Supreme Court crisis: CJI, 'rebel' Judges to meet at lunch to resolve stalemate

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 17, 2018 10:43 hrs
Supreme Court judges press conference

New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra took the first step on Tuesday towards resolving the stalemate with four senior judges — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph — by holding a meeting with them and promising to consider their grievances.

After a stormy tea meeting on Monday morning, the four seniors met the CJI along with Justice A K Sikri and two future chief justices. The meeting+ lasted close to 15 minutes.

The discussions started on a subdued note: a fallout of the strained equations of the participants. However, the initial awkwardness was gone when the protesters took the initiative to start a conversation. Soon, the CJI made the interaction congenial by declaring that he was "ready to consider" the perceived grievances of the senior four.

The four judges responded immediately by saying they would come back to the CJI with their views on how to resolve the impasse. The estimate is that they might suggest a collective mechanism as a way to involve them in decisions such as allocation of cases.

The four judges met in the evening at Justice Chelameswar's house.

The CJI and the four seniors agreed to meet again on Wednesday, the day when the judges sit together for lunch, which is brought from the home of a particular judge by rotation. The fraternal lunch always features a cuisine typical to the region to which the particular judge belongs and has the potential to be the perfect setting for resolution of the stalemate — an outcome that a majority of judges seems to be waiting for.

In fact, the peace meeting became possible because of the constant efforts of many judges, including future CJIs Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud, to underscore the importance of a cohesive judiciary and the pitfalls of a divided house, which invariably invites political interference.

The stand taken by the four senior judges, whose press conference on Friday unleashed a huge crisis in the Supreme Court, will decide the future course.

Speculation about the meeting started on Tuesday at 10.30 am, the scheduled time for the benches to assemble to hear cases. When the first six courts did not sit at 10.30 am, the lawyers speculated that there was possibly a fresh round of talks between the CJI and the four senior judges. Justice Sikri presides over the bench in court No.6 and Justice Lalit is part of the bench sitting in court No.11. All these benches sat 15 minutes later.

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