With senior judges' intervention, SC rift heads towards resolutionLast updated on Jan 17, 2018, 11:17 am
Five days after the four senior-most judges of the SC rebelled against the CJI, he has finally extended an olive branch towards them.
Efforts to broker peace by the Bar Council and the SC Bar Association hadn't borne fruit, but things seemed to have moved along when colleagues interfered.
The factions held a brief meeting yesterday. Justice AK Sikri reportedly played a pivotal role.
An unprecedented development in the history of the Supreme Court
The "war" began on January 12, when Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan Lokur urged people to save India's apex court.
"The SC administration isn't in order; many things which are less than desirable have happened" recently, Chelameswar said.
An important point of contention was the assignment of Judge BH Loya's death to Justice Arun Mishra, whose credentials had been questioned.
Despite a 'settlement', the Constitution Bench omitted the four judges
The unprecedented development created a rift, but after a meeting, the attorney general and the Bar Council claimed everything had been settled and the crisis resolved.
After three days, the rebel judges were back in court.
But hours later, the court released a list of seven key cases to be heard by a Constitution bench. None of the four was included in the Bench.
Justice Arun Mishra's breakdown motivated colleagues to mediate
Amid the crisis, Justice Arun Mishra, whose name had been dragged into the controversy, broke down during the judges' tea meeting on Monday.
This is apparently what prompted judges to intervene.
CJI Dipak Misra finally met the four yesterday in his chambers for 15 minutes. Sikri and two other judges were present.
A resolution and some administrative changes in the SC are reportedly imminent.
Hopes of resolution by this week's end
SC Bar Association President Vikas Singh is hopeful the crisis will be resolved "by the end of this week." The stakeholders seem determined to break the deadlock too: the CJI is to meet the four judges again today.
Rift likely to have long-lasting effects on the judiciary
The fact that the judges went to press with serious allegations against the CJI makes this a difficult situation to resolve. On both sides, reputations are at stake.
If they fall in line, the whole exercise would have been pointless; it would only have dented the SC's credibility.
But if they don't, a protracted crisis is likely that's sure to impact the judiciary's functioning.