Political, legal circle shocked at SC judges' action

Political parties and the legal fraternity on Friday were shocked and surprised at four senior Supreme Court judges going public over their differences with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra over administrative issues.

However, there were mixed opinions over whether it was correct for the judges to air their differences and on whether the government should intervene to resolve the crises in the apex court.

"We are very concerned to hear four judges of the Supreme Court expressed concerns about the functioning of the Supreme Court," the Congress said in a brief statement on Twitter.

Congress leaders and senior counsel Salman Khurshid, Kapil Sibal, P Chidambaram went into a huddle to discuss the repercussions of the developments and later briefed Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

"It is a matter of anguish and pain...something serious has happened for the four top judges to come out the way they have," former Law Minister and Congress leader Salman Khurshid said.

However, he had reservations over government intervening in the matter to sort out the differences amongst the judges. "It is for the court to sort it out...conversations among judges will lead to a solution," Khurshid said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed deep anguish over the developments in the Supreme Court. "Judiciary and media are the pillars of democracy. Extreme interference of the central government with the judiciary is dangerous for democracy," she said.

Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee said it was very distressful that the judges held a press conference. "Confidence of public is important for efficient working of the judiciary. It was not a good move, I am not in favour of this. Repercussions will not be good," Sorabjee said.

CPI leader and Rajya Sabha member D Raja termed it as "extraordinary" for the four judges to go public about their differences with the CJI. "It shows deep crisis in our judiciary.

"Parliament is supreme in our democracy. In such a situation, Parliament will have to debate this mater & sort out problems by meaningful suggestion," Raja told reporters here.

Senior counsel Prashant Bhushan, who had a face-off with Chief Justice Misra recently, accused him of misusing his power. "Kudos to four senior-most judges of SC who addressed a press conference to apprise the people about the extraordinary abuse of 'master of roster' powers by CJI in selectively assigning politically sensitive cases to hand-picked junior judges for the desired outcome," Bhushan said.

Senior lawyer KTS Tulsi said the judge's action was "quite shocking". "There must have been compelling reasons for the senior-most judges to have adopted this course of action. One could see the pain on their faces while they were speaking," he said.

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