching" consequences for the values that are held sacred - safeguarding democracy and preserving the independence of the judiciary.
The Judges said that continuous attempts were made to alert the Chief Justice had failed. While the government has so far indicated that it would like the judiciary to sort out the matter internally, AG has expressed hope that all the judges would soon be able to bury their hatchet.
"We want that the matter be solved at the earliest", he said.
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