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Judges close ranks with CJI, 'full court' meet likely next week  2 Months ago

Source:   Times Of India  

NEW DELHI: A day after the four most senior judges of the Supreme Court held an unprecedented press conference to claim that all is not well in the apex court because of alleged arbitrary allocation of cases to "select benches", an overwhelming majority of the other 21 SC judges appeared to close ranks with chief justice Dipak Misra.

There was hectic activity through Saturday with two of the four future CJIs talking to most judges. They appear to have arrived at a consensus to apprise Misra on Monday of the need to maintain solidarity within the uppermost echelons of judiciary and make earnest attempts to repair the damage caused to the institutional dignity by the allegations levelled by the rebel quartet.

The judges were of the view that a full court meeting should be called early next week to discuss pressing issues, including the press conference held by the four judges, among them Ranjan Gogoi, who is in line to take over as CJI from Misra in October.

An SC judge who is also in line to become CJI told TOI, "They should not have gone public with their grievances without consulting other judges who are equal to them or should have resorted to a 'full court' meeting to find a resolution to their perceived disappointments with the CJI. The judiciary and the Supreme Court were the only institutions which enjoyed the faith of the people and the outpouring of allegations in public against the CJI has set a bad precedent for future chief justices and judges at every level."

"Going public without exploring in-house mechanisms like a full court could give politicians an opportunity to interfere in the independence of the judiciary, which generations of judges have guarded zealously," another SC judge said.

The discussions took place even as the regulatory bodies for advocates — the Bar Council of India led by senior advocate Manan Mishra, and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) led by senior advocate Vikas Singh — warned politicians against interfering in what they described as an internal functional problem of the SC.

The SCBA passed two resolutions — first, requesting the CJI to call for a full court meeting soon to consider the press conference and its fallout, and the second, that the CJI-led bench should hear all PILs or assign them to benches headed by the four most senior judges.

BCI decided to set up a seven-member delegation comprising senior advocates to mediate between the CJI and the rebel quartet for early resolution of the impasse.

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