In a first in India’s history, four Supreme Court judges — ranked second to fifth in order of seniority — went public to criticise Chief Justice Dipak Misra and the administration of the country’s top court under his command. The judges warned that unless the institution is preserved, democracy will not survive, exposing a growing rift between senior judges and the CJI.”… the administration of the Supreme Court is not in order and many things less than desirable have happened in the last few months,” said Justice Chelameswar — flanked by Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — at an unprecedented press conference at his residence here on Friday. “With no pleasure, we are compelled to take the decision to call a press conference,” they said.Lashing out against CJI Misra over various issues, including allocation of cases of national importance to “preferred” benches, Justice Chelameswar — the second senior-most judge in the top court — said that the press conference was an extraordinary event in the history of the nation and the institution of judiciaryHe sought to clarify that it was not a sign of protest, but simply a “responsibility to the institution and the nation to persuade the Chief Justice that things are not in order.” CJI Misra has not responded.The four judges said they were “left with no choice but to communicate with the nation,” since all efforts at trying to convince CJI Misra on various issues had failed. “The hallmark of a democracy is the independence of the judiciary,” Justice Chelameswar said, speaking also for the three other judges.”Our efforts failed and the four of us are convinced that unless this institution is preserved and it maintains its equanimity, democracy will not survive in this country,” said Justice Chelameswar.”… 20 years later, we don’t want the nation to blame us and tell us we didn’t take care. We are discharging a debt to the nation by telling you what’s happening,” the judges said.Justice Gogoi hinted that the allocation of a case seeking an investigation in the death of special CBI judge BH Loya to a junior judge led to the press conference.The press conference kicked off a storm of reactions from the bar and politicians. Attorney General KK Venugopal said that it “could have been avoided.” The judges would now have to act in ‘statesmanship’ to ensure complete harmony, he said. Declining to speak to the media about his interaction with CJI Misra, Venugopal said, “This is what all of us at the bar want and I am sure that the judges, including the CJI, will rise to the occasion.””There comes a time in the history of an institution when things begin to slide. When normal ways of handling a crisis are not effective, where the decisive action by thinking out of the box becomes necessary to save the institution. By speaking out, these four judges have saved the Supreme Court for the time being,” senior advocate Colin Gonsalves told DNA.Judges’ SpeakThe four of us are convinced that unless this institution is preserved and it maintains its equanimity, democracy will not survive We were left with no choice but to communicate with the nation… all efforts to convince CJI Misra had failed Twenty years later, we don’t want the nation to blame us and tell us we didn’t take care

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Unprecedented! 4 SC judges vs CJI