Press meet of four SC judges in 2018 'most unfortunate': Former CJI Bobde

Bobde added that he tried his best to prevent the press conference in which four justices from the top court put out their grievances over the then CJI Dipak Mishra.

Published: 19th March 2023 09:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2023 09:14 AM   |  A+A-

A file photo of Former Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde used for representative purposes only. (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: Former CJI SA Bobde on Saturday said the historic press conference by four Supreme Court judges (Justices J Chelameshwar, Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan Lokur) on January 12, 2018, over roster preparation was "one of the most unfortunate events in the history of the SC."

Speaking at the India Today Conclave, justice (retired) Bobde said from his end he tried his best to ensure that the press conference didn’t happen.

"The press conference, over preparations of the roster, was one of the most unfortunate events in the history of the SC. I tried my best to prevent it. However, some publications had already written about my alleged role in it. I wouldn’t have done it myself," the former CJI said.

The 2018 conference witnessed the four SC judges putting forth their grievances over the then CJI Dipak Mishra for his style of functioning and had alleged that junior judges were assigned important cases.

Dismissing the criticism about his tenure as the CJI and his failure to appoint judges to the SC while he was at the helm of affairs in the Supreme Court, he said that no appointment could be made as there was no consensus among collegium members. "It was not because of the collegium system, but because we were unable to arrive at a consensus as a collegium, about the names, or about the order of elevation of judges,” he said. In response to a question of whether judgments are influenced by politics, he said, “The term politics can be attached to anything."

Laying emphasis on the important judgments such as the Rafale ruling and the Ayodhya verdict that were delivered while he was the CJI, he said: "There was nothing political about Rafael, it was a defence deal, the Ayodhya issue has been ongoing since pre-Independence times. There is nothing political, except for the fact that politicians talk about it."

Speaking at the Conclave, another former CJI UU Lalit, who had a short stint of 74 days as CJI, asserted that the collegium system is the "ideal system for appointing judges." He said the collegium enables the selection of judges by a body that is reviewing performances at the "grass-root" and the process of recommendation by the SC body is through a consultative route.

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