Twitter

DNA ANALYSIS | What ignited the crisis and what's next for Supreme Court?

Coupled with the manner in which the CJI repeatedly took cases out of the hands of some senior judges and assigned them to other judges, this soon became a bone of contention.

Latest News
article-main
Supreme Court
FacebookTwitterWhatsappLinkedin

While the internecine tussle between the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and four senior-most puisne brother judges – Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph was festering ever since Justice Misra became CJI, things took a turn for the worst only after the issue of which bench should hear the PIL in the Medical Colleges Admission Scam (also known as the MCI Scam) rocked the corridors of the highest court of the land.

Coupled with the manner in which the CJI repeatedly took cases out of the hands of some senior judges and assigned them to other judges, this soon became a bone of contention.

In early November, the CJI Misra-led bench took the unusual step of annulling the order passed by another bench – this one headed by Justice Chelameswar – constituting a bench comprising the five senior-most judges to hear the matter of alleged corruption in higher judiciary, which was unearthed in the MCI scam.

Since one of the key accused in the case, former Odisha High Court judge IM Quddusi, was allegedly close to the CJI, the order passed by the CJI's bench led to questions being raised on the propriety of such an order being passed.

However, the first, and possibly bigger, nail in the proverbial coffin had already been hit on October 3, 2017 – the day four members of the Supreme Court collegium met and decided to put on the court website all future collegium decisions, indicating therein the reasons why a candidate was overlooked or not cleared. Sources told DNA that while a senior member of the collegium didn't attend the meeting due to personal reasons, the rest advised the CJI to take the issue to the full court. It wasn't accepted. The same request was again made by some members of the collegium in the next few days also, but to no avail.

Two senior judges told DNA that many other judges too broached the subject with the members of the collegium, asking them to get the decision reversed.

Some members of the collegium also raised the issue of the suspicious death of special CBI judge BH Loya, who was hearing a case involving BJP president Amit Shah.

Even today senior judges were unhappy with the manner in which petitions asking for an independent investigation into the judge's death were assigned to a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra.

But, going forward, the CJI and his brother judges will have to find a way out of the logjam. Here, the role of former CJIs, who enjoy the confidence of the judges, will be important.

The first step, however, will have to be taken by the CJI. He will have to assure the aggrieved four and the entire country about his bonafides.

The Narendra Modi government, for its part, will be expected to play an honest broker, nudging both sides towards a common meeting ground but without trying to be the 'big brother'.

But whatever the resolution and whenever it happens, there is no denying the fact that the institution is suffering from its biggest crisis of credibility.

Find your daily dose of news & explainers in your WhatsApp. Stay updated, Stay informed-  Follow DNA on WhatsApp.

Live tv