This was after Justices Chelameshwar, Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan Lokur on Friday had taken an extraordinary step to alleged that the administration of the top court was not in order. Justice Chelameswar in particular had said that ‘in the past few months, less than desirable things have been happening.’
He had said, “We’ve told the Chief Justice but our pleas have failed. We don’t want some wise men to say 20 year later that we did not take care of the institution. Democracy won’t survive without free judiciary.”
You can read the full letter below, originally published on CJAR website.
Dear Chief Justice,
The four senior puisne Judges of the Supreme Court have brought to light a serious issue regarding the manner of allocation of cases, particularly sensitive cases, to various benches of the Supreme Court. They have expressed a grave concern that cases are not being allocated in a proper manner and are being allocated arbitrarily to particular designated benches, often headed by junior judges, in an arbitrary manner. This is having a very deleterious effect on the administration of justice and the rule of law.
We agree with the four Judges that though the Chief Justice of India is the master of roster and can designate benches for allocation of work, this does not mean that it can be done in an arbitrary manner such that, sensitive and important cases are sent to hand picked benches of junior judges by the Chief Justice. This issue needs to be resolved and clear rules and norms must be laid down for allocation of benches and distribution of cases, which are rational, fair and transparent. This must be done immediately to restore public confidence in the judiciary and in the Supreme Court. However till that is done, it is important that all sensitive and important cases including pending ones, be dealt with by a Constitution Bench of the 5 senior most Judges of this Court. Only such measures would assure the people that the Supreme Court is functioning in a fair and transparent manner and that the power of the Chief Justice as master of roster is not being misused to achieve a particular result in important and sensitive cases. We therefore urge you to take immediate steps in this regard.
Justice P.B. Sawant, (Retd.) former Judge, Supreme Court of India
Justice A.P. Shah, (Retd.) former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court
Justice K. Chandru, (Retd.) former Judge, Madras High Court
Justice H. Suresh, (Retd.) former Judge, Bombay High Court