In Supreme Court's Hour of Crisis, Justice SA Bobde Emerges as Peacekeeper in the Family
New Delhi: He is in line to become the Chief Justice of India in November next year. But he seems to have assumed the role of peacekeeper in the family by rising to the occasion in this time of crisis for the top judiciary, putting his statesmanship to work.
Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde could be the man to watch out for if the apex judiciary succeeds in coming out of the current crisis anytime soon.
The judge, according to sources, is brokering peace between Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on one side and four other senior-most judges – Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph – on the other.
Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde
On Friday afternoon, Bobde, along with Justice L Nageswara Rao, had rushed to the residence of Justice Chelameswar soon after the four judges had held the unprecedented press briefing. Justice Bobde, like all other fellow judges in the top court, did not have any clue about the media briefing. He had hence gone to meet Justice Chelameswar and understand the main contentions.
On Sunday, Justice Bobde visited Justice Chelameswar again. Justice Rao, who presently sits on the same bench with Justice Bobde, also arrived later. Sources told News18 that Justice Bobde was meeting Justice Chelameswar to devise a path of reconciliation and the modalities of it.
The two had a discussion over the lunch and Justice Bobde, as per the sources, expressed his willingness to formulate a via media. He also reportedly suggested that speaking at public forum any further may precipitate the issues and that it would be in the best interest of the institution that judges should now redress everything among themselves through an internal mechanism.
Justice Bobde, according to sources, has also been in touch with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, who seems to have received support from a few other judges on the point that going to the press could have been avoided by the four dissenting judges.
Justice Bobde, who is currently sixth in seniority after the CJI, has also spoken to some other judges and has taken it upon himself to chalk out a roadmap for reconciliation and is likely to come up with a proposal on Monday.
This proposal, which may also envisage a new method of distribution of cases across the benches in the Supreme Court, is expected to be the key to an amicable solution, provided the CJI and the four dissenting judges accept it.
Given the fact that the top judiciary seems to be in desperate straits and that all five want this to pass, it will be a major feat for Justice Bobde if he manages to mend fences while facilitating a better system of case allocation in the Supreme Court.