Justice Kurian Joseph, one of the four Supreme Court judges who virtually revolted against the chief justice, on Saturday said there was no need for an outside intervention to solve the issue, while the apex court bar body called for a full court consideration of the matter.
Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who was also among the four judges, told PTI in Kolkata, “There is no crisis.” He made the remark on the sidelines of a programme, when asked about the way forward to resolve the crisis in the top court.
Justice Joseph said the matter was not brought to the attention of the President of India as he has no constitutional responsibility over the Supreme Court or the judges of the apex court.
He said there was no constitutional lapse from the part of CJI but convention, practice and procedure has to be followed while carrying out his responsibility.
“We just brought that matter to his attention,” he said at an event near Kochi.
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) expressed “grave concern” over the differences of the four seniormost judges with CJI Dipak Misra.
The SCBA executive committee, which held an emergency meeting, resolved that all public interest litigation (PIL) matters, including the pending PILs, should be either taken up by the CJI or be assigned for adjudication to the four senior judges who were part of the apex court collegium.
Meanwhile, the Bar Council of India (BCI), the apex body of lawyers, formed a seven-member team to meet the judges of the Supreme Court tomorrow to discuss the present crisis in the apex court.
It passed a resolution, saying no political party or leaders should take “undue advantage” of the situation arising out of the press conference by the top court judges.
“An issue was raised. Those concerned have listened to it. Such actions would not occur in future. So (I) believe that the issue has been settled,” Justice Joseph told reporters on the sidelines of the silver jubilee celebrations of the Major Archiespicopal Status of the Syro-Malabar Church in Kakkanad near Kochi.
“There is no need for outside intervention to solve the matter because its is a matter (that) occurred within an institution. Necessary steps would be taken by the institution itself to sort it out,” he said, when asked if an outside intervention was required to solve the matter.
Earlier, he rejected suggestions that they had violated discipline and expressed the hope that their action will bring in more transparency in the administration of the Supreme Court.
“Stood up for justice and judiciary…That is what we said there (in New Delhi) yesterday. Nothing beyond that,” Justice Joseph said in Malayalam when local television news channels approached him at his ancestral home in Kalady near Kochi seeking his reaction on yesterday’s development.
The visuals showed Nripendra Misra driving to the CJI’s official residence here. However, the gates were not opened and after waiting for a while, the principal secretary to the prime minister was seen driving back.
After the visuals were aired, the Congress was quick to criticise the government.
“As PM’s Principal Secretary, Nripendra Misra visits CJI’s residence at 5, Krishna Menon Marg; PM must answer the reason for sending this special messenger to Chief Justice of India,” Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted.
SCBA President and senior advocate Vikas Singh said that a resolution for the full court consideration was passed as it is a mechanism in which deliberations by all the judges of the top court takes place in-house and not in the open.
The SCBA resolution said that matters listed for hearing in the apex court on January 15 “should also be transferred” from other judges to the five seniormost judges who were part of the collegium.
The BCI cautioned the political parties and leaders from taking an “undue advantage” of the situation in the apex court.
It said the four seniormost judges going public with their differences with the CJI had given an opportunity to the political parties and leaders to interfere in the affairs of the judiciary.
Without taking any name, BCI chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra said, “No political party or leader should take an undue advantage of the situation arising out of the press conference of the four senior Supreme Court judges.”
The reference to political parties and leaders assumes significance as Congress president Rahul Gandhi had yesterday addressed the media after the judges went public with their grievances.
At an emergency meeting called by the BCI’s governing body, comprising 17 members, the resolution was passed, saying the seven-member committee would meet all the apex court judges tomorrow.
Mishra later said that the members of the committee would also meet the four judges and, in the end, the CJI.
The BCI said it was of the view that such issues should not be made public.