The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) today expressed “grave concern” over the differences of four seniormost judges with Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and said the issue should be immediately considered by the full court of the apex court.
The SCBA executive committee, which held an emergency meeting, resolved that all public interest litigation (PIL) matters, including the pending PILs, should be either taken up by the CJI or be assigned for adjudication to four senior judges who were part of the apex court collegium.
Besides CJI Misra, others in the collegium in accordance with seniority are — justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph. The four judges had in an unprecedented press conference yesterday mounted a virtual revolt against the CJI, listing a litany of problems including the assigning of cases.
SCBA President and senior advocate Vikas Singh said that a resolution for the full court consideration was passed as it is a mechanism in which deliberations by all the judges of the top court takes place in-house and not in the open.
The SCBA resolution said that matters listed for hearing in the apex court on January 15 “should also be transferred” from other judges to the five seniormost judges who were part of the collegium. “The differences that have been reported in the press conference by the four senior judges of the Supreme Court and the other differences which are reflected in the newspapers are of grave concern and should be immediately considered by the full court of the Supreme Court,” Singh said while reading out the resolution.
“It is further unanimously resolved by the executive committee of the Supreme Court Bar Association that all PIL matters including the pending PIL matters should be either taken up by the Chief Justice of India, or if he has to assign to any other bench, it should be assigned to the judges in the collegium. Even the matters listed on Monday i.e. January 15, 2018, should also be transferred as per our request,” it said.
The SCBA president, who addressed the media after coming out of an over hour-long closed-door meeting of the executive committee, however, did not comment on whether the senior judges should have gone public with their grievances. Singh said that if required, the SCBA would seek an appointment with the CJI and other judges to talk about the developments which were a matter of grave concern.
The four judges had yesterday said there were certain issues afflicting the country’s highest court and warned that they could destroy Indian democracy. The press conference by the judges had left the judiciary and observers stunned, leaving uncertain how this open dissension in the hallowed institution would be resolved.