Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Thursday introduced a subject-wise roster system to hear cases in the Supreme Court from February 5. The roster shows what type of cases will be listed before benches headed by the twelve most senior judges of the top court.
The bench headed by the chief justice will hear all Public Interest Litigations and letter petitions. Misra will also hear cases related to elections, social justice, criminal matters, appointment of constitutional functionaries, commissions of enquiry and contempt of court matters, Bar and Bench reported.
The roster will apply to new cases, not existing ones. Justice J Chelameswar, who ranks second in the court after Misra, will hear cases pertaining to labour, indirect taxes, criminal matters, and consumer protection, Live Law reported.
Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who will succeed Misra as the chief justice in October, will deal with labour matters, indirect taxes, company matters, banking and mortgage, liquor and personal law matters.
Justice Madan Lokur will handle cases related to land acquisition, service matters, ecology and environment, social justice, ordinary civil law and personal law, mines and minerals, consumer protection laws and matters related to security forces.
Justice Kurian Joseph will hear labour and rent matters, criminal and ordinary civil cases, family law cases, contempt of court cases, matters related to religious and charitable endowments and service matters.
Misra’s move to introduce a subject-wise roster comes after Chelameswar, Gogoi, Lokur and Joseph held a press conference on January 12 and said that the chief justice had not addressed their concerns. One of the major issues the judges raised was that the chief justice had assigned important cases to benches arbitrarily.
In a letter to the chief justice, the judges acknowledged that he was the master of the roster, but that this was “not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the chief justice over his colleagues”.