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Rebels with a cause list: 4 Supreme Court judges pick flaws in CJI's working

Justice J. Chelameswar along with justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph at the press conference in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Picture

New Delhi, Jan. 12 (PTI): Four senior judges of the Supreme Court on Friday called a press conference to announce that the situation in the top court was not in order and many “less than desirable” things have taken place.

Unless this institution is preserved, “democracy will not survive” in India, the four judges said at a news conference, the first of its kind ever held by sitting judges of the apex court.

Justice J Chelameswar, 64, the second senior judge after Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, said “sometimes administration of the Supreme Court is not in order and many things which are less than desirable have happened in the last few months”.

Chelameswar, who was accompanied by Justices Ranjan Gogoi, M.B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph at the press conference held on the lawns of his residence, said they had met the Chief Justice earlier in the day and “raised issues affecting the institution”.

”Unless this institution is preserved, democracy will not survive in this country,” Justice Chelameswar said.

It was “extremely painful” to hold press conference in such a manner, he said.

”This is not a political meeting,” he said, adding that the judges were releasing a letter detailing their concerns.

He said all the four judges “failed to persuade CJI that certain things are not in order and therefore you should take remedial measures. Unfortunately our efforts failed.

”And all four of us are convinced that democracy is at stake and many things have happened in recent past,” he said.

Asked what these issues were, he said they included the ”allocation of cases by CJI”.

The remarks assume significance as the Supreme Court today took up for consideration the issue of allegedly mysterious death of judge B.H. Loya of a special course hearing the case filed by the CBI in the sensitive Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

Justice Chelameswar said, “we owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. Our efforts have failed in convincing CJI to take steps to protect the institution.”

In reply to a question, Justice Gogoi said “nobody is breaking ranks and it is discharge of debt to nation which we have done.”

All the judges dismissed questions on whether they have broken ranks and said that they will start doing things that they do.

Justice Gogoi, who would be succeeding Misra in October, said that, “it's a discharge of debt to the nation which we have done.”

Asked whether they wanted the Chief Justice to be impeached, Justice Chelameswar said “don't try to put words in my mouth”. 

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