The Supreme Court on Friday reiterated that the Chief Justice alone was the “master of roster” and have powers to allocate cases to different benches.
It also cautioned against any “tinkering” as it could hurt the independence of the judiciary.
“Although the Constitution is silent on the role of the Chief Justice as ‘master of roster’ but it is based on healthy practice to maintain the discipline and decorum of the court,” said Justice A.K.Sikri.
Justice Ashok Bhushan in a concurring but separate judgement said that it is difficult to accept the interpretation that the CJI means entire collegium. Such an interpretation would make day to day functioning difficult.”
Both Justice Sikri and Justice Bhushan rejected the plea that the Supreme Court should adopt some of the practices prevailing in the top courts of other countries.
They said that there could not be a “mechanical imitation” or import of practices prevailing in the courts overseas but admitted that there was scope for improvement which they said was always happening.
The court said this while disposing of a petition by senior counsel Shanti Bhushan contending that the Chief Justice should exercise his power to allocate the cases in consultation with the four other judges in the collegium.
He had contended that the collective opinion of the collegium was much safer than the opinion of the Chief Justice alone.