SC Junks Shanti Bhushan's Plea, says CJI is Master of Roster

Team SoOLEGAL 6 Jul 2018 5:30pm

SC Junks Shanti Bhushan's Plea, says CJI is Master of Roster

While hearing a plea filed by senior advocate Shanti Bhushan on allocation of cases, the Supreme Court today ruled that the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is the ‘Master of Roster’ and has the power to allocate cases.

The judgement was passed by the bench comprising of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.

In his petition, Bhushan has alleged that "master of roster cannot be an unguided and unbridled discretionary power, exercised arbitrarily by the CJI by hand-picking the benches of select judges or by assigning cases to particular judges”.

Consequently, the petition sought a declaration that the power to allocate cases to judges should be decided not by CJI alone, but rather by a Collegium of five senior-most judges.

The SC bench, however, refused to acknowledge Bhushan's contention that the roster should be decided by the SC collegium.

The SC bench further relied on the top court’s recent judgement in the CJAR case and the Asok Pande case to support the expression that, “Chief Justice of India cannot be interpreted to mean Collegium of five senior-most judges when it comes to allocation of cases”.

Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan then gave separate but concurring verdicts.

Justice Sikri in his judgement noted, “Although Constitution is silent on the role of CJI as the master of the roster, it is based on healthy practise to maintain discipline and decorum of the Court.. CJI has authority to allocate cases and need not consult other judges”. He further added that, “acceptance of the plea of the petitioner would lead to practical difficulties, affecting day to day functioning of the Court....”

Agreeing with Justice Sikri's opinion, Justice Bhushan said “the CJI has the prerogative to allocate cases and nominate benches to hear them”.



Tagged: Supreme Court   Chief Justice of India   CJI Dipak Misra   Senior Advocate Shanti Bhushan   Master of Roster  
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