The four judges of the SC took the unprecedented step of calling a press conference (12.01.2018).
We must realise that they are no less concerned* about the interest of the country than us and must have taken the step only after due deliberation and as a last resort. It must also be appreciated that that they have not raised an issue of their personal interest but of the national Interest.
It is also pertinent to note that the four are not just any four judges but the four senior most judges of the apex court, who are to be consulted on important issues including judicial appointments. Their opinion does not deserve to be treated lightly and should have been given due weight.
Nobody is disputing the right of the CJI to constitute benches and assign cases to them, but if the senior brother judges feel that certain cases should not be assigned to a bench consisting of certain judges they should have been listened to. It was not a case which should have been made a prestige issue by the CJI. By making an issue of it the CJI has lent some credence to the suspicion that he was interested in the case going to a particular bench.
It has hurt many including the apex court .It has hurt the standing of the CJI ,the judge who was assigned the case and the judiciary itself. It creates the impression that the judges of the apex court do not decide cases on merit ,can be influenced and even the CJI is a party to this unethical practice.
Alternately, if the CJI had acceded to the suggestion of the brother judges , he would have saved the prestige of the apex court as well as his own. However under the circumstances ,the controversial case should be heard by a court which is not controversial .
It is no occasion for us to take sides and attack one or the other but to do and say only what is in the interest of protecting the honour, independence and prestige of this great institution.