Supreme Court Justice Jasti Chelameswar on Monday said an impartial and independent judiciary was essential for the survival of a liberal democracy, The Indian Express reported. Speaking at the launch of the book Supreme Court of India – The Beginnings, he said, “One must constantly keep analysing and examining how exactly the institution is functioning.”

Chelameswar and three other Supreme Court judges had held an unprecedented press conference on January 12, where they said the judges had failed to convince Chief Justice Dipak Misra to protect the Supreme Court as an institution.

On Monday, Chelameswar said that while the book studied India’s Supreme Court in the first two decades of its existence, “those of us who are interested in sustaining and improving the institution for the welfare of the people of this country need a greater study for the remaining period”. The judge said that though the Indian Constitution did not provide for the Supreme Court to be a “superintending” court, in practice it supervised the lower courts – particularly in the matter of appointment and transfer of high court judges.

Chelameswar also said that a solution must be found to the huge backlog of cases pending with the Supreme Court, “if the institution is to remain relevant”. “The research work, like the book in hand, would go a long way to provide necessary material to find solution to the problem,” he added.

Supreme Court judge MB Lokur, who was part of the judges’ press conference on January 12, also attended the event.