The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine a plea filed by former law minister Shanti Bhushan who sought directions that the Chief Justice of India as 'master of roster' should not be reduced to an absolute, singular and arbitrary power.
A bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan asked Attorney General KK Venugopal for his assistance and posted the matter for hearing on April 27.
The apex court bench will examine the petition despite two of its judgments supporting – dated November 2017 and April 9, 2018 upholding the CJI as the complete administrative authority to allocate cases and constitute Benches. However, it must be noted, that CJI Misra led both the judgements – one passed by a five-judge bench, and the other by a three-judge bench. The April 9 judgment – authored by Justice DY Chandrachud, had called the CJI and "institution in himself."
Representing Bhushan, senior advocate Dushyant Dave argued that certain "sensitive" cases were allocated to preferred Benches on the CJI's order. It was this preferred allocation of sensitive cases that required the collective attention of the Collegium and that it should not be decided on the "absolute discretion" of the CJI.
Dave referred to the 1998 SC judgment where it had interpreted that the term "Chief Justice of India" included the entire Collegium for the purposes of appointments and transfers of judges.
"Be he ever ...