NEW DELHI: In what is being seen as an attempt to assuage the feelings of four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, who recently questioned Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra’s functioning, the CJI on Thursday introduced a roster system for allocation of cases. While all Public Interest Litigations (PILs) will be taken up by a bench headed by the CJI, a subject- wise roster has been put in place for allocation of other cases. It is expected to not only bring transparency but also end the CJI’s discretion in allocation of cases as the “master of the roster”.
A 13-page notification published on the apex court’s website said the roster system would come into effect from February 5 and will apply to new cases. The notification specified matters that would be allocated to the benches headed by the CJI , justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph, A K Sikri, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, N V Ramana, Arun Mishra, A K Goel and Rohinton Fali Nariman.
Last month, justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur and Joseph held an unprecedented press conference in which they questioned the CJI’s allocation of sensitive PILs and important cases. Besides PILs, the CJI will hear all cases related to elections, social justice, service matters, contempt of court, appointment of constitutional functionaries, habeas corpus petitions and criminal matters.
Justice Chelameswar will hear matters related to crime, labour, indirect taxes, land disputes, consumer protection, criminal and ordinary civil matters, among others. Justice Gogoi, who is tipped to be the next Chief Justice, will handle cases related to religious disputes, personal laws, labour, banking, government tenders, crime and other cases. Justice Lokur has been assigned matters related to forests and environment conservation, paramilitary forces, land disputes, service matters, personal law and ordinary civil matters while Justice Joseph will hear matters related to labour laws, rent acts, family laws, personal laws and other religious matters.
Loya case forced Misra's hand
One of the triggers for the big four to go public against the CJI was the assigning of a petition on the death of Judge Loya — who was hearing the Sohrabuddin case in which BJP president Amit Shah was accused