NEW DELHI, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Four justices of India's top court on Friday criticised its distribution of cases to judges and raised concerns about judicial appointments, in an unprecedented public airing of problems at one of the country's most respected institutions.
They said any departure from the two rules would not only lead to "unpleasant and undesirable consequences of creating doubt in the body politic about the integrity of the institution" but would create "chaos".
The responses coming in from over the various quarters are falling in every spectrum of morality, while the justices urged the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter urgently.
"An independent and strong judiciary is the basic feature of the Constitution".
However, it is becoming more and more clear that the tipping point was the listing of the petitions seeking an investigation into the death of Special CBI judge BH Loya.
"We met CJI this morning".
"The Government of India has conveyed the need to make improvement on the draft MoP to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court vide letter dated 11". But a composed CJI, along with Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, walked to their seats, a little after 2 pm, and finished hearing the remaining listed cases for the day within an hour. "They have mentioned that there is a threat to democracy and I think it needs to be looked into carefully".
The four judges, in their seven-page letter to the CJI that was released to the press, said, "It is too well settled in the jurisprudence of this country that the chief justice is only first amongst the equals - nothing more or nothing less".
"Cases that have far reaching implications to society and governance must be heard, in accordance with well established conventions, by the senior most judges of the Supreme Court". "The long silence of the government of India to the Memorandum of Procedure that was finalised by the Supreme Court and the assignment of cases in the Supreme Court to what is described as "selectively to the benches of their preference without any rational basis for such assignment". The upcoming days will determine what kind of institution the Supreme Court wants to be, and how history will judge the four judges who chose to stand for what they believed in. The judges have expressed displeasure over delays in finalising the MoP and observed that the government's "silence" on the matter meant that a draft sent to it in March 2017 had been accepted.
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The four judges said they would not resign and would be back to work on Monday.
More than a week before the four judges of the apex court took to the press to say that the court's administration needed an overhaul, parliamentarians across political parties came together in the lower house to criticise the judiciary for interfering in the political domain.