All cases to be listed be­fore Chief Jus­tice

CJI pulls PIL from Che­lamesh­war, forms 3-judge Bench; says un­listed cases must be re­ferred to him

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - KANU SARDA @ New Delhi

THE un­prece­dented tus­sle be­tween top judges of the Supreme Court con­tin­ued on Satur­day with Chief Jus­tice of In­dia (CJI) Di­pak Misra over­rul­ing an or­der passed by Jus­tice J Che­lamesh­war on Thurs­day to con­sti­tute a five-judge Con­sti­tu­tion Bench to ex­am­ine if a Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion Team (SIT) probe should be or­dered to in­ves­ti­gate al­leged cor­rup­tion in the higher ju­di­ciary.

The Chief Jus­tice re­placed the five-judge Bench with a new Bench com­pris­ing three judges. He also is­sued a cir­cu­lar late on Fri­day mak­ing it clear that hence­forth, all lawyers must seek hear­ing of all new cases be­fore the Chief Jus­tice.

“It is hereby no­ti­fied for the in­for­ma­tion of the Mem­bers of the Bar and the Par­ties ap­pear­ing in per­son that hence­forth oral men­tion­ing, in re­spect of mat­ters which have not al­ready been as­signed/listed be­fore any other Bench, will be al­lowed only be­fore the court presided over by Hon’ble the Chief Jus­tice of In­dia at 10.30 am,” the cir­cu­lar reads.

The cir­cu­lar im­plies that mat­ters would have to be men­tioned be­fore the CJI’s Bench even when he is sit­ting at a Con­sti­tu­tion Bench hear­ing.

Pass­ing an ad­min­is­tra­tive or­der, Jus­tice Misra pulled out se­nior ad­vo­cate Kamini Jaiswal’s PIL from Jus­tice Che­lamesh­war’s Bench. The PIL de­manded the set­ting up of an SIT to probe the al­le­ga­tions that se­nior judges took bribes to ma­nip­u­late court orders in favour of medical col­leges that had failed to get reg­is­tra­tions. The three-judge Bench, which would now hear the case on Mon­day, also com­prises Jus­tices R K Agrawal, Arun Mishra and A M Khan­wilkar, who were also part of the five-judge Con­sti­tu­tion Bench that de­clared on Fri­day that it was the CJI’s pre­rog­a­tive to de­cide which case would be as­signed to which Bench. No other judge can de­cide to hear a case by him­self, nor can he in­struct the CJI to set up a par­tic­u­lar Bench in the top court, the CJI said on Fri­day.

The new Bench in­cludes nei­ther Jus­tice Che­lamesh­war nor the other se­nior-most judges of the apex court, which clearly im­plies that the tus­sle at the top con­tin­ues.

Kamini Jaiswal’s PIL had also sought the CJI’s re­cusal from hear­ing the case as he is part of the Bench hear­ing a case re­lat­ing to one of the medical col­leges in­volved in the scam, which was in­ves­ti­gated by the CBI.

A sim­i­lar PIL with iden­ti­cal prayers came up on Fri­day be­fore an­other Bench, which re­ferred it to the Chief Jus­tice, who within hours set up a five-judge Bench which de­clared that the Chief Jus­tice will be the “mas­ter of the ros­ter”.

It also an­nulled the or­der passed by Jus­tice Che­lameswar, hold­ing that any such or­der shall be “in­ef­fec­tive.”

It is hereby no­ti­fied for the in­for­ma­tion of the Mem­bers of the Bar and the Par­ties ap­pear­ing in per­son that hence­forth oral men­tion­ing, in re­spect of mat­ters which have not al­ready been as­signed/listed be­fore any other Bench, will be al­lowed only be­fore the court presided over by Hon’ble the Chief Jus­tice of In­dia at 10.30 am Cir­cu­lar from CJI

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