VISAKHAPATNAM l SATURDAY l JANUARY 13, 2018 l `4.00 l PAGES 32 l LATE CITY EDITION HARD TALK Excerpts from the letter the four senior Supreme Court judges wrote to Chief Justice Dipak Misra demanding transparency in work allocation FIRST AMONG EQUALS It is too well settled in jurisprudence of this country that Chief Justice is only the first amongst the equals — nothing more or nothing less CASES ASSIGNED SELECTIVELY There have been instances where cases having far-reaching consequences for the nation and institution had been assigned by the Chief Justice of this court selectively to the benches ‘of their presence’ without any rational basis Any issue with regard to the Memorandum of Procedure should be discussed in the Chief Justices’ conference and by the Full Court. Such a matter of great importance... should be dealt with by none other than a Constitution Bench THREE STICKING POINTS IMAGE OF THE SC We are not mentioning details only to avoid embarrassing the institution but note that such departures have already damaged the image of this institution to some extent Four top SC judges on Friday said CJI Dipak Misra (pic) had allotted cases of far-reaching consequences without transparency, indicating selective assignment of cases to preferred judges. Here are 3 such cases JUDGE LOYA DEATH MYSTERY CBI Judge B H Loya was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh murder case in which BJP president Amit Shah was accused, but mysteriously died in 2014. CJI on Friday allotted a petition seeking independent inquiry into the death to Justice Arun Mishra, who is 10th in seniority MEMORANDUM OF PROCEDURE MED ADMISSION SCAM Five-member Constitution bench had directed govt to frame norms to appoint judges to the HCs and SC. When petition on it came up, CJI allotted it to 3-judge bench headed by himself. That’s irregular, a small bench can’t deal with what was directed by the Constitution bench Allegedly involved sitting and retired HC judges. They let private medical colleges admit students to MBBS course despite SC bar. Justice Chelameswar set up a bench to hear it, but CJI sent it to another bench saying he (CJI) alone had the right to draw up roster SUPREME STRIKE CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR IN AN EXTRAORDINARY PRESS CONFERENCE AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA DIPAK MISRA, FOUR MEMBERS OF THE SUPREME COURT COLLEGIUM REVEAL THE SKEW IN ALLOCATION OF WORK AND LACK OF TRANSPARENCY, SAY OUTED IT TO PRESERVE DEMOCRACY ‘Don’t want it said 20 yrs later we did not take care of SC’ Govt to stay off mess, feels time is the best healer E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi MEDIA is not where you expect judges to wash dirty linen. But when four respected senior Supreme Court judges — Jasti Chelameshwar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — call an extraordinary press conference and publicly criticise Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, it appears like a vote of no confidence against the head of the institution. Significantly all four judges are on the Supreme Court , Collegium that appoints judges to the higher judiciary . And Justice Gogoi is in line to become the chief justice of India when Misra retires in October this year. The revolt against the CJI has been months in the making, from that November day when he declared himself as “the master of the roster” and overruled an order by Justice Chelameswar assigning a five-judge bench to look into allegations of bribes paid to senior judges in a medical college scam. One of the main issues they raised was his selective assigning of cases to benches, ignoring the senior judges. They first flagged it in a joint letter to the CJI. When that failed to produce results, they personally met him on Friday Since he refused to . budge, they decided to go public. “This is an extraordinary event in the history of any nation, more particularly this nation, and an extraordinary event in the institution of judiciary It is with no . pleasure that we are compelled to call this press conference. But sometimes administration of the Supreme Court is not in order and many things which are less than desirable have happened in the last few months,” said Justice Chelameswar. Addressing the media on the lawns of his official residence, Justice Chelameswar, the second-most senior judge in the Supreme Court, said, “We were left with no choice except to communicate it to the nation that please take care of the institution. Don’t want people to say 20 years later that we did not take care of the institution.” “There is an issue of assignment of a case which is raised in that letter (to the CJI),” Justice Gogoi said, adding that it pertained to the assigning of the case related to the death of special CBI judge B H Loya. CONFRONTED with the unprecedented issue of four senior Supreme Court judges going public with their grievances over CJI Dipak Misra’s allocation of cases, the government on Friday stuck to the stance that time is the best healer of the matter. Taking utmost care not to be seen expressing its views on the issue, government sources said the Centre has no locus standi in the issue, and it should be dealt with internally by the highest judiciary . “This is an unprecedented incident that judges have gone to the media to talk about internal matters concerning the administration of the Supreme Court. Time is the best healer. The highest judiciary has a lot of inherent strength. The judges of the top court with the passage of time will be able to resolve the issue,”a government source said. Even as the Congress went into a huddle with its top legal minds and party chief Rahul Gandhi reacting to the day’s development, the BJP maintained a stoic silence. The government sources said neither the Centre nor the BJP will be dragged into the issue despite Opposition attempts to politicise the matter. “It’s wrong on the part of the Congress and other opposition parties to politicise the issue, which is completely internal. The government and the BJP will not be dragged into ping-pong politics over the internal matters of the administration of the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice of India will be able to find an amicable solution to the issue,” the government source added. The government said Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not call Union Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad. Union minister of state for law and justice P P Choudhary had a scheduled meeting with PMO officials during the day on an unrelated matter. Supreme Court judge Jasti Chelameswar (seated, second from left) along with other judges addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Friday | PTI GUTSY JUDGES Justice Jasti Chelameswar Justice Madan B Lokur Justice Kurian Joseph He’s the second seniormost SC judge. Famous for his dissent in the majority (4:1) verdict that struck down NJAC and his decisive order in the privacy verdict He is the son of late Assam CM Keshab Chandra Gogoi and is in line to succeed CJI Dipak Mishra when the latter retires in October this year His father was judge of the Allahabad HC. He was one of the judges who ruled in the SC that sex with minor wife aged 15–18 would constitute rape Born in Kerala, he got his law degree from Kerala Law Academy Law College. Was part of bench that declared the practice of Triple Talaq unconstitutional Retirement: June 22, 2018 Retirement: November 17, 2019 Retirement: December 30, 2018 Retirement: November 29, 2018 JURISPRUDENCE CURIOUS CASE OF AADHAAR BENCH In the Aadhaar case, justices Chelameswar and Bobde were on the bench since 2013. It referred the matter to a larger bench after which then CJI Khehar reconstituted it with himself and justices Chelameswar, Bobde, Chandrachud and Nazeer on it. When that bench referred the privacy question to a nine-member Constitution bench, all five were part of it. That bench ruled that privacy was a fundamental right. Later, when CJI Dipak Misra constituted a five-judge bench to adjudicate on other matters of Aadhaar, justices Chelameswar and Bobde were not taken in. The bench as it stands now has CJI Misra with justices Sikri, Khanwilkar, Chandrachud and Bhushan. Curious? Justice Ranjan Gogoi AT STAKE We cannot criticise them (the four judges). They are men of great integrity and have sacrificed a lot of their legal career, where they could’ve made money as senior counsel. We must respect them They have also made a point about Judge Loya’s case. I think that is also something which needs to be investigated properly and looked at from the highest levels of the Supreme Court Subramanian Swamy, BJP leader Rahul Gandhi, Congress president Comparatively a junior judge, he has been assigned to handle cases of great importance to the polity ignoring his senior peers I am very upset about this, I wish the 4 SC judges hadn’t done this. This will have severe repercussions on the judiciary Soli Sorabjee, former Attorney General of India What has happened today could have been avoided. The judges will now have to act in statesmanship and ensure that the divisiveness is wholly neutralised and total harmony and mutual understanding will prevail in future K K Venugopal, Attorney General INSIDE They dared to question the system P6 ‘Won’t be business as usual in SC from now on’ P7 Full text of the letter the four judges wrote to the CJI S V K R I S H N A C H A I TA N YA @ Chennai SCIENTISTS at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are set to conduct a breathtaking stunt at Mahendragiri hills in Tamil Nadu. A bungee jump is being planned for Chandrayaan-2 craft as part of soft landing tests using a 100-metre tall crane (as tall as a 10-storeyed building) specially built for the purpose. Chandrayaan-2 is India’s most ambitious project as yet consisting of an orbiter, lander and a small rover. If it succeeds, it will be India’s first soft-landing on the Moon, and only the second such landing since the end of the Apollo and Luna missions. For this, scientists have to ensure that the spacecraft lands smoothly without crashing on the Moon’s surface. The Mahendragiri test at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), scheduled in another two weeks, will determine it, said S Somanath, director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC). He said the craft, weighing about half-a-tonne, will be lowered from 100 metres and ignited in a lower gravity condition like that of the Moon. It has to make both vertical and horizontal maneuvering to find a suitable place to land. INDIA is re-orienting its military deployment to increase troop levels on the frontier with China while persisting with its order of battle on the border with Pakistan. The ceasefire with Pakistan along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir is also nearly in tatters. “For too long have we been focused on the western border. Our focus has to shift to the northern border,” chief of army staff, General Bipin Rawat, said here on Friday. The western border is the one with Pakistan. The northern one refers to the frontier with China. “China is becoming assertive on the northern front. But there has to be a whole-of-govern- P8 Not just Pakistan, more troops from now on China border too Chandrayaan-2 set for bungee jump test The PSLV-C40 carrying Cartosat series along with 30 satellites lifts off from Sriharikota, on Friday | PTI/ISRO Justice Arun Mishra who? S U J A N D U T TA @ New Delhi ment approach that includes diplomacy and not the Army alone,” General Rawat said. He said that since the 73-day face-off with the Chinese at Doklam in Bhutan in June-July last year, the Chinese have retained a portion of the plateau that they dispute with the Bhutanese. Gen. Bipin Rawat “Doklam has two parts — north and south — with the Torsa nullah running in between. They were building a road through three passes heading south towards the Jampheri Ridge when we stopped them. Now the troops have separated. But we can see Chinese troops in North Doklam, we can see their tents and kitchens. There has been a thinning-out, but yes they are there,” General Rawat said. “We understand China is a powerful country but we are not a weak nation. We have increased our troop levels on the China front. There is no belligerence but we are now patrolling hitherto unpatrolled areas and that is why there are more intrusions,” he added. Justice Arun Mishra is 10th in seniority in the Supreme Court, yet weighty cases have been assigned to him ignoring his senior peers. The latest to land in his bag was the Justice B H Loya case. He is also hearing the private medical college admission scam and the SaharaBirla diary case involving a whole host of political biggies. Mishra was a high court judge for 15 years before being elevated to the SC in 2014. His term ends in Sept 2020. Soon, passports would not be address proofs E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi YOUR passport may soon be unacceptable as a proof of address. In fact, new passports will not even have your address on it. However, this dilutes the importance of the passport as an identity and verification document at a time when Aadhaar is being aggressively promoted by the government. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), new passports being designed by the Indian Security Press, Nasik, will drop the last page, which has the holder’s address, name of spouse, details about earlier passports, and if an Emigration Check is required before leaving for a job in another country. According to an MEA spokesperson, a committee of officials from MEA and the Ministry of Women and Child Development had met to discuss issues related to passport applications , particularly cases where the “mother/child had insisted that the name of the father should not be mentioned in the passport and also relating to passport issues to children with single parent and to adopted children”. The existing passports would continue to remain valid until the date of expiry printed in the passport booklet, the spokesperson added.
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