In an unprecedented move, four sitting judges of the Supreme Court – Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph – held a press conference today to say that the independence of the judiciary was in danger in the country.
“We tried to collectively persuade the Chief Justice that certain things are not in order and therefore he should take remedial measures. Unfortunately our efforts failed. Four of us are convinced that unless this institution is preserved and maintains its equanimity, democracy will not survive in this country or any country,” Justice J Chelameswar, who is the second-most senior judge after the Chief Justice, said during the press conference.
“The hallmark of good democracy is independence and impartiality of the judges,” he added.
Justice Chelameswar acknowledged that it was “an extraordinary event” in the history of any nation but said they were compelled to do this as the administration of the Supreme Court was not in order.
He said there was an immediate need to preserve the judiciary system in the country if democracy has to be protected.
“Four of us are convinced, the democracy will not survive. We met CJI this morning, with specific request but we could not convince him. We had no choice but to communicate to the nation to take care of the institution. We place it before people of country,” Justice Gogoi said during the press conference.
In response to a question on whether the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra should be impeached, Justice Chelameshwar said that it was for the nation to decide.
Prior to addressing the press conference, the four siting judges submitted a letter to the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. The letter, among others, stated, “There have been instances where case having far-reaching consequences for the Nation and the institution have been assigned by the Chief Justice of this court selectively to the benches “of their preference” without any rationale basis for such assignment. This must be guarded against at all costs.”
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is expected to meet Attorney General KK Venugopal shortly.