A day after Attorney General KK Venugopal and Bar Council of India chairman Manan Misra said that the 'rebellion' in the Supreme Court family is over and that it was a "storm in a tea cup", Justice Arun Mishra will likely hear a petition on Tuesday that calls for an independent investigation into the death of special judge BH Loya.
Loya, who was hearing the CBI's case of murder against BJP chief Amit Shah, died of a cardiac arrest in Nagpur in December 2014. Court later cleared Shah and several top police officers.
On Monday, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and the other judges of the Supreme Court had an informal meeting inside the CJI chambers and Justice Arun Mishra is said to have broken down for being "unfairly" targetted by the four judges raising questions about his "competence" and "integrity".
He said that though his name was not mentioned by the four judges, inferences have been drawn from the cases referred to by the four judges including that of late Judge Loya. Justice Mishra said that he has been working hard and was overburdened. He said that even earlier the former CJIs Justice TS Thakur and Justice JS Khehar had assigned him tough cases.
At this point, the Chief Justice took Justice Mishra to his chamber while Justice J Chelameswar put his arm around his shoulder and told him that they were trying to raise issues and were not against him. According to reports, Justice Mishra was assigned the petition concerning Loya on Friday, the day when the four judges took on the CJI.
The benches in Courts Number two, three, four and five headed by the rebel judges — Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph, respectively — attended to their business as usual, reports said.
Later, a lawyer RP Luthra in a mentioning before Court Number One headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that there is "a conspiracy to destroy the institution" and urged the Chief Justice to take action against the four judges. However, the Chief Justice smiled and remained silent.
Normalcy returns to Supreme Court
A semblance of normalcy marked the functioning of the Supreme Court on Monday after CJI Misra and all other judges, including those who revolted against him on Friday, had an informal meeting and discussed issues raised by the four judges who held the press conference on 12 January.
No details of what was discussed at the closed-door meeting were available as all judges, including the four, attended to their work after that. There was no word on whether an agreement was reached on the issues raised by the judges led by Justice Chelameswar on allocation of work before various benches of the court and more.
Venugopal and the BCI chief, however, claimed that the crisis in the country's top court "has been settled". "The full court met. It seems that everything is settled. Everything is hunky-dory," the Attorney General told the media.
Manan Mishra said the issues raised by four dissenting top judges of the Supreme Court had been resolved and that the judiciary did not want any political party to take advantage of the situation.
"As you can see, the matter has been laid to rest and all court rooms in the Supreme Court are functioning normally," Mishra said.
An unprecedented crisis engulfed the Supreme Court after the four top Supreme Court judges on Friday took on the Chief Justice over allocation of cases, saying the administration of the court was not in order.
Every day before the commencement of court work at 10.30 am, all the judges have tea together. On Monday, when judges came for the customary tea, the top court staff attending to judges in the lounge were asked to leave. Thereafter, in an informal chat, the issues raised by the four judges at a press conference were talked over and "resolved", a source said.
Congress demands independent probe
Meanwhile, the Congress demanded an independent investigation into the death of Loya, and argued that the consent of his kin was not necessary as the matter "impinges" on democracy. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi's remarks came a day after Loya's son said that his father died of natural causes and not in suspicious circumstances and urged NGOs and parties not to "politicise" the matter.
Singhvi said that in a matter of public or national interest, anyone can seek a probe and it is not necessary that it will be ordered only on the plea of a family member of the deceased. "As a responsible stakeholder of democracy of this country, we want a fair and comprehensive inquiry regarding the mysterious death of judge Loya," he told reporters here.
Steering clear of any link with the current crisis in the Supreme Court, he said the Congress was not politicising the issue but was only seeking an impartial probe into the death of the judge.
"All my comments today have nothing whatsoever to do with the so-called Supreme Court imbroglio, nothing whatsoever. I think every citizen in this country and every political party is independently entitled to ask for a fair, comprehensive inquiry into his death," he said.
Singhvi said the inquiry should be conducted under the supervision of the Supreme Court or the High Court.
The Congress leader also read out statements of the judge's son Anuj Loya made two years ago at the time of his death and the statements of the judge's father and two sisters raising suspicion over his death.
"This whole argument that there is a politicisation is false. We are simply, as a responsible stakeholder of Indian democracy, asking for inquiry and putting before you the absolute patent paradoxes and contradictions in the diverse statements," he said.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jan 16, 2018 08:30 AM