Four judges of the Supreme Court on 12 January said that they have discharged a debt to the nation by issuing an appeal to the nation to save the institution (Supreme Court).
Justices Madan B. Lokur, Kurien Joseph, Ranjan Gogoi and Jasti Chelameswar addressed the press conference on the lawns of Justice Chelameswar's official residence here.
They made a reference to a letter that they had written to the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra in which they highlighted the corrosion and compromise taking place within the institution of the judiciary and especially within the portals of the Supreme Court.
Speaking on behalf of the four judges, Justice Chelameswar said,"We owe a responsibility to the institution and the nation. Our efforts have failed in convincing the CJI (Chief Justice of India) to take steps to protect the institution."
"Even this morning, the four of us went and met the Chief Justice of India and tried to persuade him to accept that certain things are not in order and that he should take remedial measures. Unfortunately, we couldn't convince him. We all (four judges) are convinced that unless this institution is preserved and (is allowed to) maintain its equanimity, democracy will not survive in this country or any country," Justice Chelameswar added.
"The hallmark of a good democracy is an independent and impartial judge. The judge is symbolic here, it is the institution," he said.
He added that they had decided to highlight the issues (mentioned in their letter) so that in future they are not blamed for keeping quiet.
"We have heard lots of wise men speaking in the country. I don't want some wise men to say 20 years later that Justices Madan B. Lokur, Kurien Joseph, Ranjan Gogoi and Jasti Chelameswar sold their souls, they didn't take care of this institution and this nation. Therefore, we placed facts before the nation," Justice Chelameswar said.
When asked to give example of instances, Justices Chelameswar said, "A couple of months back, four of us gave a signed letter to the Chief Justice of India and wanted a particular thing to be done in a particular manner. The thing was done, but in such a way that it let many questions, raised further questions and doubts about the integrity of the institution. That is what we believe and many more things happened."
When media asked whether this letter and their decision to address them for the first time in independent India's history was in regard to the Justice Loya case, Justice Chelameswar consulted with Justice Gogoi, and then said, "We are making a copy of the letter available to the press."
When media repeatedly asked the same question, Justice Gogoi said, "Yes".
On a question whether the CJI will be impeached, Justice Chelameswar said, "We are not saying anything. It is for the nation to decide. We are no one to impeach."
Justice Gogoi said that by placing the facts before the nation, they have discharged debt to the nation.
"Whatever Justice Chelameswar has told you is the whole of it. It is discharge of a debt to the nation that has brought us here. We think we have discharged a debt to the nation by telling you what is what. More is in the letter. Beyond this, we don't think there is any other issue that we need to address," Justice Gogoi said.
Replying a question, Justice Chelameswar said they were speaking only on their behalf.
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."
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday sought the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge B.H. Loya's postmortem report from Maharashtra government asserting that the "matter is very serious."
The apex court has posted the next hearing on the issue for Monday, 15 January.