Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

SC to examine plea on allocation of cases

SC to examine plea on allocation of cases

The Supreme Court ruling that the Chief Justice of India is the master of the roster and has sole discretion of deciding the composition of benches and assigning cases is unexceptionable in law; it reiterates an earlier judgment by a five judge Constitution Bench which asserted the CJI has this prerogative.

On Thursday, Prashant Bhushan had questioned Justice J Chelameswar to take up his father's petition but the country's second most senior judge said he wouldn't be able to do so as his order may be reversed.

"Four of your colleagues have gone public". We are not going into it.

The PIL was filed by an Ashok Pande seeking guidelines for the Supreme Court and all the high courts on the allocation of cases and the setting up of benches. The counsel said that while the CJI includes the Collegium for the exercise of judicial functions, but the practice was not extended to administrative matters like allocation of cases.

Justice C S Karnan was a former judge of Calcutta High Court who had made serious allegations against the judges of the apex court.

On January 12, these judges had held a news conference and insinuated that Chief Justice Misra was allocating key cases to handpicked benches to try and influence outcomes. Justice Joseph said in a two-page letter to the CJI and the 22 judges on April 9, exactly three months after the collegium had decided on the two names.

Kolkata Metro rake stranded inside tunnel due to snag
As a result, services along the Tollygunge-Kavi Subhas route were disrupted for almost 20 minutes because of the power failure. After the incident, the metro services along the line remained disrupted for around half-an-hour, said a Lalbazar officer.

But Justice Ashok Bhushan said, "It will be very hard to decide what is sensitive and what is not..." To which, the judges said, "Cases sensitive to you may not be sensitive to us". The petition was filed by noted advocate Shanti Bhushan.

According to Bhushan, the power to allocate sensitive cases should not remain only with the CJI.

Justice Kurian said the lack of response from the government on the appointment of Ms. Malhotra and Justice Joseph had virtually stalled the working of the collegium. "We want to protect the institution; we means the people of India must protect this institution from the kind of gross interference by the government, and protected also from within".

"The ultimate objective behind the entrustment of authority to the Chief Justice is to ensure that the Supreme Court is able to fulfil and discharge the constitutional obligations which govern and provide the rationale for its existence", it said. The case was referred to a junior judge. Justice Sikri continued that "all that we are saying is whether this is justiciable at all".

Clarifying that he was not talking from any political stance, Sibal said, "No party should be allowed to interfere in the processes of appointment to the Hon'ble Supreme Court from judges".

Justice Sikri said the bar was an equal partner in upholding the rule of law. They put up the accusation that Chief Justice Dipak Misra was abusing his status as "master of roster". He then asked ASG Mehta if he would ask the AG to assist the court.

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