Justice Kurian Joseph explained that there were “several instances of external influences on the SC” which forced the four judges to address the media earlier in January.

Then-CJI Dipak Misra was being controlled from outside Justice Kurian JosephPTI
news Judiciary Monday, December 03, 2018 - 11:05

Justice Kurian Joseph, who demitted office as a Supreme Court judge on November 29, finally spoke on the reasons behind the explosive press conference held by four sitting judges of the Supreme Court earlier this year in January.

In an exclusive interview to the Times of India, Justice Joseph explained that there were “several instances of external influences on the Supreme Court,” which had forced Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan Lokur to address the media when Justice Dipak Misra was the Chief Justice of India.

“Someone from outside was controlling the CJI, that is what we felt. So we met him, asked him, wrote to him to maintain independence and majesty of the Supreme Court. When all attempts failed, we decided to hold a press conference,” Justice Joseph told TOI.

Justice Joseph added that there were “signs of influence with regard to allocation of cases to different benches selectively, to select judges who were perceived to be politically biased.”

In the press conference held on January 12, 2018, Justice Chelameswar had addressed the media and had stated that they had written to the then CJI Dipak Misra stating that the administration of the SC was not 'in order'. This press conference was reportedly in response to the assignment of the Judge Loya case to Justice Arun Mishra's bench.

Justice Joseph stated that while it was Justice Chelameswar’s idea to opt for a press conference, the other three judges agreed with him.

"Whatever I did was very consciously, for a cause which was not targeted at any individual, but for putting in place a collective mechanism to assist the Chief Justice in running the affairs of the top court,” Justice Joseph recently said at an interaction with the media, while speaking of the judges’ press conference.

It was not just a question of the roster, but that of the larger issue of the unhealthy practice of an individual taking decisions without consulting others, said Justice Joseph. Unsure if it has been fully changed, Justice Joesph said, "It was an institutional crisis. Systems and practices are there for a long time. It takes time to change."

He said he has not felt any interference by the government in the discharge of his judicial work nor has he heard any such thing from other judges.

However, he said there is an indirect interference in the matters of appointments when a decision on the collegium recommendations are delayed, names are selectively cleared and held back for a long time.

(With inputs from IANS)

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