New Delhi: Justice J Chelameswar, the senior-most Supreme Court judge who led a virtual revolt against the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, was on leave today when all judges met for their customary Wednesday lunch.
Two days after Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu rejected the Congress-led opposition parties' notice of impeachment against the CJI, there were speculations whether Justice Chelameswar would attend the lunch meeting today.
As part of a tradition, the apex court judges meet for lunch every Wednesday, with each of them taking turns to bring 'ghar ka khana' (home food) from his or her home state.
Today, it was the turn of Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar to bring the food, sources said. Justice Shantanagoudar hails from Karnataka.
When contacted, Justice Chelameswar's office merely said the judge did not go to work today but did not give a reason.
His absence from the court today assumes significance as sources had said that Justice Chelameswar was present in the morning meeting on Monday when the Naidu had rejected the impeachment notice.
Sources said while Justices Ranjan Gogoi and M B Lokur had favoured moving forward by keeping behind the impeachment issue, Justice Chelameswar remained quiet at the meeting.
He was not a signatory to the letter written on Sunday by Justices Gogoi and Lokur, who had asked the CJI to hold a full court to address the institutional issues plaguing the higher judiciary.
The issue of impeachment and related development happened in the backdrop of the controversial January 12 presser when justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur and Kurian Joseph had launched a public attack against the CJI, listing a litany of problems, including the issue of assigning of cases.
They had also raised the listing of special CBI judge B H Loya's death case to a particular bench.
Later, a bench comprising the CJI, Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrchud rejected the pleas seeking an independent probe into the Judge Loya's case which evoked sharp criticism from activist lawyers.