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SC judges take on CJI: Cong seeks probe into all concerns raised, BJP says don’t politicise judiciary’s affairs

The Congress sought a probe into the points raised by the four Supreme Court judges, and also sought an investigation into the death of special CBI judge BH Loya who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2018 23:52 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Supreme Court,Congress,Democracy
Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Friday.(Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

As the rift in the top court became public with four senior judges airing their differences with the Chief Justice of India, there were contrasting responses from the opposition and the ruling parties. The BJP said it was an internal issue of the judiciary while Congress president Rahul Gandhi demanded that the concerns raised by the judges needed to be “looked into carefully”.

After a two-hour deliberation with senior party leaders and lawyers such as Kapil Sibal, P Chidambaram, Manish Tewari and Salman Khurshid, Gandhi made a brief statement at the party headquarters. “It is a sensitive and important matter. Points that have been raised by the four judges are extremely important. They have mentioned that there is a threat to democracy. I think it needs to be looked into carefully,” he said.

The Congress president also sought an investigation into the death of special CBI judge BH Loya who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. “...that is also something which needs to be investigated properly and looked at from the highest levels of the Supreme Court... All citizens who love the idea of justice, who believe in the SC, are looking at this issue and it’s important that it’s addressed,” the Congress chief said.

The party made an appeal that the Full Court of the SC should take up the issues and find solutions that are consistent with the traditions and conventions of the judiciary.

Countering the Congress president’s statement, BJP spokesman Sambit Patra said: “We in the BJP firmly believe that under the constitutional scheme of this country, the judiciary is independent and has its own internal mechanisms. Political parties should not try to drag internal issues of the judiciary and politicise it. The Congress is doing the same and we firmly believe that this is wrong... people of this country are watching the Congress exposing itself.”

Senior government functionaries maintained that they wouldn’t interfere as it was an “internal matter” of the judiciary. “Our judiciary is reputed all over the world, independent and will sort the matter themselves. They will resolve it themselves,” said minister of state for law and justice PP Chaudhary.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the allegations by the judges “merit a thorough, proper investigation and understanding of how independence and integrity of judiciary is being interfered or is being affected, which is impermissible in a secular democratic republic”.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee also reacted to the developments: “Judiciary and the media are the pillars of democracy. Extreme interference of the Central government with judiciary is dangerous for democracy.”

Senior BJP leader Yashwant Singh took to Twitter to express his support to the four judges. “...Stand firmly with the four judges. Instead of criticising them let us concentrate on the issues raised by them. If the highest court is compromised then democracy is in peril,” he tweeted.

First Published: Jan 12, 2018 15:15 IST