judicial system

Allegations against CJI Dipak Misra were ‘not substantial’, says Supreme Court Bar Association

The press conference held by four senior judges was ill-planned and could have been avoided, the association’s President Vikas Singh said.

A day after four Supreme Court judges decided to come out in public with complaints against Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, the Supreme Court Bar Association on Saturday said that those allegations were not substantial and the press conference was “ill-planned”.

On Friday, justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, the four most senior judges in the country after Misra, openly protested against the chief justice bypassing established traditions in court to assign cases to benches.

“If they had to come for a press conference, they should have said something substantial,” Supreme Court Bar Association President Vikas Singh told ANI on Saturday. “Just creating doubts in the minds of people will not serve the interest of the judiciary.”

Singh added that now, people will “wildly guess” about what is happening inside the top judicial body, and “all kinds of things will be said about the Supreme Court”.

The Supreme Court Bar Association will now be proactive and make sure that this doubt instilled in the minds of the public is dealt with, Singh told News18. He said the matter was avoidable, and because of the drama, “people are very sceptical about the impartiality of the Supreme Court”.

The association is expected to meet on Saturday evening to discuss the matter and will later hold a press conference. Singh also said that there was no question of impeachment of CJI Misra.

The Bar Council of India said holding a press conference on a “minor issue of roster is saddening”. Its Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said a delegation from the council will meet the rebel judges, the chief justice and other senior judges on Sunday and “request them to not bring issues like these in front of the public”.

In a letter that the four judges wrote to Justice Misra, which was released to the media on Friday, they alleged that the chief justice had violated conventions in his role as the master of the roster. They were referring to Chief Justice Misra’s allocation of cases in the Supreme Court, which many have questioned, most vocally after he moved the Medical Colleges bribery scam from Justice Chelameshwar’s court to his own in November 2017.

The press conference had evoked mixed reactions from various members of the society.

Later in the day, Attorney General KK Venugopal had said that the judges should have avoided speaking to the media. The Congress called for a full court to investigate the allegations against Misra amid rumours that the party was considering moving impeachment proceedings against the chief justice. The Bharatiya Janata Party then accused the Congress of politicising the matter.

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