Former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan Calls For 5 Judge Collegium To Be Master Of Roster Instead Of CJI

| April 6 , 2018 , 14:42 IST

Former law minister and senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, in a petition to the Supreme Court on Friday has called for a collegium of 5 senior judges of the apex court to act as the 'Master of Roster' instead of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

Bhushan's petition comes in the midst of calls for the impeachment of Misra as the CJI, over allegations by senior Supreme Court judges of the CJI misusing his powers as Master of Roster in allocating crucial cases.

In the petition, Bhushan seeks that the power to list matters to be heard by a specific bench/judges be shared with the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court and that the Master of Roster power “cannot be unguided and unbridled discretionary power, exercised arbitrarily by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India”.

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Bhushan states, “…the petition raises a very fundamental issue going to the root of the functioning of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and as such is very critical to the interpretation of the Constitution of India and the Rule of Law in India.”

The senior advocate terms the trend of listing matter subjectively and selectively as 'extremely disturbing' and raises the issue in the petition.

“This petition raises issue as to extremely disturbing trend of listing matters subjectively and selectively as clearly discernible from the available data of matters recently filed and listed before only certain Hon’ble Benches. This trend reflects serious erosion of independence of the judiciary, namely, this Hon’ble Court in deciding matters objectively and independently by resorting to the method of favoured listings. As a result, justice appears to be skewed and in many cases justice may even stand denied,” says Bhushan.

The former law minister in his petition also gave examples of a few "politically sensitive cases" in which there was “gross abuse of power”, including the challenge to the appointment of the Special Director CBI, the investigation into the death of Judge Loya and The Wire defamation case.