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Acted in interest of judiciary, justice: Kurian Joseph

Acted in interest of judiciary, justice: Kurian Joseph

"This will have severe repercussions on judiciary", said Soli Sorabjee, India's former attorney general and considered one of the finest judicial minds in the country.

The Supreme Court has 25 judges appointed by India's president, including the chief justice, and each retires at the age of 65, the court says on its website.

"This is what all of us at the bar want and I am sure that the judges, including the CJI, will rise to the occasion", he said, but declined to come out with details of his deliberations with the CJI and others. This was not against anyone nor are we having anything personal. However, the four judges pointed out at the press conference that a big crisis has been created with the Chief Justice of India taking unilateral decisions without taking into confidence even senior judges of the collegium.

He, however, did not elaborate. "Nothing beyond that", Justice Joseph said in Malayam.

Though who are "they" -a line which also appears in the letter written to CJI by judges two months back - is something the four eminent jurists needs to clarify, the immediate trigger for the revolt is apparently assigning a petition in the case regarding Mumbai Judge BH Loya death to a bench of a junior judge. Justice Joseph said the judges had acted only to "enhance the trust of the people in judiciary". "It was done in such a way that it raised further doubt about the integrity of the institution", he said. "What they did is correct...they showed that liberal value is still left in the judiciary, they must have thought of all the abuses and comments arising from their action", said one of the judges posted in a lower court in Uttar Pradesh. It now comprises the chief justice and 24 other senior judges, with six vacancies. "We have already got appointment from 50 percent of the SC judges", said BCI chairman Manan Mishra. "There will be a total anarchy in the system", said the judge from Bihar.

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"Let's hope everything works out very well", he told reporters a day after the four judges questioned "selective" case allocation and certain judicial orders in an unprecedented press conference. Misra is known to have links with RSS and BJP, and he has been assigning political cases, like that of Amit Shah, to the benches on an arbitrary basis, making the accused's escape easy.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi held consultations with Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad over the unexpected turn of events, opposition Congress party said it was pained at the outburst of the members of the collegium. Justice Misra had become CJI August 28, 2017 and is due to retire October 2 this year.

The four judges in the order of seniority - Justice Jasti Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Kurien Joseph - at a Press conference held at 4, Tughlaq Road, the official residence of Justice Chelameswar, unanimously expressed their angst about how the CJI refused to act on their letter expressing these concerns addressed to him nearly two months ago. But the meeting has not yet taken place since Gogoi, Joseph and Lokur have flown out of the capital for other engagements, and are unlikely to return until late Sunday evening.

Sinha, who finds himself at variance with his party's stand and policies, said fear stopped people from speaking out.

A notice issued on Saturday by the Supreme Court said the Bench was not sitting as Justice Shantanagoudar would not be available.

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