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Mutiny by 4 top SC judges: Some questions that need to be answered
In an unprecedented move on Friday, four senior Supreme Court judges J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph conducted a press conference levelling allegations against the CJI Dipak Misra claiming that he was misusing his authority and that his acts were a threat to democracy.

They have alleged that important and sensible cases were allocated to junior judges bypassing senior ones. Although they conceded that the CJI was master of the roster, but that was "not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues. The letter which they had written to the CJI a few months ago did not invoke any response from him. Justice Chelameswar said that they were left with no other option but to communicate it directly to the nation. Responding to the question that whether the CJI should be impeached, the judges said that the nation should decide, indirectly citing that the Parliament should take a note of it.

No doubt the nation is shocked over this development. Almost all anti-BJP parties were quick to seize the advantage and started criticizing the Modi government. Communist leader D Raja met with Justice Chelameswar while Congress raised grave concern and demanded an inquiry into justice Loya's death. Although the letter didn't mention about Justice Loya's death, however, to a query, Justice Gogoi confirmed that Loya's death was also an issue.

The BCI (Bar Council of India) immediately convened an urgent meeting and constituted a seven-member committee to resolve the issue. Two resolutions were also passed. Although stunned by the press conference, even retired judges and senior advocates weren't behind in raising their voices. While some were in support of the four judges, others condemned the press conference. Noted advocate Soli Sorabjee said that judges neither had any business to conduct press conferences nor meeting with politicians.

On Sunday, Attorney-General KK Venugpopal said that the dispute will be amicably resolved through a full court sitting. The BCI has also said that the dispute has been resolved. However, I have a few questions on the prevailing contradictions which are yet to be answered.

We shouldn't forget about former Chief Justice of Kolkata High Court Justice CS Karnan. He had to serve six months of prison term for contempt of court. What was his crime? He too had conducted a press conference alleging corruption and atrocities being committed on him (because he is a Dalit) by SC judges.. He had accused seven Supreme Court judges (including these four rebel judges). He was imprisoned for conducting a press conference against Supreme Court judges. Isn't that also applicable to these four judges who have accused the CJI, or there's a different set of rules for senior Supreme Court judges?

The allegation is that the CJI has been allocating important cases to junior judges. But the point is, what's the exact definition of a senior judge? Is it as per their date of appointment to the apex court or age and experience? Because many so-called junior judges are senior by age and experience. The next question is whether SC judges have hierarchy such as junior, senior etc? Aren't all Supreme Court judges equal? The four judges have said on record that the CJI is first among equals neither more nor less. Isn't that also applicable to other so called judges? Aren't these four just ahead among equals, no more, no less?

Has the present CJI violated the precedence while allocating important cases to the so-called junior judges?

TOI came out with findings that allocatingcases to junior judges is not new and in fact has been going onsince last twenty years. Then why such an allegation?

If junior judges are allocated cases, is their a chance of miscarriage of justice threateningthe democracy? If yes, then isn't the collegium method responsible for appointing irresponsible judges? Prashant Bhushan said that a certain judge was close to the BJP. If such is the case then there might be certain judges who are anti-BJP. What does that mean? Doesn't this mean that various political parties have their representatives in the judiciary? Isn't that a threat to democracy?

I am not going into social media circulations that are pro or against these four judges and the CJI. The point is simple that these four judges have violated a sacred premise. When seating judges approach media against the CJI or other judges, they are just belittling the judiciary of this country. While earlier people were whispering that corruption, favouritism and nepotism are rampant in the judiciary, now such talks will become even louder because of this unexpected mutiny. It might get resolved amicably for the time being but it has dealt a severe blow to the dignity of the Indian judiciary.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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