Justice Chelameswar: Don't want one more reversal of my order

Justice Jasti Chelameswar

"I do not want another reversal of my order in 24 hours", Chelameswar said.

Just a day ago, Bhushan submitted, a Bench headed by the CJI had dismissed a similar petition filed by a lawyer asserting yet again that the CJI alone has the power to allocate matters and constitute Benches. You have to understand my difficulty.

The strong comments came when activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan approached the bench seeking urgent listing of the PIL filed by his father stating that the "master of roster" can not have "unguided and unbridled discretionary powers, exercised arbitrarily by the CJI by hand-picking benches of select judges" and sought formulation of guidelines for allocation of cases.

Bhushan initially mentioned the matter before Justice Chelameswar and said this was an emergency situation.

The second most senior judge expressed his anguish while refusing to hear a petition that questions the Chief Justice of India's role as the master of the roster.

He said he was referring the matter to Justice Chelameswar's bench as the PIL challenges the master of roster concept and the CJI can not deal with it. Observing that the country will follow its own course, Justice Chelameswar, who was sitting with Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, said he would not deal with the matter as reasons were "too obvious".

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He was apparently referring to the reversal of an order of a bench headed by him by the CJI's bench on November 10 past year.

The Bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud asked Bhushan whether the Registry had cleared all defects in the petition to which Bhushan replied in the affirmative. The Bench said the CJI is a high constitutional authority to do both jobs for smooth dispensation of justice.

The petition was filed after the top court's four most senior judges held an unprecedented press conference in January and criticised CJI Misra for his style of administration and allocation of cases.

Subsequently on March 21, Justice Chelameswar had shot off a letter to the CJI asking him to consider convening a full court to take up the issue of alleged executive interference in judiciary.

In November past year, CJI Misra had formed a five-judge Constitution Bench to declare his position as the "master of the roster".


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