A unprecedented rift has opened in India’s supreme court, with four senior judges speaking out against the chief justice in a move that could hinder Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s move to sell Asia’s third-largest economy as a transparent investment destination.

India’s key equity gauges — the Sensex and Nifty 50 — dropped as much as 0.5 percent after the judges addressed the media in New Delhi in a dramatic public airing of their long-standing dispute. They said the Supreme Court is “not in order” and alleged senior judges were not being properly allocated matters.

Justice J. Chelameswar said he along with the other three judges met the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, over the allocation of sensitive cases, including the death of a lower court judge. That judge was trying Amit Shah, president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, in a criminal case. 

The chief justice could not be reached for comment. The Supreme Court’s Deputy Registrar and public relations officer Rakesh Sharma said there was no response from the court as of now.

Jagdish Thakkar, a spokesman in the Prime Minister’s Office, didn’t respond to a call seeking comment.

“We thought we owed a responsibility to the institution, to the nation,” Chelameswar said. “We tried to collectively persuade the chief justice that certain things are not in order, therefore he should take remedial measures.” The chief justice declined, he said.

A divided house in India’s top court raises broader questions about the quality of the Indian legal system as it regularly rules on significant business and economic matters such as Vodafone Group PLC’s years-long tax case. Despite jumping 30 spots on the World Bank ease of doing business ranking, India remains 164th in the world for “enforcing contracts,” in part because of the subjective allotment of judges to cases.

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