All Settled, Says Centre's Lawyer On Top Court Judges' Rift: 10 Facts


Four Senior judges went public with their criticism of Justice Misra in press conference on Friday.

New Delhi:  The rift between the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, and the four Supreme Court judges who took him on publicly, has been settled in an informal meeting over tea, Attorney General KK Venugopal said today. The five top judges reportedly spoke after all staff was ordered out of a lounge where judges chat before going to court every day. Later, the Chief Justice "smiled but didn't answer" when the rebellion of Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurien Joseph was raised in his courtroom.
Here is your 10-point cheat sheet to this big story:
  1. "There was an informal meeting in the morning. Now everything has been settled, courts are functioning," Mr Venugopal told NDTV.
  2. The Bar Council of India later said its members had met 15 judges of the Supreme Court and they had all assured that the crisis had been resolved. "Kahani khatam ho gaya (the story is now over)," Bar Council Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said.
  3. On Friday, the four judges stunned the nation as they held a press conference at the house of Justice Chelameswar, who is the most senior judge in the country after Justice Misra, and declared that the administration of the Supreme Court "is not in order".
  4. The judges spoke out against the allocation of sensitive cases to junior judges and said without an independent judiciary, "democracy wouldn't survive".
  5. As the Supreme Court began work this morning, lawyer RP Luthra raised the controversy before the Chief Justice and said in court, "there is a conspiracy to destroy the institution and the Chief Justice must initiate action." Justice Misra reportedly smiled but remained silent.
  6. A case involving RP Luthra was among those that the rebel judges had referred to while arguing about the assigning of cases "without any rationale".
  7. After the chat with the Chief Justice, the four judges went about "business as usual", said sources. Justice Chelameswar has around 60 cases listed today.
  8. On Sunday, senior lawyers of the Supreme Court who met the Chief Justice said he had assured that he would "ensure there was congeniality in the top court at the earliest". Vikas Singh, the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, handed over a resolution to Justice Misra, which appeared to support the four judges and said all public interest litigation should be taken up by senior judges.
  9. Among the cases that the four lawyers had taken up with the Chief Justice over allocation to a junior judge was that of judge BH Loya's death in 2014, months after he took over a case in which BJP president Amit Shah was an accused. The judges disapproved of the bench that had been assigned to decide on a petition asking for an investigation into the death.
  10. Judge Loya's family had voiced suspicion that his death was not natural, but yesterday, his son Anuj Loya held a press conference to say his family had "no suspicions" now and the death was being "politicised."

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Informal meeting in the morning, said Attorney General KK Venugopal
Bar Council of India said crisis had been resolved
Four judges said "democracy wouldn't survive" sans independent judiciary

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