Four senior-most SC judges attend court, BCI says 'story over'

17 January, 2018, 03:00 | Author: Cassandra Gardner
  • Illustration Ajit Ninan

The entire body of Supreme Court judges met here informally January 15, leading Attorney General K.K. Venugopal to claim that the crisis in the country's top court "has been settled". "There is nothing left", Mishra said.

After meeting Chelameswar in the afternoon, Mishra said, "We have been told that there is no crisis".

On January 12, Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Kurien Joseph and Madan Lokur, held an unprecedented press conference to express their displeasure that important cases were not being allotted to senior judges.

"This is having a very deleterious effect on the administration of justice and the rule of law", read the letter by the four former judges.

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In its emergency meeting on Saturday, the SCBA had passed a resolution asking the chief justice to convene a full court meeting of the apex court judges and transfer all pending PILs for hearing before the five senior-most judges who are members of the collegium. When the judges met informally at the Supreme Court lounge, the subject apparently was not raised by anyone as an uneasy calm prevailed. A delegation from the Supreme Court Bar Association and the Bar Council of India met the CJI and several other judges.

No judge among this quartet was assigned to hear the Judge Loya case, which is seen as politically sensitive.

On Tuesday, the two PILs came up before the bench of Justices Mishra and M.M. Santnagouder, and they directed the Maharashtra government to give all documents related to the judge's death to the petitioners.

As the bench did not express its reluctance to hear the case further during the hearing on Tuesday, the order saying that it should be placed before the "appropriate bench" has lent itself to the interpretation that it could be an after-thought by the bench.

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Headed by Chief Justice Misra, the bench has Justice AK Sikri, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan as other members.

Judge Loya died under mysterious circumstan-ces in 2014 while he was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case in which BJP chief Amit Shah was an accu-sed.

"Whatever differences judges have over roaster or allocation of cases, should be resolved by in-house mechanism without airing views in public", it noted.

It was their first meeting after the four judges held a press conference in which they had flagged certain issues, including the assigning of cases in the country's apex court.

No place for ego in judicial institution: ex-CJI
Loya, who died in December 2014 while hearing a high-profile trial, one of the four judges said "yes". It is learnt that Venugopal advised Misra to show restraint and not respond immediately.

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