The unprecedented rebellion by the Supreme Court of India has raised a lot of heads. The four senior judges Justice Chelameswar, Justice Gogoi, Justice Kurian and Justice Lokur announced that the administration of the Supreme Court was not in order. After these bold claims, the Supreme Court judges released the letter they wrote to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. The letter details the problems and issues faced by these judges due to Misra’s decisions.
The letter sent months ago reads, “The convention of recognising the privilege of the CJI to form the roster and assign cases to different members/benches of the Court is a convention devised for a disciplined and efficient transition of business of the Court, but not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues.”
It further added, “It is too well settled in the jurisprudence of this country that the Chief Justice is only the first among the equals – nothing more or nothing less. In the matter of the determination of the roster there are well-settled and time honored conventions guiding the Chief Justice, be the conventions dealing with the strength of the bench which is required to deal with the particular case or the composition thereof.”
The letter also states, “A necessary corollary to the above mentioned principle is the members of any multi-numbered judicial body, including this court, would not arrogate to themselves the authority to deal with and pronounce upon matter which ought to be heard by appropriate benches, both composition-wise and strength wise with due regard to the roster fixed.”
The Judges further stated in the letter, “Any departure from the above two rules would not only lead to unpleasant and undesirable consequences of creating doubt in the body politic for the integrity of the institution. Not to talk about the chaos that would result from such a departure.”
The judges criticised the Chief Justice of India and claimed the twin rules the CJI should follow have not been adhered to recently. They said, “There have been instances where case having far-reaching consequences for the Nation and the institution had been assigned by the Chief Justices of this court selectively to the benches in “of their preference” without any rationale basis for such assignment. This must be guarded against at all costs. We are not mentioning details to avoid embarrassing the institution, but note that such departures have already damaged the image of this institution to some extent.”
Chief Justice Dipak Misra initially said he would address the media with the Attorney General after the Supreme Court Judges’ press conference. But recent reports suggest there will be no special hearing by the CJI. Government sources have stated that the Government will keep its distance from this issue and allow the judiciary to solve the issue.