Justice Kurian Joseph’s remarks, accusing former Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra of working under some influence of “external source”, kicked up a political storm, with the Congress demanding parliamentary as well as judicial inquiries.
The Congress and the CPM termed the revelations by Justice Joseph as “shocking” and accused the Narendra Modi government of undermining every institution to further its agenda.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the revelations by Justice Joseph were a vindication of its apprehensions over “interference” in the highest levels of the judiciary and demanded separate parliamentary and judicial inquiries into the matter.
“It is clear that all these issues and apprehensions which we had were based on well-founded material and has now been proven right. Our attempts to rein in, to warn against such misadventures have all now been proven correct,” Singhvi said.
The CPM also slammed the government. “Shocking revelations by Justice Kurian Joseph. Modi government has undermined every institution, including the Supreme Court, to further its corrupt and criminal agenda,” the Left party said in a statement.
Justice Joseph, along with three senior-most judges of the Supreme Court — Justices J Chelameswar (retd), Ranjan Gogoi (current chief justice) and Madan Lokur — had addressed an unprecedented press conference on January 12 to flag their concerns about alleged preferential allocation of sensitive cases to judges lower in hierarchy.
Justice Joseph said the press conference had an impact and things started changing for the good during the remaining part of Justice Misra’s tenure as CJI and was now continuing under the stewardship of Justice Gogoi. CJI Misra superannuated on October 2.
“Justice Joseph has in clear and unequivocal terms talked of the arbitrary bench selection, external influences, by implication remote controls, and political biases injected into the system by the government, by the ruling party,” Singhvi alleged. He demanded an immediate response from Modi but added in the same breath that the Congress can expect no answer either from the PM or the BJP chief.