The Congress party today termed as an ‘unprecedented’ development by the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court addressing a press conference.
In a statement issued here, the grand old party said that the “observations made by the honourable judges and the issues raised by them in the press conference and in the letter are extremely disturbing”.
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It added that the development has “far reaching consequences for the values that we hold sacred: safeguarding democracy and preserving the independence of the judiciary”.
“The Congress party is deeply perturbed by these developments. The country holds the judiciary in the highest esteem and millions of people knock on the doors of the courts seeking justice. The non-finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure has left nearly forty percent of the sanctioned posts of the judges vacant, leading to delay in justice delivery,” the statement reads.
The party also made an earnestly appeals that the “Full Court of the Supreme Court should take up the issues raised by the four Honourable Judges and find solutions that are consistent with the traditions and conventions of the Judiciary pointed out by the four Honourable Judges and that will preserve the independence of the judiciary”.
In the PIL concerning the death of Judge Loya, the Congress said, “We believe that the matter must be entrusted to the Senior most Judges of the Supreme Court who should ensure that under their supervision there is a thorough and impartial investigation of the case by an independent SIT.”
“In the matter of assignment of cases, the established conventions and traditions of the Courts must be followed and the selective assignment of cases must be stopped forthwith. Cases that have far reaching implications to society and governance must be heard, in accordance with well established conventions, by the Senior most Judges of the Supreme Court,” it added.
Earlier this morning, in a break from tradition, four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court addressed the media, accusing Chief Justice Dipak Misra of breaching rules in assigning cases to appropriate benches, with one of them pointing to the plea regarding the mysterious death of Special CBI judge BH Loya.
At a hurriedly called press conference at his residence, Justice J Chelameswar and three other colleagues said the Supreme Court administration was "not in order" and their efforts to persuade Justice Misra even this morning "with a specific request" failed, forcing them to "communicate with the nation" directly.
The four judges -- Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B Lokur besides Justice Chelameswar -- released a letter they wrote to Justice Misra a couple of months ago, conceding that he was the master of roster but that was "not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues".
Judge Loya, who was hearing a case relating to the killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh in an alleged fake shootout in which BJP chief Amit Shah was named an accused (later discharged), died of cardiac arrest in 2014. His family has raised doubts over the circumstances in which Judge Loya died and have sought an independent probe into it.