Opposition parties have demanded a "thorough probe" into issues flagged by four Supreme Court judges over its functioning, prompting a strong reaction from the ruling BJP that accused its rivals of "politicizing internal matters" of the judiciary.
Terming the concern voiced by the judges as "extremely important", Congress president Rahul Gandhi also called for a probe into the mysterious death of judge B H Loya, who died in 2014 when he was hearing the sensational Sohrabuddin Sheikh murder case in which BJP chief Amit Shah was an accused but later discharged.
The four SC judges, including J Chelameshwar, second in seniority to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, had earlier in the day raised questions about the functioning of the apex court, saying things there were "not in order".
They had accused Misra of "selectively" allocating cases to benches among other things, which they claimed, adversely affected the judiciary and threatened democracy.
"I think the points that have been raised by the four judges are extremely important. They have mentioned there is a threat to democracy. It needs to be looked into carefully.
"They also made a point about judge Loya's case. I think that is also something that needs to be investigated properly. It needs to be looked at from the highest level of the Supreme Court," Gandhi told reporters here tonight.
In his brief statement, Gandhi said that all citizens who love the idea of justice and believe in the Supreme Court were looking at the developments, and therefore it was important that those were addressed.
The BJP shot back, with its spokesman Sambit Patra accusing the Congress of politicising internal matters of the judiciary.
On the Congress seeking a probe into Loya's death by the highest level of the Supreme Court, Patra said the main opposition party should refrain from commenting on issues pending before the Supreme Court.
The apex court is hearing two PILs seeking an independent investigation into circumstances leading to Loya's death in Nagpur where he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter.
"Politics by political parties of the country, outside the judicial purview, trying to drag issues which are internal to the judiciary and politicise that is something which should not be attempted.
"The Congress party has attempted the same, it has tried its best to politicise internal issues of judiciary. And we firmly believe that this is wrong," Patra told reporters here.
Patra said the Congress should know it has lost "elections after elections" since 2014, when the BJP stormed to power and the Modi government was formed. "Any attempt to fish for opportunity to politicise issues when none exist is politically wrong," he said.
On Gandhi calling for a probe into the death of Loya, Patra said none has the right to comment on issues that are pending before the Supreme Court. "I think Congress should know that," he added.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said a thorough investigation was required to understand how the independence and integrity of the judiciary was getting "affected", after the judges said many "less than desirable" things had taken place in the apex court.
He said it was necessary for the three wings of democracy -- the executive, the legislature and the judiciary - to ensure that whatever issues had been raised were corrected.
Former Rajya Sabha member Sharad Yadav called it a "dark day" for democracy, saying for the first time sitting SC judges had to speak before the media to highlight complaints.
"It is a dark day for democracy that even the judges are working under pressure and without independence," he said.