Days after the Opposition’s impeachment notice against Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra was rejected by Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu, two of the senior most judges of the apex court — Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Madan Lokur — have written to the CJI demanding a “full court” discussion on “institutional issues” and the “future” of the Supreme Court. According to The Indian Express, in a two-sentence letter to CJI Misra, both the judges asked for “full-court meeting” of all the 25 apex court judges on the judicial side to discuss “institutional issues” and the “future” of the court. The CJI has not responded to their letter yet. A full court meeting of the Supreme Court, involving all judges, is usually convened by the CJI when a matter of public importance relating to the judiciary comes up.
This comes just two weeks after Justice Kurian Joseph, one of the senior most judges of the Supreme Court, had written to the CJI and all judges of the Supreme Court, demanding that the CJI set up a seven-judge bench to take up the issue of the government sitting on the Collegium recommendation to appoint Justice K M Joseph and Indu Malhotra to the apex court. In his letter dated April 9, Justice Kurien had stated that the government “sitting over the recommendations of the Collegium doing nothing, in administrative law, is abuse of power”.
Before Justice Kurien Joseph, Justice Chelameswar, the senior most SC judge, had written to all judges, asking the CJI to call a full court to discuss government interference in the appointment of judges to the High Court. In his letter, Justice Chelameswar raised the matter of the government not acting on the collegium’s recommendations. Justice Chelameswar’s letter came after the government directly wrote to the Karnataka High Court over an inquiry into a judicial officer, whose name had been reiterated by the Collegium for appointment as a High Court judge.
As per The Indian Express, the “institutional issues” and “future” referred to by the two judges is related to the independence of the judiciary, wherein the government has been allegedly ignoring the recommendations of the Collegium on the appointment of judges to the high courts and the Supreme Court. The government’s actions and CJI’s reluctance to press the issue has caused consternation among the higher judiciary which is concerned about preserving institutional integrity.