Judiciary independent, will sort itself out: Govt
The reaction from the Narendra Modi government was guarded on Friday on the four Supreme Court judges claiming that the situation in the apex court was “not in order”. The government indicated it would not intervene in the matter, and it hoped the judiciary would resolve the matter itself.
While Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad didn’t comment on the issue, Minister of State P P Chaudhury said: “Our judiciary is reputed all over the world, is independent and will sort out the matter itself.” Senior government sources said as there were no reference points, neither in India nor internationally, the executive would prefer to wait and watch. Sources also said the apex court should settle the issue at the earliest as the faith of the people in the judiciary was at stake. Government sources also conceded all the four judges were known for their credibility and integrity.
The four — J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — had at a joint press conference said the situation in the top court was “not in order” and many “less than desirable” things have taken place.
Later in the day, Attorney General K K Venugopal said he believed the SC judges would resolve the issue among themselves on Saturday. Chief Justice Dipak Misra might meet all Supreme Court judges on Saturday, sources said.
The Congress and other opposition parties expressed concern and asked Chief Justice Mishra and the Centre to take remedial steps. Some Opposition leaders awaited the lead of the Congress on whether they should collectively move a motion for impeachment of the chief justice. But the Congress ruled that option out.
After the development, Congress President Rahul Gandhi met senior party leaders, including former Union ministers and advocates P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Manish Tewari and Vivek Tankha. After the meeting, he said that “the four SC judges have raised extremely important points and spoke about threat to democracy, which needs to be looked into”. He also demanded a high-level SC-monitored investigation into the circumstances of judge B H Loya’s death. He was the trial judge in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.
A Congress statement said it was “deeply
perturbed” at the developments. The nonfinalisation of the memorandum of procedure, an issue raised by the four judges, “has left nearly 40 per cent of the sanctioned posts of the judges vacant, leading to delay in justice delivery.”
The Congress said the full court of the SC should take up the issues raised by the four judges. “In the matter of assignment of cases, the established conventions and traditions of the courts must be followed and the selective assignment of the cases must be stopped forthwith.” The party
said cases that have far-reaching implications to society and governance must be heard in accordance with well-established conventions by the senior most judges of the Supreme Court.
BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy said when such judges come out to do a press conference, it was necessary to take them seriously rather than finding faults. Swamy said the prime minister should take an initiative and contact the chief justice and the four judges to resolve the situation through consultation.