AG, BCI say SC crisis settled

He said the vexed issues flagged by the four revolting judges on Friday were "internal issues of the family" which have been resolved internally.

PTI
New Delhi, Publish Date: Jan 16 2018 12:33AM | Updated Date: Jan 16 2018 12:33AM
AG, BCI say SC crisis settled

The unprecedented crisis that rocked the Supreme Court seems to have abated today with the Attorney General and the Bar Council of India saying it has been "settled" and resolved "internally" and the four revolting judges attending work as usual.

"Kahanikhatam ho gaya" (the story is now over), said the BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, three days after the four dissenting judges--Justices J Chelameswar, RanjanGogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph---launched a public attack against the Chief Justice of India DipakMisra at a news conference in a first of its kind event in the annals of Indian judiciary.

Mishra, who led a seven-member delegation and held hectic parleys with 15 judges including the Chief Justice yesterday, told a press conference that all the four top judges have resolved the differences and were attending the court.

He said the vexed issues flagged by the four revolting judges on Friday were "internal issues of the family" which have been resolved internally.

Attorney General K KVenugopal also said that "everything has been settled," describing the crisis as a "storm in a tea cup."

However, no details were immediately available as to how issues like the "selective" case allocation and certain judicial orders by Justice Misra raised by the four dissenters at their press conference on Friday last were sorted out. There was also no official word from the CJI office yet.

"Officially no development has happened," an apex court source said when asked whether there was a full court meeting of the judges of the top court.

An office bearer of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) said the situation has remained the same and perhaps the resolution passed by the bar body is still under the consideration of the judges.

The SCBA at its emergency meeting on January 13 had passed resolutions asking the CJI to convene a full court meeting and to transfer all pending PILs to the bench headed by five senior-most judges who are the members of the collegium.

The SCBA office bearer said a copy of the resolution was handed over by its president Vikas Singh to the CJI yesterday but they have not heard anything from the Supreme Court as yet.

"There is also no change in the allocation of the PILs," he said.

There was no word on whether the CJI had met the four dissenting judges.

"We met around 15 judges yesterday and all of them said that BCI has done a very good job and this mediation was required. They have now resolved the issue.

"BCI has been successful in its effort. No outside interference was required in the matter and even we will not impose any condition on them and they themselves would solve their differences over a cup of tea," Manan Mishra said.

"Everything will be sorted out and they have resolved whatever issues are there. We are expecting that everything will be settled and they will evolve an in-house mechanism."

He also referred to Venugopal's statement on the situation in the apex court being settled.

"They have resolved the issue and you can see that the courts are functioning smoothly and they are discharging their duties. There is nothing left," Mishra said.

Responding to a question whether an investigation should be ordered on allegations of the senior most judges, Mishra said the Bar body was not concerned with this and there is no question of any probe.

Venugopal said that all the four senior judges held their courts today and conducted routine judicial work.

"Everything has been settled is what I believe. "Everything is under control. Everything has been settled," he told PTI.

When asked if he met any of the judges, Venugopal said, "nobody at all", including the Chief Justice. The AG also told NDTV that the crisis was a "storm in a tea cup."

As the apex court reassembled, speculations were rife on how the four judges and the CJI would move forward in resolving the crisis and take up respective judicial work.

The CJI's courtroom saw lawyers, litigants and scribes rushing in to witness the court proceedings which began around 10.35 AM, when lawyer R P Luthra mentioned the issue of the press conference by the judges and urged the CJI to take action.

Luthra's plea was strongly rejected with the CJI saying "no, no", when Luthra referred to the press conference held by four judges on the issue of assignment of cases and sought stern action on the matter.

The CJI, heading the bench which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, then went ahead with the mentioning of urgent cases and hearing of 56 listed matters.

Justice Chelameswar, the seniormost judge after the CJI, was his usual cool self and began presiding over court number 2 almost simultaneously and dealt with 60 cases listed for the day.

Justices Gogoi, Lokur and Joseph presided over court numbers three, four and five respectively as usual.

The three judges dealt with 49, 41 and 53 matters listed today respectively. PTI