Recently, Expressing deep concern, Senior Counsel and former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Dushyant Dave, addresses Chief Justice DY Chandrachud regarding the handling of pending sensitive cases in the Supreme Court.
In his open letter to the CJI, Dave alleged that several cases, originally assigned to specific benches, were shifted and placed before different benches, contravening both the Supreme Court Rules and the Court's Handbook on Practice and Procedure of the Court which govern listing of cases.
''I have personally come across a number of cases listed before various Hon’ble Benches upon first listing and/ or in which notice have been issued, being taken away from those Hon’ble Benches and listed before other Hon’ble Benches.''
Dave further highlighted that the transferred matters encompass critical aspects such as human rights, the functionality of constitutional institutions, democracy, and freedom of speech.
The letter pointed out, 'Esteemed colleagues at the Bar, seniors, and Advocates on Record (AoRs) have brought to our attention various instances where they initially appeared in cases multiple times, only for these matters to be subsequently listed before different benches
Emphasizing this issue, he underscored a provision within the Handbook on Practice and Procedure of the Court, granting the CJI extraordinary authority to disrupt the roster system, enabling the 'picking and choosing' as well as allocation of any appeal, cause, or matter to any judge or judges of the Court.
"We have no doubt that as Master of Roster, you have not exercised power under Note 3 referred above as no information is available in this regard," the letter stated.
He added that such a practice does not augur well for the institution, and thus pressed for corrective steps to be taken.
This development follows the senior counsel's public remarks in court, where he highlighted the transfer of cases previously heard by a bench led by Justice Aniruddha Bose to a bench led by Justice Bela M Trivedi, noting the latter's junior position compared to Justice Bose.
Additionally, the case addressing delays by the Central government in notifying the appointment of judges recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium was removed from the bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, who had been hearing the matter.
On Tuesday, he clarified that he wasn't involved in the deletion of the case. However, he hinted at the possibility that the CJI might be aware of the deletion and subtly suggested that some matters are better left unspoken.
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