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Let five talk it out, says former CJI

RM Lodha

New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra should meet the four other senior-most judges who had publicly revolted against him on Friday and talk "freely, frankly, openly" to them to sort out matters, former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha has said.

Some in the judicial fraternity have suggested the matter be discussed at a full-court meeting of all the 25 Supreme Court judges, but Justice Lodha disagrees.

"It has to be sorted out among the five judges: there is no need for a full-court meeting. That is my personal view," he told The Telegraph on Saturday.

"The grievances have been raised by the four judges. They have to be addressed and resolved. In a full-court meeting there will be more opinions, which I feel is unnecessary."

The rebel quartet had on Friday insinuated that Justice Misra was assigning cases to handpicked judges to influence the outcomes, and released a letter they had written to the CJI two months ago that they said hadn't been acted on.

Justice Lodha said: "The CJI must discuss the issues with the four judges freely, frankly, openly because the letter does not deal with specific issues. They should be discussed across the table."

He added: "All the four judges have been chief justices of various high courts; they know what the office of the CJI is about, what issues he faces."

Justice Lodha said that Friday's revolt had caused considerable damage to the institution of the judiciary.

"The damage has to be repaired. It's only the five judges who can do it. They are mature and have been in the judiciary for 20 years. Once they sit across the table, a collective decision will come out," he said.

Justice Lodha said that Friday's development had deeply pained him. "It was very bad to hear that four (among the) senior-most judges had called the press to raise their grievances," he said.

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