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Supreme Court: CJI Deepak Mishra is the master of roster

By Newsd
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Justice Joseph to sworn in as SC judge on Tuesday, yet CJI to take issue to Centre

The Supreme Court today rejected former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan’s plea challenging the Chief Justice of India’s power as the master of roster.

Supreme Court reiterated that CJI is the master of the roster and has the power to allocate cases in the top court because he is the first among equals in the judiciary.

The top court refused to accept Bhushan’s contention that the allocation of cases should be done by the SC collegium.

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.

The case is particularly important following the Jan. 12 press conference held by four senior-most judges of the apex court- Justices J Chelameswar (since retired), Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, who had said that the situation in the Supreme Court was ‘not in order’ and many ‘less than desirable’ things have taken place.

Attorney General KK Venugopal had said that any attempt to delegate the power of allocation of cases to other judges would lead to a ‘chaos.’

During the arguments, Venugopa had stressed the need of unity among the judges of the top court and said that Bhushan’s petition to vest the power to allocate cases to the five-member collegium might lead to conflict among judges on who would hear which matter, besides multiplicity of authorities.