‘Master of roster’ not CJI’s unbridled power: Bhushan : The Tribune India

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‘Master of roster’ not CJI’s unbridled power: Bhushan

NEW DELHI:Former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan on Friday filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking clarification on powers of the Chief Justice of India as the “master of roster” on the administrative side.



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 6

Former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan on Friday filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking clarification on powers of the Chief Justice of India as the “master of roster” on the administrative side. He also demanded that the court should lay down procedure for allocation of cases by the CJI to fellow judges.

In the PIL filed through his son and noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan, Bhushan senior contended that the “master of roster” can’t be unguided and unbridled discretionary power, exercised arbitrarily by the CJI by hand-picking Benches of select judges or by assigning cases to particular judges.

He has named CJI Dipak Misra as one of the respondents in his petition.

Prashant Bhushan wrote to the top court’s secretary general that the matter should not be listed before a Bench headed by CJI Misra and that it would be appropriate to place it before three senior-most judges of the top court for allocating it before an appropriate Bench.

The petition comes three months after the January 12 press conference by four senior-most judges — Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph — who had raised the issue of allocation of important and sensitive PILs before junior judges of the top court. The situation in the top court was “not in order” and many “less than desirable” things have taken place, they had said.

The senior advocate contended that the CJI’s authority as the master of roster “is not an absolute, arbitrary, singular power” that is vested in the CJI alone and which may be exercised with his “sole discretion”. Such an authority should be exercised by him in consultation with senior judges of the Supreme Court in keeping with the various pronouncement of this court, he contended.

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