‘It’s shocking’: Support and backlash after Supreme Court judges criticise CJI
While some in the legal fraternity supported the outburst of justices J Chelameshwar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurien Joseph, others raised questions against them.india Updated: Jan 12, 2018 18:14 IST
The legal fraternity on Friday reacted with shock, and even indignation, after four senior Supreme Court judges went public with allegations of abuse of power by the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
While some in the legal fraternity supported the outburst by justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurien Joseph, others raised questions against them. (Catch LIVE updates here)
Former CJI KG Balakrishnan termed the developments as “painful and unfortunate” and felt such incidents will erode public faith in the judiciary.
“I don’t blame anyone. Judges should have settled differences among themselves. They should not have come to the open like this,” he said in Thiruvananthapuram.
Former Delhi high court judge justice RS Sodhi called for impeachment of the four judges, saying “they have no business to sit there and deliver verdicts anymore’.
“We have all had differences. But never have we gone to press. This is appalling. This trade unionism is wrong. Democracy in danger is not for them to say; we have parliament, courts, police functioning,” he said.
“Issues don’t matter. It is their complaint on administrative matter. They are only four, there are 23 others (in the SC). Four get together and show the chief justice in a poor light, it is immature and childish behaviour,” he added.
Former attorney general of India Soli Sorabjee said he was “very upset about this”.
“I wish the four Supreme Court judges hadn’t done this. This will have severe repercussions on judiciary,” he was quoted as saying by Indian Express.
Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam described the developments as “a black day for judiciary”.
“From now on, every common man could look at all judicial order with suspicion. Every judgment will be questioned,” Nikam said.
Calling the presser “quite shocking”, senior Supreme Court lawyer KTS Tulsi said the four judges must have exhausted all possible remedies before going public.
“There must have been compelling reasons for the senior-most judges to have adopted this course of action. One could see pain on their faces while they were speaking.”
Top SC lawyer Prashant Bhushan thanked the judges for taking the “unpleasant, extraordinary stand”.
“These four judges are very responsible. If they are doing this, the situation would have definitely gone out of control. They said the CJI was misusing his administrative powers to allot all cases,” Bhushan said.
Indira Jaising, another top SC advocate told NDTV she supported the judges’ move.
“I think we, the people of India, have a right to know what is going on within the collegium and I welcome this.”
On the judges going against the CJI, she pointed out that “they are not anti-CJI. They want to build a consensus.”
When asked about the alleged mysterious death of former CBI court judge B H Loya, who was presiding over the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, she said it could have been the tipping point.
“The fact that it was listed in court today (Friday) is an indication,” she told the news channel.
Senior advocate and Congress leader Salman Khurshid told ANI he was deeply pained and “also feel a sense of agony that highest court of land should come under such severe stress that forces judges to address the media”.
PB Sawant, a former Supreme Court judge said this was an unprecedented step. “This means that there is a serious dispute, either with CJI or some internal dispute.”
Former attorney general Shrihari Aney said the four judges ‘wouldn’t have taken the step without thinking”.
“If it has fallen upon them to take action, it’s up to us to understand what led to that,” he added.
(With agency inputs)