The judiciary of India has witnessed unprecedented incident yesterday when four Supreme Court judges went to public and media with complaints against Chief Justice of India (CJI), Dipak Misra. Never in the history of independent India such development occurred earlier, so it naturally sent ripples across the nation.
Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph, the four most senior judges in the Supreme Court after Dipak Misra, expressed their dissent with the arbitrary decisions of CJI. They accused Misra of taking advantage of his powers in assigning cases to benches. They also complained against the way the Supreme Court has dealt with the new memorandum of guidelines that guard the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts. At the press conference on Friday, the four judges confirmed they had spoken to the CJI before going public.
Besides many incidents, the judges mainly highlighted how an important case of CBI judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya was assigned by the CJI to a bench of his preference, bypassing eight senior judges and benches. Loya, who died in December 2014, was presiding over the case relating to the encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, in which BJP President Amit Shah was an accused. Although it was reported earlier that Loya died of heart attack, his family members raised doubts over his death.
In the Supreme Court, it is the Chief Justice who assigns cases to other judges or benches. He also decides on the composition of the bench that will hear a specific case. The revolted judges pointed out that CJIs for some time now have been assigning matters of 'national importance' to benches of their preference. They questioned whether it wouldn't reflect badly when the CJI sends an important case to a bench of his preference.