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SC judges against CJI: The crack between two administrative wings

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Press meet by four SC judges could have been avoided AG Venugopal

The press conference held by four senior judges of the Supreme Court has exposed an unprecedented level of dissension in the top echelons of the judiciary.

Making a brief statement at a press conference, Gandhi also said that Justice J Chelameswar's remark that democracy will not survive in the country unless the Supreme Court was preserved, was "extremely important" and that it needed to be "looked into carefully".

"There have been instances where a case having far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution had been assigned by Chief Justice of this court selectively to benches without rationale basis".

Chelameswar closed the dramatic press conference by saying: "We don't want wise men saying 20 years from now that justice Chelameswar, [Ranjan] Gogoi, [Madan B] Lokur and Kurian Joseph sold their souls and didn't do the right thing by our constitution".

He further said, "We tried to persuade the CJI to take steps but failed". Talking about the coming out of the Supreme Court judges in the way they had, the Congress President said that such a thing had never happened before and was unprecedented.

The judiciary is where citizens turn to for justice and the Supreme Court is the last court of appeal. "It has raised question marks about the credibility of the systems as such and has directly cast aspersions on the Chief Justice of India", Kumar said.

"Our judiciary is reputed all over the world, is independent and will sort out the matter itself", Minister of State for Law P P Chaudhury said. In 2011, Justice Gogoi apprised Justice Kapadia about the "glaring irregularities and illegalities, both procedural and substantive" which were "evident" in the judgement delivered by the HC judge.

"Four of us have been telling the CJI Dipak Misra to correct his ways for the sake of the institution". Unfortunately, we couldn't convince him.

"The Government of India has conveyed the need to make improvement on the draft MoP to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court vide letter dated 11".

The cases referred by CJI to benches are not distributed among the senior judges. Every judge on the constitutional bench had criticised the Collegium system, including the current CJI, but only Chelameswar made a decision to dissent. Stand firmly with the four judges.

A storm, similar to the one triggered by Justice Karnan, had also erupted in 2010 when a sitting judge of the Karnataka high court, Justice D.V. Shylendra Kumar, had called then Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan names when the judges of the higher judiciary were resisting making their assets public. They have also made a point about Judge Loya's case and I think that is also something that needs to be investigated properly.

The four judges said they were not resigning and would be back in court on Monday. However, the government has not taken any stand over the dispute between judges and CJI.

However, the differences between the judges should have been sorted out amicably and not laid out in public, Acharya said.

"Politics by political parties of the country, outside the judicial purview, trying to drag issues which are internal to the judiciary and politicise that is something which should not be attempted", BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said".

The four, along with the CJI, are part of the Supreme Court collegium that selects judges to the apex court and high courts.

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