SC judges row has been resolved: Bar Council of India

The Bar Council of India (BCI) today said the crisis, which had erupted after four top Supreme Court judges came out openly against allocation of cases by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, has been resolved internally and the “story is over now”.

BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, who led a seven-member delegation and held hectic parleys with 15 judges including the CJI yesterday, said the controversial issues flagged by the four revolting judges were “internal issues of the family” which have been resolved internally.

“Kahani khatam ho gaya (the story is over now)”, he said even as he cautioned political parties and their leaders not to take undue mileage from the January 12 press conference by the four judges to raise problems, including the assigning of cases, saying the matter should not be politicised.

“We met around 15 judges yesterday and all of them said that BCI has done a very good job and this mediation was required. They have now resolved the issue.

“BCI has been successful in its effort. No outside interference was required in the matter and even we will not impose any condition on them and they themselves would solve their differences over a cup of tea,” he told reporters here.

At a press conference on January 12, the four judges — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — had flagged some issues, including assigning of cases in the apex court and judicial appointments, and said there were certain problems afflicting the country’s highest court.

“Everything will be sorted out and they have resolved whatever issues are there. We are expecting that everything will be settled and they will evolve an in-house mechanism,” Mishra.

He also referred to Attorney General’s K K Venugopal’s statement in which he is reported to have said that the issue has been resolved.

“They have resolved the issue and you can see that the courts are functioning smoothly and they are discharging their duties. There is nothing left”, Mishra said.

Responding to a question whether an investigation should be ordered on allegations of the senior most judges, Mishra said the Bar body was not concerned with this and there is no question of any probe.

He also said the death of special CBI judge B H Loya, who was trying the Sohrabudin Sheikh fake encounter case, should not be raked up as his family members have made their stand clear and want no more harassment.

“There is no question of any probe (into points raised by four judges in the presser). If somebody tries to bring Justice Loya’s issue then you can see their family members have already said there is no need for any investigation and they were being unnecessary harassed.

“We are only concerned with smooth functioning of this institution. We have no right to say and decide whether there should be a Code of Conduct,” he said.

On the issue of bringing more clarity in the functioning of the top court, the BCI Chairman said the system was working properly and “there was transparency”.

“They have evolved a formula and while rejecting a name for elevation they are assigning the reason and it is there on the Supreme Court website. What more transparency do you want,” he said.

He said all the four top judges have resolved the differences and were attending the court today.

To a question whether any action should be taken against them for criticising the Chief Justice of India, he said there is no need of any action and they “are all honest and men of integrity.”

Yesterday, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had met a seven-member delegation of the BCI and Supreme Court Bar Association President Vikas Singh and assured them that the crisis would be sorted out soon and congeniality would prevail.

Source : PTI

SC crisis: 4 retired judges write open letter to CJI

Four retired judges, including an ex-Supreme Court judge, today wrote an open letter to the chief justice of India, saying they agree with the issues raised by the four apex court judges over allocation of cases and the crisis needs to be resolved “within the judiciary”.

The letter by former apex court judge P B Sawant, ex- chief justice of Delhi High Court A P Shah, former Madras High Court judge K Chandru and ex-Bombay High Court judge H Suresh was given to the media. It also went viral on social media.

Justice Shah confirmed having written an open letter along with the other retired judges and told PTI, “We have written the open letter which the other judges named in the letter have also consented to.”

He said that the view expressed by the retired judges is “quite similar to the views of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) that till this crisis is resolved, the important matters should be listed before a five-judge Constitution bench of senior judges”.

Justice Shah said that earlier he was not sure about the consent given by the other three judges and, therefore, he initially denied having written any letter but now all of them have given consent to it.

The letter quoted the judges as having said, “The four senior puisne Judges of the Supreme Court have brought to light a serious issue regarding the manner of allocation of cases, particularly sensitive cases, to various benches of the Supreme Court.

“They have expressed a grave concern that cases are not being allocated in a proper manner and are being allocated arbitrarily to particular designated benches, often headed by junior judges, in an arbitrary manner. This is having a very deleterious effect on the administration of justice and the rule of law.”

The four retired judges said that they agree with the four judges of top court that though the CJI is the master of roster and can designate benches for allocation of work but this does not mean that it can be done in an “arbitrary manner” such that, “sensitive and important cases” are sent to “hand-picked benches” of junior judges by the chief justice.

“This issue needs to be resolved and clear rules and norms must be laid down for allocation of benches and distribution of cases, which are rational, fair and transparent,” they said, adding that this must be done “immediately to restore public confidence” in the judiciary and in the Supreme Court.

The letter further said that “however till that is done, it is important that all sensitive and important cases including pending ones, be dealt with by a Constitution bench of the five seniormost judges of this Court”.

It added, “Only such measures would assure the people that the Supreme Court is functioning in a fair and transparent manner and that the power of the Chief Justice as master of roster is not being misused to achieve a particular result in important and sensitive cases. We, therefore, urge you to take immediate steps in this regard.

 

Source : PTI

BCI panel discusses SC crisis with Justice Arun Mishra

A Bar Council of India panel today met Supreme Court judge Arun Mishra and discussed the crisis in the apex judiciary.

Justice Mishra was assigned by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra a PIL relating to the death of special CBI judge B H Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

Four senior Supreme Court judges — J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — had on Friday mounted a virtual revolt against the CJI at a press meet here, raising questions on “selective” case allocation and certain judicial orders, sending shockwaves across the judiciary and polity.

The panel led by BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra arrived at Justice Mishra’s residence at around 2 p.m. and discussed the crisis during a short meeting.

The BCI delegation had earlier met justices Chelameswar, R K Agrawal, A M Khanwilkar and other top court judges and is likely to meet Chief Justice Misra.

Two top court judges — justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao — also met Justice Chelameswar, who had led the four judges in the unprecedented press conference on Friday at his official residence here, sources said.

The meeting of these judges took place soon after the seven-member delegation of the BCI, the regulatory body of lawyers, met Justice Chelameswar at his residence to discuss the crisis that has hit the judiciary.

A BCI source said that the BCI delegation’s meetings with the judges will be on till late in the evening as some of the judges are away from Delhi.

SC crisis: BCI delegation meeting SC judges

A Bar Council of India delegation led by its chairman Manan Kumar Mishra is meeting Supreme Court judges today to discuss the unprecedented crisis that has hit the judiciary.

According to sources, the seven-member delegation has already met some of the judges of the top court and are scheduled to meet remaining judges including Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra during the course of the day.

The BCI had yesterday formed a seven member delegation to meet and discuss with the apex court judges issues arising out of the press conference by the four senior-most judges of the top court.

On January 12, four senior-most judges of the Supreme court — justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — had mounted a virtual revolt against the CJI at a press meet in Delhi on Friday raising litany of problems including assignment of cases.