New Delhi: The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), the apex body of lawyers practicing in the top court, on Saturday expressed "grave concern" over the differences of the senior most judges with CJI Dipak Misra and said the matter should be considered by the full court.
The SCBA executive committee, which held an emergency meeting, resolved that all public interest litigation (PIL) matters, including the pending PILs, should be either taken up by the CJI or be assigned for adjudication to the four senior judges who were part of the apex court collegium.
The Bar Council of India (BCI), the apex body of lawyers, also formed a seven-member team to meet the judges of the Supreme Court on Sunday to discuss the present crisis. It passed a resolution, saying no political party or leaders should take "undue advantage" of the situation arising out of the press conference by the top court judges.
In an unprecedented move, justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, had launched a public attack against the CJI, listing a litany of problems, including the assigning of cases.
Justice Joseph on Saturday sought to downplay the issue and said it was not a full-blown constitutional crisis. He said that they acted solely in the interest of the judiciary and justice and rejected outside help. He rejected suggestions that they had violated discipline and expressed the hope that their action will bring more transparency in the administration of the Supreme Court.
Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who is next to become CJI, said, "There is no crisis."
SCBA President and senior advocate Vikas Singh said that a resolution for the full court consideration was passed as it is a mechanism in which deliberations by all the judges of the top court takes place in-house and not in the open.
The SCBA resolution said that matters listed for hearing in the apex court on January 15 "should also be transferred" from other judges to the five seniormost judges who were part of the collegium.
The BCI cautioned the political parties and leaders from taking an "undue advantage" of the situation in the apex court. It said the four seniormost judges going public with their differences with the CJI had given an opportunity to the political parties and leaders to interfere in the affairs of the judiciary.
Without taking any name, BCI chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra said, "No political party or leader should take an undue advantage of the situation arising out of the press conference of the four senior Supreme Court judges."
The reference to political parties and leaders assumes significance as Congress president Rahul Gandhi had on Friday evening addressed the media after the judges went public with their grievances.
At an emergency meeting called by the BCI's governing body, comprising 17 members, the resolution was passed, saying the seven-member committee would meet all the apex court judges on Sunday.
Mishra later said that the members of the committee would also meet the four judges and, in the end, the CJI. The BCI said it was of the view that such issues should not be made public.