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Three Supreme Court judges help CJI, four dissenters meet but fail to break the ice, another round today

Last Friday, Justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur and Joseph called a press conference to question the conduct of the CJI, especially on allocation of cases.

Written by Ananthakrishnan G , Liz Mathew , Ravish Tiwari | New Delhi | Updated: January 18, 2018 1:06 am
Supreme Court, Supreme Court crisis, Dipak Misra, CJI Dipak Misra, Justice Chelameswar, Justice Gogoi, Justice Joseph Kurien, India news The Supreme Court. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

By Ananthakrishnan G, Liz Mathew, Ravish Tiwari & Seema Chishti

Five days into an unprecedented crisis after four senior judges of the Supreme Court questioned his conduct, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra met them Tuesday to try and end the chill. But the brief talks, The Indian Express has learnt, did not make much headway and they decided to meet again Wednesday.

Sources said the four judges — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — felt the CJI had “nothing to offer”, at least for now. But another source expressed optimism about the talks slated for Wednesday: “Hopefully, something will turn out at tomorrow’s meeting.”

Sources said three other judges — Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud — took the initiative to bring the CJI and the four judges together for talks. These three judges, who are on the Constitution Bench that is scheduled to hear eight important cases, remained present throughout the meeting, sources said.

Also Read: Four judges who criticised CJI Dipak Misra not on Bench that will hear 7 key matters

The CJI, sources said, agreed to meet his colleagues at the urging of these three judges “so as to not appear intractable” and to also “assess the seriousness of intent” of the four judges who had written a letter to him, listing their concerns.

Last Friday, Justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur and Joseph called a press conference to question the conduct of the CJI, especially on allocation of cases. They also made public the letter they had written to the CJI two months ago.

On Monday, the Supreme Court put out a notice announcing that a Constitution Bench — it did not include the four judges — would be hearing eight important cases.

On Tuesday, the CJI, sources said, told the four judges “let us do something for the institution”. But after the meeting, the four judges, sources said, felt the CJI had made “no offer to do something on the substantive issues raised in the letter”.

Express Explained | How the complaint by four SC judges goes beyond the judicial sphere

A day earlier, when the judges met over tea as they do every morning before the start of proceedings, the CJI, sources said, showed “no sign of any willingness to address the issues” raised by the four judges at the press conference. The senior judges then decided to push their case.

They were due to meet again Tuesday night following the meeting with the CJI earlier in the day. “It depends what happens tonight,” sources said, adding that the judges were meeting to chart the next course of action and mount pressure, if needed, for redressal of their grievances.

The senior judges, the source said, appeared concerned that “there was an attempt to paint them in poor light”. They had earlier indicated that the CJI convene a full court to discuss the issues they had raised in the letter they made public last Friday.

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  1. Muftkhor By Choice
    Jan 17, 2018 at 8:57 am
    The 4 judges should be de-rostered for insubordination.
    1. Shankar N
      Jan 17, 2018 at 8:41 am
      We should be thankful to the four judges who had the courage to come out openly against an tainted judge like Misra ... sadlly misra will have his way till Modi is in power , but it is heartwarming to see that we still have honorable judges who have the courage to stand up against people like Misra who is more a political appointee ... we still have hope after 2019
      1. Narendra M. Apte
        Jan 17, 2018 at 8:39 am
        (1) Question is this: has the press conference served any good purpose? I wish to make two observations here: (a) public opinion expressed through various media was against the said press conference no one knows objective behind this criticism aired by four judges about. (b) In the past many sensitive cases were allocated to junior judges. 2. I feel that there are many issues related to administration of justice and functioning of lower courts, district courts and High Courts and even the Supreme Court which have not received attention they deserve. 3. Implementation of legal reforms has been underscored at many forums. Delayed reforms would mean ever-increasing number of pending cases in our courts. Not many Supreme Court or High Court Judges have considered implementation of legal and court procedures’ reforms as a matter of top priority. 5. Would it have been more appropriate if, instead of holding a press conference, judges had paid attention to implementation of legal reforms?
        1. Rag Jawahar
          Jan 17, 2018 at 8:36 am
          It is a norm everywhere that people are given portfolios based on seniority keeping in view their experience. In cabinet also, the senior most gets portfolios like Home, Defence, Finance, etc., CJI is breaking the protocol for some ulterior motives it appears. He is also insulting senior judges by allocating important cases to Junior Judge like Arun Mishra. Will Arun Mishra keep quite if he is not given important cases when he becomes senior after 2-3 years. Definitely not. We have seen recently Senior Judge from Karnataka resigning unable to bear the insult meted out to him. It appears RSS/BJP are trying to saffronise SC and get judges who could deliver orders the way it suits. After all all judgements are not meritorious and stands undisputed. CJI has become thick skinned. Congress also largely responsible for the current mess. CJI should take action against 4 judges and put them in jail like the previous CJI did for Judge karnan for alleging corruption charge against him.
          1. suneil nayagam
            Jan 17, 2018 at 8:35 am
            Arun Mishra pulls out of Judge Loya's death case
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