Supreme Court to examine plea on CJI's power

Justices Jasti Chelameswar Ranjan Gogoi Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph

Justices Jasti Chelameswar Ranjan Gogoi Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph

"The ultimate goal behind the entrustment of authority to the Chief Justice is to ensure that the Supreme Court is able to fulfil and discharge the constitutional obligations which govern and provide the rationale for its existence", it said.

"The fact that one sitting Judge, one of the senior most and part of the collegium, has to write to all the judges and say you form a bench of seven distinguished senior most judges to ensure that our recommendations are implemented especially in the context of Chief Justice KM Joseph and Indu Malhotra and the fact that the judiciary is not taking action on it, is a matter of grave concern", said Sibal. The issues, which were raised by the four Supreme Court judges, have not been addressed yet. "The government can not be given the right to reject names recommended by the collegium".

It would help greatly if the process of allocation of benches is seen to be entirely transparent, and to be fair to CJI Misra he has rolled out two key measures in this direction: the twin publications of collegium recommendations on judicial appointments and a subject-wise roster for allocation of fresh cases. "Is this not a threat to the independence of the judiciary", asked Justice Joseph in his letter, which has now become public.

"We are very concerned about what is happening in the court". Shortage of judges, as well as frequent and contentious deliberations between government and collegium on appointments, can be minimised by allowing SC as well as high court judges to serve until 70.

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The matter will be heard next on 27 April. "I am more anxious about the irreparable injury that is being caused by the wrong message sent to the judges down the line", Justice Joseph said. "We are not able to sit for the second phase since fate of the first phase is not yet known". I mentioned first seven only because of the mandate of the Full Court in Justice Karnan's case. "Please understand that we are dealing with an institution and I want to make it very clear that it will be a very sad day if the Opposition has to take that step, but that does not mean that the Opposition has foreclosed that option". "It appears, your personal efforts have not been fruitful", he said. Unless such a surgical intervention is made at an appropriate time, the child in the womb dies.

The chief justice is at the "helm of the institution" and is conferred with authority under the Constitution to take decisions on allotment of cases, justice D.Y. Chandrachud said on Wednesday.

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the assistance of attorney general K.K. Venugopal on a petition challenging the administrative powers of the chief justice of India regarding allocation of cases.

The plea filed by Shanti Bhushan, a senior advocate and former law minister, and his son, Prashant Bhushan, called for the authority to allocate important and sensitive cases to be extended to the Supreme Court's four senior-most judges, apart from the chief justice.

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