The Indian Association of People's Lawyers (IAPL) has now stepped forward to laud the four sitting Judges of the Supreme Court- Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice M.B. Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph- who held an unprecedented press conference on Friday.
The IAPL calls it a "courageous step", and says that this is the time for all lawyers to rise to the occasion to publicly debate issues of judicial appointments, judicial accountability, and judicial integrity. It further appeals, "The concern is not only regarding pendency, delay and corruption; but also the erosion in Constitutional values of social justice and nondiscrimination, freedom of speech and association, secularism and a socialist pattern of economy, while adjudicating cases. As “officers of the court” let us play our role in breathing life into our Constitution."
The release also makes reference to the letter written to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra two months ago by the four Judges. In the letter, the Judges had raised concerns pertaining to assignment of matters by the CJI. With the letter, IAPL says, the Judges "have affirmed what several courageous senior lawyers – Dushyant Dave, Prashant Bhushan, Indira Jaising, Kamini Jaiswal, Rajeev Dhawan etc. have been facing and fighting in sensitive matters such as the “Aadhar” case, the case for instituting an SIT into Judge Loya’s death in suspicious circumstances, the CJAR matter, the Ram Janmabhoomi- Babri Masjid matter and many others."
The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) had also come out in support of the four Judges, asserting that with this unprecedented step, the Judges have "formally informed citizens of a dangerous pattern which was becoming visible - of the Chief Justice abusing his power as the master of roster in selectively assigning important and politically sensitive cases to particular benches of junior judges of his choice, in an arbitrary manner, without any rational basis".
It also acknowledged that while the four Judges didn't say it, the assignment of such cases to certain junior Judges was, in fact, done "for achieving a particular result, which in most cases can be seen to be in tune with the wishes of the government". Such attitude, it said, is especially dangerous when the Government is "trampling on peoples’ fundamental rights and constitutional values".