It was 11 am on Friday when a tweet spread like wildfire in the corridors of the Supreme Court of a possible Press conference to be held by the four senior-most judges at 4, Tughlaq Road, the official residence of Justice Jasti Chelameswar in an hour.
"All of us are convinced that unless this institution is protected and maintain its requirements, democracy will not survive in the country or any country".
The four judges, including Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph, said in a letter addressed to the chief justice that certain judicial orders have "adversely affected the overall functioning of the justice delivery system". "The non-finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure has left almost 40 per cent of the sanctioned posts of the judges vacant, leading to delay in justice delivery", the statement said. "Democracy is in danger is not for them to say, we have the Parliament, courts and police functioning for that", he asserted. They accused Chief Justice Dipak Misra of ignoring their suggestions to take remedial measures.
The CPI (M) meanwhile said the integrity and independence of the judiciary, is a vital pillar of the Constitution and non-negotiable.
All Supreme Court judges should be involved in setting the procedures used to hire and promote judges in all the country's courts, they added. The same thing happened this morning when the four of us went to meet the CJI with a specific request, but unfortunately we couldn't convince him that we are right and appropriate action needs to be taken. When the Memorandum of Procedure was the subject matter of a decision of a Constitution Bench of this Court in Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association and Anr. vs. Union of India [(2016) 5 SCC 1] it is hard to understand as to how any other Bench could have dealt with the matter. "The CJ has passed an order saying that this matter will be listed after two weeks before a bench to be nominated by the Chief Justice". That time around, Justice Chelameswar had issued notice in the matter consequent upon a mentioning by Dave, before CJI Misra interfered and stated in no uncertain terms that he is the master of the roster. It clearly indicates that the Judges were aware that a solution could not be found within the restricted area because of the external influence of the government.
The judges released a letter they had written to Chief Justice Misra a couple of months ago.
The Supreme Court has 25 judges appointed by India's president, including the chief justice, who retire at the age of 65, according to its website.
"The Congress party is deeply perturbed by these developments".
"The hallmark of a good democracy is an independent and impartial judge". The upcoming days will determine what kind of institution the Supreme Court wants to be, and how history will judge the four judges who chose to stand for what they believed in.
He said it was necessary for the three wings of democracy - the executive, the legislature and the judiciary - to ensure that whatever issues had been raised were corrected.
█ █ The judiciary is the sanctuary of the common man.