New Delhi, Jan 13 (PTI) Various lawyers’ bodies today expressed “grave concern” over the differences arising between the CJI and four top judges of the Supreme Court and passed separate resolutions urging the senior judges to resolve the issue by in-house mechanism within the constitutional framework.
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Associations (SCAORA) and the Bar Council of India (BCI) in close-door emergency meetings deliberated the situation arising out of the controversial press conference by four seniormost apex court judges yesterday.
While the SCBA and the SCAORA confined their deliberation to the judiciary, the BCI, the apex body regulating the lawyers, cautioned against politicising the crisis.
BCI chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra without taking name of any leader, said, “No political party or leader should take undue advantage of the situation arising out of the press conference by four senior Supreme Court judges.” The reference of political parties and the leaders assumed significance as Congress president Rahul Gandhi had yesterday addressed the media after the judges went public with their grievances.
Mishra said a seven-member delegation led by him will tomorrow meet rest of the apex court judges to know their views about the situation and later they would consult with the four senior judges who held the presser. Thereafter the delegation would speak to the CJI and discuss the entire crisis.
The SCBA, which expressed “grave concern” over the differences of the four seniormost judges with Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, said the issue should be immediately considered by the full court of the apex court.
The SCBA executive committee, which held an emergency meeting, resolved that all public interest litigation (PIL) matters, including pending PILs, should be either taken up by the CJI or be assigned for adjudication to four senior judges who were part of the apex court collegium.
Besides CJI Misra, others in the collegium in accordance with seniority are — justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph.
The four judges had in an unprecedented press conference yesterday mounted a virtual revolt against the CJI, listing a litany of problems including the assigning of cases.
SCBA president and senior advocate Vikas Singh said that a resolution for the full court consideration was passed as it is a mechanism in which deliberations by all the judges of the top court takes place in-house and not in the open.
In a resolution, the SCAORA said it was “pained” by the events which, according to it, “tarnished” the reputation of the apex court.
“Executive Committee of SCAORA is concerned and pained with all the events which have tarnished the reputation and image of our esteemed institution.
“It urges stake holders to exercise restraint and requests them to resolve all issues internally and within the constitutional framework,” the resolution said.
The SCBA resolution further said that matters listed for hearing in the apex court on January 15 “should also be transferred” from other judges to the five seniormost judges who were part of the collegium.
“The differences that have been reported in the press conference by the four senior judges of the Supreme Court and the other differences which are reflected in the newspapers are of grave concern and should be immediately considered by the full court of the Supreme Court,” Singh said while reading out the resolution.
“It is further unanimously resolved by the executive committee of the Supreme Court Bar Association that all PIL matters including the pending PIL matters should be either taken up by the Chief Justice of India, or if he has to assign to any other bench, it should be assigned to the judges in the collegium. Even the matters listed on Monday i.e. January 15, 2018, should also be transferred as per our request,” it said.
The SCBA president, who addressed the media after coming out of the over hour-long meeting of the executive committee, however, did not comment on whether the senior judges should have gone public with their grievances.
Singh said that if required, the SCBA would seek an appointment with the CJI and other judges to talk about the developments which were a matter of grave concern.
The four judges had yesterday said there were certain issues afflicting the country’s highest court and warned that they could destroy Indian democracy.
The press conference by the judges had left the judiciary and observers stunned, leaving uncertain how this open dissension in the hallowed institution would be resolved.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.