Differences with Chief Justice not yet resolved: sources

A source close to the four judges said there have been no attempts so far to resolve the issue.  

Suggestions that the differences between the four Supreme Court judges and Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had been resolved at the daily tea meeting before the hearings in the court began on Monday, were scotched by sources close to the four judges.


They described the reports as deliberate misinformation. Reports of a resolution gained currency after Attorney General K.K. Venugopal was quoted in a section of the media saying that the issues had been ironed out at the informal tea meeting.

Countering this, a source close to the four judges said there have been no attempts so far to resolve the issue raised by the four judges. While all four attended the morning tea session and spent a few minutes there before the day’s work began, the source claimed that talk of a resolution was a deliberate attempt to trivialise the issue raised by them. While everyone in a democracy has the right to say that the four judges were wrong in going public, what they are now facing is “mischief”, the source said.

Monday was the first working day in the Supreme Court after the foursome – Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph – held an unprecedented press conference on January 13, criticising the Chief Justice of selective allocation of sensitive cases.

This included the petitions seeking a probe into the death of CBI judge B.H. Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. The day began as usual in the courtrooms of Chief Justice Misra and the four judges.

All of them went about hearing the listed cases as usual with no sign of the simmering tensions within.

The only aberration was when advocate R.P. Luthra made stinging remarks about the act of the four judges to call a press conference before a Bench presided over by Chief Justice Misra.

The October 2017 letter to the Chief Justice circulated during the judges’ press conference referred to Mr. Luthra’s petition.

In the letter, the four judges had pointed to how a particular Bench took upon itself the responsibility to order the finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of judges.

The list of cases for January 16 shows that the Loya petitions are listed before the Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra.

On Friday, Justice Gogoi had specifically confirmed that the allocation of Loya petitions was the immediate trigger for the press conference. On Sunday, a seven-member delegation from the Bar Council of India (BCI) had met 14 judges of the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Misra.

Speaking to The Hindu late Sunday evening, BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said the Chief Justice told the delegation that differences between the four senior-most judges and him would be resolved within the judicial institution and in a positive manner. (On Monday, he said the differences had been resolved.)

However, two of the four judges had said on Sunday that “they had nothing particular to add” and that “it was up to the Chief Justice to take a decision within the framework of the institution.”

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 5:07:43 PM |

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