Judicial Crisis: Former Judges Write Letter to Chief Justice of India

Justice Dipak Misra was sworn in as the 45th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Justice Dipak Misra was sworn in as the 45th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

As the controversy surrounding the administrative arbitrariness in the Supreme Court of India has become a serious issue, a former Supreme Court Judge and former judges of High Courts have written an open letter to the Chief Justice of India. In their letter, they have urged Chief Justice Dipak Misra to resolve the issue at the earliest.

Last week, four senior Supreme Court judges – Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B Lokur, and Justice Kurian Joseph – had held a press conference to complain against Chief Justice Misra’s arbitrariness in allocation of cases.

In their letter released Sunday, the former judges said, “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,” it was stated in the letter.

It added that the 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, the letter said.

The letter was signed by 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; and Justice H. Suresh, (Retd.) former Judge, Bombay High Court.

Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of India has assured a Bar Council panel that the rift will be resolved soon. On Sunday, it is reported, Chief Justice Misra met with the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, who gave him a resolution on the crisis in the top judiciary body.

Photo courtesy: Rashtrapati Bhavan

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Rakesh Raman