SUPREME COURT

SC crisis: Govt not to intervene; Oppn sees 'danger'

PTI1_12_2018_000151A In an unprecedented move, four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court called a press conference and said that the situation in the apex court was "not in order" | PTI

The government on Friday made it clear that it was not going to intervene in the issue of four seniormost judges of the Supreme Court dubbing the situation in the top court as "not in order" at a press conference, saying the judiciary would resolve the matter itself.

"Our judiciary is reputed all over the world, is independent and will sort out the matter itself," Minister of State for Law P.P. Chaudhury said.

Meanwhile, highly placed sources in the government said that since it was an internal matter of the judiciary, the government had no say in it and did not wish to interfere.

But, at the same time, they said that the apex court should settle the issue at the earliest as the faith of the people in the judiciary was at stake.

In an unprecedented move, four seniormost judges of the Supreme Court on Friday called a press conference and said that the situation in the apex court was "not in order" and many "less than desirable" things had taken place.

The second seniormost judge after the chief justice of India, Justice J Chelameswar, said, "Sometimes, the administration of the Supreme Court is not in order and many things which are less than desirable have happened in the last few months."

The other judges present at the press conference were justices Ranjan Gogoi, M.B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph.

Sources in the law ministry said Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had not briefed the prime minister in this regard. 

Meanwhile, the Congress said democracy was in 'danger'. "We are very concerned to hear 4 judges of the Supreme Court expressed concerns about the functioning of the Supreme Court. #DemocracyInDanger," the Congress' official Twitter handle said.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said a thorough investigation was required to understand how the independence and integrity of the judiciary was getting "affected", after the judges said many "less than desirable" things had taken place in the apex court.

He said it was necessary for the three wings of democracy to ensure that whatever issues had been raised were corrected.

"This merits a thorough, proper investigation and understanding of how independence and integrity of judiciary is being interfered or is being affected, which is impermissible in a secular democratic republic," Yechury said.

"It is necessary for all three wings of our democracy—the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary—to ensure that whatever has been raised is corrected," he added.

Former Union law minister and Congress leader Ashwani Kumar said it was a "sad day" in the history of India that judges were "compelled" to bring in public domain the happenings in the top court.

He also called for a collective resolve to address the issues flagged by the judges "instead of finding fault with what they have said".

"The expressed and implicit anguish in the exceptional and extraordinary step take by the judges has a message in itself. A time has come for the nation to debate the larger issues that squarely arise from the communication released by the judges to the press.

"...I hope that the honourable CJI and all those concerned will take urgent remedial measures," the Congress leader said.

Former Rajya Sabha member Sharad Yadav called it a "dark day" for democracy, saying for the first time sitting SC judges had to speak before the media to highlight complaints.

"It is a dark day for democracy that even the judges are working under pressure and without independence," he said.

Judiciary is one of the most important pillars of democracy, he said, claiming that not only this but other pillars are also in danger.

Four senior judges of the Supreme Court today virtually revolted against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, listing a string of problems that they said were afflicting the country's highest court, and warned those could destroy Indian democracy. 

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