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SC judges vs CJI Highlights: Full court likely to meet on Monday, New Delhi district bar association says presser was ‘politically motivated’

On January 12, Supreme Court justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph took on Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra over allocation of cases. Many lawyers’ associations have asked them to resolve the matter at the earliest. Here are the highlights:

india Updated: Jan 14, 2018 22:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Supreme Court,Chief Justice of India,Live updates
The four Supreme Court judges - justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B Lokur who raised concerns, including the assigning of cases in the apex court.(Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

The Bar Council of India and the Delhi Bar Association on Sunday said the matter related to the press conference by four seniormost judges of the Supreme Court on differences with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra should be resolved soon.

BCI chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra said a seven-member delegation led by him will meet the rest of the apex court judges to know their views about the situation. They would later consult with the four senior judges. Thereafter, the delegation would speak to the Chief Justice of India and discuss the entire issue.

Various lawyers’ bodies have expressed “grave concern” over the differences arising between the CJI and the four judges, and passed separate resolutions urging them to resolve the issue.

Here are the highlights:

10.14pm: Sources tell PTI two SC judges - justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao - met Justice Chelameswar at his official residence in Delhi.

10.10pm: Bar Council chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, who headed the delegation that met CJI Dipak Misra, as well as three judges, J Chelameswar, MB Lokur, and Kurian Joseph, says the media will be informed at a press conference on Monday about the council’s day-long parleys with the judges.

10.05pm: “CPI leader D Raja meeting one of the four judges suggests that the press conference was politically motivated...The CJI should have taken care of it much earlier and within the Supreme Court itself,” PTI quotes Santosh Mishra as saying.

10.01pm: New Delhi District Bar Association president Santosh Mishra says the press conference by the Supreme Court judges was “politically motivated”.

9.55pm: “The people of India have great faith in the sacred institution and the faith should not be even touched by any act of anyone and judicial discipline should have been maintained at any cost. The press conference was very unfortunate,” says Mahavir Sharma.

9.50pm: “We condemn the act of the four seniormost Supreme Court judges. They shouldn’t have brought an internal matter into the public domain. They should have adopted other good and healthy options like approaching the Supreme Court Bar Association or senior advocates of Supreme Court or the President of India,” says Mahavir Sharma, chairman of the coordination committee of the Delhi district court bar associations.

9.45pm: Mahavir Sharma, chairman of the coordination committee of the Delhi district court bar associations, calls the press conference by the four SC judges “very unfortunate”.

9.08pm: Bar council’s role is very limited, the judges have assured there will be no problem at all, says Bar Council chairman.

9.05pm: Panel met justices J Chelameshwar, MB Lokur, Kurian Joseph. They gave assurance that everything will be sorted out, says Bar Council chairman.

8.59pm: “We met CJI in a congenial atmosphere, everything will be sorted out. Everyone we talked to, has assured that matter will be sorted out,” says Manan Kumar Mishra, chairman of the Bar Council of India.

8.58pm: Bar Council of India delegation leaves residence of CJI Dipak Misra after a 50-minute meeting, reports PTI.

8.55pm: “It is for sure that they (judges) will have to go for a full court tomorrow (January 15). In full court, the CJI has the majority, that is why these four judges have not demanded for full court deliberation on their grievances,” a source told PTI.

8.53pm: The full court of the Supreme Court is in all possibility would deliberate on Monday, January 15, upon the situation arising out of the controversial press conference of the four seniormost judges: PTI quoting sources

8.52pm: SCBA president Vikas Singh expresses hope that all judges of the apex court would give consideration to its resolution in which the association asked for a full court discussion to defuse the present crisis plaguing the higher judiciary.

8.51pm: “I met the CJI and handed over a copy of the resolution. He said that he would look into it and ensure there was congeniality in the Supreme Court at the earliest,” SCBA president Vikas Singh tells PTI.

8.50pm: Supreme Court Bar Association president Vikas Singh, who met Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and handed over a resolution on the crisis in the apex judiciary, tells PTI that the CJI assured him that he would look into it.

8.10pm: The seven-member delegation of the Bar Council of India reaches residence of CJI Dipak Misra to discuss the crisis in the apex court, reports PTI.

8.05pm: Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Vikas Singh meets Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra at his residence, says ANI.

7.45pm: Bar Council of India delegation meets Justice SA Bobde and Justice Kurian Joseph at their residences in Delhi.

7.12pm: “I am not directly connected with this but maybe they had their grievances which they could not resolve. That’s all I can say,” retired Haryana and Punjab Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal tells IANS.

7.10pm: Retired Haryana and Punjab Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal says maybe the four seniormost SC judges, who accused Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra of breaching rules in assigning cases, had their reasons to do so.

7.05pm: Bar Council of India delegation reaches Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde’s residence, reports ANI.

6.44pm: “There is no controversy. No need of politicising the issue. This is a tragic event. We do not want to be victims of politicisation of the issue. Let it remain the way it is, non-controversial,” says lawyer Ameet Naik at the press conference addressed by Anuj Loya, son of late CBI special judge BH Loya.

6.41pm: “Our family is pained with the chain of events in the past few days. Please don’t harass us,” says Anuj Loya.

6.40pm: Anuj Loya makes a public statement in Mumbai reiterating his stand on the matter of his father’s death in December 2014. “I have no suspicions against the government since the beginning,” he says.

6.40pm: Anuj Loya, son of late CBI special judge BH Loya says his father’s death was due to a heart attack and they have no suspicion.

6.38pm: “Only such measures would assure the people that the Supreme Court is functioning in a fair and transparent manner and that the power of the Chief Justice as master of roster is not being misused to achieve a particular result in important and sensitive cases. We, therefore, urge you to take immediate steps in this regard,” PTI quotes the letter as saying.

6.35pm: “However, till that is done, it is important that all sensitive and important cases including pending ones, be dealt with by a Constitution bench of the five seniormost judges of this Court,” PTI quotes the letter as saying.

6.30pm: “This issue needs to be resolved and clear rules and norms must be laid down for allocation of benches and distribution of cases, which are rational, fair and transparent,” PTI quotes the letter as saying.

6.27pm: The retired judges said they agree with the four SC judges that though the CJI is the master of roster and can designate benches for allocation of work, this does not mean that it can be done in an “arbitrary manner” such that, “sensitive and important cases” are sent to “hand-picked benches” of junior judges by the chief justice.

6.25pm: “They have expressed a grave concern that cases are not being allocated in a proper manner and are being allocated arbitrarily to particular designated benches, often headed by junior judges, in an arbitrary manner. This is having a very deleterious effect on the administration of justice and the rule of law,” PTI quotes the letter as saying.

6.20pm: “The four senior puisne judges of the Supreme Court have brought to light a serious issue regarding the manner of allocation of cases, particularly sensitive cases, to various benches of the Supreme Court,” PTI quotes the letter as saying.

6.15pm: Justice AP Shah, ex-chief justice of Delhi High Court, says the view expressed by the retired judges is “quite similar to the views of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) that till this crisis is resolved, the important matters should be listed before a 5-judge Constitution bench of senior judges”.

6.12pm: The letter by former SC judge PB Sawant, ex-chief justice of Delhi High Court AP Shah, former Madras High Court judge K Chandru and ex-Bombay High Court judge H Suresh was given to the media on Sunday.

6.10pm: Four retired judges, including a former Supreme Court judge, wrote an open letter to the Chief Justice of India, saying they agree with the issues raised by the four judges over allocation of cases and the crisis needs to be resolved “within the judiciary”, reports PTI.

5.30pm: “If the matter isn’t resolved in 7-10 days, we will call all the Bar Associations of India, hold discussions with them and take to the streets, if it comes to that, in order to make people aware,” says Delhi Bar Association.

5.28pm: “This was a first of its kind incident and a black day for us. The Chief Justice of India should have looked into the matter beforehand. He should have called a meeting to handle things,” ANI quotes the Delhi Bar Association as saying.

5.25pm: Delhi Bar Association calls it a “black day”.

5.00pm: Coordination Committee of All District Court Bar Associations of Delhi says, “We resolve that the honourable Chief Justice of India should have kept his house in order and the grievances of the four senior judges should have been addressed by the Chief Justice of India immediately”, reports ANI.

4.55pm: Coordination Committee of All District Court Bar Associations of Delhi says, “We request honourable Chief Justice of India and all other judges of the Supreme Court to put their house in order. We believe this incident occurred in absence of any legal mechanism to resolve such issues”, reports ANI.

4.50pm: Coordination Committee of All District Court Bar Associations of Delhi says, “People of India have big faith in the sacred institution and the said faith shouldn’t be even touched by any act of anyone and judicial discipline should be maintained at any cost”, reports ANI.

4.00pm: “We have been told that there is no crisis. It is an internal matter which will be resolved soon. I am sure a solution will be found in 2-3 days,” says Manan Mishra after meeting Justice Chelameswar.

3.55pm: Bar Council chairperson Manan Mishra says it is an “internal matter which will be resolved soon.

1.30pm: Bar Council of India chair Manan Mishra had said on Saturday that it was “most unfortunate” that four senior judges held a press conference, sending out a message that all was not well with the Supreme Court and that the issue should have been “sorted out internally”.

12.50pm: Justice(Retd) RS Sodhi says, “Credibility of the Supreme Court has been ruined, to what extent I don’t need to say, we all know. This faith needs to reinvented, all judges are of very high integrity but saying only we should get all cases and not others is wrong, ye kya rewari bat rahi hai?”

12.40pm: The delegation will meet the other three Supreme Court judges and the Chief Justice of India in the evening.

11.45am: The Bar Council delegation is meeting with Justice Chelameswar.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Jan 14, 2018 12:47 IST