Interacting with the press for the first time in the history of India, the four judges of the country’s apex court, Supreme Court, has raised many questions on the working of the court.
In the press conference – the four judges, who are the senior most judges of the Supreme Court after Chief Justice of India, said that “things are not in order” with can be assumed as “the administration of the Supreme Court”. The judges also said that they failed to persuade to alert the Chief Justice of India (CJI) including a meeting with him this morning – failed to make any progress which is why they decided to go public. Saying further, the judges said, “an independent judiciary is essential for a functioning democracy”. When asked if they believed the CJI should be impeached, they said, “Let the nation decide”.
The press conference was held at the home of J Chelameswar, who is the most senior judge after the Chief Justice. “We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. Our efforts have failed in convincing the Chief Justice to take steps to protect the institution,” he said.
The other judges who also addressed the media were Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurien Joseph released a letter they had written to CJI Misra a couple of months ago.
According to the NDTV, in December, Justice Chelameswar clashed with the Chief Justice over a case he was hearing. The Chief Justice re-allocated the case; four other judges agreed with him in declaring that he alone is the “master of the roster” which means he has the sole authority to decide who hears what case.
The letter given to the Chief Justice refers to “master of roster” and says he is “first among equals, nothing more, nothing less”.
The case that was reallocated involved alleged corruption within the judiciary. At that time, some lawyers said that the Chief Justice should not have transferred the case to a bench that includes him because he was hearing a linked matter.