NEW DELHI: A day after four top Supreme Court judges questioned the conduct of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and the Bar Council of India (BCI) on Saturday urged the judges to resolve their differences amicably to protect the credibility of the judiciary.
While the SCBA passed a resolution asking the Chief Justice to call a full court meeting over ways to improve the mechanism in the apex court, including allocation of cases, the BCI formed a seven-member team that will meet all judges in an attempt to bridge the rift between the four judges and the Chief Justice.
Addressing the media after an emergency meeting of the SCBA, president and senior advocate Vikas Singh said, “All Public Interest Litigation (PIL) matters, including pending petitions, should either be taken up by the CJI, or if he has to assign them to any other bench, it should be assigned to judges in the collegium (five senior-most judges).”
The four senior-most judges—Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph—in an unprecedented press conference on Friday said they had written to the CJI to point out that “cases having far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution” were assigned “selectively to the benches of their preferences without any rational basis.”
“Henceforth, a norm should be put in place to ensure that all petitions are heard by the first five courts,” Singh said, adding that the resolution would be forwarded to the Chief Justice.
If the resolution is adopted by the SCBA, the Judge Loya PIL— seeking an independent investigation into the death of Loya, who was hearing a case involving BJP president Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin killing—will have to be heard by one of the judges of the collegium. The PIL is pending before Justice Arun Mishra.
Alongside the SCBA, the Bar Council of India too stepped up its mediation efforts. “We have unanimously decided to form a seven-member delegation of the Council who will meet honourable judges of the Supreme Court. We want that the matter be solved at the earliest,” BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said.
Mishra criticised attempts by political leaders to intervene in the matter and asked them to refrain from doing so.
In Kochi, Justice Kurian Joseph said “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.”
In Kolkata, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who is likely to succeed Dipak Misra as Chief Justice in October, said, “There is no crisis in the judiciary.”