NEW DELHI: The crisis in the Indian judiciary after last Friday’s open dissent by four senior judges seems to be far from over. Contrary to claims in some quarters and speculation on social media that “all is now well” in the highest court, well placed sources told The New Indian Express that: (a) the judges are unlikely to relent unless corrective steps are put in place to address the issues raised by them in regard to managing the roster; and (b) any such agreement, as and when it is arrived at, should be made public, in writing, by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Thursday reportedly called for a meeting with four senior-most Supreme Court Judges to resolve issues which were raised by them in the unprecedented press conference that was called by the latter on January 12, sources said.
This position was apparently made clear to the CJI when he had a meeting with the four judges — justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — on Tuesday in a bid to find a resolution to the issue. Three other judges were reportedly present at that time.
The CJI, according to sources, suggested that “whatever has happened thus far should be forgotten” and a “new chapter” opened. The four judges, however, took the position that it would not be possible to do so given that they have gone public raising certain fundamental issues concerning the functioning of the SC and they cannot remain silent without any redressal mechanism being considered. While accepting that the CJI could be the Master of Roster, the judges said any such power cannot and should not be used arbitrarily. The CJI’s response, it is learnt, was that the judges themselves could come up with suggestions on how to deal with the issues raised by them at the presscon wherein they primarily questioned the manner in which cases were being allotted to judges without following convention. They are expected to formulate their position on the next course and submit a note which may form the basis for further discussion.
Though multiple cases and their allocation to certain judges have been cited as the reason for the current friction, the focus seems to be slowly but surely shifting to the medical college admission scandal. The trust, running the college in question, was initially denied permission to admit students but that order was overturned after middlemen allegedly pulled strings in the judiciary. Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan filed a complaint against the CJI alleging he stopped the CBI from filing an FIR against a sitting HC judge for his role in the scam.
Judge moves court on leak
Ex-Orissa HC judge I M Quddusi has asked a Delhi court to probe the leak of transcripts of phone talk between him and two other accused in the medical college scam. The court has asked for a response by Monday.