New Delhi: Congress party on Friday expressed grave concerns over the credibility of the Indian judiciary after four senior Supreme Court judges held a press conference and openly complained against the functioning of the apex court.
The four rebel Supreme Court judges – Justice Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Kurien Joseph – criticised Chief Justice Dipak Misra, saying that events in the Supreme Court had left them with no choice but to address their concerns before the nation.
Reacting to the four judges’ ”unprecedented” and “extraordinary” press conference – the first in the history of Indian judiciary ever – the Congress said in a tweet that the development implies that “democracy was in danger”.
“We are very concerned to hear 4 judges of the Supreme Court expressed concerns about the functioning of the Supreme Court. #DemocracyInDanger,” the Congress said in a tweet on its official Twitter handle.
This came even as senior lawyers and Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Manish Tewari arrived at the residence of party president Rahul Gandhi to brief him about the fast-paced developments.
In an unprecedented press conference earlier this morning, the four judges said that “things are not in order” at the Supreme Court. Addressing the media, the senior-most judges launched a sharp attack on Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra for “ignoring the concerns voiced by them”.
“Administration of the Supreme Court is not in order. Many things less than desirable have happened in the last few months. We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation,” Justice Chelameswar said.
Justice J Chelameshwar said that the four judges were compelled to act in this way because Chief Justice Mishra could not be persuaded to mend the ways of the court.
“We met CJI this morning. We collectively tried to persuade CJI that certain things aren’t in order, so take some remedial measures, but unfortunately, our efforts failed,” said Justice Chelameswar.
“The four of us gave a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) some months ago,” the justices revealed.
In a letter released subsequently, they highlighted that rules are often not followed when cases are being allocated and that departure from rules will hurt the integrity of the top court.
They also accused that cases with far-reaching consequences are being assigned selectively.
Asked if they want the CJI to be impeached, the judges said that they are not implying it and that it is for the nation to decide.
Justice J Chelameswar, however, added that democracy comes under threat if judiciary loses its freedom.
Moments after their press conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi summoned Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to discuss the matter at hand.
Their allegations evoked sharp reactions from a divided legal fraternity of the country with some supporting their cause and others chiding them for immature and childish behaviour.