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SC crisis appears unresolved amid hopes weekend will bring relief

Last updated on: January 16, 2018 13:34 IST

The crisis in the Supreme Court over complaints against the chief justice seemed far from over despite optimism expressed a day earlier by top legal bodies, amid fresh hopes on Tuesday of a resolution by the weekend.

“I think it (crisis) has not been settled. Let’s hope things will be fully settled within 2-3 days”, Attorney General K K Venugopal said.

He had asserted on Monday that “everything has been settled” and described the crisis as a “storm in a tea cup.” The Bar Council of India had declared “kahani khatam (story is over)” in describing the crisis that erupted on Friday when four senior-most judges launched a virtual revolt against Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

At an unprecedented press conference, Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph openly castigated the functioning of the top court headed by Misra.

Supreme Court Bar Association President Vikas Singh on Tuesday said there was a likelihood of the crisis being resolved by the end of this week.

“By the end of this week the crisis is likely to be resolved,” he said.

Singh said that when he had handed over the SCBA resolution to the CJI on Sunday, he had got the impression that the crisis would be resolved. Singh said the CJI was hopeful that within a week things will return to normalcy.

In its emergency meeting on Saturday, the SCBA had passed a resolution asking the chief justice to convene a full court meeting of the apex court judges and transfer all pending PILs for hearing before the five senior-most judges who are members of the collegium.

Venugopal, the attorney general, also hoped that things will be sorted out in the next few days.

Asked whether he had a meeting or if he spoke with any of the four judges or the CJI, Venugopal said, “Nothing of that sort has happened”.

At the press conference, the four judges had flagged certain problems, including the assigning of cases by the CJI, and said there were certain issues afflicting the country’s highest court.

On Sunday, CJI Misra met a seven-member delegation of the Bar Council of India and SCBA’s Singh, and had reportedly assured them that the crisis would be sorted out soon and congeniality would prevail.

On Tuesday, the Bar Council of India continued to maintain that there was “absolutely no crisis now”.

BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said that a seven-member delegation on Monday met Justices Gogoi and Lokur, who both gave an assurance that there was no crisis at all.

“Justice Gogoi said the crisis is over. He said there is no dispute at all,” Manan said when asked about reports which projected a contrary situation.

Asked to react to Venugopal’s statement that things haven’t settled yet, Mishra said: “I don’t know how and why the Attorney General is saying like this. All judges are
holding their courts and the work is going on normally in the Supreme Court.

“Hence, nothing more will come out in public and very soon all issues will be settled. Absolutely there is no crisis now,” he said.


Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters 

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