Congress cor­ners Modi on CJ is­sue

Congress asks Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi to ex­plain why his Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Nripen­dra Misra vis­ited em­bat­tled Chief Jus­tice of In­dia (CJI) Di­pak Misra at his res­i­dence

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NEW DELHI: Even as the Bar Coun­cil moved to sort out the pub­lic rift among judges of the Supreme Court, the Congress on Satur­day asked Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi to ex­plain why his Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Nripen­dra Misra vis­ited em­bat­tled Chief Jus­tice of In­dia (CJI) Di­pak Misra at his res­i­dence.

Ac­cord­ing to Supreme Court sources, Di­pak Misra, is likely to meet the four judges on Sun­day. Three of the judges, who are out of Delhi, will re­turn for the meet­ing. The at­tor­ney gen­eral has promised “unity” in the apex court by Mon­day.

Congress leader Ran­deep Sur­je­w­ala tweeted: “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.”

The poser as­sumes sig­nif­i­cance as four judges who revolted against Misra on Fri­day had al­leged that the chief jus­tice had in­ter­fered with the case re­lated to the death of CBI judge Brij Gopal Loya, which was linked to BJP chief Amit Shah.

NEW DELHI: Even as the Bar Coun­cil moved to sort out the pub­lic rift among judges of the Supreme Court, the Congress on Satur­day asked Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi to ex­plain why his Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Nripen­dra Misra vis­ited em­bat­tled Chief Jus­tice of In­dia (CJI) Di­pak Misra at his res­i­dence.

Ac­cord­ing to Supreme Court sources, Di­pak Misra, is likely to meet the four judges on Sun­day. Three of the judges, who are out of Delhi, will re­turn for the meet­ing. The at­tor­ney gen­eral has promised “unity” in the apex court by Mon­day.

Congress leader Ran­deep Sur­je­w­ala tweeted: “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.” The poser as­sumes signiicance as four judges who revolted against Misra on Fri­day had al­leged that the chief jus­tice had in­ter­fered with the case re­lated to the death of CBI judge Brij Gopal Loya, which was linked to BJP chief Amit Shah.

Modi has to ex­plain why Nripen­dra Misra was sent to Di­pak Misra, the Congress said. Nripen­dra Misra said af­ter the visit that it was a “per­sonal” one and he could not meet the CJI.

“On the way to ofice, I stopped by at CJI’S res­i­dence and left my card at gate with Happy New Year greet­ings. I did not meet the CJI,” he said af­ter a na­tional news agency pho­tographed him sit­ting in a car out­side the CJI’S res­i­dence.

Re­ports later emerged say­ing Di­pak Misra in fact re­fused to meet Nripen­dra Misra.

The govern­ment has not re­acted to Fri­day’s de­vel­op­ments though Modi held emer­gency talks with Law Min­is­ter Rav­is­hankar Prasad.

Jus­tices J Che­lameswar, Ran­jan Go­goi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph had told the me­dia that “things are not in order” with what they de­scribed as “the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the Supreme Court.” They ex­pressed con­cerns about the as­sign­ment of sen­si­tive cases and what they called a lack of trans­parency in the process.

Go­goi said: “No­body is break­ing the rank and it is dis­charge of debt to na­tion which we have done.” Congress pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi had de­scribed the points raised by the four judges in a me­dia in­ter­ac­tion on Fri­day as “ex­tremely im­por­tant” and sug­gested that the apex court judges should sit to­gether and sort out dif­fer­ences.

KK Venu­gopal, the at­tor­ney gen­eral, who held a meet­ing with the CJI on Fri­day, said on Satur­day that “unity” will be re­stored in the Supreme Court by Mon­day.

“By Mon­day morn­ing, lit­i­gants and lawyers will see unity among Supreme Court Judges,” he told the me­dia.

“We hope the en­tire is­sue will be set­tled in the larger in­ter­est of the in­sti­tu­tion. Judges are per­sons of wis­dom and states­man­ship and ex­pe­ri­ence. We hope they won’t al­low the is­sue to es­ca­late.”

The Bar Coun­cil of In­dia, which ex­pressed dis­agree­ment with the re­volt, said they are try­ing to re­solve the is­sues. “We just don’t want the dirty linen to be washed in pub­lic. Going to the cam­eras will weaken our sys­tem,” Bar Coun­cil of In­dia chief Manan Ku­mar Mishra said. The coun­cil as­signed a 7-mem­ber team to meet the other judges of the Supreme Court.

At the same time, the Supreme Court Bar As­so­ci­a­tion on Satur­day said al­le­ga­tions raised against the CJI were not sub­stan­tial and the press con­fer­ence was “ill-planned.”

“If they had to come for a press con­fer­ence, they should have said some­thing sub­stan­tial,” Supreme Court Bar As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Vikas Singh the me­dia on Satur­day.

“Just cre­at­ing doubts in the minds of peo­ple will not serve the in­ter­est of the ju­di­ciary.”

The day af­ter four se­nior Supreme Court judges took the un­prece­dented step of ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence to vent their fears over ‘se­lec­tive’ case al­lo­ca­tion by chief jus­tice, one of the ‘rebel’ judges on Satur­day said that there was no con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis in the coun­try fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent. Ad­dress­ing me­dia per­sons here Jus­tice Kurien Joseph ex­pressed conidence that the is­sues raised by them would be re­solved am­i­ca­bly.

“There will be no con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis and there are only prob­lems in pro­ce­dures and that will be cor­rected,” Jus­tice Kurian told re­porters.

Joseph said that they acted solely in the in­ter­est of ju­di­ciary and jus­tice and there was no at­tempt to re­place Chief Jus­tice Deepak Misra.

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