Four judges of India’s Supreme Court criticize its administration
STORY: Four justices of the Supreme Court of India on Friday (January 12) criticised its distribution of cases to judges and raised concerns about judicial appointments, in an unprecedented public airing of problems at one of the country’s most respected institutions.
The move spells far-reaching implications for jurists and politicians in the chaotic South Asian democracy where the Supreme Court often sets the agenda on matters of policy and orders measures taken in the public interest.
Exposing a rift with Chief Justice Dipak Misra, some of the Supreme Court’s most senior judges told a news conference the issues involving its administration were serious enough to prompt them to go public – a move that left members of the government and the judiciary divided.
The administration of the Supreme Court is not in order and many things which are less than desirable have happened in the last few months, Justice Jasti Chelameswar said on the lawns of his residence in New Delhi. The four justices at Friday’s news conference – besides Chelameswar, they included Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph – are the most senior after Misra. Three of them are scheduled to retire this year, while Gogoi is in line to be the next chief justice, based on seniority.
The justices gave few details of the incidents they were referring to, but released a letter they had written to Misra. In the letter, they mentioned instances of cases with “far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution” that were selectively assigned by the chief justice without any rational “basis for such assignment”.