Day before yesterday, four senior most judges of Supreme Court of India went public with their grievances against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. The four judges Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph addressed a press Conference claiming that all is not well with way India’s apex court is functioning these days. They claimed that irrespective of them repeatedly raising their concerns with the Chief justice himself, their efforts didn’t result in any progress. Finally they decided to voice their complaints publicly.
Notably, the Union Government quickly made it clear that they will not be intervening in the issue and the Judiciary must sort out this matter on its own.
The events are unfortunate. They are unfortunate any way you look at them. If the four judges are correct about the Chief Justice and the functioning of the Supreme Court of India, then it is a big setback for people. Like it or not, people put Supreme Court at a very high pedestal and they want it to function that way. If the judges are wrong, then it is equally unfortunate. Because it’s unprecedented for Supreme Court Judges go public with their grievances.
Overall, the events which took place last week looked bad and quite out of place. If judges that senior having a say in the appointment of senior judges raise such serious concerns about a fellow judge, then they simply strengthen the case for an NJAC for senior judicial appointments. Something which is least desired, when one starts assessing NJAC from the perspectives of the independence of Judiciary (independence from executive) and the rights of people. Remember, if Judiciary fails to uphold its reputation and bring its house to order, it offers an excuse to the Executive to intervene in its workings. So don’t get surprised, NJAC resurfaces in TV news channel debates in coming days.