Four senior judges open rift with India's chief justice

Four senior judges open rift with India's chief justice

Four senior judges open rift with India's chief justice

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".

Efforts to alert the Chief Justice that certain things were not in order and that remedial measures needed to be taken had failed, prompting the news conference, Chelameswar said. "The non-finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure has left almost 40 per cent of the sanctioned posts of the judges vacant, leading to delay in justice delivery", the statement said.

"I think we, the people of India, have a right to know what is going on within the judiciary and I welcome this", she said.

The chief justice is responsible for the roster.

When reporters asked about the issues, the top court judges said they included "allocation of cases by CJI Dipak Misra". If past events are any guide, the government will unlikely get drawn into this, citing the judiciary's independence.

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All the judges dismissed questions on whether they have broken ranks. We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. The four judges had tried to meet the CJI to prevail upon him to take corrective action and not assign cases arbitrarily but in vain. It now comprises the chief justice and 24 other senior judges, with six vacancies.

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". Detailed discussions were held by the Collegium of five judges (including yourself) and the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) was finalised and sent by then Chief Justice of India to the Government of India in March 2017. "Democracy can not survive in this or in any country", said the judges while accusing the CJI of assigning cases selectively to benches of preference.

The Indian supreme court is larger than its United Kingdom or U.S. counterparts, accommodating up to 31 members whose ranks frequently change as judges choose to leave or reach the mandatory retirement age of 65.

The decision of four of the senior most judges to come out publicly in their criticism of the functioning of the apex court only confirms the trouble that has been slowly brewing within the body responsible for making judicial appointments.

The court was hearing two separate pleas seeking an independent probe into the death of judge Loya, who presided over the case in connection with the alleged staged encounter of suspected extortionist Sohrabuddin Sheikh.

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The Supreme Court previous year rejected a government move to have representatives in the group handling appointments and transfers of judges to the highest courts.

Earlier in the day, the four judges of the Supreme Court said that they have discharged a debt to the nation by issuing an appeal to the nation to save the institution (Supreme Court). "This issue has damaged the image of judiciary and affected the confidence of the public in judiciary", he said.

"Unless this institution is preserved, democracy will not survive in this country", Justice Chelameswar said, adding that it was "extremely painful" to hold the press conference in such a manner.

█ █ The judiciary is the sanctuary of the common man.

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