Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, who faced very public criticism from four of his most senior judges earlier this year, made an oblique reference to the issue in his address on the occasion of the Independence Day. To “criticize, attack and destroy a system is quite easy… what is difficult and challenging is to transform it to a performing one,” Chief Justice Misra said today after unfurling the flag on the Supreme Court premises.
Claiming democracy was at stake, the judges had pointed fingers at the “administration of the Supreme Court” and flagged their concerns about assignment of “sensitive cases to junior judges”.
“Positive and concrete reforms must be undertaken with responsibility,” the Chief Justice said today, underscoring the need to “transcend one’s personal ambitions or grievances” and making “constructive checks”.
This was the first time Chief Justice Misra was speaking on the issue, which had shaken the nation by bringing out a shocking rift within the judiciary in January. The breach was mended over the following weeks and led to a more transparent and structured rostering.
The dissenting judges had resorted to the unprecedented press conference on the lawns of the official residence of Justice Jasti Chelameswar, who has since retired. The judges said they had flagged the issue with the CJI more than once.
In December, the Chief Justice was accused by some lawyers of inappropriately involving himself in hearing a case that alleges judicial corruption even though he was involved in earlier hearings of a linked matter – about whether bribes were paid by a medical college to reverse its blacklisting by the government.