Justice Chelameswar says CJI's power as master of roster should not be exercised in arbitrary manner

New Delhi: Justice J Chelameswar, the senior-most Supreme Court judge after the Chief Justice of India, on Saturday said allocation of important and sensitive cases to different benches should be done transparently and not in an arbitrary manner.

File image of Justice J Chelameswar. PTI

File image of Justice J Chelameswar. PTI

"We are not questioning his (Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra) authority as master of roster but it should not be exercised in an arbitrary manner but in a transparent manner," Chelameswar said.

Buttressing his point that not everything was right in the allocation of cases, Justice Chelameswar said: " You come and walk in the corridor of the Supreme Court and you will hear that the allocation of cases is not transparent."

He was talking to journalist Karan Thapar at an event, "Role of Judiciary in Democracy", organised by Harvard Club of India in Delhi. The conversation went on for about 90 minutes.

Speaking about the Opposition chorus seeking an impeachment of the chief justice, justice Chelameswar said it was "not an answer for every problem".

"Some system is required to be set-up so that these problems don't arise."

Responding to a question whether he apprehended government blocking the elevation of Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the next Chief Justice of India after Justice Dipak Misra retires, he said: " I am not an astrologer. I hope it will not happen. If it happens then it will prove what we had said in the press conference (on January 12, 2018)."

He was one of the judges who held an unprecedented press conference in January, mounting a virtual revolt against the chief justice and listing a litany of problems that they said were plaguing the country's highest court.

They warned that these problems, including allocation of cases by the Chief Justice, could damage Indian democracy.

Updated Date: Apr 07, 2018 21:49 PM

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