SC judges vs CJI: BJP hits back, says Rahul Gandhi is doing politics over ‘internal matter of judiciary’

New Delhi: The ruling BJP on Friday launched a scathing attack on Rahul Gandhi-led Congress and accused it of playing politics over what it called ”an internal matter” of the judiciary after four top court judges openly complained about the way things were being conducted by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra.

Addressing a press briefing, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra said, ”Rahul Gandhi is playing politics over the Supreme Court issue while it’s an internal matter of the apex court.”

Read: Complete letter of 4 top SC judges who revolted against CJI

”In the country, judiciary plays an independent role and the Attorney-General has given his statement. No politics should be played. We are surprised and pained that Congress, which has been rejected number of times by people in elections is trying to gain political mileage and it has exposed itself,” Patra added.

The reactions from the ruling side came minutes after the Congress described the comments made by four Supreme Court judges as “extremely disturbing” and appealed to the Supreme Court to find solutions to preserve the independence of the judiciary.

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi even demanded that its senior-most judges should supervise a probe by SIT into the mysterious death of Special CBI Judge BH Loya.

The Congress also issued a statement after Gandhi met senior party leaders, including P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Manish Tewari who are also leading lawyers, and discussed the situation arising out of the press conference by four senior-most judges – Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur – who were critical of Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

 Gandhi and his party demanded that the PIL concerning the death of Judge BH Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin fake shootout case, should be entrusted to the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court who should ensure a thorough and impartial investigation of the case by an independent SIT.

Gandhi, who made a brief statement to the media, said it was “a sensitive and important matter” and that “the points raised by the judges are extremely important”.

“The points that have been raised by the four judges are extremely important. They have mentioned that there is a threat to democracy. I think it needs to be looked into carefully. They have also made a point about Judge Loya’s case. I think that is also something that needs to be investigated properly. It needs to be looked at from the highest levels of the Supreme Court,” he said.

He said the press conference by judges “never happened before”.

Read: Top SC judges take on Chief Justice of India, say democracy won’t survive without free judiciary

“It’s unprecedented. I think all citizens who love the idea of justice, who believe in the Supreme Court are looking at this issue,” Gandhi said.

Earlier, Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the four senior-most judges could have avoided addressing a press conference on their differences with the Chief Justice but expressed confidence that the entire issue would be resolved very soon.

”Today’s press conference could have been avoided, but the Supreme Court judges are all statesman with vast experience and knowledge, and I am sure by tomorrow, the entire issue would be resolved,”Attorney General (AG) K K Venugopal had told ANI.

Venugopal, however, admitted that the accusations made by the four sitting apex court judges openly before the electronic media will seriously affect public confidence in the court.

The reactions from the Attorney General came shortly after the four apex court judges held a press conference this morning and said that “things are not in order” at the Supreme Court. 

Addressing the media, the senior-most judges launched a sharp attack on Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra for “ignoring the concerns voiced by them”.

“Administration of the Supreme Court is not in order. Many things less than desirable have happened in the last few months. We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation,” Justice Chelameswar said.

Justice J Chelameshwar said that the four judges were compelled to act in this way because Chief Justice Mishra could not be persuaded to mend the ways of the court.

“We met CJI this morning. We collectively tried to persuade CJI that certain things aren’t in order, so take some remedial measures, but unfortunately, our efforts failed,” said Justice Chelameswar.

“The four of us gave a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) some months ago,” the justices revealed.

Read: Why 4 SC judges have revolted against CJI

In a letter released subsequently, they highlighted that rules are often not followed when cases are being allocated and that departure from rules will hurt the integrity of the top court.

They also accused that cases with far-reaching consequences are being assigned selectively.

Asked if they want the CJI to be impeached, the judges said that they are not implying it and that it is for the nation to decide.

Justice J Chelameswar, however, added that democracy comes under threat if judiciary loses its freedom.

Moments after their press conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi summoned Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to discuss the matter at hand.

Their allegations evoked sharp reactions from a divided legal fraternity of the country with some supporting their cause and others chiding them for immature and childish behaviour. 

(With Agency inputs) 

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