Supreme Court judges vs CJI Live: Four justices criticise case allocation, Congress says ‘democracy in danger’

Published on Jan 12 2018 - - India - -

In a first, four sitting judges of the Supreme Court of India held a press conference on Friday saying that the administration of the country’s highest court was not in order. The judges also warned that democracy would not survive in the country unless the institution was preserved.

The conference that highlighted the growing rift between senior justices and the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, was held at Justice Chelameswar’s residence in New Delhi.

Here are the live updates:

3.30pm: The CPI(M) said a thorough investigation was needed to understand how the independence and integrity of judiciary was being affected.

2.34pm: Congress says “democracy is in danger”. The party’s official Twitter handle says: “We are very concerned to hear 4 judges of the Supreme Court expressed concerns about the functioning of the Supreme Court. #DemocracyInDanger,”.

2.20pm: Support and backlash after Supreme Court judges criticise CJI. Read full story here.

2.10pm: Judges had to come before media and take this unprecedented step. This means that there is a serious dispute, either with Chief Justice of India (CJI) or some internal dispute, says PB Sawant, former Supreme Court judge.

1.54pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to law minister RS Prasad about the allegations made by the 4 Supreme Court judges: ANI quoting sources.

1.40pm: Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to address the media at 2 pm, Attorney General to also accompany him, reports ANI news agency.

1.18pm: I think all four judges should be impeached, they have no business to sit there and deliver verdicts anymore. This trade unionism is wrong. Democracy in danger is not for them to say. We have parliament, courts, police functioning: Justice RS Sodhi (Retd)

1.11pm: We are not mentioning details only to avoid embarrassing the institution but note that such departures have already damaged the image of this institution to some extent: Supreme Court judges in letter to CJI.

1.08pm: The four judge’s had written a letter to the CJI two months ago airing their grievance about selective assigning of important cases to judges who are junior to them.

1.05pm: Issue of CBI Judge BH Loya’s death serious, requires bi-party hearing, says Supreme Court. Read story here.

1pm: Four senior Supreme Court judges speak out against CJI Dipak Misra, say need to preserve institution for survival of democracy. Read the full report here.

12.45pm: Cases having far-reaching consequences for the nation were assigned to benches of their preference without any rationale. Not mentioning details only to maintain the integrity of the organisation: Letter written by the 4 judges to CJI.

12.35pm: There is an issue of assignment of a case which is raised in that letter (to CJI): Justice Ranjan Gogoi, on being asked further if it is about CBI Judge BH Loya.

12.30pm: “We are not saying anything,” judges say when asked if they want the CJI to be impeached.

12.29pm: “Nobody is breaking ranks… Don’t put words in our mouths,” Justice Madan Lokur says when asked if it’s a no-confidence vote against CJI.

12.27pm: Construe it as a sign of responsibility to the nation and not protest: Justice Gogoi

12.25pm: We are speaking for ourselves. We didn’t discuss this with anyone else: Justice Chelameswar on being asked if this was a consensus view.

12.20pm: We tried to persuade the CJI to take steps but failed. Unless the institution of Supreme Court is preserved, democracy won’t survive in this country: Justice Chelameswar.

12.17pm: Justice Chelameswar: Don’t want people to say 20 years later that we did not take care of the institution.

12.16pm: “Administration of the Supreme Court is not in order. Time and again as senior members of the court, we thought we hold responsibility to the nation to the institution,” says Justice Chelameswar.

12.10pm: Jasti Chelameswar, Madan Lokur, Kurian Joseph have arrived at the venue. Waiting for Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

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