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In an unprecedented move, four of the senior most judges of the Supreme Court of India, barring Chief Justice Dipak Misra, have risen to hold a press conference at the residence of Justice Jasti Chelameswar.
Justices Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph rose from their respective benches at approximately 11:15 am today, leaving lawyers and litigants speculating the reasons for the same. It later came to light that the four Collegium members were holding a press conference at the residence of Justice Chelameswar at 4, Tughlaq Road.
There has been enough evidence in the past to suggest a rift in the Collegium headed by CJI Misra. Reports came out in December that Justices Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph – the fourth and fifth seniormost judges of the apex court – had written letters to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra expressing their reservations against the publication of Collegium resolutions.
Here is a video of Justice Gogoi summing up the reason for the press conference this morning.
Watch this space for live updates.
As evidenced by today’s proceedings, the main issue appears to be the listing of the petition filed calling for an investigation into the death of Special CBI judge BH Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin case.
In a letter written to Chief Justice Misra, the four judges express their “great anguish and concern” regarding certain judicial orders passed by the Court. As regards the practice of the Chief Justice being the master of the roster, the letter states,
“The convention of recognizing the privilege of the Chief Justice to form the roster and assign cases to different members/benches of the Court is a convention devised for a disciplined and efficient transaction of business of the Court, but not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues. It is too well settled in the jurisprudence of the country that the Chief Justice is only the first among the equals – nothing more or nothing less…”