Four Supreme Court judges had held a press conference, sparking a crisis at the Supreme Court
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, Attorney General KK Venugopal said today. Earlier, routine coffee at the start of the day provoked talk as the staff was asked to leave the lounge where the Chief Justice and other judges usually sit together and chat. Supreme Court lawyer RP Luthra, raising the controversy before the Chief Justice in court, said "there is a conspiracy to destroy the institution and the Chief Justice must initiate action." Justice Misra reportedly smiled but remained silent. People familiar with the matter said for the four "rebel" judges, it was "business as usual"
regardless of the roster of cases, which is decided by the Chief Justice.Here are the highlights on the situation at the Supreme Court:
Bar Council of India Chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra said it was an internal issue and has now been resolved. "As you can see that the matter has been laid to rest and all courts rooms in the Supreme Court are functioning normally," he told reporters today. On Sunday, a team from the Bar Council of India -- the regulatory body of lawyers -- met with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra as part of its efforts to resolve the unprecedented crisis that hit the judiciary after four most senior judges of the Supreme Court took him on in public on Friday.
All the four Supreme Court judges who spoke out against the Chief Justice on Friday, attended the informal meet today at the lounge where judges chat over tea before going to court every day. The dissenting judges -- Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice M B Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph -- had said that cases of "far-reaching consequences" were being allocated without transparency and "sensitive cases were being allotted to junior judges".
Attorney General KK Venugopal said there was an informal meeting in the morning today and "everything has been settled now", adding the courts are functioning. Chief Justice Misra is yet to reach out to Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurien Joseph, who took him on in an extraordinary press conference on Friday last.
Instead of the scheduled time of 10:30 am, the Supreme Court resumed work at 10:40 am today, so there was a bit of anxiety among staff when the court work did not resume at the scheduled time. Justice J Chelameswar has some 60 cases listed before him today.
Over the last few years, before work begins in the Supreme Court at the scheduled time of 10:30 am, the Chief Justice of India and judges chat at the judges lounge over a cup of tea or coffee. Today, the staff was asked to leave the lawn. It is possible the judges may have had an open discussion, people familiar with the matter said.
The four judges -- Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph -- have taken up their respective business on the first working day of the top court after the January 12 press conference, news agency PTI reported.
Regardless of the roster, it will be "business as usual" today at the Supreme Court, the four judges have reportedly told members of the Bar Council. "The judges will hear whatever is assigned to them," a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Supreme Court advocate RP Luthra raises the judges issue in court No. 2 before the Chief Justice's bench. The advocate said there is conspiracy to destroy the institution and Chief Justice Dipak Misra must take action. The Chief Justice listens to him and smiles, and doesn't answer.
Normal work at the Supreme Court began at 10:40 am today. The four judges -- Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice M B Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph -- who last week told the media that "things are not in order" with what they described as "the administration of the Supreme Court", have also resumed work today.
The Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, and the four judges who rank after him were yet to resolve their unprecedented rift as the Supreme Court reopened after the judges went public with their criticism of Justice Misra in an extraordinary press conference on Friday.
Four retired judges -- one from the Supreme Court and three from the High Court -- have written to the Chief Justice of India, asking for a "rational, fair and transparent" process of allocation of cases. In their open letter, the retired judges suggested that till "clear rules and norms" were laid down for the allocation of cases, "all sensitive and important cases including pending ones, be dealt with by a Constitution Bench of the 5 senior most Judges of this Court".
A team from the Bar Council of India -- the regulatory body of lawyers -- had also met with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra as part of its efforts to resolve the unprecedented crisis that hit the judiciary after four most senior judges of the Supreme Court took him on in public on Friday.
Bar Council chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said if the Chief Justice of India has said the matter will be sorted out, we will sort out the matter and there should be no point of raising this matter further, news agency ANI reported. "I met 14 judges including the Chief Justice and they all said everything is smooth... Today onwards work will be started progressively," he said, ANI reported.
The dissenting judges -- Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice M B Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph -- had said that cases of "far-reaching consequences" were being allocated without transparency and "sensitive cases were being allotted to junior judges".
The distribution of cases by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had been flagged by the four most senior judges of the Supreme Court on Friday last at a press conference, uncovering a rift within the judiciary that had sent shock waves through the nation.
Business would be as usual in the country's top court, say judges to the Bar Council members. The Supreme Court is resuming work today after two days of closed holidays. Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has also assures the Bar Council panel that issues would be sorted out soon.