Chief Justice reaches out to rebel Supreme Court judges

New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) There was an uneasy truce in the country’s top court on Tuesday as Chief Justice Dipak Misra reached out to four dissenting judges to resolve a rift with them over the allocation of cases in the Supreme Court.

Justice Misra met the four judges — Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph – separately in the course of the customary tea gathering at the judges lounge on Tuesday morning, sources privy to the development said.

The nearly 15-minute conversation between the Chief Justice and his four senior most colleagues would be followed by a similar meeting on Wednesday morning as the talks remained inconclusive, the sources said.

During the meeting, the sources said, Justice Misra and the rebel judges discussed all the outstanding issues, point of contentions and differences.

The sources said the Chief Justice took the initiative of meeting the four judges as they were not satisfied with the outcome of a meeting of all judges on Monday morning.

An impression was generated on Monday that issues were resolved after Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said the events since January 12 were a “storm in a tea cup” and that “everything is settled”.

The country’s top court was hit by unprecedented crisis, after the four senior most judges at a press conference expressed their unhappiness about the functioning of the court and how cases were being allocated arbitrarily.

They complained that “administration of Supreme Court is not in order and there have been things less than desirable that have happened in the court”.

The judges also released a letter they had written to the Chief Justice questioning how he was arbitrarily deciding which bench should decide which case even as he is the “master of the roster” but that did not make him a “superior authority”.

“The Chief Justice is only the first amongst equals – nothing more or nothing less,” the letter said.

Efforts by sitting judges and advocate bodies to mediate a solution to the crisis have not succeeded.

The Bar Council of India even set up a seven-member delegation and met Justice Misra and 14 other judges on Sunday. The Supreme Court Bar Association also met the Chief Justice and other judges.

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