Four judges of the Supreme Court on Friday said that they have discharged a debt to the nation by issuing an appeal to the nation to save the institution (Supreme Court). Justices Madan B. Lokur, Kurien Joseph, Ranjan Gogoi and Jasti Chelameswar addressed the press conference on the lawns of Justice Chelameswar’s official residence here. They made a reference to a letter that they had written to the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in which they highlighted the corrosion and compromise taking place within the institution of the judiciary and especially within the portals of the Supreme Court.
So here are the four issues raised by the judges
Important cases referred by CJI to bench are not distributed among senior judges
The cases referred by CJI to benches are not distributed among the senior judges.
“Once of the well settled principles is that the Chief Justice is the master of the roster with a privilege to determine the roster, necessity in multi-numbered courts for an orderly transactions of business and appropriate arrangements with respect to matter with which member/Bench of this court (as the case may be) is required to deal with which case or class of cases is to be made. The convention of recognising the privilege of the Chief Justice to form the roster and assign cases to different members/benches of the court is a convention devised for a disciplined and efficient transaction of business of the court but no a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues. It is too well settled in the jurisprudence of this country that the Chief Justice is only the first amongst the equals — nothing more or nothing less,” the letter said.
Administration of the Supreme Court is not in order
“The multi numbered judicial body including this Court would not arrogate to themselves the authority to deal with and pronounce upon matters which ought to be heard by appropriate benches, both composition wise and strength wise with due regard to the roster fixed. Any departure from the above two rules would not only lead to unpleasant and undesirable consequences of creating doubt in the body politic about the integrity of the institution. Not to talk about the chaos that would result from such departure,” the letter said.
The judges alleged that cases by CJI is distributed among the selective benches “of their preference” without any rational basis” and that this must be ‘guarded against at all costs.
“In the above context, we deem it proper to address you presently with regard the order dated 27th October, 2017, in R B Luthra vs. Union of India to the effect that there should be no further delay in finalising the Memorandum of Procedure in the larger public interest. When the Memorandum of Procedure was a subject matter of a decision of a Constitution Bench of this court in Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association and Anr. vs Union of India, [(2016) 5 SCC 1] it is difficult to understand as to how any other bench could have dealt with the matter,”the letter alleged.
CJI should not head a small bench and deal with the memorandum of procedure when it was earlier heard by a five-judge bench.
“On 4th July 2017, a Bench of seven Judges of this Court decided In Re Hon’ble Shri Justice C S Karnan [ (2017) 1 SCC 1]. In that decision (referred to in R. P . Luthra), two of us observed that there is a need to revisit the process of appointment of judges and to set up a mechanism for corrective measures other than impeachment. No observation was made by any of the seven learned judges with regard to the Memorandum of Procedure. Any issue with regard to the Memorandum of Procedure should be discussed in the Chief Justices Conference and by the Full Court. Such a matter of grave importance, if at all required to be taken on the judicial side, should be dealt with by none other than a Constitution Bench,” the letter alleged.