Four Supreme Court judges—Justices Kurian Joseph, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan Lokur—today addressed a press conference for the first time in the history of India.
Justice Chelameshwar said the administration of the nation's top court was not in order and they were left with no choice but to address the nation after they failed to convince the Chief Justice. They also released a letter they had written to the Chief Justice.
At a hurriedly called press conference at the residence of Justice J Chelameswar, the No 2 in the apex court hierarchy, they said it was with "no pleasure" that they had been compelled to make public what they were upset with.
"Hallmark of democracy is independent and fair judiciary. We tried to convince Chief Justice that things are not in order. Unfortunately, our attempts failed," said Justice Chelameswar. "It is's with no pleasure that we have been compelled to do this, administration of SC is not in order," he said. "A couple of months back, four of us gave a signed letter to the CJI and we wanted a particular thing to be done in a particular manner. It was done in such a way that it raised further doubt about the integrity of the institution," he added.
he other three judges addressing the media today were Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Kurien Joseph. The judges said that they will soon release a copy of the letter highlighting their demands. "We are not breaking lines.
This is our duty to the nation," Gogoi said. The judges added that it will be business as usual for them on Monday and will go the court as usual. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for the emergency meet after Supreme Court judges spoke against the Chief Justice of India. Judges J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph also released a seven-page letter that they wrote to the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
In the letter to the Chief Justice of India, the judges wrote, "We are not mentioning details only to avoid embarrassing the institution but note that such departures have already damaged the image of this intuition to some extent." They further added in the letter that, "It is too well settled in the jurisprudence of this country that the Chief Justice is only first amongst the equals- nothing more or nothing less".
Senior SC advocate KTS Tulsi said he was shocked to know about the development. "It's quite shocking. There must have been compelling reasons for the senior-most judges to have adopted this course of action. One could see pain on their faces while they were speaking," he said.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy defended the judges' move, saying "We can't criticise them, they are men of great integrity and have sacrificed a lot of their legal career, where they could've made money as senior counsels. We must respect them. PM Modi must ensure that the four judges and the Chief Justice, in fact whole SC come to one opinion and proceed further." Meanwhile, the CJI is set to meet the Attorney General to decide his next move.Key takeaways:
Know the four Supreme Court judges who went public against the Chief JusticeJustice Jasti Chelameswar
- Administration of the apex court is 'sometimes not in order' and many 'less than desirable things' have taken place Save Supreme Court if you want democracy in the country to survive
- Corrosion and compromise taking place within the institution of the judiciary and especially within the portals of the Supreme Court
- Our efforts have failed in convincing the CJI (Chief Justice of India) to take steps to protect the institution
- The hallmark of a good democracy is an independent and impartial judge
- Even this morning, the four of us went and met the Chief Justice of India and tried to persuade him to accept that certain things are not in order and that he should take remedial measures. Unfortunately, we couldn't convince him
Born on June 23, 1953 at Pedda Muttevi, Movya Mandal in Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh, India, he had his earlier education upto Class XII at Hindu High School at Machilipatnam in Krishna District and Graduated in Science (Physics) at Madras Loyola College. He graduated in law from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, in 1976.
Designated as Senior Counsel in 1995, he was appointed as Additional Advocate General on October 13,1995. He was elevated as Additional Judge of High Court of Andhra Pradesh on June 23,1997, and as Judge on May 17, 1999. He became the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court on May 3, 2007. He was transferred to Kerala High Court and assumed charge as Chief Justice of Kerala on March 17, 2010. He was elevated as Judge, Supreme Court of India, on October 10, 2011.Justice Ranjan Gogoi
Born on November 18, 1954, he joined the Bar in 1978. He practised mainly in the Gauhati High Court. He was appointed as Permanent Judge of Gauhati High Court on February 28, 2001. He was transferred to Punjab & Haryana High Court on September 9, 2010 and was appointed as Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court on February 12, 2011. He was elevated as Judge of the Supreme Court on April 23, 2012.Justice Madan Bhimarao Lokur
Born on December 31, 1953, he studied at Modern School, New Delhi, till 1968 and thereafter passed ISCE examination in 1970-71 from St. Joseph's College, Allahabad. He graduated in History (Hons.) from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University, in 1974. He obtained LL.B. degree from Faculty of Law, Delhi University, in 1977. He enrolled as an advocate on July 28, 1977 and practised in the Supreme Court of India and the Delhi High Court. He qualified the examination and enrolled as an Advocate-on-Record in the Supreme Court in 1981.
He was designated as Senior Advocate in February 1997. He was appointed as Additional Solicitor General of India on July 14, 1998 and continued as such till appointed as an Additional Judge of Delhi High Court on February 19, 1999. Appointed as Permanent Judge of that High Court on July 5, 1999. He functioned as the Acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court from February 13, 2010 to May 21, 2010. He functioned as Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court from June 24, 2010 to November 14, 2011 and Chief Justice of High Court of Andhra Pradesh from November 15, 2011 to June 3, 2012. He was appointed as Judge of the Supreme Court on June 4, 2012.Justice Kurian Joseph
Born on November 30, 1953, he studied at St. Joseph's U.P. School, Chengal, Kalady; St. Sebastian's High School, Kanjoor; Bharata Matha College, Thrikkakara; Sree Sankara College, Kalady; and the Kerala Law Academy Law College, Thiruvananthapuram. He began legal practice in 1979 in the High Court of Kerala. He was appointed as Government Pleader in 1987, Additional Advocate General in 1994-96 and designated Senior Advocate in 1996. He was elevated as Judge, High Court of Kerala, on July 12, 2000.
He was President, Kerala Judicial Academy (2006-08); Chairman of Lakshadweep Legal Services Authority (2008); Chairman, Kerala High Court Legal Services Committee (2006-09); Executive Chairman, Kerala State Legal Services Authority (2009-10); Visitor, National University of Advance Legal Studies, Kochi (2009-10).
He served twice as Acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Kerala. He was appointed as Chief Justice of High Court of Himachal Pradesh from February 8, 2010 to March 7, 2013. He was elevated as Judge, Supreme Court of India, on March 8, 2013.