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BCI gets stuck into SC rebellion: 7 BCI members will talk to junior SC judges • NaMo staffer refused entry to CJI house

The points raised by judges number 2-5 of the apex court on Friday were extremely important and were a threat to democracy, which should not be politicised by either party (which is presumably directed mostly at the non-BJP parties), said Bar Council of India (BCI) chairman Manan Kumar Mishra.

The New Indian Express reported:

BCI cautions parties, leaders against meddling with judiciary- The New Indian Express

NEW DELHI: The Bar Council of India (BCI) today cautioned the political parties and leaders from taking an “undue advantage” of the situation, following a virtual revolt of four senior Supreme Court judges against the chief justice of India (CJI).

It said the four seniormost judges going public with their differences with the CJI had given an opportunity to the political parties and leaders to interfere in the affairs of the judiciary.

Without taking any name, BCI chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra said, “No political party or leader should take an undue advantage of the situation arising out of the press conference of the four senior Supreme Court judges.” The reference to political parties and leaders assumes significance as Congress president Rahul Gandhi had yesterday addressed the media after the judges went public with their grievances.

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According to the BCI’s press release published by LiveLaw, the following 7 members would be attending, in addition to BCI vice-chairman Satish A Deshmukh attending as a “special invitee”:

Mr. Manan Kumar Mishra, BCI Chairman; Mr. S. Prabakaran, BCI Co-Chairman; Mr. Vijay Bhatt, BCI Managing Trustee and Member; Mr. Apurba Kumar Sharma, Chairman of BCI Executive Committee; Mr. Pratap C. Mehta, BCI Associate Managing Trustee and Member; Mr. Rameshchandra G. Shah, BCI Member; Mr. T.S. Ajith, Member, BCI

Meanwhile, prime minister Narendra Modi’s principal secretary Nripendra Misra has visited embattled Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra at home but was forced to leave at the gates after it turned out Misra was not receiving visitors.

The Indian Express reported:

Supreme Court crisis: PM Modi’s Principal Secy Nripendra Misra drops by CJI Dipak Misra’s home | The Indian Express

IN A move which triggered allegations of “interference” from the Congress, Nripendra Misra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, turned up at Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra’s residence on Saturday morning, but could not meet him. While there was no official word from the PMO, government sources said the Principal Secretary was on his way from his residence at APJ Abdul Kalam Road to his office at South Block, when he stopped by at the CJI’s house on Krishna Menon Marg. But, Nripendra Misra had to turn back from the gate, as the CJI was not receiving visitors. He remained seated in his car for some time, and then returned, after handing over a New Year greetings card to the staff at the CJI’s residence, said a source who was present at the spot.

While the Congress questioned the reason for the visit, the government chose to play it down. “There is no ban on social meetings between individuals. And when no meeting took place, what is there to speculate,” said a government source. “It was not a structured meeting at all. It was a social meeting. He just wanted to pay a friendly visit to the CJI,” said another government source.

Speaking to The Sunday Express, Congress leader and former Law Minister Veerappa Moily said: “This has to be resolved within the judiciary, without any outside interference. The very fact that Nripendra Misra visited the CJI is a very wrong signal. Wrong signal that a third force is intervening. And that will create further cleavage in the collective wisdom of the judiciary.”

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Other reports speculated that the remaining 21 judges closed ranks with the CJI, though with the apex court being as opaque as ever on this front, it's really too early to tell which way things will swing.

The Times of India reported:

Supreme Court crisis: Judges close ranks with CJI, ‘full court' meet likely next week | India News

There was hectic activity through Saturday with two of the four future CJIs talking to most judges. They appear to have arrived at a consensus to apprise Misra on Monday of the need to maintain solidarity within the uppermost echelons of judiciary and make earnest attempts to repair the damage caused to the institutional dignity by the allegations levelled by the rebel quartet.

The judges were of the view that a full court meeting should be called early next week to discuss pressing issues, including the press conference held by the four judges, among them Ranjan Gogoi, who is in line to take over as CJI from Misra in October.

An SC judge who is also in line to become CJI told TOI, “They should not have gone public with their grievances without consulting other judges who are equal to them or should have resorted to a ‘full court' meeting to find a resolution to their perceived disappointments with the CJI. The judiciary and the Supreme Court were the only institutions which enjoyed the faith of the people and the outpouring of allegations in public against the CJI has set a bad precedent for future chief justices and judges at every level.”

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