Mutiny in Supreme Court of India.
12th January 2012 is a historic day when 4 sitting judges of Supreme Court (J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph) held a press conference and told the nation that they have differences of opinion with master of rolls i.e. Chief Justice of India Sh. Dipak Misra. Justice Chelameswar, when asked “Should CJI be impeached?” his reply was that let nation decide.
Appointment of Judges
India is the only country in the World where Government has almost no control over appointment of judges. Judges appoint judges. Nepotism is shamelessly rampant. Since these are senior most judges, they have more at stake. They are the appointing authority is a collegium alongwith CJI who appoint judges. All media reports overlook this fact.
Aggrieved judges did not mention about the reasons for approaching the press but have only mentioned vaguely about issues. On enquiry it was replied that it they were concerned about listing of a case relating to death of Justice Loya of Maharashtra High Court.
Ordinarily the disputes among judges should be decided by themselves in Full Court meetings. Why could these judges not raise the issue in Full Court Meeting? What about view of remaining 20 or so judges?
Al Gore vs. Bush moment
This drama coincide on announcement of few names of new judges? Is it mere coincidence? Coincidences are overrated. Actually the letter released to press at the bottom mentions the drafting of Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of judges, which for long was in negotiation with government. The fact that left leader has immediately after conference went to meet Justice Chelameswar, has not eased the problem but betrays that perhaps the division is along party lines. It is Al Gore vs. Bush moment for India.
Reply by Chief Justice of India
It was presumed that CJI would soon conduct Press Conference but he has chosen to ignore the whole matter. The murky controversy has only begin. I am waiting with baited breath. Will he spill beans?
Added on 13 Jan, 2018
It appears that something peculiar happens at the fag end of career of a judge. All these 4 judges were appointed at a time when appointments were made by the Central Government and CJI had a minor veto. However today the Supreme Court’s top five judges make the appointments after an opaque deliberations which is never disclosed to public. The term of these 4 judges is coming to an end say in six months to one year. Interesting thing is that Supreme Court Judges or for that matter many other judges become somewhat sour or perky at the fag end of their careers.
Some say Justice Kuldip Singh was too bitter during the last days. I do’nt remember. Justice Markandey Katju was extremely bitter at the end of his career. Many lawyers stopped appearing in his court for fear of humiliation. Some say he still is bitter, but towards the Congress Party, on facebook. There was another Judge of SC perhaps Venkatchallaya J. or something who had passed a dissenting judgement in a two judge bench and later he wanted his judgement to be followed over the other judge. That did not happen.
So is it just the sourness of behaviour? The most popular reason people are suggesting on twitter for the behaviour of 4 judges, is that they are not included on the bench which is to hear 57 year old Ram Janmabhoomi issue. I can only wonder because that matter is to be heard next month. Let’s see what happens.
One grievance of the 4 judges is that important matters are not listed before them. Does it means PILs or matters with political angles? They did not specify nor any one asked them to specify. How come some case can be more important than other? A case may affect large number of people or may involve huge amount of money but equality before law means no one is more important than the other. Is thins not hankering for media attention by being able to decide a case in which media is interested? Well no answer is forth coming from ivory towers.
Mean while all the best to Supreme Court of India to sort out its mess.