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"Chief Justice Must Show Statesmanship," Says Former Chief Justice RM Lodha, "Pained"

NDTV logo NDTV 12-01-2018 Reported by A Vaidiyanathanm Edited by Deepshikha Ghosh

The grievances of the four top Supreme Court judges should have been addressed by the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, said one of his predecessors, RM Lodha, commenting that the image of the judiciary had been dented and would take a long time to repair after the judges took the unprecedented step of publicly criticizing the top judge.

"It is painful and sad," former Chief Justice Lodha told NDTV.

Justice Lodha said the Chief Justice is the leader and "must show statesmanship".

At a hurriedly called press conference at the home of Justice J Chelameswar, the senior most judge in the country after the Chief Justice, the four judges said it was with "no pleasure" that they had been "compelled to make public what they were upset with".

The administration of the Supreme Court "is not in order," said Justice Chelameswar, flanked by Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurien Joseph and Madan Lokur. They also released a letter they had written to the Chief Justice criticizing an alleged lack of transparency in the selection of judges to try cases.

On whether the judges going public against their own was right, Justice Lodha said, "These four wise men would have discussed and deliberated. For two months their grievance was not addressed and that's why they did this."

The clash among the judges in the highest court comes months after a controversial order in November in which Justice Dipak Misra declared that the Chief Justice "is the master of the roster" and overruled an order by Justice Chelameswar assigning a five-judge bench to look into allegations of bribes paid to senior judges.

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