CJI is master of roster, SC says for the third time
New Delhi, July 6: The Supreme Court has once again ruled that the Chief Justice of India is master of the roster. The order was passed while junking a petition filed by advocate, Shanthi Bhushan who sought to regulate the powers of the CJI.
The Bench also noted that the CJI does not have to consult the collegium while fixing the Benches. The Bench observed that the moral responsibility of the of the CJI is to bring in judicial reforms.
CJI is only first among equals in his judicial functions on the Bench. But his duties encompass other management and administrative work and on this he is the spokesperson of the court, the SC also said.
We cannot have a binding practise where the CJI will sit with only two senior most judges on the Bench. We cannot have a second practise where a Constitution Bench will comprise only five senior most judges or three senior most judges and two junior most judges, the court said.
Though the Constitution is silent on the role of the CJI, legal precedents, healthy practises and conventions which stand engrafted in the SC rules, leave the day to day functioning of the court to the wisdom of the CJI. He has a moral responsibility the SC further said.
The court also said the CJI allots cases to his fellow judges on the basis of their capacity, interest and expertise. We should leave that to the wisdom of the CJI, the court noted while rejecting the petition.