National / World

Preserve SC, protect democracy: 4 top judges hold unprecedented press meet

New Delhi, Jan 12 (Deccan Chronicle): In an unprecedented event in the history of the Indian judiciary, four top judges of the Supreme Court met the media on Friday and said the “administration of the Supreme Court was not in order and many things which are less than desirable have happened in the last few months”.

The judges went public with their grievances against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, saying “unless the judiciary was preserved, democracy can’t be protected in the country”.

The justices did not elaborate on the issues "only to avoid embarrassing the institution but note that such departures have already damaged the image of this institution to some extent".

They sent a seven-page letter to the Chief Justice, (read below), saying while he was the "master of the roster", he was "only the first among equals -- nothing more or nothing less". It looks like they did not agree with the allocation of work by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

The four – Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurien Joseph – addressed the media at Justice Chelameswar’s home, an event that Chelameswar said was “extraordinary in the history of any nation” but that they were “compelled” to do it.

Justice Chelameswar said: “We collectively tried to persuade Chief Justice of India (Dipak Misra) that certain things aren't in order… so take remedial measures, but unfortunately our efforts failed.”

“Let the nation decide that,” Justice Chelameswar said when asked if the Chief Justice of India should be impeached.

“We met the CJI today with a specific request which unfortunately couldn't convince him that we were right… therefore, we were left with no choice but to communicate it to the nation to please take care of the institution,” Chelameswar said.

Asked to give an example of what was not in order, Justice Chelameswar said: “A couple of months ago, the four of us gave a signed letter to the CJI. We wanted a particular thing to be done in a particular manner. It was done but in such a way that it raised further questions about the integrity of institution. The same thing happened this morning.”

Justice Gogoi said: “We are discharging our duty to the nation by telling you what’s what.”

Justice Chelameswar added: “All our efforts have failed and we are all convinced that unless this institution is preserved, democracy can’t be protected in the country.”

Justice Chelameswar concluded the meet by saying: “There are many wise men saying many wise things in this country. We don’t want wise men saying 20 years from now that Justice Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur and Kurian Joseph sold their souls and didn’t do the right thing by our constitution.”

After the press conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the law minister and officers to discuss the issue.

Government sources said it was an internal issue of the Supreme Court, related to the administration of justice.


Here’s the text of letter given by 4 top judges of SC to CJI

Here is the text of the letter that the four top Supreme Court judges – Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madam B Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph have given to the Chief Justice of India.

Dear Chief Justice,

It is with great anguish and concern that we have thought it proper to address this letter to you so as to highlight certain judicial orders passed by this court which has adversely affected the overall functioning of the justice delivery system and the independence of the High Courts besides impacting the administrative functioning of the office of the Honourable Chief Justice of India.

From the date of establishment of three chartered High Courts of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras, certain traditions and conventions in the judicial administration have been well established. The traditions were embraced by this court which came into existence almost a century after the above mentioned chartered High Courts. These traditions have their roots in the anglo-saxon jurisprudence and practice.

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. In the matter of the determination of the roster there are well settled and time honoured conventions guiding the Chief Justice, be the conventions dealing with the strength of the Bench which is required to deal with a particular case or the composition thereof.

A necessary corollary to the above mentioned principle is the member of any multi-numbered judicial body including this court would not arrogate to themselves the authority to deal with and pronounce upon matter 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.

We are sorry to say that off late the twin rules mentioned above have not been strictly adhered to. There have been instances where case having far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution had been assigned by the Chief Justice of this court selectively to the benches ‘of their presence’ with any rationable basis for such assignment. This must be quarded against at all costs.

We are not mentioning details only to avoid embarrassing the institution but note that such departures have already damaged the image of this institution of some extent.

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 above apart, subsequent to the decision of the Constitution Bench, detailed discussions were held by collegium of five judges (including yourself) and the Memorandum of Procedure was finalised and sent by then Honourable Chief Justice of India to the Government of India in March 2017. The Government of India has not responded to the communication and in view of this silence, it must be taken that the Memorandum of Procedure as finalised by the collegium has been accepted by the Government of India on the basis of the order of this court in Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (Supra). There was, therefore, no occasion for the bench to make any observation with regard to the finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure or that issue cannot linger on for an indefinite period.

On 4th July,. 2017, a bench of seven judges of this court decided In Re Honourable Shri Justice CS 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 great importance, if at all required to be taken on the judicial side, should be dealt with by none other than a Constitution Bench.

The above development must be viewed with serious concern. The Honourable Chief Justice of India is duty bound to rectify the situation and take appropriate remedial measures after a full discussion with the other members of the collegium and at a later stage, if required, with other Honourable Judges of this court.

Once the issue arising from the order dates 27th October, 2017, in R P Luthra vs Union of India, mentioned above, is adequately addressed by you and if it becomes so necessary, we will apprise you specifically of the other judicial orders passed by this court which would require to be similarly dealt with.

With kind regards,

J. Chelameswar

Ranjan Gogoi

Madam B Lokur

Kurian Joseph


Comment on this article

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Bengaluru/Katapadi

    Sat, Jan 13 2018

    This will happen when things go beyond control

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Raj, Coimbatore

    Sat, Jan 13 2018

    Today, Judges { Justices} of Supreme Court had done this way. Tomorrow, the Chiefs of three Services may do the same way. Where are we heading to? This is no way to air grievance. They have taken the Nation for a ride. These Judges should be removed on charges of mutiny.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Francis, Shirva/UK

    Sat, Jan 13 2018

    Hon. Judges did good job by coming out open. They took the oth to protect and respect our constitution, no one is above the law.even Indira Gandhi voted out in election because of bringing the emergency in the country. If any person or organisation wants to devide India in religion base it is too late, and they should kick out of the country. India is like a alternative world and political parties should remember this and respect and safeguard all our citizens." Sathya Meva Jayathe "

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • santhu birve, Mumbai/Udupi

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    politics in judiciary system also? MODI should interfere and there should be transparent discussion.

    DisAgree [9] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mahesh, Mangalore

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    Something fishy is going on.
    It's difficult whom to believe. Both sides are supreme Court judges.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr Mohan Prabhu, LL.D, QC, Mangalore (Kankanady)/Ottawa, Canada

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    This "internal rebellion" is a very serious matter and can rock the SC to its very foundation if not appropriately addressed. The full Court should deal with it, not the politicians, nor even Parliament, in order to preserve democracy and foundation on which the country's constitution is built - separation of powers.

    Having said this, future generations will blame judges who do not speak up, or speak only after they retire from the bench - as, if I remember correctly, a CJ of SCI in the not too distant past (I think CJ Bhagwati) admitted in his memoirs that he was greatly troubled for not speaking up at the right time and went along with the majority.
    Above all, democracy will succeed only if the final arbiter of justice makes unbiased and righteous decisions, are independent, and defend people's rights as guaranteed by the Constitution without fear or favour.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • SMR, Karkala

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    Chief Justice Dipak Misra has a concerning track record. Who imposed National Anthem in movie halls has a history of curbing freedoms.
    Only few days back senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan lashed CJI Dipak Misra's brazenness a day after the SC saw some unprecedented scenes and drama over setting up a constitution bench to probe a medical admission scam.
    Yet, Justice Misra has surprised many by what appears to be a serious lapse in conduct. He had applied for and obtained a lease of two acres of agricultural land in 1979 from the government of Odisha. In the affidavit filed by him (as a condition for allotment) he said: “I am Brahmin by caste and the extent of landed property held by me including all the members of my family is nil.”
    A false statement made in declaration, which is by law receivable as evidence, and using as true such declaration knowing it to be false, are serious offences under Section 199 and Section 200 of the IPC, punishable with up to seven years of imprisonment and a fine. The filing of that affidavit by Justice Misra is thus a very serious matter.
    Justice Misra’s name has even appeared in the suicide note by former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul. Though no investigation has taken place in that matter, the inquest report found the suicide note to be genuine. Under Section 32 of The Evidence Act, a suicide note has evidentiary value and must be followed up with a detailed enquiry after lodging an FIR, if need be.
    Given the allegations of impropriety against him, should Justice Dipak Misra become the next CJI just because he is the senior-most judge in the Supreme Court?
    Should a judge with a serious moral flaw become CJI? It’s also to do with mysterious death of Judge Loya in Gujarat fake encounter case.
    I think it’s a historic Press Conference. It was very well done. I think we, the people of India, have a right to know what is going on within the judiciary and I welcome this.
    Jai Hind

    DisAgree [6] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr.Mahesh Prabhu, Mangalore

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    CJI must be suspended immediately till the truth comes out........

    DisAgree [6] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ravi, Mangalore

    Fri, Jan 12 2018




    DisAgree [20] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Kiran D Souza, Mangalore

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    Democracy is not a solution for our Country. Military rule much needed to get rid of these Media, Judiciary goons.
    In this country Media is the judiciary which gives it's verdict in no point of time without knowing anything, so to get rid of all these goons Military rule is must.

    DisAgree [14] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rion, Udupi

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    You want India become like China, Pakistan, Cuba..?

    DisAgree [4] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Declan, Mumbai

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    We are not talking about Mani Shankar Aiyer here. We are talking about senior judges of the highest court of the land. They would certainly have considered approaching PM and Law minister on this matter ? If they chose not to approach PM and Law minister they must be having their very good and compelling reasons for not doing so. In their wisdom they decided that directly telling the people of the country through the press was the best thing to do. In any case the independent judiciary will have to resolve the matter themselves.
    Washing linen in public or not is a matter of personal opinion, for some it should not have been done and others will say it was the right thing to do given the gravity of the situation. I for one believe they did the right thing given the vitiated atmosphere in the country and all the nonsense happening.

    Justice BH Loya mysterious death case :
    CBI judge Justice Brijgopal Harkishan Loya was handling the Sohrabuddin fake encounter death case in which Amit Shah is the prime accused. Justice Loya died mysteriously in December 2014 in Nagpur and his death is suspected to be a murder allegedly to protect the guilty who occupy top positions. Before his death Justice Loya had informed his sister that he was offered a bribe of 100 crore for a 'favourable judgement’. His sister said that the bribe offer was made by Mohit Shah the then chief justice of the Bombay High court.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajesh, Udupi

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    Deepak Misra current CJI has

    executed Yakub,
    punished Nirbhaya rapists
    Fast forwarded cases of triple talak
    inspite of facing death threats

    ok.. so there is obvous intolleance against a honest man.

    DisAgree [28] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Peter, Udupi

    Fri, Jan 12 2018


    DisAgree [6] Agree [36] Reply Report Abuse

  • kas, Mangalore

    Sat, Jan 13 2018

    Why are u breaking your head on triple talak issue .... In the present bill, INSTANT triple talak is addressed and not triple talaq as you are thinking.
    Congress is not opposing the full bill, but it needs the punishment clauses to be properly defined,
    As per govt statistics about 3000 muslim women are effected by the INSTANT triple talak issue and the govt is taking the matter very seriously ... yes we too ... Where as 22 lakh hindu women are deserted by their husband ... When this hypocrite govt is going to address the issue ....

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alwyn Crasta, Mangaluru/Bengaluru

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    Hope one of Indian democracy's most respected/revered institutions, the Supreme Court of India, does not end up being a "Caged Parrot" .

    DisAgree [2] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Chethan Serrao, Bangalore

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    I don't believe or trust or recognise indian juidiciary. At first they are all jokers, they are master of corrupts, asking justice from them is just like we are living in fools paradise. Judges,Lawyers are no.1 corrupts in the country. They are more corrupt than politicians.
    If you go to any Lawyer, their earnings starts from that point of time till there is no ending because this is how they milk their clients, for lawyers it's like pension, they will give wrong ideas to fill their pockets....
    If you have any problem don't approach any lawyer, try to solve mutually or through compromise. Don't give chance to them to empty your pocket.a

    DisAgree [4] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Avinash, Mangalore

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    Are they referring to 2G verdict

    DisAgree [7] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • leslie, udupi

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    These issues must be addressed immediately by the government...
    PM took the first step in meeting Law minister...
    These issues must not precipitate down to the streets...
    Let us work for the integrity of our diverse nation...
    What God has made let man not divide...

    DisAgree [3] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • R Mallar, Kasaragod/ Dubai

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    The judges have perhaps chosen a wrong case to press their right frustrations. Considering the political angle involved this issue will be topic for scoring g political brownie points and wont achieve more than that.
    It will be naive to think that judiciary doesn't have corruption, nepotism and political leanings.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Gabriel, sagar

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    Nonpartisan Judiciary is the saving grace of Indian democracy. Only it can guarantee the fundament rights of every citizen of the country. Those who wish to change the Constitution may not have much respect to the present judiciary.

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Divakar shetty, Mangalore

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    This happened because Modi & his gang interferes regularly. Shameful

    DisAgree [6] Agree [42] Reply Report Abuse

  • Hussain, Abudhabi

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    “We don’t want wise men saying 20 years from now that Justice Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur and Kurian Joseph sold their souls and didn’t do the right thing by our constitution.”

    This is something serious... our democracy is in danger ... first time in 70 years such thing happened ...
    I hope they won’t be called as ANTI NATIONAL

    DisAgree [3] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ramesh s, Mangalore

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    I believe reforms in judiciary m media long pending. They always excused them citing independence freedom of press so on. Fact is hundreds of cases corruption nepotism. Even sexual misconduct by seniors on juniors kept under wrap or justice delayed. Congress lsenior sc lawyer Singhvis videos exposed how politicians influence promotion of judges. Many of the Congress leader who are union ministers are practicing sc lawyers representing corporates and only fools can say it won’t effect judgements. Ministers can’t be SC lawyer due to conflict of interest ,there is an PIL. But nothing happening. MODI govt from day one trying to change collegium system but every one blamed him, now truth coming out. MODI govt proved right.

    DisAgree [29] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • geoffrey, hat hill

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    Justice Gogoi has made it clear that this letter is about mysterious death of CBI judge Loya and everyone knows which case he was handling at the time of his death and who was the prime accused.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse


    Fri, Jan 12 2018







    DisAgree [14] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • sense_Shetty, Mangalore

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    The collegium model is farce ..and showing its lower ebbs ..This Model itself is questionable and is not cofining itself to the constitution of India.
    Are these judges mere political implants of a previous regiment or,are they acting at the behest of certain tacit interests of the ruling party ? ..only time will tell.
    Can a Judge be impartial ..ever ..?without playing to the tune of their political masters is a matter that doesn't require any debate least in India ..

    DisAgree [7] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • sri_elder, Karkala

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    Corruption in India is as old as 200 years...
    Administration changes should happen and it will happen...
    Many judges in the SC became judges because someone in their families were judges earlier..
    Those traditions and practices should go....

    DisAgree [17] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Karunakar, Karkala

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    Comment on the 4 points kept ahead of people. Don’t make your own stories.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sheikh, Karkala

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    Sorry my dear, this kind of corruption happened only since 2014. Open murder of democracy. Whatever the media is telecasting is purely fabricated.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • sense_Shetty, Mangalore

    Sat, Jan 13 2018

    one of the judge meets D Raja of communist party post the press conference
    Mr sekar Gupta was seen helping the judges take comfortable seats before the press conference.
    The Congress and the presstitute parties are very poor at orchestrating things ..They need to learn of orchestration ..
    These are clear indications of the intolerance brigade implants in the judicial system.
    The Congress is desperate a last ditch effort they will go to any the elections are nearing in key states .
    AS a common man the jury is a pack of jokers and we all know the judicial system in India ..nobody gives a damn ..except for some good decisions recently of ..triple talaq ,

    DisAgree [2] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • HENRY MiSQUITH, Bahrain

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    These four judges are behaving like Goonda Shiva sena MLA' s from Mumbai Ghatkopar. If they are sitting judges, why a press conference?
    Can they be fired !!
    I think they should be heard and if they are making nonsense allegations they should be fired.

    DisAgree [20] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Hussain, Abudhabi

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    Bold move by SC judges ... our constitution and democracy is in danger since 2014..Top to bottom its Nagpur based recruitment going on ...
    we need more SC judges like these above so that our country is safe

    DisAgree [13] Agree [32] Reply Report Abuse

  • vasu, Mangalore

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    Its an Internal issue of the SC,even here MODI is responsible?

    DisAgree [5] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Joseph F. Gonsalves, Bannur, Puttur / Mangalore

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    First time in India's history clashes within the Supreme Court Judges.

    First time in 70 years.

    In the prejudiced justice democracy will collapse / die.

    DisAgree [9] Agree [39] Reply Report Abuse

  • Joseph F. Gonsalves, Bannur, Puttur / Mangalore

    Fri, Jan 12 2018

    Also we have a prejudiced chaaiwaala Cow Government

    DisAgree [9] Agree [40] Reply Report Abuse

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