A former Chief Justice of India and two other judges have termed as "unprecedented" the press meet by four senior sitting judges of the Supreme Court complaining over its administration and wished that a full court meeting is called soon.
Former Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan told the media that he was neither for nor against the four judges on what they did. “What is happening is very unfortunate and this should have been avoided.
“The credibility of the judiciary should never be questioned and the turn of events might send a feeling to the common man, that things are not going the right way. A full court should be called soon,” said Balakrishnan.
KT Thomas, another Keralite, who retired as a judge of the apex court said: “now the ball is in the court of Chief Justice (Dipak Misra), who is the best person to resolve the issue”.
“Never before has such a thing happened when judges hold press meets. I did read the letter that the four judges had given and they spoke of some procedural lapses and the CJI has to speak now. A full court should be called,” said Thomas.
Another retired judge of the apex court, K.S. Radhakrishnan, said the seven-page-letter of the judges was “just a general one”.
“The letter should have been specific and clearly stated which was the case and such details. The general norm is that if a particular judge has any interest in any case, it’s not heard by that judge,” said Radhakrishnan.
On Friday, at a hurriedly called press conference at the residence of Justice J. Chelameswar, the No.2 in the apex court hierarchy, the judges said it was with “no pleasure” that they had been “compelled to make public what they were upset with”.
Justice Chelameswar was flanked by Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurien Joseph and Madan B. Lokur.
He said the four of them were convinced that “for the survival of democracy an impartial judge and justices are needed”.
“All of us are convinced that unless this institution is protected and maintain its requirements, democracy will not survive in the country or any country.
“For the survival of a democracy, it is said… the hallmark of a democracy is independent and impartial judges.”
Without disclosing what they were upset about, Justice Chelameswar said a lot of things had been written in the media and it was not a political controversy.
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) will meet on Saturday to discuss the situation.
Vikrant Yadav, the SCBA Secretary, said the judges could have avoided going public with their complaint. “They could have resorted to other mechanisms like the reference of the matter to a Full Court, approached the President or discussed with the Bar.”
He said the damage had been done by the media conference of the four judges and the Bar was also taken aback by it. (IANS)