An unprecedented face-off in the Supreme Court (SC) continued to spark political reactions on Saturday, as the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) called for a presidential intervention and the Shiv Sena asked the government to not interfere in the dispute.
The reactions came a day after four of the senior-most Supreme Court judges – justice J Chelameswar, justice Ranjan Gogoi, justice Kurian Joseph and justice Madan B Lokur – publicly criticised Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra for his style of functioning and allocation of cases.
The judges said they were forced to take the unusual step of holding a press conference because the CJI did not take any steps to address their grievance.
The Shiv Sena, an ally of the BJP, praised the four judges and said attempts were being made to make the judiciary “deaf and dumb”.
“The question that has arisen now is if people are fulfilling their responsibilities towards the nation. Only winning elections is not administration,”said Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray while talking to reporters in Mumbai.
Uddhav said the press conference was a shocking event and added that people would now wonder if they should trust the judiciary. “The government should not interfere in this. Let the judiciary do its work,” he said, adding, “The judges should be appreciated for what they did. There should be an inquiry into the issues raised by them.”
In reply to a question, Uddhav also opined that there should be an inquiry into death of judge Loya. “If someone is raising any doubts, there should be an inquiry to make things clear,”he said.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray too was critical of the government.
“The press conference by the four senior judges shows how much the government is interfering with the work of the judiciary. This shows the government is keeping control of the judiciary and this is a danger to democracy,” he alleged while talking to the media at Ratnagiri.
In Chennai, DMK working president Stalin said President Ram Nath Kovind should intervene if the judges could not resolve their differences.
He added that judges of the top court should hold dialogue and make an effort to resolve the issue to safeguard democracy.
The Congress also raised questions after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s principal secretary Nripendra Misra was spotted outside the residence of the Chief Justice in Delhi.
Television visuals showed the gates of the CJI’s residence not opening and the principal secretary driving away after a while.
“As PM’s principal secretary, Nripendra Misra visits CJI’s residence at 5, Krishna Menon Marg; PM must answer the reason for sending this special messenger to Chief Justice of India,” tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.
Misra later told NDTV that he had gone on a personal visit.