New Delhi: Chief Justice Dipak Misra is likely to meet the four rebel judges — Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph — on Thursday to resolve issues relating to the allocation of cases and the functioning of the court.
The meeting that was expected to take place on Wednesday did not materialise as Justice Chelameswar did not attend the court because of his indisposition. He is expected to attend the court on Thursday.
An uneasy truce was reached on Tuesday after the CJI reached out to the four dissenting judges to resolve a rift with them over the allocation of cases in the Supreme Court.
Recusal of Justice Arun Mishra from hearing the matter of Judge Loya’s death is seen by some as an indication of thaw between the CJI and the warring judges who had raised the issue of important cases being listed before judges who are relatively junior to them in terms of years spent in the top court.
During the Tuesday meeting, the sources had said, Justice Misra and the rebel judges had discussed all the outstanding issues, point of contentions and differences.
The sources said the Chief Justice took the initiative of meeting the four judges on January 16 as they were not satisfied with the outcome of a meeting of all judges held the previous day.
On January 15 a misplaced impression was generated that all the issues were resolved after Attorney General K.K. Venugopal had said that the events since January 12 were a “storm in a tea cup” and that “everything is settled”.
An informal full court meeting of all the judges took place on Monday when they came to the Judges’ lounge for the customary morning tea before the start of the court.
The country’s top court was hit by unprecedented crisis, after the four senior most judges at a press conference last week expressed their unhappiness about the functioning of the court and how cases were being allocated arbitrarily.
They complained that “administration of Supreme Court is not in order and there have been things less than desirable that have happened in the court”.
The judges also released a letter they had written to the Chief Justice questioning how he was arbitrarily deciding which bench should decide which case and though he is the “master of the roster” that did not make him a “superior authority”.
“The Chief Justice is only the first amongst equals – nothing more or nothing less,” the letter said.
Efforts by sitting judges and advocate bodies to mediate a solution to the crisis have not succeeded.
The Bar Council of India had even set up a seven-member delegation and met Justice Misra and 14 other judges on Sunday. The Supreme Court Bar Association also met the Chief Justice and other judges.