Present situation in Supreme Court disastrous: Former Chief Justice RM Lodha
Justice RM Lodha also says it is for the Supreme Court Chief Justice to take the institution forward by showing “statesmanship qualities”.Updated: May 02, 2018 13:03 IST
Former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha on Tuesday described the prevailing situation in the Supreme Court, where the top five judges appear to disagree on important issues such as allotment of cases, as “disastrous” and suggested “collective leadership” as a remedy to tide over the crisis.
Justice Lodha also called on Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra to “show statesmanship” and “take all judges together”.
“Undoubtedly, the Chief Justice of India is the master of the roster, but does it mean he can do whatever he wants? The allocation of cases has to be fair and in the interest of the institution,” Justice Lodha said at a function to release veteran journalist and former Union minister Arun Shourie’s latest book, Anita Gets Bail.
This January 12, the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court after the CJI — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph — had held an unprecedented press conference highlighting their reservations on the way work is allocated by CJI Misra in the top court.
“Collegiality is sine qua non (an essential condition) for the Supreme Court as it mitigates personal choices. Collegiality must be restored,” Justice Lodha said, adding that if the high courts were to take a cue from what was happening in the Supreme Court, “the day is not far when the judicial system in the country will be chaotic.”
Last month, MPs from seven opposition parties led by the Congress moved a notice for a motion for the removal of the CJI in the Rajya Sabha, where it was denied by Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on the grounds that the allegations made in the notice lacked merit.
Meanwhile, the disagreement between the judiciary and the executive also deepened last week, with the Centre sending back the name of one of the SC collegium’s picks for judgeship – Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Josesph. The SC collegium is meeting on Wednesday to respond to the government’s move.
Justice Lodha said that the independence of the judiciary is “under challenge” but it must be “non-negotiable”.