SC crisis: Bar Council offers mediation, urges political parties to refrain from ‘politicising’ issue
Supreme Court judges’ rebellion: Bar Council of India asks Rahul Gandhi, other parties not to politicise issue
photo; BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra speaking at the press conference (ANI Twitter)
A day after Supreme Court’s four most senior judges mounted a virtual revolt against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, especially over the allocation of cases, the Bar Council of India on Saturday called for an immediate resolution in the judicial crisis, saying they are ready to offer help to solve the matter at the earliest.
Addressing reporters after an hour-long meet on the matter pertaining to the unprecedented presser held by four of the top five senior most judges of the apex court, Manan Kumar Mishra, Bar Council of India chairman informed that they have unanimously decided to form a seven-member delegation of the council who will meet the judges of the top court.
“We have unanimously decided to form a 7-member delegation of the Council who will meet Hon. judges of the Supreme Court. We want that the matter be solved at the earliest,” ANI quoted Mishra as saying.
The seven-page letter written by Justice Jasti Chelameswar and three other senior judges to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, which they made public Friday, had emphasised the row between the Supreme Court and the government over finalising the memorandum of procedure (MoP) for appointments in the higher judiciary. The judges had expressed displeasure over delays in finalising the MoP and observed that the government’s “silence” on the matter meant that a draft sent to it in March 2017 had been accepted. “As far as MOP is concerned, it must be finalised at the earliest in a proper manner. We will write a letter to the government for the same, but it is not that big a matter to be brought in public,” the Bar Council of India chairman added.
Mishra also urged all political parties not to politicise the matter. “We have given an opportunity to Rahul Gandhi and political parties to talk about our judiciary, it’s unfortunate. On behalf of Bar Council of India, I request him and other political parties to not politicise the matter.”
The Bar Council of India (BCI) has formed a seven-member delegation which will attempt to bridge the apparent rift between four senior Supreme Courtjudges and Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra.
The meeting comes in the wake of allegations made by four apex court judges against the CJI at a first of its kind press conference held on Friday.
“We have unanimously decided to form a 7-member delegation of the Council who will meet honourable judges of the Supreme Court. We want that the matter be solved at the earliest,” BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra told mediapersons today.
The BCI chairman criticized the attempts by political leaders to intervene in the judiciary’s internal matter and asked them to refrain from doing so any further.
“On behalf of Bar Council of India, I request political parties to not politicize the matter. We do not want the judiciary’s image to be tarnished. People have unflinching faith in the judiciary,” he appealed.
The four seniormost judges – Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph – alleged that the CJI has been arbitrarily assigning important cases to benches headed by junior SC judges, ignoring senior ones.
Addressing the media on the lawns of Chelameswar’s bungalow on Tughlaq Road, barely 200 metres from the CJI’s residence, the judges said they were forced to hold the press conference because a letter they had sent to the CJI two months ago pointing out mistakes had gone unanswered.
“We tried to persuade the CJI that certain things are not in order. Unfortunately, the efforts failed. We are convinced that unless corrective steps are taken immediately, the judiciary will lose its strong and independent tag, an essential hallmark of a vibrant democracy,” Chelameswar told reporters on Friday.
Supreme Court Bar Association, which also met today to discuss Friday’s news conference by the judges, said they’d unanimously passed two resolutions which they will send to the CJI.
“First, all the differences between the judges and the CJI, be it regarding the roster or MOP, should be considered by the full court and resolved at the earliest, preferably on Monday. Second, in order to restore the credibility of the institution, a system should be introduced wherein all PILs filed in the top court do not go beyond the first five judges of the SC collegium,” said Vikas Singh, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
Attorney general K K Venugopal, who had a meeting with Justice Misra after the joint news conference of the judges, said it “could have been avoided” and expressed hope that the crisis would be “settled” soon.
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