12th of January 2018 has seen an unprecedented and historic action by four senior most judges of the Supreme Court of India. Justices J. Chalemeswar, Joseph Kurien, Ranjan Gogoi and M.B. Lokur addressed a Press Conference saying they had been forced to come before the nation in a step they themselves described as an extraordinary event and one unprecedented in the history of India. They have asserted that they are speaking because the administration of the Supreme Court was not in order, ‘less than desirable things were happening’. They stated that all four of them had written a letter to Chief Justice Mishra four months ago and had also collectively met him but though the suggestion they gave was implemented it was done in a manner that attacked the integrity of the judiciary. They again met the Chief Justice collectively this morning but have been forced to come before the people, because,as they said, they did not want it said years hence that they had remained silent because they ‘had sold their souls’. While refusing to discuss issues, they did indicate that cases with far reaching consequences were being assigned selectively and there was a departure from rules which would hurt the integrity of the Supreme Court. It should be noted that the Chief Justice is master of the roster, a fact he had himself reiterated in a most unseemly manner in a recent case. In their letter written to the CJI they have also dealt at length about Justice Mishra’s submissive attitude before the Modi Govt. in the issue pertaining to appointment of Judges, thereby compromising the upholding of the independence of the Judiciary. They have also made clear that this is a backtracking from his earlier position when he was not the Chief Justice.
The action of the four Judges is in the immediate context of the petitions before the Court today seeking an enquiry into the death of the Justice Loya, the CBI judge dealing with Sohrabuddin’s case; this was admitted by Justice Ranjan Gogoi in answer to a question. It underlines that pressure has been exercised by the RSS BJP Govt to suppress the truth about this case which will directly implicate leaders of the ruling dispensation as has been alleged all along; and most clearly in the case of Justic Loya’s unexplained death.
In the recent case involving admissions being permitted to a medical college in Lucknow and the allegations of bribe taking by a Supreme Court Judge, Justice Mishra had vehemently refused to recluse himself from the case despite the ambit of the allegation being spelt out clearly. The investigation into the taking of bribe by a senior Supreme Court is being conducted by the CBI which, it is well known, is the ‘caged parrot’ of the Govt. of the day. It is also well known that Justice Deepak Mishra’s son is facing enquiry from the enforcement directorate in a case lodged during demonetization. Thus at stake is the clear collusion between judicial corruption and the ruling casteist and communal dispensation, which is a very serious matter for the cause of people’s democratic rights.
It is a welcome step that four senior most Judges have spoken out against the Court’s toeing of the anti democratic anti people, communal and casteist dictates of the Central govt. and that they have chosen to come to the people. When asked if they want the CJI’s impeachment, they simply left it to the people. This is welcome from a Court that sometimes assigns itself the right to speak for the conscience of the nation and act against justice as laid down earlier by itself.
People, democratic and civil rights’ organizations and individuals and all struggling sections should respond and demand impeachment of the Chief Justice. It will go a long way in asserting the answerability of the Judiciary to people’s aspirations of justice. Let us also demand and ensure through struggles that a fair and plausible enquiry is held into the inexplicable death of Justice Loya, who had reportedly refused to succumb to pressure from Hindutva backed governments in the Sohrabuddin case. This is a question of the Judiciary having the right to act free from the dictates of the ruling dispensation.
Central Committee, CPI (ML)New Democracy
12th January 2018