Transparency v/s Integrity: Supreme Court crisis

1 month ago Himanshi 0

Never in the history has the Indian judiciary witnessed a more bizarre incident as happened on Friday, the 12th of January when four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, Justice Jasti Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph opened up to the nation in a press conference accusing the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra of assigning the cases of national importance to a select bench of junior judges.
Justice Chelameswar validated the step as an obligatory action to discharge their duty towards the nation and did not want “any wise men to say 20 years later that Justice Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Lokur and Kurian sold their souls and did not take care of the interests of this illustrious institution.”

Transparency v/s Integrity: Supreme Court crises
(L to R) Justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, Joseph and Lokru in a press conference in Delhi on Friday

Highlighting the facts
The politically controversial case of Justice Loya’s death is believed to be the “tipping point” which compelled the judges to open up before the media. Retreating back the roadmap, we see Amit Shah, a prominent BJP leader, being imprisoned in the fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Shaikh in 2010 after which he was granted bail soon. The hearing continued till 2014 in the CBI court when the functioning judge was transferred and Justice Loya succeded him. 20th December 2014 was fixed as the final summon to Amit Shah but unfortunately, Justice Loya died of heart attack on 30th November 2014, which was rather shocking because Justice Loya was a man of good health and any event of heart attack was untraceable in his entire family lineage. Within a month, Amit Shah was acquitted without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing law by the succeeding judge. In 2017, Loya’s family in an interview with the Caravan Magazine confessed receiving an offer of 100 crore rupees for rendering a favorable judgment. 12th January 2018 was the same date when the petition in the probe was supposed to be heard by Justice Arun Misra and hence the bench broke out to the public. Now, who is Arun Misra? Let’s hear it in a statement given by a senior advocate Dushyant Dave to a news channel. “Justice Arun Misra is known to have very clear political relations with BJP leadership. I have seen with my own eyes. It is not an accusation, it’s a fact.”

Transparency v/s Integrity: Supreme Court crises
Justice Arun Misra, Junior judge

Another high profile case assigned to Arun Misra was the “Sahara-Birla Diaries” which directly accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of having received a bribe of 100 crore rupees by Sahara Birla during his tenure as Gujarat CM. The case wasn’t even considered worthy of investigation by the bench. In fact, Arun Misra was also on the bench hearing case against CJI himself.

The allegations
The press conference took the nation by storm and became a hot potato sparking off innumerable debates and discussions everywhere. The participants of the propaganda campaign against the four judges were the BJP IT cell, online troll army, biggest media houses and the so-called legal pundits attacking them for transcending judicial norms and hurting the sentiments of the general public which holds a trustworthy reliance on the judicial pillar of our democracy. The issue was even defamed to the level of being a petty fight on the internal matter among each other. ‘Antinational’, ‘Left’, ‘Liberal’, ‘Communists’, ‘Congressi’, ‘Pakistani agents’, ‘CIA agents’, every single irrational tag was assigned to them with utmost ease.

A flawless service record
J. Chelameswar said, “Unless the institution is preserved and allowed to maintain its dignity, democracy will not survive. The hallmarks of a good democracy are independent and impartial judges.” He is the same judge who gave historic judgments by declaring Right to Privacy as a fundamental right, Aadhaar Card to be non-mandatory and Section 66 of IT Act to be unconstitutional. Of course, J. Dipak Misra’s contribution cannot be less glorified. He hanged the terrorist Afzal Guru and the rapists of Nirbhaya but he also made us sing the National Anthem in cinema halls and made criminal defamation as constitutional hampering a common man’s freedom of speech. J. Gogoi, on the other hand, was targeted by citing his family relations with Congress but did they forget that J. Dipak Misra’s own uncle was among Congressmen? Principle secretary of Modi, Nipendra Misra’s car was seen outside CJI’s residence on 13th January as he was there for extending New Year wishes, already 13 days down January. Amusing, right?

Pondering over the dichotomy
Now the question which arises here is that what is actually degrading the ‘nation’s trust’; unveiling the truth to the public or letting injustice happen behind closed courtrooms and meeting halls? Our last CJI, Justice J.S. Thakur, in fact, started crying in his last speech before PM Modi requesting him to ‘save the judiciary’. It is not a layman coming before the media out of the blue just for publicity, it is a group of four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court with a reputed service record whose repeated efforts to make an impact were proved to be futile. Such a sensitive and intriguing matter of concern is being made a mere personality fight between judges, a fight between Congress and BJP, a fight between legislative and judiciary, a fight between democracy and anarchy and so on. In a more rational and refined sense, it can all be summed as a fight between transparency and integrity.

Transparency v/s Integrity: Supreme Court crises
Justice J.S. Thakur in his last speech to PM Narendra Modi