Justice Chelameswar hopes Jan 12 presser won’t come in way of Justice Gogoi’s elevation as CJI
Justice J Chelameswar on Saturday expressed hope that the controversial January 12 press conference against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra would not come in way of elevation of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who was also part of the virtual revolt, as the next CJI.
He said if any such thing happens, it will mean that whatever concerns were raised by them in the presser were “true”.
Justice Chelameswar, the senior-most judge after the CJI, had on January 12 held a press conference along with justices Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, giving out a warning that democracy is at risk and mounted a virtual revolt against the country’s chief justice, raising questions on “selective” case allocation and certain judicial orders, sending shock waves across the judiciary and polity.
The unprecedented move by the four judges had brought to fore the simmering differences between the country’s top judge and some senior judges in the apex court in recent months.
“I am not an astrologer... I am not (worried). I hope that does not happen (Justice Gogoi being denied CJI’s position). If it happens, it will only prove what we said in the press conference was true,” Chelameswar said during a talk organised by the Harvard Club of India on the ‘Role of judiciary in democracy’.
Justice Chelameswar was answering the questions from eminent anchor Karan Thapar whether he was apprehensive that Justice Gogoi, who was part of the November 2017 letter written to the CJI and the unprecedented presser, will not be elevated as the top judge.
CJI Dipak Misra retires on October 2 and Justice Chelameswar, who is the seniormost judge after him, would demit the office on June 22.
He said the four seniormost judges of the country never broke any time-honoured principle by addressing the media.
“Anybody who enters a public office can never avoid criticisms. And I was wondering where this principle come from? What was the context this principle came from? Judges was not expected to debate in the press about the judgements.
“I go somewhere, press would be there, they report something, is it prohibited? Similarly we were talking about the administrative problems. We were not breaching any of the time-honoured principles that we should not address the press,” Justice Chelameswar said.