A group of jurists have written an open letter to the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, stating that important cases including those that are pending must be dealt with by a Constitution Bench of five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.
Retired Supreme Court judge PB Sawant, along with retired chief justice of Delhi High Court AP Shah, and retired high court judges K Chandru and H Suresh wrote that clear rules and norms must be laid down for allocation of benches and distribution of cases.
We agree with the four Judges that though the Chief Justice of India is the master of roster and can designate benches for allocation of work, this does not mean that it can be done in an arbitrary manner such that sensitive and important cases are sent to hand-picked benches of junior judges by the Chief Justice. This issue needs to be resolved and clear rules and norms must be laid down for allocation of benches and distribution of cases, which are rational, fair and transparent.
Open Letter by Retired Jurists
While they said that this must be done immediately, they stressed the importance of allocating pending cases to the senior-most judges of the apex court.
Only this, the former jurists write, would ensure people that the CJI is not misusing his powers and that the court is run in a "fair and transparent" manner.
In an unprecedented move, Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph alleged that the Chief Justice had violated conventions in his role as the master of the roster, in a press conference on 12 January.
Find the full text of the open letter here.