We have discharged a debt to the nation: Four SC judges

Supreme Court judges J Chelameswar and Ranjan Gogoi speak at a press conference

The Collegium's other pick for the Supreme Court judiciary - Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph - is also an interesting one.

The press conference was called by Justices Madan B. Lokur, Kurien Joseph, Ranjan Gogoi and Jasti Chelameswar and took place from the lawns of Justice Chelameswar's official residence in New Delhi. "This means that there is a serious dispute, either with Chief Justice of India (CJI) or some internal dispute", PB Sawant, former Supreme Court judge said.

Justice Chelameswar said he and his fellow judges felt they owe the nation an explanation and felt compelled to update citizens on the situation.

"This is an extraordinary event in the history of any nation, more particularly this nation and an extraordinary event in the institution of the judiciary".

Justice Chelameswar said that the attempt to collectively persuade the CJI was undertaken for months, but to no avail. "Again today morning we went [.] but we failed to convince [the CJI]", according to the NDTV broadcast of the press conference.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising called it "historic".

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When asked whether it (press conference) was a sign of no confidence against the CJI, Justice Chelameswar said, "Don't put words in our mouth". There is an issue of assignment of a case which is raised in that letter (to the CJI): Justice Gogoi.

The collegium has also approved the elevation of six judges as chief justices of high courts.

He said many undesirable things had happened in the court in recent months, but gave no details.

Replying a question, Justice Chelameswar said they were speaking only on their behalf. But I don't want some wise men to tell us later after 20 years that we four judges sold our souls instead of taking care of the institution and the nation. Asked specifically if they were upset over reference of the matter seeking a probe into the suspicious death of Special CBI Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya, Justice Gogoi said: "Yes".

Without disclosing what they were upset about, Justice Chelameswar said a lot of things had been written in the media and it was not a political controversy.

The move spells far-reaching implications for jurists and politicians in the chaotic South Asian democracy where the Supreme Court often sets the agenda on matters of policy and orders measures taken in the public interest. The PIL was mentioned for urgent hearing by advocate Anitha Shenoy before a bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra, who agreed to post it for hearing on Friday.

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