Justice Kurian Joseph, who resigned as a Supreme Court judge on November 29, finally opened up about the controversial press conference held by 4 judges of SC on January 12, 2018.
Justice Joseph explained the reasons behind holding that press conference.He said 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.
He said,“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.”
He further alleged 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 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 move was reportedly in response to the assignment of the Judge Loya case to Justice Arun Mishra’s bench.
Speaking about his intentions of being a part of the press conference, he said,”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.”
“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,” he said.
Justice Joseph said, “It was an institutional crisis. Systems and practices are there for a long time. It takes time to change.”
He clarified that 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.