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Chief Justice, ‘Rebel’ Judges Did Lunch Together Amid Patch-Up Efforts: 10 Points

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and even the Senior judges who took him on publicly will come together today at a weekly lunch at the Supreme Court, amid efforts at ending a rift that could impact vital cases. Three of the Judges – Justice Jasti Chelameswar is not in Court today as he is not feeling well, might be expected at the lunch.  Chief Justice Misra had yesterday reached out to the Judges and in a 15-minute meeting, reportedly discussed “all issues” including their criticism of sensitive cases being assigned to Junior Judges. Sources informed after the meeting that “the ice has started melting” and another meeting might be held today itself.

Here are top 10 things that you must know:

  1. Justice Chelameswar, Madan Lokur, Kurien Joseph and Ranjan Gogoi who are the country’s senior-most after the Chief Justice, have been kept out of a Constitution bench that will decide on 8 vital cases. One of them, a legal challenge to the Aadhaar system, will be taken up today.
  2. The case involving Judge BH Loya’s death, which was one of the main triggers for the unprecedented crisis, could be reassigned. The two judges who heard the whole case yesterday said in an order that the case is “put up before appropriate bench”. That leaves the Chief Justice to decide whether to assign the case to a different set of Judges.
  3. The four “rebel” judges last week took the unusual step of addressing a press conference and voicing their concerns, warning that “without an independent judiciary, democracy will not survive”. Cases of “far-reaching consequences”, they said, were being assigned inappropriately.
  4. The judges went public after the Loya case was assigned on Friday to Justice Arun Mishra, who is number 10 in the top court’s pecking order; they implied that the Chief Justice was abusing his position as “master of the roster”.
  5. Justice Arun Mishra reportedly broke down at a meeting with other judges on Monday and said he was “unfairly” targeted and questions were being raised about his “competence”.
  6. Judge Loya, 48 died in Nagpur in December 2014 while he was hearing a case in which BJP Chief Amit Shah was an accused. Amit Shah was discharged from the case by a new judge who ruled that there was no evidence to merit his trial.
  7. Two months ago, Judge Loya’s relatives said that his death was unnatural. His sister Anuradha Biyani also claimed that he was offered a huge bribe to rule in favour of Amit Shah.
  8. As the demand grows for an investigation into his alleged heart attack while attending a wedding, a Maharashtra Journalist and activist-petitioner Poonawalla asked for the Supreme Court to order an independent inquiry.
  9. Judge Loya’s son, Anuj Loya, said on Sunday that he did not have any suspicions about the death. The Nagpur Police, on Tuesday, told the Supreme Court that the Judge died of a heart attack and “no probe was necessary”.
  10. The Maharashtra Government had also placed documents relating to the death before the Court in a sealed cover and didn’t want the papers to be seen by anyone. Justices Arun Mishra and MM Shantanagoudar, however, ruled that the petitioners should be able to see these papers.

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