The Supreme Court on Thursday adopted a roster system for the allocation of matters to the judges with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra deciding to keep to himself the public interest litigation (PIL) cases.
The 13-page notification said a roster of the work for fresh cases notified under the order of the chief justice of India will come into effect from February 5 till further orders.
The decision to make public the roster system assumes significance as four seniormost judges—justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph—in their January 12 press conference had questioned the allocation of sensitive PILs and important cases to judges junior in seniority.
The notification has given the description of matters that would be allocated to the benches headed by the CJI and 11 other judges—justices Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur, Joseph, A K Sikri, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, N V Ramana, Arun Mishra, A K Goel and R F Nariman.
In the unprecedented January 12 presser at Justice Chelameswar’s residence, the four seniormost judges had raised a litany of problems, including assigning of cases in the apex court, and said there were certain issues afflicting the country’s highest court.
They had also made public a letter written by them to the CJI two months ago expressing their grievances, which, they claimed, were not addressed by the CJI.
They had said, “There have been instances where cases having far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution have been assigned by the chief justices of this court selectively to the benches ‘of their preference’ without any rational basis for such assignment. This must be guarded against at all costs.”
After the press conference, there were hectic parleys involving judges of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and the Bar Council of India (BCI).
The SCBA, headed by its president Vikas Singh, had come out with a resolution that the apex court should follow a roster system for the allocation of matters to the judges as was prevalent in the Delhi High Court.
According to sources, some of the judges had also suggested to the CJI to examine the roster system prevalent in the Bombay High Court.