India’s democracy under threat, say 4 SC judges | The Daily Star
07:22 PM, January 12, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 07:28 PM, January 12, 2018

India’s democracy under threat, say 4 SC judges

In an unprecedented development, four senior-most judges of India’s apex court after the Chief Justice today addressed the media and said “sometimes things are not in order" in the administration of the Supreme Court".

Stating that they have failed to convince the Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra, four of the five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court – Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph – said there was an immediate need to preserve the judiciary in the country if democracy has to be protected.

The media conference, held at the residence of Justice Chelameswar, was the first of its kind for sitting judges of the Supreme Court on various issues relating to the apex judiciary.

Terming the media conference as “extraordinary in the history of any nation and in the history of the judiciary’, Justice Chelameswar said: “Sometimes the administration of the Supreme Court is not in order and many less than desirable things have happened in the last few months” that compelled them to put the facts before the nation”.

"Sometimes, the administration of the Supreme Court is not in order and many things which are less than desirable have happened...," said Justice Chelameswar, the second senior most  judge of the top court after the Chief Justice of India, adding they met Chief Justice Dipak Misra this morning and discussed several issues including the issue of cases allotment.

Justice Gogoi said: “We met the CJI this morning, with specific request but we could not convince him. We had no choice but to communicate to the nation to take care of the institution. We place it before the people of country.”

“It is an extremely painful moment and there is no pleasure in holding the press conference,” said Justice Chelameswar.

He said “we owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. We have tried to persuade the chief justice that certain things are not in order in the Supreme Court but we have failed. “

The judges released a letter they had written to Chief Justice Misra a couple of months ago.

The letter said "there have been instances where cases having far-reaching consequences for nation and the institution had been assigned by the chief justices of this court selectively to the "benches of their preference" without any rationale basis for such as assignment...”

“We do not want the people to say 20 years later that the four senior-most judges sold their soul,” Justice Chelameswar said.

Justice Gogoi said “nobody is breaking the rank and it is a discharge of debt to the nation which we have done.”

In December, Justice Chelameswar had clashed with the Chief Justice over a case he was hearing. The Chief Justice re-allocated the case. The case that was reallocated involved alleged corruption within the judiciary.

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