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Supreme Court crisis: As it happened on Sunday

"We have been told that there is no crisis. It is an internal matter which will be resolved soon. I am sure a solution will be found in 2-3 days," Manan said after Bar Council delegation's meeting with Justice Chelameswar.

Edited by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: January 14, 2018 22:52 IST ]
Manan Mishra, Bar Council of India Chairperson
Image Source : ANI Manan Mishra, Bar Council of India Chairperson

The Bar Council of India Chairperson Manan Mishra on Sunday said that there was no crisis in Supreme Court as the dispute between senior judges and CJI was an internal matter and would be resolved within two or three days. 

"We have been told that there is no crisis. It is an internal matter which will be resolved soon. I am sure a solution will be found in 2-3 days," Mishra said after Bar Council delegation's meeting with Justice Chelameswar.

The seven judge delegation is also expected to meet Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on the matter later in the day, in an attempt to persuade all parties to resolve the crisis facing the highest judiciary.

The delegation today initiated the process of meeting the judges, starting with Justice Chelameswar -- one of the four dissenting judges who held an unprecedented press conference to claim that "all is not well" in the apex court because of alleged arbitrary allocation of cases to "select benches". 

After the meeting, the delegation said that "it will react after meeting CJI Dipak Misra and three other judges in the evening".  The delegation also met Justice RK Agrawal and thereafter Justice AM Khanwilkar.

Also Read: Judges, lawyers’ bodies hold hectic parleys over top court crisis

As it happened:

09:00pm: We met CJI in a congenial atmosphere, everything will be sorted out. Everyone we talked to, has assured that matter will be sorted out: Manan Kumar Mishra, Chairman, Bar Council of India after 50-minute meeting at CJI's residence

08:45pm: SCBA chief Vikas Singh to India TV: We have given a proposal to CJI Dipak Misra that PILs should be heard either by the chief justice or a senior judge of the collegium. CJI said that he will look into the matter and see what steps can be taken, he said. 

08:15pm: A seven-member delegation of Bar Council of India reaches residence of CJI Dipak Misra to discuss crisis in apex judiciary

08:00pm: Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Vikas Singh met Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra at his residence

07:00pm: Bar Council of India delegation reaches Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde's residence. 

05:00pm: Hectic parleys were reported form the lawyer's end as well. Co-ordiantion Committee of All District Court Bar Associations of Delhi met on Sunday and passed a resolution urging the CJI and senior judges 'to put their houses in order'.

"We resolve that the Hon Chief Justice of India should have kept his house in order and the grievances of the four senior judges should have been addressed by the CJI immediately," the committee said in a statement. 

"People of India have big faith in the sacred institution and the said faith shouldn't be even touched by any act of anyone and judicial discipline should be maintained at any cost. We request Hon Chief Justice of India and all other judges of Supreme Court to put their house in order. We believe this incident occurred in absence of any legal mechanism to resolve such issues," the statement said. 

"If the matter isn't resolved in 7-10 days, we will call all the Bar Associations of India, hold discussions with them and take to the streets, if it comes to that, in order to make people aware," Delhi Bar Association members added in a press conference. 

04:30pm: CJI Dipak Misra has given an appointment of 7.30 pm to Bar Council delegation 

04:00pm: "We have been told that there is no crisis. It is an internal matter which will be resolved soon. I am sure a solution will be found in 2-3 days," Mishra said after Bar Council delegation's meeting with Justice Chelameswar.

03:00pm: Former Supreme Court judge PB Sawant and senior high court judges have also come out in support of four judges. In an open letter written to the CJI, the senior justices mentioned an urgent need to create more transparency in his special rights. (Read full story here)

Open letter to CJI Dipak Misra by Justice PB Sawant, Justice AP Shah, (Retd) former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court, Justice K Chandru, (Retd) former Judge, Madras High Court and Justice HSuresh, (Retd) former Judge, Bombay High Court:

"The four senior puisne Judges of the Supreme Court have brought to light a serious issue regarding the manner of allocation of cases, particularly sensitive cases, to various benches of the Supreme Court. They have expressed a grave concern that cases are not being allocated in a proper manner and are being allocated arbitrarily to particular designated benches, often headed by junior judges, in an arbitrary manner. This is having a very deleterious effect on the administration of justice and the rule of law.

"We agree with the four Judges that though the Chief Justice of India is the master of roster and can designate benches for allocation of work, this does not mean that it can be done in an arbitrary manner such that, sensitive and important cases are sent to hand picked benches of junior judges by the Chief Justice. This issue needs to be resolved and clear rules and norms must be laid down for allocation of benches and distribution of cases, which are rational, fair and transparent. This must be done immediately to restore public confidence in the judiciary and in the Supreme Court. However till that is done, it is important that all sensitive and important cases including pending ones, be dealt with by a Constitution Bench of the 5 senior most Judges of this Court. Only such measures would assure the people that the Supreme Court is functioning in a fair and transparent manner and that the power of the Chief Justice as master of roster is not being misused to achieve a particular result in important and sensitive cases. We therefore urge you to take immediate steps in this regard."

02:00 pm: The delegation initiated the process of meeting the judges, starting with Justice Chelameswar -- one of the four dissenting judges who held an unprecedented press conference to claim that "all is not well" in the apex court because of alleged arbitrary allocation of cases to "select benches". After the meeting, the delegation said that "it will react after meeting CJI Dipak Misra and three other judges in the evening".  The delegation also met Justice RK Agrawal and thereafter Justice AM Khanwilkar.

Yesterday, Mishra said that the apex bar body has formed the seven-member team to meet all judges of the Supreme Court barring the five senior-most judges to discuss the present crisis. 

It passed a resolution saying no political party or leaders should take undue advantage of the situation arising out of the press conference by four senior Supreme Court judges. 

Without taking any name, BCI chairperson said, "No political party or leader should take an undue advantage of the situation arising out of the press conference of the four senior Supreme Court judges." 

The reference to political parties and leaders assumes significance as Congress president Rahul Gandhi had yesterday addressed the media after the judges went public with their grievances. 

Meanwhile, Justice Kurian Joseph, one of the four Supreme Court judges who virtually revolted against the chief justice, today said there was no need for an outside intervention to solve the issue, while the apex court bar body called for a full court consideration of the matter. 

Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who was also among the four judges, told PTI in Kolkata, "There is no crisis." He made the remark on the sidelines of a programme, when asked about the way forward to resolve the crisis in the top court. 

Justice Joseph said the matter was not brought to the attention of the President of India as he has no constitutional responsibility over the Supreme Court or the judges of the apex court. 

He said there was no constitutional lapse from the part of CJI but convention, practice and procedure has to be followed while carrying out his responsibility. 

"We just brought that matter to his attention," he said at an event near Kochi. 

Also Read: SC row: 7-member delegation of Bar Council to meet four judges, CJI for early resolution of their differences

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) expressed "grave concern" over the differences of the four senior most judges with CJI Dipak Misra. 

The SCBA executive committee, which held an emergency meeting, resolved that all public interest litigation (PIL) matters, including the pending PILs, should be either taken up by the CJI or be assigned for adjudication to the four senior judges who were part of the apex court collegium. 

Meanwhile, the Bar Council of India (BCI), the apex body of lawyers, formed a seven-member team to meet the judges of the Supreme Court tomorrow to discuss the present crisis in the apex court. 

It passed a resolution, saying no political party or leaders should take "undue advantage" of the situation arising out of the press conference by the top court judges. 

In an unprecedented move, justices J Chelameswar, Gogoi, M B Lokur and Joseph, had launched a public attack against the CJI, listing a litany of problems, including the issue of assigning of cases. 

"An issue was raised. Those concerned have listened to it. Such actions would not occur in future. So (I) believe that the issue has been settled," Justice Joseph told reporters on the sidelines of the silver jubilee celebrations of the Major Archiespicopal Status of the Syro-Malabar Church in Kakkanad near Kochi. 

Also Read: SC row: Two of the four judges, who questioned CJI Dipak Misra's credibility, rule out ‘any Constitutional crisis’

"There is no need for outside intervention to solve the matter because its is a matter (that) occurred within an institution. Necessary steps would be taken by the institution itself to sort it out," he said, when asked if an outside intervention was required to solve the matter. 

Earlier, he rejected suggestions that they had violated discipline and expressed the hope that their action will bring in more transparency in the administration of the Supreme Court. 

"Stood up for justice and judiciary...That is what we said there (in New Delhi) yesterday. Nothing beyond that," Justice Joseph said in Malayalam when local television news channels approached him at his ancestral home in Kalady near Kochi seeking his reaction on yesterday's development. 

A day after the presser by the four judges, TV visuals today showed prime minister's Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra turning up at the residence of the CJI. 

The visuals showed Nripendra Misra driving to the CJI's official residence here. However, the gates were not opened and after waiting for a while, the principal secretary to the prime minister was seen driving back. 

After the visuals were aired, the Congress was quick to criticise the government. 

"As PM's Principal Secretary, Nripendra Misra visits CJI's residence at 5, Krishna Menon Marg; PM must answer the reason for sending this special messenger to Chief Justice of India," Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted. 

SCBA President and senior advocate Vikas Singh said that a resolution for the full court consideration was passed as it is a mechanism in which deliberations by all the judges of the top court takes place in-house and not in the open. 

The SCBA resolution said that matters listed for hearing in the apex court on January 15 "should also be transferred" from other judges to the five seniormost judges who were part of the collegium. 

On Friday, Yesterday, justices Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Jurian Joseph had mounted a virtual revolt against the chief justice, listing a litany of problems including the assigning of cases. 

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