Chief Justice meets SC judges, AG says ‘storm’ is over

Attorney General K K Venugopal. Image credit: The Indian Express

–TMC Desk

New Delhi, Jan 15: A semblance of normalcy marked the functioning of the Supreme Court on Monday after the Chief Justice and all other judges, including those who revolted against him on Friday, had an informal meeting and discussed issues raised by the four rebel judges.

No details of what was discussed at the closed-door meeting were available as all judges, including the four, attended to their work after that. There was no word on whether an agreement was reached on the issues raised by the judges led by Justice J. Chelameswar on allocation of work before various benches of the court and more.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and the Bar Council President, however, claimed that the crisis in the country’s top court “has been settled”.

“The full court met. It seems that everything is settled. Everything is hunky-dory,” the Attorney General told the media.

“It was an informal meeting in the morning (before the commencement of the court). Now everything has been settled,” Venugopal said, describing the development since January 12 as “a storm in a tea cup”.

Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said the issues raised by four dissenting top judges of the Supreme Court had been resolved and that the judiciary did not want any political party to take advantage of the situation.

“As you can see, the matter has been laid to rest and all court rooms in the Supreme Court are functioning normally,” Mishra said.

An unprecedented crisis engulfed the Supreme Court after the four judges — Justices Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph — on Friday took on the Chief Justice over allocation of cases, saying the administration of the court was not in order.

Every day before the commencement of court work at 10.30 a.m., all the judges have tea together. On Monday, when judges came for the customary tea, the top court staff attending to judges in the lounge were asked to leave.

Thereafter, in an informal chat, the issues raised by the four judges at a press conference were talked over and “resolved”, a source said.

As a consequence of this meeting, the commencement of top court working on Monday was delayed by 10 minutes.

The benches in court number two, three, four and five headed by Justice Chelameswar, Justice Gogoi, Justice Lokur and Justice Joseph respectively attended to their business as usual.

Significantly, lawyer R.P. Luthra, in a mention before the court number one headed by Justice Misra, said there was a conspiracy to destroy the institution and urged the Chief Justice to take action against the four judges.

The Chief Justice smiled and remained silent.

The BCI President said a Bar delegation met senior judges on Sunday and requested them to sort out the differences among themselves.

“Now it appears this morning they all met and resolved it. Now it (the Supreme Court) is functioning smoothly.”

However, he declined to comment on the issues related to Justice B.H. Loya’s death and other issues raised by the four senior most judges in their Friday conference.

“It is for the Supreme Court to decide the Judge Loya matter, not for the BCI to comment on it. Our sole concern was to ensure independence of the judiciary,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena, an ally of the BJP, on Monday said the nation must back the four judges who have spoken up boldly in favour of justice and national interest.

In an editorial in the party mouthpieces Saamana and Dopahar Ka Saamana, the Sena said with the four judges coming out in the open, the secrets of the apex court had been exposed and now “everybody can breathe freely”.

The Sena said it feared that the four judges may now be at the receiving end for highlighting the truth before the country.

“People who once accused Indira Gandhi of interfering with the judiciary are in power now and their actions vis-a-vis Constitutional posts seem to suggest that Indira Gandhi was an ‘extremely humane and democratic’ leader,” the Sena pointed out.


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