Congress on Supreme Court Judges Press Conference LIVE updates: Congress President Rahul Gandhi today said points raised by the Honorable judges need to be looked into carefully and even Justice Loya’s death needs to be investigated properly. He further added that there is a threat to democracy. The friction among the senior most Supreme Court judges came to the fore today. In a first of its kind move, four senior judges of the Supreme Court called for a press conference at noon today (January 12) and slammed the allocation of cases by the CJI accusing him of favouritism. In a first in India, four senior judges of the Supreme Court have gone public against the Chief Justice, telling the media that the administration of the top court “has not been in order”. In the unprecedented press conference, Justice J Chelameswar, who is the top court’s second-most senior judge after the Chief Justice, said: “We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. Our efforts have failed in convincing the Chief Justice to take steps to protect the institution.” Justice Chelameswar acknowledged that it was “an extraordinary event” in the history of any nation. “There is no pleasure in this, we were compelled to do this, the administration of the Supreme Court is not in order,” said the senior judge. Apart from J Chelameswar, other sitting judges present included Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Kurien Joseph, who rank third, fourth and fifth in the order of seniority, respectively.
Supreme Court Judges Press Conference LIVE updates:
21:22 pm: So what? This is not a big thing, D Raja is not just a politician but a member of Parliament as well: Subramanian Swamy, BJP on CPI’s D Raja meeting.
8:30 pm Former LS speaker Somnath Chatterjee told ANI “Unfortunate and dangerous for democracy. It’ll create more problems than solve. Since the judges have spoken they’ve done disservice to country because if judiciary is weakened, questions arise in people’s minds, it already has.”
8:15 pm: Unfortunate and dangerous for democracy. It will create more problems than solve. Since the judges have spoken they have done a disservice to the country because if the judiciary is weakened, questions arise in people’s minds, it already has: Somnath Chatterjee, former LS speaker.
8:09 pm: I am sure by tomorrow, the entire issue would be resolved: Attorney General K K Venugopal
8:02 pm: Observations made by Honorable Judges are extremely disturbing and have far-reaching consequences: RS Surjewala
8:00 pm: “These are very senior judges and come only after CJI. They wouldn’t have taken the step without thinking. If it has fallen upon them to take action, it’s up to us to understand what led to that:” Shrihari Aney, former Maharashtra Advocate General.
7:55 pm: Rahul Gandhi: It is an unprecedented move, so the questions raised by the four judges should be thoroughly looked into.
7:53 pm: All citizens who love the idea of justice are looking at this issue, needs to be addressed: Rahul Gandhi
7:46 pm: Points raised by the Hon judges need to be looked into carefully, even Justice Loya’s death needs to be investigated properly: Rahul Gandhi
7:43 pm: Rahul says there is a threat to democracy.
7:42 pm: Rahul says it is a sensitive matter.
7:41 pm: Rahul arrives.
7:39 pm: Congress deeply perturbed by the development: Surjewala
7:36 pm: Randeep Surjewala begins his address at press conference held by Congress at AICC Headquarters.
7:27 pm: Kapil Sibal, P Chidambaram and other senior leaders of the Congress present at the press conference.
7:00 pm: “What has happened today could have been avoided. The judges will now have to act in statesmanship and ensure that the divisiveness is wholly neutralised and total harmony and mutual understanding will prevail in future,” KK Venugopal said.
6: 45 pm: Attorney General KK Venugopal said the unprecedented move by the four Supreme Court judges in holding a press conference “could have been avoided” and the judges would now have to act in “statesmanship” to ensure complete harmony.
6: 36 pm: Former Chief Justice Lodha to NDTV, “It is painful and sad.”
6: 25 pm: Congress to hold a press conference at 7:30 pm.
6:20 pm: “Politicians must refrain from commenting on the conduct of the judiciary as it is unconstitutional…but it’s fair to point out that there have been lapses on part of the government also,” Shashi Tharoor told CNN News 18.
6: 10 pm: Ex-high court judge V G Palshikar termed the top court judges’ allegations as an “unprecedented move” and said they should have refrained from going public. “This is a black day in the history of courts. This should not have happened. There was no need to go to the public. They (four judges) should have raised these issues in a chamber meeting in the Supreme Court. We will now have to see what the chief justice of India does,” he said.
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) January 12, 2018
6: 02 pm: Retired Bombay High Court chief justice Manjula Chellur said something must have triggered the four judges to go public with their claims. “These situations are difficult. But what needs to be kept in mind is that this is not about just individuals. This is about the institution in totality. All steps must be taken to ensure that the dignity of the judiciary is held high. Courts are the last place the public goes to resolve their disputes and problems,” (Retd) Judge Chellur told news agency PTI.
5: 57 pm: “If the system is challenged, it is a dangerous attack on our democracy,” said, Somnath Chatterjee, former Lok Sabha Speaker while speaking to a news channel.
5: 50 pm: “I just thought I should find out what exactly the problem is. There is no politics involved. This issue concerns all citizens,” said D Raja, National Secretary, CPI while speaking to a private news channel.
5: 43 pm: “Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra should come out with his version through a press release,” said Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal while speaking to a news channel.
5: 25 pm: These are very senior judges & come only after CJI. They wouldn’t have taken the step without thinking. If it has fallen upon them to take action, it’s up to us to understand what led to that: Shrihari Aney, former Attorney General on allegations made by 4 Supreme Court judges
5: 10 pm: Defence lawyers are raising issues just to delay matter but we have requisite things in India for fair trial of #VijayMallya or anybody. So they need not worry about conditions of trial in India or should not cast aspersion on independence of our judiciary: Kiran Rijiju, MoS Home
5: 07 pm: Congress leaders and senior advocates Salman Khurshid, Manish Tewari and P Chidambaram arrive at Rahul Gandhi’s residence to discuss Supreme Court Judges’ press conference.
— News18 (@CNNnews18) January 12, 2018
5: 00 pm: Have known him for a long time. When I came to know of the extraordinary step taken by him & other judges, I thought must meet him. Not giving it political colour. These are concerns for everybody, it’s about future of country & democracy: D Raja on meeting Justice Chelameshwar
4: 41 pm: Mamata Banerjee reacts to the Judicial Crisis. In a tweet, she wrote, “We are deeply anguished with the developments today about the Supreme Court. What we are getting from the statement of the four senior Hon’ble Judges of Supreme Court about the affairs of the Court makes us really sad as citizens.”
Judiciary and Media are the pillars of democracy. Extreme interference of Central Government with Judiciary is dangerous for democracy. 2/2
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) January 12, 2018
4: 33 pm: This is entirely the responsibility of law minister to see that the judiciary carries out its responsibilities properly: HR Bhardwaj, Ex-Law Minister
4: 25 pm: It’s the loss of prestige of the entire institution. If you lose public’s trust what remains? Judiciary must remain pillar of democracy. It’s responsibility of Law Minister to see how it functions: Hansraj Bhardwaj, former Union Law Minister on allegations made by the 4 SC judges
4: 20 pm: Congress leader and senior advocate Kapil Sibal to meet Rahul Gandhi at 5pm today over the press conference by the four Supreme Court judges.
4: 15 pm: “That we declare ourselves in our Constitution. So it is necessary for all three wings of our democracy-the executive, the legislature and the judiciary-to ensure that whatever has been raised is corrected,” Sitaram Yechury added.
4: 07 pm: “This can not but merit a thorough, proper investigation and understanding of how independence and integrity of judiciary is being interfered or is being affected, which is impermissible in a secular democratic republic,” CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.
3: 58 pm: CPI MP D Raja meets Justice Chelameshwar at his residence in Delhi after the press conference.
3: 47 pm: The CJI must see if the suggestion given by the judges is valid or not. There should not be an ego issue. This must have reached a breaking point,” said Justice AK Ganguly, Former SC Judge, while speaking to a private channel.
3: 37 pm: Allocation of work has to be done by CJI. If you disagree, you can refer to a larger bench. It can be corrected. How can u ask for a public opinion: Justice R Sodhi, Ex-Delhi HC Judge
3: 30 pm: Government has no say in the judiciary. SC is too precious an institution to be left in this state of functioning: Justice AK Ganguly, former SC Judge, while speaking to a private news channel.
#BREAKING #EXCLUSIVE | Govt is caught in a fix. This is an internal issue of the judiciary. Govt has no say in the judiciary. SC is too precious an institution to be left in this state of functioning: Justice AK Ganguly, fmr SC Judge, tells @siddiquimaha | #SCJudgesMutiny pic.twitter.com/XSn2IZMekr
— News18 (@CNNnews18) January 12, 2018
3.25 pm: Speculation that CJI Dipak Misra could address the media in his court room today has ended as his bench in Court Room No 1 has risen for the day.
3: 20 pm: Former Finance and External Affair Minister Yashwant Sinha, wrote, in a tweet, “Seen some of the comments. Stand firmly with the four judges. Instead of criticising them let us concentrate on the issues raised by them. If the highest court is compromised then democracy is in peril.”
3: 13 pm: Speaking to a news channel, former Chief Justice of India, KG Balakrishnan says, “It is an unfortunate incident. These things should not have been said in public.”
— News18 (@CNNnews18) January 12, 2018
3: 05 pm: Supreme Court bar association to hold a meeting tomorrow and take stock of the situation. Supreme Court Bar Association President, Vikrant Yadav said, “We will have a meeting tomorrow and then make an official statement.”
2: 37 pm: There must be some serious reason that they were left with no other option but to hold a Press Conference. But what connection Loya has with this? I know nothing about this & I don’t want to make comments about any political matter: Mukul Mudgal, retired HC judge
2: 25 pm: Former AG Soli Sorabjee: Disappointed by Judges’ quake. The Judges could have gone to CJI.
2: 22 pm: I think it’s a historic Press Conference. It was very well done. I think we, the people of India, have a right to know what is going on within the judiciary & I welcome this: Indira Jaising, Supreme Court advocate on PC by 4 Supreme Court judges
2: 10 pm: Prashant Bhushan says Chief Justice of India is abusing power as “master of roster”.
2: 05 pm: Judges had to come before media & take this unprecedented step. This means that there is a serious dispute, either with Chief Justice of India (CJI) or some internal dispute: PB Sawant, former Supreme Court judge on press conference by 4 Supreme Court judges
2: 00 pm: Opposition party Indian National Congress reacts to the controversy. “We are very concerned to hear 4 judges of the Supreme Court expressed concerns about the functioning of the Supreme Court. #DemocracyInDanger,” the party said on Twitter.
1: 43 pm: Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to address the media at 2 pm, Attorney General to also accompany him.
1: 45 pm: Deeply sad and pained, also feel a sense of agony that highest court of land should come under such severe stress that forces judges to address the media: Salman Khurshid, senior advocate on press conference by 4 Supreme Court judges.
1: 42 pm: In the early 70s, 5 Judges resigned when Indira Gandhi superseded them – that was the 1st crisis; this is not an attempt by four judges against CJI, it is a matter of governance,my opinion is that PM should offer his services to sort this out: Subramanian Swamy to TV news channel
1: 39 pm: This is a black day for Judiciary. Today’s press conference would cause a bad precedent. From now on every common man could look at all judicial order with suspicion. Every judgement will be questioned : Ujjwal Nikam, senior lawyer
1: 35 pm: Another issue mentioned in the letter is the declaration of the Chief Justice as the ‘master of the roster.’ “The convention of recognising the privilege of the Chief Justice to form the roster and assign cases to different members/Benches of the Court is a convention devised for a disciplined and efficient transaction of business of the Court, but not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual, of the Chief Justice over his colleagues,” stated the letter. The Justices also wrote that it is “too well settled” in jurisprudence that the CJI is “only the first among equals — nothing more or nothing less.” The master of the roster issue came up when the Supreme Court was hearing a case pertaining to the corruption of judges and the bribing of Supreme Court judges.
1: 30 pm: We can’t criticize them, they are men of great integrity & have sacrificed a lot of their legal career, where they could’ve made money as senior counsels. We must respect them. PM must ensure that the 4 judges & CJI, in fact whole SC come to one opinion & proceed further: S.Swamy
1: 27 pm: Post judges’ press conference, CJI-Advocate General to meet at 2 pm
1: 24 pm: It is too well settled in the jurisprudence of this country that the Chief Justice is only first amongst the equals- nothing more or nothing less: Supreme Court Judges in letter to Chief Justice of India
1: 21 pm: There have been instances where case having far-reaching consequences for nation & the institution had been assigned by Chief Justice of this court selectively to benches ‘of their preference’ w/o rationale basis. This must be guarded against at all costs: SC judges to CJI
1: 18 pm: We are not mentioning details only to avoid embarrassing the institution but note that such departures have already damaged the image of this intuition to some extent: Supreme Court Judges in letter to CJI
1: 15 pm: Post judges’ press conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls law minister, law officer for a meeting.
1: 12 pm: Issues don’t matter. It is their complaint on administrative matter. They are only 4, there are 23 others. 4 get together and show the Chief Justice in a poor light. It is immature & childish behaviour: Justice R S Sodhi (retd) on press conference
1: 10 pm: It’s quite shocking. There must have been compelling reasons for the senior-most judges to have adopted this course of action. One could see pain on their faces while they were speaking: KTS Tulsi, advocate SC on 4 judges’ letter to CJI
1: 08 pm: “The hallmark of a good democracy is an independent and impartial judge. The judge is symbolic here, it is an institution.”
1: 05 pm: “Even this morning, the four of us went and met the Chief Justice of India and tried to persuade him to accept that certain things are not in order and that he should take remedial measures. Unfortunately, we couldn’t convince him. We all (four judges) are convinced that unless this institution is preserved and (is allowed to) maintain its equanimity, democracy will not survive in this country or any country,” Justice Chelameswar added.
12: 57 pm: Speaking on behalf of the four judges, Justice Chelameswar expressed his lament over the corrosion and compromise taking place within the institution of the judiciary and especially within the portals of the Supreme Court.
12: 53 pm: Here is the first glipse of the letter to which Justice Chelameswar repeatedly made reference to while addressing media.
12: 50 pm: Supreme Court Judge J.Chelameswar says, ‘All 4 of us are convinced that unless this institution (Supreme Court) is preserved & it maintains its equanimity, democracy will survive in this country, or any country.
#WATCH: Supreme Court Judge J.Chelameswar says, ‘All 4 of us are convinced that unless this institution (Supreme Court) is preserved & it maintains its equanimity, democracy will survive in this country, or any country. pic.twitter.com/FBYSeLClH6
— ANI (@ANI) January 12, 2018
12: 44 pm: Justice Chelameswar says, “We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. Our efforts have failed in convincing the Chief Justice to take steps to protect the institution.”
12: 39 pm: There is an issue of assignment of a case which is raised in that letter (to CJI): Justice Ranjan Gogoi, on being asked further if it is about CBI Judge BH Loya, he said, ‘yes.’
12: 35 pm: We met CJI with a specific request which unfortunately couldn’t convince him that we were right therefore, we were left with no choice except to communicate it to the nation that please take care of the institution: Justice J.Chelameswar
12: 32 pm: Integrity of SC has taken a hit: Justice Chelameshwar to media | We have discharged our duty to the nation: Justice Ranjan Gogoi to media
12: 28 pm: Nobody is breaking ranks, we are speaking for ourselves and we are the seniormost four: Justice Chelameshwar to media
12: 26 pm: We collectively tried to persuade CJI that certain things aren’t in order so take remedial measures but unfortunately our efforts failed: Justice J.Chelameswar
12: 23 pm: Let the nation decide that: Justice J.Chelameswar on if the CJI should be impeached
12: 21 pm: With no pleasure we are compelled take the decision to call a press conference. The administration of the SC is not in order & many things which are less than desirable have happened in last few months :Justice J.Chelameswar
12: 17 pm: Four of us went and met CJI this morning, requested rectification of a particular thing regarding the assignment of a case – the issues raised were not heard: Justice Chelameshwar to media
12: 14 pm: Unless the institution is preserved, the democracy will not survive: Justice Chelameswar
12: 12 pm: Justice J Chelameswar calls the press conference an extra-ordinary event.