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It is a development that is both momentous and unfortunate. The press conference held by four senior judges of the Supreme Court has exposed an unprecedented level of dissension in the top echelons of the judiciary. It is regrettable that the banner of revolt has been raised in such a public way against the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra. Regardless of who is right in the current dispute over the administrative functioning of the CJI, the reverberations of what took place on Friday will not easily subside and will be felt for a long time to come. There was ample evidence over the last few months that the highest court was in a state of ferment; the question is whether it could have been handled internally rather than be dragged into the open like this. Although Justices J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur and Kurian Joseph — the seniormost judges after the CJI — did not reveal too many details, it is clear that their grievances are rooted in their perception that Justice Misra is misusing his administrative powers to assign cases “selectively”, disregarding conventions on allocation of judicial work. They have added for good measure that cases with far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution are being assigned to junior judges and Benches “of their preferences”, a suggestion that is being read by some as an ominous reference to an unknown external hand. It ought to be underscored here that the Chief Justice is indeed the master of the roster; even the four judges concede that this is a well-settled law, one that is reflected in a Constitution Bench judgment in 1998. While accepting the rule that the Chief Justice alone can decide the composition of Benches and allot judicial work, they allege that Justice Misra is departing so far from set conventions that it would have “unpleasant and undesirable consequences”, ultimately casting a doubt on the integrity of the institution itself. Logically, this is an internal matter of the judiciary, one that is best settled through deliberations in a full court meeting of all the Supreme Court judges themselves.
The letter written by the four judges to the Chief Justice, which became available to the media, and the manner in which the press conference played out, suggest that the grievances go much deeper than what was written or said. The germ that led to the outbreak of the current conflict could be the controversial Prasad Education Trust case, in which the petitioners alleged that some individuals were plotting to influence the Supreme Court. In an unusual order, a Division Bench headed by Justice Chelameswar went ahead to delineate the composition of the Bench to hear the case, in which charges of judicial corruption were made, coupled with hints that there would be a conflict of interest if Justice Misra were to hear it. Eventually, a five-judge Bench headed by Justice Misra overturned the order and asserted that the CJI was indeed the master of the roster and that he alone could assign cases and decide on the composition of benches. While there is no questioning who has the power to determine the roster, what the four judges are essentially questioning is how this power has been exercised. Judicial work is primarily allocated based on a roster, and individual cases are allotted to Benches based on the category under which they fall. Once the roster is fixed, the CJI should ordinarily see that it is duly followed. Exceptions must be rare, and that too only for compelling reasons. While it is not clear in how many cases such exceptions were made, the four judges seem to have had an issue over the petition that sought an inquiry into the death of special CBI judge B.H. Loya in 2014 being posted before a particular Bench. The deceased judge was hearing the Sohrabuddin ‘fake encounter’ case, in which BJP president Amit Shah was an accused but later discharged. Given the political sensitivity of the matter, the concern expressed over this case is something that must be squarely addressed in a way that dispels any misgivings.
1.Dissension(Noun) : कलह
Meaning : disagreement that leads to discord.
Synonyms : disagreement, difference of opinion, dispute, dissent, variance, conflict, friction, strife, discord, discordance, discordancy, disunion, disaffection, rivalry, antagonism; argument, debate, controversy, disputation, contention, quarrelling, wrangling, bickering, squabbling, falling-out.
Antonyms : agreement, approval, authorization, concurrence, confirmation, peace, ratification.
Usage : there was dissension within the Cabinet over these policies.
2.Echelons(Noun) : नेताओं
Meaning : a level or rank in an organization, a profession, or society.
Synonyms : level, rank, grade, step, rung, tier, stratum, plane, position, order, division, sector.
Antonyms : disorganization.
Usage : he reached the upper echelons of government.
3.Reverberations(Noun) : प्रतिध्वनि
Meaning : prolongation of a sound; resonance.
Synonyms : resonance, echo, echoing, re-echoing, resounding, pulsation, vibration, ringing, peal, boom, booming, rumble, rumbling, roll, pound, pounding, thump, thumping.
Antonyms : cause, question.
Usage : electronic musical instruments are totally free from any natural reverberation.
4.Ferment(Verb) : विक्षोभ
Meaning : (of a substance) undergo fermentation.
Synonyms : brew; effervesce, fizz, foam, froth, bubble, seethe, boil; rise.
Antonyms : beginning, commencement, continuance.
Usage : the drink had fermented, turning some of the juice into alcohol.
5.Grievances(Noun) : शिकायतों
Meaning : a real or imagined cause for complaint, especially unfair treatment.
Synonyms : injustice, unjust act, wrong, injury, ill, offence, disservice, unfairness, evil, outrage, atrocity, damage; affront, insult, indignity.
Antonyms : compliment,flattery,praise.
Usage : civil disorder could be the result of a real or imagined grievance.
6.Roster(Noun) : सूची
Meaning : a list or plan showing turns of duty or leave for individuals or groups in an organization.
Synonyms : list, listing, register, schedule, agenda, calendar, roll, directory, table; rota.
Antonyms : division, separation.
Usage : according to the roster, he was due to work today.
7.Departing (Verb) : प्रस्थान
Meaning : leave, especially in order to start a journey.
Synonyms : leave, go, go away, go off, take one’s leave, take oneself off, withdraw, absent oneself, say one’s goodbyes, quit, make an exit, exit, break camp, decamp, retreat, beat a retreat, retire.
Antonyms : go straight,keep,stay.
Usage : James departed soon after lunch.
8.Compelling(Adjective) : सम्मोहक
Meaning : evoking interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way.
Synonyms : enthralling, captivating, gripping, engrossing, riveting, spellbinding, entrancing, transfixing, mesmerizing, hypnotic, mesmeric, absorbing, fascinating, thrilling, irresistible, addictive.
Antonyms : block, check, delay, deter, hinder, impede, obstruct, stop.
Usage : she gave a compelling and intensely dramatic performance.
9.Sought/past and past participle of seek(Verb) : मांगा
Meaning : attempt to find (something).
Synonyms : they came here to seek shelter from biting winter winds.
Antonyms : find.
Usage : six bombers took off and flew southwards to seek the enemy.
10.Dispels(Verb) : दूर हो जाना
Meaning : make (a doubt, feeling, or belief) disappear.
Synonyms : banish, eliminate, dismiss, chase away, drive away, drive off, get rid of, dissipate, disperse, scatter, disseminate; relieve, allay, ease, calm, quell, check, put to rest.
Antonyms : accumulate, collect, garner, gather, recall.
Usage : the sunshine did nothing to dispel her feelings of dejection.