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Published On: Sun, Jan 14th, 2018

BCI forms 7-member team to resolve the differences

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bciNEW DELHI : The Bar Council of India has set up a seven-member team in an attempt to resolve the differences between the four dissenting Supreme Court judges and Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra.
The team is expected to start its deliberations with all judges, except the top five, immediately. The Supreme Court Bar Association also passed a resolution on Saturday that the rift should be considered by a full bench of the apex court. It also said that the CJI or senior judges should look at all public interest litigation.

Justice Kurian Joseph, one of the four Supreme Court judges who virtually revolted against the chief justice, on Saturday said there was no need for an outside intervention to solve the issue.

Justice Joseph said the matter was not brought to the attention of the President of India as he has no constitutional responsibility over the Supreme Court or the judges of the apex court.

He said there was no constitutional lapse from the part of CJI but convention, practice, and procedure has to be followed while carrying out his responsibility. “We just brought that matter to his attention,” he said at an event near Kochi.

Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who was also among the four judges, told PTI in Kolkata, “There is no crisis.” He made the remark on the sidelines of a programme, when asked about the way forward to resolve the crisis in the top court.
Meanwhile,Four retired judges, including an ex-Supreme Court judge, on Friday, wrote an open letter to the chief justice of India, saying they agree with the issues raised by the four apex court judges over the allocation of cases and the crisis needs to be resolved “within the judiciary”.
The letter penned by former apex court judge PB Sawant, ex-chief justice of Delhi High Court AP Shah, former Madras High Court judge K Chandru and ex-Bombay High Court judge H Suresh was released to the media. However, it was also widely shared on the social media.
He said that the view expressed by the retired judges is “quite similar to the views of the SCBA that till this crisis is resolved, the important matters should be listed before a five-judge Constitution bench of senior judges”.
“The four senior Judges of the Supreme Court have brought to light a serious issue regarding the manner of allocation of cases, particularly sensitive cases, to various benches of the Supreme Court .
“They have expressed a grave concern that cases being allocated arbitrarily to particularly designated benches, often headed by junior judges, in an arbitrary manner. This is having a very deleterious effect on the administration of justice and the rule of law,” the letter further said.
The four retired judges said that they agree with the four judges of top court that though the CJI is the master of roster and can designate benches for allocation of work but this does not mean that it can be done in an “arbitrary manner” such that, “sensitive and important cases” are sent to “hand-picked benches” of junior judges by the chief justice.
Meanwhile, a seven-member delegation of the Bar Council Of India (BCI) today met Justice J. Chelameswar, one of the four senior judges of the Supreme Court who went public with their differences with Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and two other justices.

Early in the morning, the delegation met Justice RK Agrawal and thereafter Justice AM Khanwilkar, two days after the four judges went public with their differences with the Chief Justice. Later, the delegation met Justice Arun Mishra.
The BCI had on Saturday decided to send a delegation to meet a majority of the Supreme Court Judges on Sunday so that the crisis can be resolved at the earliest.
The council had requested political parties and politicians not to criticise the judiciary or make it an issue as it would weaken the independence of judiciary, which is the protector of democracy.

BCI president Manan Mishra has said it was “most unfortunate” that the four judges held a press conference, sending out a message that all was not well with the Supreme Court and that the issue should have been “sorted out internally”.
The four judges – Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph — on Friday took on the Chief Justice over allocation of cases, saying the administration of the top court was “not in order”.
(With PTI inputs)


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