New Delhi: In an unprecedented move in the history of the Supreme Court, four judges met media persons on Friday to express their displeasure with the way Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Mishra was assigning cases.
Four of the five seniormost judges of the Supreme Court – Justice Chelameswar, Justice Gogoi, Justice Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph – held a press conference at Justice Chelameswar’s residence. They said they are speaking out because “democracy will not survive if the judiciary is not impartial”.
Justice J Chelameswar, the second senior most judge in the Supreme Court, said “The administration of the Supreme Court is not in order” and many “less than desirable things” have happened in the last few months.
“About a couple of months back, four of us gave a signed letter to the Chief Justice of India. We wanted a particular thing to be done in a particular manner. But the way it was done, it raised further questions about the integrity of the institution,” says Justice Chelameswar.
They said that they didn’t hear back from CJI about the letter sent to CJI. They met him again this morning, to no avail.
The selective assignment of cases by the CJI to selective Benches “for no apparent reason,” states the letter released by the four Justices. They also said they have issues with the assignment of the case to do with the mysterious death of Justice BH Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.
“The convention of recognising that CJI is the master of roster and assigns cases to different benches is for disciplined and efficient transaction of court business and not a recognition of superior authority,” they said in the letter.
“The CJI is only the first among equals nothing more and nothing less”, they added.
They also said they wanted to highlight unspecified irregularities in the judiciary and to say that the CJI Mishra isn’t doing anything to remedy the situation, despite the letter they wrote him some months ago.
When asked if CJI Mishra should be removed, one of judges said, “Let the nation decide on his impeachment.”