A DAY after four of the Supreme Court’s most senior judges went public against the Chief Justice of India, one of them, Justice Kurian Joseph, on Saturday said there “is no need for outside intervention” to resolve the matter, while another, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said there is “no crisis”.
The two judges, along with Justices Jasti Chelameswar and Madan B Lokur, had questioned the conduct of CJI Dipak Misra, especially over allocation of cases, at a press conference on Friday.
“There is no need for outside intervention to solve the matter because it is a matter (that) occurred within an institution.
Necessary steps would be taken by the institution itself to sort it out,” Justice Joseph was quoted as saying in a PTI report from Kochi.
Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of a function, he said the matter was not brought to the attention of the President of India because he has no constitutional authority over either the Supreme Court or its judges. “As we realised that the President could not intervene in the issue, we took the issue to the public,” he said.
“An issue has been raised. I think the nation has listened to it. Such issues would not happen in future. I think the issue we have raised is settled now,” he said.
Justice Joseph said they had acted in the interest of the nation. “We stood for justice and judiciary. We acted only to enhance people’s trust in judiciary and to bring in more transparency in the judicial system,” he said, denying charges that they had violated discipline.
“As some of you suggested, it was a step for correction. The issue will end with the correction,” the PTI report quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile, a PTI report from Kolkata quoted Justice Gogoi as saying that “there is no crisis”. Justice Gogoi is in line to be the next CJI.
At the press conference on Friday, Justice Chelameswar said they “were left with no choice than to communicate it to the nation” that “less than desirable things have happened” in the Supreme Court in the last few months and “we tried to collectively persuade the Chief Justice that certain things are not in order… he must take remedial measures” but “our efforts failed”.
The four judges, who together with the CJI make the current Supreme Court Collegium — the highest decision-making body of the judiciary, made public a seven-page letter they had written to the CJI about two months ago, pointing out that “certain judicial orders passed by this Court” had “adversely affected the overall functioning of the justice delivery system and the independence of the High Courts, besides impacting the administrative functioning of the office of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India”.
The letter mentioned “instances where cases having far reaching consequences for the nation and the institution had been assigned by the Chief Justices of this Court selectively to the benches ‘of their preference’ without any rationale basis for such assignment.”
Justice Chelameswar said they had met the CJI on Friday morning too in regard to listing of a case, but could not convince him. While Justice Chelameswar did not give a specific reply when he was asked about the matter over which they had met the CJI Friday morning, Justice Gogoi said “it is an issue of an assignment of a case which is an issue raised in court”. Asked if it was about the petitions seeking a probe into the death of special CBI judge B H Loya, Justice Gogoi replied in the affirmative.
On Thursday, two petitions were filed in the Supreme Court, seeking a probe into the death of Loya who had been hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. Both petitions, mentioned before a bench of CJI Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud Thursday, were marked to the bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M Shantanagoudar.