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Democracy At Stake, Things Not In Order: 4 Supreme Court Judges

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Democracy in India is at stake, said four senior Supreme Court judges today as they went public with complaints against the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra.

In an unprecedented press conference - the four judges, who are the senior most after the Chief Justice - said that "things are not in order" with what they described as "the administration of the Supreme Court". They said that repeated attempts to alert the Chief Justice to their concerns - including a meeting with him this morning - failed to make any progress which is why they decided to voice their complaints publicly. An independent judiciary is essential for a functioning democracy, they said. When asked if they believe the Chief Justice should be impeached, they said, "Let the nation decide."

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The press conference was held at the home of J Chelameswar, who is the most senior judge after the Chief Justice. "We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. Our efforts have failed in convincing the Chief Justice to take steps to protect the institution," he said.

The judges (the others who addressed the media were Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurien Joseph) released a letter they had written to Chief Justice Misra a couple of months ago.

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In December, Justice Chelameswar clashed with the Chief Justice over a case he was hearing. The Chief Justice re-allocated the case; four other judges agreed with him in declaring that he alone is the "master of the roster" which means he has the sole authority to decide who hears what case.

The letter given to the Chief Justice refers to "master of roster" and says he is "first among equals, nothing more, nothing less".

The case that was reallocated involved alleged corruption within the judiciary. At that time, some lawyers said that the Chief Justice should not have transferred the case to a bench that includes him because he was hearing a linked matter.

The Chief Justice refused to ban the press from reporting on the case; his supporters said that exemplified his commitment to transparency and fairness.Democracy in India is at stake, said four senior Supreme Court judges today as they went public with complaints against the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra.

In an unprecedented press conference - the four judges, who are the senior most after the Chief Justice - said that "things are not in order" with what they described as "the administration of the Supreme Court". They said that repeated attempts to alert the Chief Justice to their concerns - including a meeting with him this morning - failed to make any progress which is why they decided to voice their complaints publicly. An independent judiciary is essential for a functioning democracy, they said. When asked if they believe the Chief Justice should be impeached, they said, "Let the nation decide."

Also read on MSN: Text of letter by 4 SC judges to CJI

The press conference was held at the home of J Chelameswar, who is the most senior judge after the Chief Justice. "We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. Our efforts have failed in convincing the Chief Justice to take steps to protect the institution," he said.

The judges (the others who addressed the media were Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurien Joseph) released a letter they had written to Chief Justice Misra a couple of months ago.

In December, Justice Chelameswar clashed with the Chief Justice over a case he was hearing. The Chief Justice re-allocated the case; four other judges agreed with him in declaring that he alone is the "master of the roster" which means he has the sole authority to decide who hears what case.

Also read on MSN: Profiles of all the 4 judges

The letter given to the Chief Justice refers to "master of roster" and says he is "first among equals, nothing more, nothing less".

The case that was reallocated involved alleged corruption within the judiciary. At that time, some lawyers said that the Chief Justice should not have transferred the case to a bench that includes him because he was hearing a linked matter.

The Chief Justice refused to ban the press from reporting on the case; his supporters said that exemplified his commitment to transparency and fairness.

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