SC judges raised important concerns, stop selective case assigning: Congress

Congress backed the argument of the four judges that “established conventions and traditions of the courts must be followed, and selective assignment of cases must be stopped”.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi | Updated: January 13, 2018 9:11 am
Congress reacts to Supreme Court judges letter to Chief Justice of India Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressing the media over the judiciary crisis at AICC HQ. (Source: INC)

The Congress on Friday plunged headlong into the judicial firestorm triggered by four of the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, with party president Rahul Gandhi stating that concerns expressed by the judges are “extremely important”.

Rahul shed the party’s cautious approach on the controversy over the death of judge B H Loya and demanded an impartial investigation by a special investigation team (SIT) under the supervision of senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.

Loya had died in 2014 when he was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh ‘fake encounter’ case, in which BJP chief Amit Shah was an accused but was later discharged.

The party backed the argument of the four judges that “established conventions and traditions of the courts must be followed, and selective assignment of cases must be stopped”.

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Cases that have far-reaching implications to society and governance, the party said, “must be heard, in accordance with well-established conventions, by the senior-most judges of Supreme Court.”

Rahul addressed the media after a meeting with the top legal minds of the party — P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Manish Tewari and Vivek Tankha among them — where it was decided that the party should give a restrained response today and take the next step after seeing how the issue plays out, sources said. The “assignment of many cases to one particular judge” figured in the discussions, it is learnt.

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“This has to end…otherwise we will escalate this issue,” a senior Congress leader, who attended the meeting, said.

While a section of the party floated the idea of bringing an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, it did not come up for discussion. Another leader who was part of the meeting said, “There are hawks in all parties…but we did not discuss that (impeachment of CJI). It was not floated by any of us…it did not even come up as a thought…. We will be happy if the CJI sits with the senior judges and they resolve the matter and restore judicial conventions and traditions.”

Congress leader and former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar told The Indian Express that the “unprecedented and exceptional news conference” by the judges has “irretrievably dented the institutional integrity and moral authority of the Supreme Court”. He said, “Everything the four judges have written is a cause of concern and needs to be addressed. Hopefully, the Chief Justice of India may wish to respond.”

Senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said: “The allegation regarding bench constitution is far too serious. In one sense, it points a finger at sensitive cases in the corridors of power. This must be resolved immediately, and it cannot be (done) without absolute transparent listing procedures and statesmanship by all concerned at the highest level.”

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He said that normally one would not agree with the judges holding a press conference to air their views. “But extraordinary events — and bad/motivated selection of benches would qualify as one such issue —sometimes justify extraordinary means and modes. Bench organisational issues do need immediate redress, else the Supreme Court could go up in flame,” Singhvi said.

He said that allegations in the judges’ letter are obliquely referring to the case of CBI special director Rakesh Asthana, which was originally with Justice Gogoi; the Aadhaar case, which was originally with Justice Chelameswar and Justice S A Bobde; and Judge Loya’s case.

In a statement, the party said that issues raised by the judges are “extremely disturbing” and have “far-reaching consequences” for safeguarding democracy and preserving independence of the judiciary.

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  1. Gurvinder Singh
    Jan 13, 2018 at 8:51 pm
    The Chief Justice is not in a position to sit with these four judges. He is facing serious allegations in the Kaliko Pul matter (the former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister had in his suicide note made serious charges against Supreme Court judges, including former CJI J S Khehar and incumbent CJI Dipak Misra, and some politicians and lawyers) and in the medical college matter, and the government knows this. There are 50 instances where the Opposition party (legal cases against Opposition leaders) matters have been singularly sent to certain benches to be decided in a way while matters affecting the current government and the political party in power are sent to certain (bench of) judges to see that they (the government of the day and the political party in power) benefit.
    (5)(1)
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    1. Divakar Shetty
      Jan 13, 2018 at 12:41 pm
      All politicians should refrain out of this indecent situation created by disgruntled judges in the name of seniority. Just like many judgments by the SC are not liked by the various Governments as well as the majority of the public but still, they are accepted since the law is supreme this case four Hon. Judges did not like the administrative actions of the CJI although taken as per rules, the decision of the CJI has to be accepted. Going to public and press is nothing less than degrading the court and bringing politics into the selection of the judges.The four defaulting judges should be given no more cases to decide or adjudicate and let them retire at the age as per rules. It will not be possible to impeach these judges since the provincial parliamentarians will defy the party and will not allow such impeachment. It is a grave matter and should not be treated lightly. To defy the CJI and hold the press conference is for the labour union members and not for the judges.
      (1)(12)
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      1. Muftkhor By Choice
        Jan 13, 2018 at 10:43 am
        Pappu wants cases heard by it's favorite Judges.
        (5)(10)
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        1. Madan Gupta
          Jan 13, 2018 at 9:58 am
          Pappu is their DALAAL.
          (0)(10)
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          1. Vasantrao Deshpande
            Jan 13, 2018 at 8:47 am
            Honourable Chief Justice DEEPAK MISHRA should come out with his views on this matter raised by these Judges.
            (38)(6)
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