A tweet that set SC on fire
It was 11 am on Friday when a tweet spread like wildfire in the corridors of the Supreme Court of a possible Press conference to be held by the four senior-most judges at 4, Tughlaq Road, the official residence of Justice Jasti Chelameswar in an hour. This was going to be an unprecedented show since never in the history of judiciary SC judges had held a Press conference.
The Court of Justice Chelameswar (No. 2) had risen for the day and so had the court of Justice Madan B Lokur (No. 4). However, Courts of Justice Ranjan Gogoi (No. 3) and Justice Kurien Joseph (No. 5) were still functioning.
The exclusion of CJI Dipak Misra from the Press meet dropped hints that the conference may be targeted against him. When at 11 am two other judges abruptly ended proceedings in their courts, a senior official of the Supreme Court rushed into the courtroom of the CJI, who was until then unaware of the impending storm. The CJI put all remaining matters for hearing at 2 pm.
By then, things had all been arranged at Justice Chelameswar’s residence. The judges thanked the journalists for arriving at a short notice, before speaking their heart out without any prepared text or document.
As the Press conference progressed it became clear that the PIL relating to independent probe into Judge BH Loya’s death was one of the points of contention between the CJI and the four senior judges. The four judges had met CJI Misra in his chamber a little before he was to hold Court at 10.30 am. The judges had resented against the listing of PIL on Loya before Court No. 10 comprising Justices Arun Mishra and MM Shantanagoudar.
Sources in the SC said the judges requested the CJI to withdraw this case from that court. When the CJI stuck to his decision, the judges decided to make their grievances public.
Around 11.30 am, the case relating to judge Loya had already come up before the Bench headed by Justice Mishra. Senior advocates Indira Jaising and Dushyant Dave requested Justice Mishra not to hear the PIL citing a similar petition pending with Bombay High Court. Their plea went unheard as the Bench issued notice and posted it for hearing on Monday.
When the event ended and judges left, unconfirmed reports were doing the rounds about the Attorney General having met CJI and a possible Press conference to be conducted by Justice Misra at 2 pm. The CJI’s courtroom was jam-packed with lawyers expecting more drama. But a composed CJI, along with Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, walked to their seats, a little after 2 pm, and finished hearing the remaining listed cases for the day within an hour. The office of the CJI responded to constant queries by the mediapersons that the CJI did not intend to hold any Press conference.
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