Supreme Court dismisses plea challenging procedure of allotment of cases by CJI

Time to introspect on streamlining justice delivery system SC

After the unprecedented meeting convened by the top four senior judges alleging that the chief justice was not following established precedents in allocation of cases among the judges, a new system for allocation of cases was put in place by Misra.

Holding that the CJI was at the realm of the institution and was conferred with authority under the Constitution for allotment of cases, justice D.Y. Chandrachud said, "We do not find merit in the case".

However on Wednesday, a three-judge bench comprising of CJI Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud called the petition "scandalous".

The court dismissed a PIL filed by advocate Ashok Pande that asked that the CJI consult the two senior-most judges of the apex court to allocate work.

Calling the petition scandalous, the court said that the CJI is the highest authority in the court and can not be distrusted, reported NDTV.

Besides, Pande had also suggested that there should be specialised Benches to deal with PILs, tax, criminal, land and service matters.

It also prayed that the Constitution bench should have the five senior-most judges - that is, the CJI, Justices Chelameshwar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph.

File image of the Supreme Court of India.

Interestingly, the petition, which has the Supreme Court as a respondent, was heard by a Bench headed by CJI Misra, who is the administrative head of Supreme Court. "There can not be a presumption of mistrust against the CJI", the bench, of which Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra was also a part of, stated.

Justice Chandrachud, writing the judgment for the bench, referred to constitutional schemes and said "the Chief Justice of India is first among equals and has the authority to decide allocation of cases and setting up of benches".

Pointing to the "extremely disturbing trend" of listing matters "subjectively and selectively" only before certain benches, the PIL says that trend reflects "serious erosion of independence of the judiciary" by resorting to the method of "favoured listings". They warned that these problems, including allocation of cases by the Chief Justice, could damage Indian democracy.



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