The Gulf Today - - OPINION - The Hindu

It is a de­vel­op­ment that is both mo­men­tous and un­for­tu­nate. The press con­fer­ence held by four se­nior judges of the Supreme Court has ex­posed an un­prece­dented level of dis­sen­sion in the top ech­e­lons of the ju­di­ciary. It is re­gret­table that the ban­ner of re­volt has been raised in such a pub­lic way against the Chief Jus­tice of In­dia, Di­pak Misra. Re­gard­less of who is right in the cur­rent dis­pute over the ad­min­is­tra­tive func­tion­ing of the CJI, the re­ver­ber­a­tions of what took place on Fri­day will not eas­ily sub­side and will be felt for a long time to come. There was am­ple ev­i­dence over the last few months that the high­est court was in a state of fer­ment; the ques­tion is whether it could have been han­dled in­ter­nally rather than be dragged into the open like this. Al­though Jus­tices J. Che­lameswar, Ran­jan Go­goi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph — the se­nior­most judges af­ter the CJI — did not re­veal too many de­tails, it is clear that their griev­ances are rooted in their per­cep­tion that Jus­tice Misra is mis­us­ing his ad­min­is­tra­tive pow­ers to as­sign cases “se­lec­tively”, dis­re­gard­ing con­ven­tions on al­lo­ca­tion of ju­di­cial work. They have added for good mea­sure that cases with far-reach­ing con­se­quences for the na­tion and the in­sti­tu­tion are be­ing as­signed to ju­nior judges and Benches “of their pref­er­ences”, a sug­ges­tion that is be­ing read by some as an omi­nous ref­er­ence to an un­known ex­ter­nal hand. It ought to be un­der­scored here that the Chief Jus­tice is in­deed the master of the ros­ter; even the four judges con­cede THAT THIS IS A WELL-SET­TLED LAW, ONE THAT IS RELECTED IN A CON­STI­TU­TION Bench judg­ment in 1998.

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