Former Law Minister Hansraj Bhardwaj says government can't stay out of judicial crisis
In an unprecedented development, four of the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court of India today held a press conference and said there is something worrisome brewing within the apex court with the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra misusing his powers.
It sent shockwaves across the country. Reactions stared pouring in thick and fast from across the legal and political fraternities.
Reacting to the charges, former Union Law Minister and a retired lawyer himself Hansraj Bhardwaj condemned the decision of the judges to go public with their grievances.
"The judiciary never discusses its affairs outside court. If there is any difference of opinion, they should sit in the dining hall and sort it out over a cup of coffee," he told India Today.
"When (Justice) Ahmadi and (Justice) JS Verma fell out over collegium, I said I'm okay either way, you sort it out. I don't know the imperatives of these judges, but they could confront the CJI in his chamber, bolt the door," Bhardwaj added.
It is imperative to note that the four judges in question - Justice Chelameshwar, Justice Lokur, Justice Joseph and Justice Gogoi said that they'd approached Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on several occasions, but to no avail. One of the allegations they made against the Chief Justice was that he was allocating high-profile, sensitive cases to junior judges, bypassing them, as per his preference.
To this, HR Bhardwaj said that "fixing of benches is the prerogative of the CJI". "They aren't bad judges. They are the best available in the country. No reason they shouldn't sit together and sort it out," he suggested.
The former law minister also found it amusing that the government has chosen not to walk into the controversy in order to try and resolve it.
"This is a funny government. How can they stay out of it? The President of India is represented by the government and the law minister. It is the responsibility of the government to see the judiciary functions normally," Bhardwaj said.
He added if he was the law minister at present, he'd have rushed to the judges and got the matter sorted.
"There is a sharp division in the judiciary and it's not a healthy sign. Trust in judiciary will be shattered. CJI should listen to what these brother judges are saying," Bhardwaj concluded.