India

In a first, judges urge nation to save Supreme Court

12 Jan 2018 | By Gogona Saikia

In an extraordinary development, Justice Jasti Chelameswar, the second senior-most SC judge, raised questions on the court's freedom and integrity that he alleged have been thrown into uncertainty.

Commenting on allegations about the death of CBI Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, he said, "Our efforts to seek remedial measures failed."

"Let the nation decide" if CJI Dipak Misra should be impeached, he added.

In context: SC judges speak out on Loya's death

12 Jan 2018In a first, judges urge nation to save Supreme Court

Watch the press conference

Details about the mysterious death of Judge Loya

CaseDetails about the mysterious death of Judge Loya

Judge Loya died in 2014 while presiding over the trial of BJP president Amit Shah and other Gujarat police officers in the "fake" encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi.

Reports initially said it was a heart attack, but in November'17, The Caravan published explosive details of the mysterious circumstances.

Apparently he was being pressurized to decide in favor of Shah.

Shocking details emerge about the case

Other disturbing information has come to light: Judge Loya was reportedly offered Rs. 100cr as bribe, there were discrepancies in the post-mortem report as well as in the condition of his body and in the recorded time of his death.

PC'Judicial independence is key to the survival of democracy'

Addressing the matter, Justices Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan Lokur called a press conference at Chelameswar's house today, a decision they were compelled to take "with no pleasure."

"The administration of the SC isn't in order and many things which are less than desirable have happened in the last few months."

"Judicial independence is key to the survival of democracy," he iterated.

CJIJustice Chelameswar questions CJI Dipak Misra's role in the case

Justice Chelameswar said in the Loya case, he had referred the medical bribery cases to a Constitution bench, but CJI Dipak Misra had reversed the order as "master of the roster."

The judges had also submitted a letter to Misra seeking "a particular thing to be done in a particular manner" months ago, but what was done "raised further questions on integrity of institution."

LetterWhat did the letter say?

The judges released the letter they had mentioned in the conference. In it, they questioned "orders that have affected the overall functioning of the justice delivery system".

Though the CJI is the "master of the roster," it's not "a recognition of any superior authority" over colleagues, it insisted.

Cases have been selectively assigned to preferred benches rather than to those legally empowered, it alleged.

SC advocate KTS Tulsi responds on the conference

ReaxPress conference triggers reactions in many quarters

Hurried reactions were seen after the conference, even in the government: PM Narendra Modi reportedly met the law minister and law officer after the presser.

However, sources have questioned the move, asking why the government should get involved in an internal dispute of the judiciary.

Meanwhile, CJI Misra held discussions with AG Mukul Rohatgi. The two will address the media at 2pm.