Four senior judges of the Supreme Court today mounted a virtual revolt against the chief justice, listing a litany of problems that they said are afflicting the country's highest court and warned they could destroy Indian democracy.
The unprecedented move at a joint news conference by the four judges including Justice J Chelameswar, the second senior judge after the Chief Justice of India, left the judiciary and observers stunned, leaving uncertain how this open dissension in the hallowed institution would be resolved.
Justice Chelameswar himself described as an "extraordinary event" the news conference during which he said "sometimes administration of the Supreme Court is not in order and many things which are less than desirable have happened in the last few months." Unless this institution is preserved, "democracy will not survive" in this country, Chelameswar said in the unscheduled press conference, in the first of its kind event in independent India.
In a scathing criticism and unvarnished self-reflection of the Supreme Court, Chelameswar, who was accompanied by Justices Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph at the press conference, said they had met Chief Justice Dipak Misra this morning and "raised issues affecting the institution".
"Unless this institution is preserved, democracy will not survive in this country," Justice Chelameswar said, adding that it was "extremly painful" to hold the press conference in such a manner. The press conference was held at Chelameswar's residence.