Judge Loya's death is a 'serious issue'

Justice Kurian Joseph

Justice Kurian Joseph

Earlier, in an unprecedented move and a first in independent India's history, four Supreme Court judges criticised Chief Justice Misra, saying that events in the Supreme Court had left them with no choice but to address their concerns before the nation.

In the letter, they mentioned instances of cases with "far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution" that were selectively assigned by the chief justice without any rational "basis for such assignment". "The judge is symbolic here, it is an institution", he said.

Khanna paid the price for his dissent when he was superseded by justice MH Beg for the post of Chief Justice by the Indira Gandhi government.

Asked if the chief justice should be impeached, Chelameswar said, "That's for the nation to decide".

There are a string of such cases that could be called into question, the latest being the case seeking a probe into the death of Maharashtra judge Brijgopal Loya.

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"Four of us have been telling the CJI Dipak Misra to correct his ways for the sake of the institution". The same thing happened this morning when the four of us went to meet the CJI with a specific request, but unfortunately we couldn't convince him that we are right and appropriate action needs to be taken.

Arun Mishra had served 15 years as a high court judge before being elevated to the Supreme Court in July 2014.

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". 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. "I think Congress should know that", Mr Patra said.

More than a week before the four judges of the apex court took to the press to say that the court's administration needed an overhaul, parliamentarians across political parties came together in the lower house to criticise the judiciary for interfering in the political domain.

In democracy, people have lost faith in Legislature and Executive, and their faith lies only in Judiciary now, he said.

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Subsequent to this, detailed discussions were held by the collegium of five judges, including CJI, and the MoP was finalised and sent by the then CJI to the government in March 2017.

The party appealed that the Full Court of the Supreme Court take up the issues raised by the four judges and find solutions.

Chelameswar said the four judges met with Misra on Friday and demanded changes, but he did not agree with them. The upcoming days will determine what kind of institution the Supreme Court wants to be, and how history will judge the four judges who chose to stand for what they believed in.

Though this aspect has been acknowledged by the judges in their dissenting letter, it is also pointed out that it has been a convention of the Court to list important matters before benches comprising senior judges.

He further said the judiciary must be respected, must be kept independent and made the strongest pillar of democracy. From now on every common man could look at all judicial order with suspicion.

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