Allocation Of Cases: Chief Justice of India Is The Master Of Roster, Supreme Court Rules CJI Dipak Misra. (Sushil Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court today (6 July) ruled that “the Chief Justice of India is the master of roster” and that there is no dispute over this. The bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan rejected former law minister Shanti Bhushan's plea to have a Collegium of Supreme Court judges collectively allocate cases in the apex court rather than leave the entire power in the hands of the CJI in his administrative capacity as ‘Master of Roster’.

In their ruling, the justices said though the Constitution is silent on the role of the Chief Justice of India, it is based on sound convention and precedent. While observing that the expression Chief Justice of India will include only Chief Justice of India and not the collegiums, the bench said it is difficult to accept the argument of the petitioners that expression Chief Justice of India should mean the collegiums.

In a public interest litigation, Bhushan had alleged that “master of roster” cannot be an “unguided and unbridled” discretionary power, exercised arbitrarily by the Chief Justice of India by hand-picking the benches of select judges or by assigning cases to particular judges. Attorney General K K Venugopal had said that any attempt to delegate the power of allocation of cases to other judges would lead to a ‘chaos.’

The bench had earlier observed that Bushan’s plea should be tested on the touchstone of Article 145 (rules of the court governing its practices and procedures) of the Constitution. “Difficulties can always be resolved. We have to see what the Constitution has in mind,” Justice Shanti Bhushan had said earlier.

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Advertisement