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13 Jan 2018

Attorney General: Unity among SC judges will return

Yesterday, four SC judges held a press conference raising objections to the way the chief justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra was running the judiciary. In a first, they urged the nation to safeguard the SC's independence. Their dissidence revealed the schism among the SC's senior-most judges.

However, Attorney General KK Venugopal is confident that unity among judges will return by Monday.

Here's why.

In context

Will the SC judges unite?

Current crisis

What led to the current crisis?

Tension was already simmering since Misra became CJI. However, it intensified after a dispute erupted over which bench should hear the Medical Colleges Admission Scam. Key accused Odisha HC judge Quddusi was apparently close to CJI.

Further, judges demanded an investigation into CBI Judge Loya's suspicious death. Loya was hearing a case involving BJP president Amit Shah.

These events necessitated the press conference.

Press conference

What did the four judges say at the press conference?

Fed up of the CJI not taking their concerns seriously, senior Justice Chelameswar, Gogoi, Joseph and Lokur called a press conference.

They claimed that CJI wasn't following the correct procedures. They claimed that many times cases were taken from senior judges and assigned to other judges.

They remarked that CJI uses his "master of roster" as a veto, when it actually means "first among equals".

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Now, what does Venugopal have to say?

A-G KK Venugopal

Now, what does Venugopal have to say?

So, will this dispute reach a resolution?

Well, Venugopal is hopeful. He said, "Judges are persons of wisdom and statesmanship and experience. We hope they won't allow the issue to escalate."

Earlier, he said yesterday's press conference could have been avoided. Venugopal insists that such behavior shakes people's confidence in SC.

Incidentally, the judges could have called a full-court meeting or approached the president.


What does this mean for the SC?

But, what lies ahead for SC?

CJI will probably meet the dissenting judges to end the deadlock. But, this might not be easy. He may want to assure the aggrieved four and the entire nation of his integrity.

PMO might need to ensure that they become a neutral party while facilitating peace.

Presently though, it seems the judiciary is facing its worst credibility crisis.

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