Chief Justice Of India Is First Among Equals, No Change In Powers, Rules CJI-Led SC Bench

| April 11 , 2018 , 12:55 IST

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a PIL seeking framing of guidelines for allocation of cases and constitution of benches to judge them, stating that the Chief Justice of India (CJI) has the constitutional authority to decide allocation of the cases and the benches to judge them.

A bench comprising CJI Dipak Misra himself and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud referred to constitutional schemes and said, "the Chief Justice of India is first among equals and has the authority to decide allocation of cases and setting up of benches".

ALSO READ: Impeachment Of Dipak Misra Not A Solution, System Needs To Be Changed: Justice Chelameswar

The order added that since the CJI is a high constitutional functionary, there cannot be "any distrust about the responsibilities he discharges" to ensure that the Supreme Court to carries out the work required under the Constitution.

The PIL had been filed by Ashok Pande seeking guidelines for both the Supreme Court and all the High Courts regarding allocation of cases and setting up of benches.

The CJI's role as Master of Roster, deciding allocation of cases and benches has been under controversy since 4 senior judges of the Supreme Court called a press conference in January alleging improper allocation of cases by CJI Dipak Misra.

The Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph in the first ever press conference called by Supreme Court judges had claimed that the judiciary was under threat due to CJI Misra misusing his powers as Master of Roster.

The Congress party had announced that it was considering an impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra, however, the initiative was not taken forward.  Senior advocates weighed in saying that impeachment was not the solution and that rather a separate bench should be constituted to serve the role of Master of Roster.