India

Divide between Supreme Court lawyers on issues facing judiciary deepens

Demand for the Supreme Court Bar Association to take a stand on the issues raised by Justice Chelameswar and on holding back of Justice KM Joseph’s elevation to the Supreme Court is gaining momentum

Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Bhasha Singh

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra has decided to convene a meeting of the Collegium on May 2. Sources say the Collegium is likely to discuss the Centre’s controversial holding of its recommendation to elevate Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court KM Joseph to the Supreme Court. The meeting could help the discord among justices to settle down. However, a deep division has now sprung up between the lawyers of the Supreme Court. Lawyers are divided into two camps and many pamphlets and letters are being written, read and circulated between the two. This process of response and counter response has increased sharply over the past three-four months. National Herald has accessed some of these letters and pamphlets.

Senior advocates are blaming the Chief Justice and the Government for this disharmony among lawyers. Thirteen members of the 21-member Executive Council of the Supreme Court Bar Association have written a letter to its member lawyers which says that along with the issue of some lawyers in Kathua, J&K supporting the accused in the case of rape and murder of a minor, the SCBA should have presented its view and stand on the issues raised by Justice Chelameswar and other judges too. This letter by the 13 lawyers was issued on April 17 and ever since, polarisation among lawyers has increased. A general body meeting of the SCBA may be convened on May 1. Meanwhile, a letter signed by about 100 lawyers was also circulated in which unhappiness over the government rejection of the Collegium’s decision of appointing KM Joseph as a Supreme Court judge has been clearly conveyed.

Many such questions have now been raised in strong tones by many lawyers and advocates. One such voice is that of Ashok Arora, who is the former secretary of Supreme Court Bar Association. Watch Ashok Arora's conversation with National Herald below:

Arora told National Herald that increasing government intervention in the functioning of Supreme Court is making matters worse day by day. Targeting the CJI, he said the head of the family is not able to save its reputation. Many judges are demanding a full court to discuss the issues, but so far their demand has been ignored. The Supreme Court’s decision in please asking for investigation into Justice BH Loya’s death has been a major blow to hope for getting justice for clients, the senior advocate added. This is a serious threat to democracy. The rift within the lawyers community has become severe and this entire environment is the cause of this conflict.

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