New Delhi: In a shocking revelation, retired Supreme Court judge Kurian Joseph said that he and three other senior-most judges of the top court held the January 12 presser as they felt that the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra was then controlled from outside and was allocating cases to judges with political bias, reported Times of India.
“There were several instances of external influences on the working of the Supreme Court relating to allocation of cases to benches headed by select judges and appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high courts,” Justice Kurian Joseph told Times of India.
“Someone from outside was controlling the CJI, that is what we felt. So we met him, asked him, wrote to him to maintain independence and majesty of the Supreme Court. When all attempts failed, we decided to hold a press conference,” he added.
Justice Joseph was part of the January 12 press conference in which now Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Lokur and former judge Justice J Chelameswar had raised serious questions over various issues including allocation of cases in the top court.
Elaborating about the “external influence”, Justice Joseph said that there were “starkly perceptible signs” of influence with regard to allocation of cases to judges who were perceived to be “politically biased”.
Talking to media persons on his birthday, just a day after his retirement from apex court, Justice Joseph was asked whether there existed corruption in judiciary, to which he said: “I do not agree with the general observation that there is corruption in the society but I do concede that there is some perception among the people regarding corruption” at some lower levels.
He said that as far as corruption in the Supreme Court is concerned, “I wholly refuse to say there is corruption. It has never ever occurred to me. I have never heard about it”.
He also asserted that there is no political pressure in exercise of judicial powers by a judge, but added that the manner in which appointments are “selectively delayed” or “withheld” is “in a way interference” in administration of justice.
Asked whether he regrets being part of the January 12 press conference, he replied, “What a strange question you are asking? I never regretted whatever I did, I did it very consciously for a cause and for a cause for which there was no other way left. That was the stage, when we did it”.
When asked whether the crisis to which they had referred was now over in the apex court, Joseph said, “You can’t say it fully that the crisis is over because it was an institutional crisis, so it takes a long time for the systems and the practices to change. Hopefully it would change”.
Referring to CJI Gogoi, Justice Joseph said, “It’s because one who was part of the clamour for change is also now the captain over there so things should change”.