New Delhi: The Apex court of India on Friday got offended and expressed anger over an attempt to raise before it the issue relating to the unprecedented January 12 press conference by the four senior-most judges, who had put up accusations of the Chief Justice of India ( CJI) of arbitrarily allocating cases.
A bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, while hearing a PIL challenging the existing roster system and powers of the CJI to allocate cases, made it clear that it was not at all concerned with the issue of the presser for “many reasons and obvious reasons”.
“We are not going to go into it. We are not concerned with it for many reasons and obvious reasons. Do not say all this. Do not bring it here,” the bench told senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who was representing Mr Bhushan.
The observation by the bench was made after Mr Dave said, “Four of your colleagues have publicly taken note of the failure of the system.”
When the bench referred to the apex court verdicts which held that the CJI is the “master of roster”, Mr Dave said a judgement passed earlier this week was in his favour.
Mr Bhushan’s counsel raised the issue of allocation of cases in the top court and said that matter was in list contrary to the rules of the Supreme Court.
“This court is the bedrock of the Constitution,” he said while adding that the registry should follow the Supreme Court rules stipulating the procedure for a listing of cases.
Mr Dave even claimed that a top court judge, who had worked as a CJI for two weeks, had listed several business matters before himself and gave them reliefs.
He also said that after his retirement, the apex court had to reverse many of his orders.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal said they were concerned about the institution and they were not at all permanent fixtures in Delhi.
To this, Justice Sikri said, “We will retire, but you are a permanent fixture”.
In his PIL, Shanti Bhushan has stated that the “master of roster” cannot be unguided and unbridled with discretionary power, exercised arbitrarily by the CJI by hand-picking benches of select judges or by assigning cases to particular judges.
The petition said the CJI’s authority as the master of roster is “not an absolute, arbitrary, singular power that is vested in the chief justice alone and which may be exercised with his sole discretion”.
It also said that such an authority should be exercised by the CJI along with consultation with the senior judges of the Supreme Court in keeping with the various pronouncements of the court.