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Supreme Court justices write letter to CJI Dipak Misra, warn of 'institutional issues' regarding future of court

Supreme Court justices Ranjan Gogoi and Madan Lokur have written to Dipak Misra, urging the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to call a full court to discuss "institutional issues" regarding the future of the court.

This comes a week after the Supreme Court had called an informal meeting, which ended without any conclusion being reached. A report on India Today wrote that there has been no response from the CJI's office regarding the judges' letter or the demands raised in it.

File image of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. News18

File image of Dipak Misra. Courtesy: News18

A separate report on The Indian Express, meanwhile, said the issue of a full court was also raised by some judges during the customary morning meeting of all Supreme Court judges over tea on Monday. However, it said, Misra was non-committal on the matter even during the tea meeting with his peers.

A full court meeting of the Supreme Court, one that involves all judges, is usually convened by the Chief Justice of India only when a matter of public importance relating to the judiciary comes up, the report mentioned.

The issue comes two weeks after another letter, written by Kurien Joseph, among the senior-most Supreme Court judges, had lamented undue delays in clearing the collegium's recommendation to elevate a judge and a senior woman advocate to the apex court. Joseph, in his letter, had said the "very life and existence" of the institution was "under threat" and a "surgical intervention" is required.

The apex court collegium, headed by the CJI, had in January sent to the Centre the names of senior advocate Indu Malhotra and Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph for their appointment as judges in the apex court. However, the Centre is yet to take a decision on the names.

In the past, even Justice Chelameswar has raised the matter of the government not acting on the collegium's recommendations of judicial interference by the legislature, the India Today report mentioned.

Meanwhile, sources were quoted in The Indian Express report as saying the "institutional issues" referred to by the two judges in their letter are regarding the independence of the judiciary. They allege the government's actions, and the CJI's reluctance to pursue the issue further, is "causing consternation" among the higher judiciary, and they are concerned about the integrity of the institution.

This letter adds to the pressure building on the CJI to act to secure the independence of the judiciary and maintain its credibility, sources said.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Apr 25, 2018 15:32 PM

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