Judges' revolt: Centre unlikely to intervene; AG expects quick resolution

The open revolt of the Supreme Court's four most senior judges is certainly unprecedented, but only time will tell whether it is a revolution or a mere storm in a teacup.

In an unprecedented move, four sitting judges of the Supreme Court of India held a press conference on Friday saying that the administration of the country's highest court was not in order, bringing to the open a growing rift between senior judges and the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra.

The four justices - Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur, and  Kurian Joseph – issued an open letter to the chief justice warning that democracy would not survive in the country unless the institution was preserved (See: Senior Supreme Court judges revolt against Chief Justice).

It should be noted that Justice Chelameswar is the next in seniority after the chief justice, and would in the normal course of events be the next CJI. And all four are members of the collegium that appoints senior judges in the country.

Attorney General K K Venugopal feels the issues should not have been aired in public, but the issues will be resolved internally by the SC.

"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," Venugopal told ANI on Friday.

According to ANI's sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad about the allegations made by the four Supreme Court judges.

But the Centre plans to avoid intervening in the tussle, as it feels the matter raised by the four apex court judges is judiciary-specific and does not merit third party intervention.

Expert generally feel that it's difficult to tell whether Friday's events will lead to a stronger Supreme Court or one weakened by a combination of infighting, questionable procedures, and opacity, which the government may use to its purposes.

The hope is the other good judges, of whom there are many, will come together and help mend fences, improve processes and ''shut the window before the chill sets in'', as a Bloomberg Quint commentator puts it.