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Top Supreme court judges issue unprecedented warning over integrity of court 

New Delhi: Four senior Indian supreme court judges have gone public with an extraordinary warning that India’s chief justice is mishandling sensitive cases and endangering the court’s integrity and the country’s democracy.

The four judges- Justices Kurian Joseph, Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan Lokur- the most senior members of the bench after the chief justice, abruptly left their courtrooms on Friday , Jan 12 morning and called the first press conference by members of the usually solemn institution.

Led by judge Jasti Chelameswar, they delivered an unprecedented message to the journalists gathered in Delhi: that the conduct of India’s highest court was “not in order” and that “unless this institution is preserved, democracy can’t be protected in this country”.

The revolt against the chief justice, Dipak Misra, has been months in the making. It broke into the open in November, when he was accused of mishandling a matter relating to a former judge alleged to have offered to bribe members of the supreme court in a case Misra himself was presiding over.

Misra has not been accused of taking bribes but was fiercely criticised, including by senior lawyers, for repeatedly intervening to ensure only judges of his choice could hear the matter.

One case cited by the four justices on Friday was a request for an independent investigation into the death of judge BH Loya, who was overseeing a case involving murder allegations against Amit Shah, a leading figure in the ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP). Media reports in recent months have raised suspicions over Loya’s death.

Though politically charged cases have traditionally been overseen by the supreme court’s most senior judges, the request for an independent investigation into Loya’s death was assigned by Misra to a relatively junior member of the bench.

In a letter to Misra, which was released to the media on Friday, the four judges said: “There have been instances where cases having far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution had been assigned by the chief justice of this court selectively to the benches ‘of their preference’ without any rationale for this assignment. This must be guarded against at all costs.”

Asked by journalists if the chief justice should be impeached, Chelameswar said: “Let the nation decide that.”

The judges were at pains not to accuse Misra of any specific wrongdoing nor criticise any specific judgments. Rather, their charge is that by breaking from the traditional procedures for allocating cases – which heavily emphasise seniority – he is allowing what they called “questions on the integrity of the institution” to fester.

Echoing criticism levelled at the court in past months, the Indian Express published an article on Friday morning by a senior lawyer, Dushyant Dave, highlighting instances where Misra had failed to allocate the most senior judges available for sensitive cases.

“It is important for this institution to ensure that an impression is not given to the public that the constitution of benches and allocation of matters is being done in a manner more palatable to the executive,” Dave wrote.

Chelameswar closed the dramatic press conference by saying: “We don’t want wise men saying 20 years from now that justice Chelameswar, [Ranjan] Gogoi, [Madan B] Lokur and Kurian Joseph sold their souls and didn’t do the right thing by our constitution.”

Alok Kumar, a senior resident fellow at the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, said chief justices had earned the rancour of their colleagues in the past but Friday’s events were “beyond the pale”.

Misra, who was appointed chief justice by the Narendra Modi government in August, did not made any public remarks on Friday but is reportedly meeting with the Indian attorney general, who is also yet to comment.



source: Guardian

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3 Responses to Top Supreme court judges issue unprecedented warning over integrity of court

  1. K. C. Thomas

    Indian media and Indian intellectuals should rise ,shedding fear to ensure democracy,secularism and adherence to constitution. Deaths occurred in some cases,of witnesses,investigators and now a judge of CBI while the case was going on. It smells foul. Unbiased ,time bound ,independent investigation is called for to set right things.

    • A. S. Mathew

      Indian news media was showing all the symptoms of fear in their reporting recently. The oppression and suppression of the free press and judiciary were the targets of Modi-Amith Shaw twins; exact duplication of Nazism in India using the Hindu religious card, and to bluff the unsuspecting Hindus of India that RSS is the sole patrons of Hinduism.

      GOD will be giving new visions to the Hindus of India to see the real light and the dangerous march of the nation under this highly dangerous administration of disharmony and anarchy.

  2. A. S. Mathew

    The test of strength in between the judiciary and that of the autocratic theocratic rule exclusively operated by the former CM and Home Minister of Gujarat from the new location in New Delhi will be turning like an Hindu historical fight read in their scriptures, because the fight will be a stern fight in between righteousness and unrighteousness.

    The mysterious death of the High court Judge in Maharastra who was handling a case with the involvement of Amith Shaw will be exposing the cruel interference of the political power of India, which will be shedding light on many other things in course of time. The EVM voting mechanism has been infiltrated to the court system of India now.

    Even the former Supreme Court Judge K.T. Thomas who was favoring RSS as a blessing for India for keeping safety is now openly talking about the interference of the Government in the judiciary.

    How the rest of the world is looking to India now? India under the RSS rule will be beating Pakistan in internal terrorism of the judiciary-minority and Dalits. 31% of the electorate voted for an administration to destroy the peace and prosperity of the whole nation.