Once again, Supreme Court upholds Chief Justice of India as ‘Master of Roster’

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new delhi,jul 06:
The ‘Chief Justice of India’ (CJI) is an individual judge and not the powerful collective of five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court called the ‘Collegium’, the Supreme Court held on Friday.
And it is this exclusive authority of this individual judge, who is the “spokesperson of the court”, to allocate cases to fellow judges as the ‘Master of Roster’, a Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan declared in their separate but concurring opinions.
The judgment is based on a petition filed by former Union Law Minister Shanti Bhushan to have a collegium of Supreme Court judges collectively allocate cases rather than leave the entire power in the hands of the CJI in his administrative capacity as the ‘Master of Roster’.
With this verdict, this is the third time in eight months the Supreme Court has declared its Chief Justice as the ‘Master of Roster.Chelameswar on June 22, quoted Edmund Burke in his opinion: “Applaud us when we run; Console us when we fall; Cheer us when we recover; but let us pass on – for God’s sake, let us pass on.”He wrote that the Supreme Court shall remain greater than the men and women who temporarily occupy it as judges.Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and some of his predecessors were criticised by four of his senior-most judges led by Justice Chelameswar for allocating cases of national importance to select judges.
“Erosion of credibility of judiciary is the greatest threat… what is required of judges is changing… judges walk the tight rope of independence.

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