Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday described the concerns expressed by four Supreme Court judges over the institution's functioning as "extremely important", and also sought an investigation into the death of judge BH Loya by the "highest level" of the apex court.
Making a brief statement at a press conference, Gandhi also said that Justice J Chelameswar's remark that democracy will not survive in the country unless the Supreme Court was preserved, was "extremely important" and that it needed to be "looked into carefully".
Special CBI judge Loya, who was hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Shaikh encounter case, had allegedly died under mysterious circumstances in 2014. The apex court had on Thursday agreed to hear two separate pleas seeking an independent probe into the death.
BJP chief Amit Shah, who had been accused in the case, was discharged from the matter after Loya's death.
One of the four senior-most judges, who held an unprecedented press conference, had said that the matter involving Judge Loya's death was one of the issues underpinning their differences with Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
"They have also made a point about Judge Loya's case. I think that is also something which needs to be investigated properly and looked at from the highest levels of the Supreme Court... All citizens who love the idea of justice, who believe in the Supreme Court, are looking at this issue and it's important that it is addressed," Gandhi said.
The Congress also issued a statement in which it said the issues raised by the four judges were "extremely disturbing" and have "far-reaching consequences for values we hold."
AICC Press Release: INC Statement on the 4 SC Judges Press Conference on the functioning of the Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/txekcEupkL
— Congress (@INCIndia) January 12, 2018
"The honourable judges have specifically highlighted two issues: (1) The long silence of the Government of India to the Memorandum of Procedure that was finalised by the Supreme Court and (2) the assignment of cases in the Supreme Court to what is described as “selectively to the benches of their preference without any rational basis for such assignment”. In answer to a question from the media, the honourable judges referred to the PIL concerning the death of judge Loya, which the family of judge Loya believes was under suspicious circumstances," read the statement released by Congress at the press conference.
In an unprecedented move, the four senior-most judges in the Supreme Court spoke out in the open on Friday and accused Chief Justice Misra of not strictly adhering to the rules in assigning cases to appropriate benches, which they said could create "doubts" about the integrity of the top court.
Speaking to the media at the residence of Justice J Chelameswar, the judges said the Supreme Court administration was "not in order" and released an undated letter they wrote to Justice Misra in which they conceded that the chief justice was the "master of roster" but this was "not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual, of the chief justice over his colleagues".
Earlier in the day, senior Congress leaders including P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Ahmed Patel, among others, had called on Gandhi to brief him about the implications of the four senior judges of the Supreme Court publicly attacking Misra.
Among the other party leaders who visited Gandhi's residence were Salman Khurshid, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Vivek Tankha, Manish Tewari and KTS Tulsi.
The leaders briefed him about the political and legal implications of the unprecedented development, which was termed as "an extraordinary event in the history of judiciary".
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jan 12, 2018 21:36:19 IST