Chief justice is the ‘Master of the Roster’: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Friday reiterated that the chief justice of India is the “Master of the Roster”. The chief justice has the power to allocate cases to different benches, a bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan ruled while hearing a petition filed by former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan.

Shanti Bhushan’s petition had called for a panel of senior judges to decide on the rostering of judges and assigning of cases. The government’s top lawyer had opposed it, saying it will result in chaos.

The court said that the “chief justice of India” cannot be interpreted to mean “collegium of five senior-most judges” during the allocation of cases, a news agency reported. The court also said, right at the beginning, that it was not treating the petition as an “adversarial litigation” or “doubting the bonafide” of the petitioner.

In April, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra held that the Chief Justice was “master of the roster” who alone has the power to decide on the allocation of cases, virtually setting at rest the controversy raised by four of its next senior-most judges.

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