Since Friday morning, the Indian judicial scenario has been thrown into a tizzy as a result of four senior Supreme Court judges namely Justices J Chelameswar, Madan B Lokur, Ranjan Gogoi and Kurian Joseph, calling a press conference to inform the nation of “their failed efforts” to convince the Chief Justice to take steps to protect the institution.
Such an action was slammed by various legal luminaries like Justice RS Sodhi, former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee and former SC Justice Santosh Hegde.
What added further ‘colour’ to the matter were media reports which claimed that CPI MP D Raja of all people had decided to pay a visit to Justice Chelameswar:
CPI MP D Raja leaves after meeting Justice #Chelameshwar at his residence in Delhi pic.twitter.com/7jKyMaSpGm
— ANI (@ANI) January 12, 2018
This raised speculation over the possible reasons for such a meeting. Soon media houses tracked him down and D Raja claimed that he and Chelmeswar go long back and that it was a social visit:
Have known him for a long time. When I came to know of the extraordinary step taken by him & other judges, I thought must meet him. Not giving it political colour. These are concerns for everybody, it’s about future of country & democracy: D Raja on meeting Justice #Chelameshwarpic.twitter.com/yHyMxz8KcD
— ANI (@ANI) January 12, 2018
He also claimed that Chelameswar didn’t reveal any information to him apart from what was discussed in the morning press conference. He also denied the claims that there was some element of politics involved.
Also as reported by Republic TV, Raja wanted to know as to why was the judge was so ‘distressed’ and had entered the judge’s residence via the out gate to possibly meet the judge ‘discreetly’.
An Asian Age journalist made an interesting claim regarding the possible reason for the meeting:
Left leader D Raja admits to have met Supreme Court judge Chalmeshwar before today’s joint press conference. Left leader claimed that he met judge to explore possibility of raising their issue in parliament.
— Manoj Anand (@manojananda) January 12, 2018
Such a drama brought out a quite few reactions:
D Raja of CPI turns up at Justice Chelameswar home? If the judges’ uprising is, as they claim, apolitical, then the Lordships should avoid hosting politicians. #SupremeCourt
— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) January 12, 2018
Lo and behold, Justice Chelameswar, who led the 4 dissenting judges, is met at home with a congratulatory handshake from D Raja of the Left. Playbook whirring nicely https://t.co/WectRQUN1f
— Minhaz Merchant (@MinhazMerchant) January 12, 2018
Enter D Raja–exit any possibility of thinking of the correctness of the gang of 4:))) RT
— RVAIDYA2000 (@rvaidya2000) January 12, 2018
Inappropriate of Justice Chalameshwar to meet CPI’s D Raja. Makes it seem as if there are some judges on the side of the opposition vs the Chief Justice. The Judge shouldn’t have given time to opposition leaders. Hope he’s not planning to meet any more.
— Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) January 12, 2018
If this wasn’t enough, the matter might be given a further political colour in the near future. It is being reported that senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal decided to meet his party President Rahul Gandhi to brief the latter regarding this matter. Apart from that, other senior leaders like Salman Khurshid, Manish Tewari and P Chidambaram also have reached the residence of the Congress President.
It might seem that such a high profile meeting has been called in order to formulate the party stance and some journalists suggest that the party might even call for the impeachment of the Chief Justice.
It remains to be seen what are the political repercussions of the episode which played out today, and whether the central government which has refused to step in by calling it an internal judicial matter, will change its stance in the coming days.