New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to interfere in a petition filed by former law minister Shanti Bhushan, saying that the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is Master of Roster and has the prerogative and authority to allocate cases to different benches of the apex court.
A bench comprising justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan in their separate concurring verdicts said the CJI occupies the role of "first among equals and is empowered to exercise leadership in the administration of court" which includes assignment of cases.
In his verdict, Justice Sikri said, "As far as the role of CJI as master of the roster is concerned, there is no dispute." He added that CJI is the spokesperson and leader of judiciary and erosion of judiciary in minds of people is the greatest threat to the judicial system.
Justice Ashok Bhushan also reiterated the expression and said there are rich conventions and practices of SC which are time-tested and should not be tinkered with.
However, the bench said that there is always scope for improvement in the functioning of the judiciary since no system is foolproof.
In his PIL, Bhushan had alleged that "master of roster" cannot be an "unguided and unbridled" discretionary power, exercised arbitrarily by the CJI by hand-picking benches of select judges or by assigning cases to particular judges.
(With inputs from agencies)...