Top retd judges write to CJI asking him to ensure transparency in SC

Justice Dipak Misra,45th Chief Justice of India, CJI, Chief Justice of India

In the wake of the four top judges of the Supreme Court holding a Press Conference last week to discuss alleged compromises that the Chief Justice was making in allocation of sensitive cases, four retired senior judges of the SC have written an open letter to Chief Justice Dipak Misra asking him to resolve the issue.

They have underlined that the restoration of the public’s faith in the judicial system was of imminent need and therefore, of utmost importance.

Here’s a copy of the text of the letter:

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Dear Chief Justice,

The four senior pursuing Judges of the Supreme Court have brought to light a series of issue regarding the manner of allocation of cases, particularly sensitive cases, to various benches of the Supreme Court. They have expressed a grave concern that cases are not being allocated in proper manner and are being allocated arbitrarily to particular designated benches – often headed by junior judges – in an arbitrary manner. This is having a very deleterious effect on the administration of justice and the rule of law.

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. This must be done immediately to restore public confidence in the judiciary and in the Supreme Court.

However till that is done, it is important that all sensitive and important cases including pending ones, be dealt with by a Constitution Bench of the 5 senior-most Judges of this Court. Only such measures would assure the people that the Supreme Court is functioning in a fair and transparent manner and that the power of the Chief Justice as Master of Roster is not being misused to achieve a particular result in important and sensitive cases. We therefore urge you to take immediate steps in this regard.

Signed by:

Justice PB Sawant, (Retd) former Judge, Supreme Court of India

Justice AP Shah, (Retd) former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court

Justice K Chandru, (Retd) former Judge, Madras High Court

Justice H Suresh, (Retd) former Judge, Bombay High Court

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