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All Future Chief Justices of India Pitch In to Resolve Crisis in Top Judiciary

Since any decision on the system of case allocation will affect their tenures too, future Chief Justices of India have opted to be a part of the process.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:January 29, 2018, 4:06 PM IST
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All Future Chief Justices of India Pitch In to Resolve Crisis in Top Judiciary
File photo of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

New Delhi: The dissent by the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, followed by an unprecedented media briefing, has now impelled all future Chief Justices of India (CJIs) to put their heads together for an "institutional solution".

Sources have confirmed to CNN-News18 that not just the incumbent CJI, but all incoming Chief Justices of India are now part of the deliberation to resolve the crisis that erupted after the four judges spoke out publicly against the sitting CJI Dipak Misra.

In a press briefing on January 12, the dissenting judges had raised serious questions over the way important and politically sensitive cases were being assigned by the CJI to a few "select" benches.

The last four meetings between the CJI and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph have since seen most of the future CJIs participating in the process of resolution.

With the main plank of contention being the system of allocating cases wherein the CJI acts as the administrative head, these future CJIs — Justices SA Bobde, NV Ramana, Uday U Lalit and DY Chandrachud — are definitely going to be affected by any decision-making and thus have opted to be part of the process.

In the usual course of events, Justice Ranjan Gogoi will take over as the CJI in October this year, followed by Justice Bobde who will takes over the post in November 2019. Justice Ramana will succeed him as the CJI in April 2021, followed by Justice Lalit in August 2022. In November 2022, Justice Chandrachud comes at the helm after Justice Lalit's retirement.

If a new mechanism in the form of a roster is churned out as a result of this deliberation, future CJIs will also have to follow it and therefore, they become equally concerned with the outcome of the ongoing consideration.

Sources said that CJI Dipak Misra has so far maintained that his source of power to decide on placing a case before a bench is derived from the Constitution Bench ruling in November 2017, which declared him to be the "master of the roster".

However, Justice Misra has made attempts to placate the four judges and has met them thrice in the last 10 days.

He has also agreed to involve the future CJIs in the talks, but as far as the new system of allocating cases is concerned, there has been not much headway.

Despite four rounds of talks, the "institutional solution", as being pressed by the four judges, is still to be mapped out.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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