Bar Association wants judges to sort out rift

SC Bar Association president Vikas Singh, centre, at a press conference on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

The Supreme Court Bar Association’s executive committee on Saturday passed a resolution asking the four sitting judges of the highest court, Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph, who aired their differences with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra at a press conference on Friday, to sort out the rift among themselves.

A Full Bench of the Supreme Court, all current 25 judges of the court, should sit and resolve the issues, the resolution said.

The association also said public interest litigation (PIL) petitions should be heard by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) or the Benches led by the four senior-most judges.

In the midst of this, a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra to the residence of CJI Misra set off a political storm with the Congress questioning it, especially since the Centre had declared that it wanted to distance itself from the whole affair.

Impropriety, says Cong.

Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala took to Twitter to term it an impropriety. “As PM’s Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra visits the CJI’s residence at 5, Krishna Menon Marg; PM must answer the reason for sending this special messenger to Chief Justice of India,” he said. Mr. Mishra told TV channels that it was in a personal capacity and that he had been unable to meet the CJI.

“Both Mr. Misra and the CJI had been neighbours earlier, possibly when they both resided on Tughlak Road, and the Principal Secretary went to visit the CJI after the latter moved to his new residence. In any case, he was unable to meet him,” a senior official told The Hindu.

Government sources continued to maintain that the Centre would not intervene in the fracas, and that the judges of the Supreme Court would have to resolve the matter themselves.

The government said it was prepared to answer questions in Parliament if the issue was raised by the Opposition there.

“We have a very clear view on our role,” said a senior source in the government.

The SCBA said it would place the resolution before the CJI.

In a separate press conference, Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra urged the judges and the CJI to find a way out of the crisis. The BCI said the judiciary is in an “extremely dangerous” situation as it has given “an opportunity to Rahul Gandhi and other political parties to comment on the judiciary.”

The BCI requested the political class to refrain from commenting on this crisis.

It said this was not an issue that should “have been taken to the public” by the four judges. “Request judges not to give an opportunity for such an incident to occur again. We have got appointment from 23 judges and have formed a seven-member committee. We want this matter to be solved at the earliest,” Mr. Mishra said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 11:19:14 PM |

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