Democracy At Stake, Things Not In Order: 4 Supreme Court Judges

In the unprecedented press conference, Justice J Chelameswar, who is the Supreme Court's second-most senior judge after the Chief Justice, said: "We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. Our efforts have failed in convincing the Chief Justice to take steps to protect the institution."

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In a first in India, four senior judges of the Supreme Court have gone public against the Chief Justice,  telling the media that the administration of the top court “has not been in order”.

In the unprecedented press conference, Justice J Chelameswar, who is the top court’s second-most senior judge after the Chief Justice, said: “We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. Our efforts have failed in convincing the Chief Justice to take steps to protect the institution.”

Justice Chelameswar acknowledged that it was “an extraordinary event” in the history of any nation. “There is no pleasure in this, we were compelled to do this, the administration of the Supreme Court is not in order,” said the senior judge.

The other three judges by his side were Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Kurien Joseph. All four had written to the Chief Justice earlier, Justice Chelameswar said.

It is very unusual for serving Supreme Court judges to interact with the media.

In December, Justice Chelameswar clashed with the Chief Justice over a case he was hearing. The Chief Justice re-allocated the case; four other judges agreed with him in declaring that he alone is the “master of the roster” which means he has the sole authority to decide who hears what case.

The case that was reallocated involved alleged corruption within the judiciary and was based on bribes paid by a medical college in Lucknow that was seeking to reverse its blacklisting by the government.

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