Acted in interest of judiciary and justice, says Justice Kurian Joseph

SC judges issue: Bar Association to meet today

In December 2014, Supreme Court of India raised serious objection to the "bench hunting" citing that the trend "may eventually end people's faith in the Indian justice system".

Four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court holding an urgent press conference was an unprecedented development in itself.

The Congress was quick to ask PM Modi why he sent Misra to the CJI's residence.

Unless this institution is preserved, "democracy will not survive" in this country, Justice Chelameswar said at the unscheduled press conference, in the first of its kind event in independent India.

The four judges - Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph - warned that India's democracy is under threat because of the way CJI Dipak Misra is running the apex court. "Our efforts to convince the CJI have failed. But 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 said. "We hope they won't allow the issue to escalate", Venugopal said here.

Justice Gogoi, who would be succeeding present CJI in October this year, said that, "it's a discharge of debt to the Nation which we have done". It is with no pleasure we come before you but are compelled to do so.

There was no immediate official response from the CJI office.

A day after the Supreme Court judges mounted a virtual revolt against the country's chief justice in an unprecedented press conference, the Bar Council of India on Saturday form a seven-member team to meet all SC judges from tomorrow to resolve the issue peacefully.

The chief justice did not immediately respond to telephone calls from Reuters to seek comment. "This must be guarded against at all costs", the four judges said on Friday. He also decides on the composition of the bench that will hear a specific case. A powerful "contempt of court" legislation only strengthens its muscle.

They said any departure from the two rules would not only lead to "unpleasant and undesirable consequences of creating doubt in the body politic about the integrity of the institution" but would create "chaos".

Mishra said a Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) will be finalised at the earliest in a proper manner and that a letter will be written to the Government for the same. A system in which judges use secretively the powers vested in them and silence any dissent by brandishing the weapon of contempt of court is never democratic.

She also said "extreme interference" of the Centre in the functioning of the judiciary was "dangerous" for democracy, but did not elaborate.

"Even the matters listed on Monday, January 15, 2018 should also be transferred as per our request", the SCBA resolution said.

"Politics by political parties of the country, outside the judicial purview, trying to drag issues which are internal to the judiciary and politicise that is something which should not be attempted", BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, adding, "The Congress party has attempted the same, it has tried its best to politicise internal issues of judiciary".

After Loya's death, Judge MB Gosavi took over the Sohrabuddin case.

"It is discharge of debt to the Nation which has brought us here", Justice Ranjan Gogoi told the media.

At the same time the well settled principle is that the CJI is the master of the roster.

He appealed to political leaders not to politicise the issue and let the people have faith in the judiciary.

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