A day after four senior sitting judges of Supreme Court went public, questioning the conduct of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, the Bar Association has chose to hold a meeting on Saturday evening. The most damning thing said was that a specific request was made to the CJI on a specific issue this morning, but to no avail and left with no choice, they chose to place the state of affairs before the people of this country.
The Supreme Court will not be hearing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a probe into the alleged mysterious death of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge B H Loya on Monday. The CJI and the four judges comprise the SC collegium that selects judges for the higher judiciary.
The contempt case against PCO judges was pursued during the time of former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry but was not taken up by his successors.
"Four of us are convinced, the democracy will not survive".
"We met CJI this morning".
Asked if the chief justice should be impeached, Chelameswar said, "That's for the nation to decide".
"It urges stake holders to exercise restraint and requests them to resolve all issues internally and within the constitutional framework", the resolution said.
Judiciary in India is considered sanctimonious and hardly every subjected to criticism from the outside world, whether the legislative or the executive wing of the parliamentary system. A powerful "contempt of court" legislation only strengthens its muscle.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad declined to comment.
He said the four judges "failed to persuade CJI that certain things are not in order and therefore he should take remedial measures".
Opinions are sharply divided over whether the judges should have taken such extraordinary step.
Questioning their action, he said internal matters of the judiciary should not have been brought to the public for discussion, because neither the public, nor the government or the executive can give any relief to them.
So, the question is; if they haven't sold their souls, then who has.
The Bar Council of India (BCI) formed a seven-member team to meet all judges of the Supreme Court, barring the five seniormost judges, to discuss the present crisis in the apex court.
As far as Friday's event is concerned, I do not think the development had or could do any damage to the judicial institution.
The government's top lawyer, Attorney General KK Venugopal, had said yesterday's press conference - a first in the country by sitting judges of the Supreme Court - "could have been avoided". It was very well done.