CJI brings out new roster, makes categories of matters bench specific

New Delhi, Feb 2: In a departure from past practice where any matter could be allocated to any bench, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Thursday issued a new roster indicating the nature of cases that would be listed before 12 benches - a move being seen as addressing the grievance of the four rebel judges. The new roster will come into force from February 5. While PILs would be listed only before the bench headed by Chief Justice Misra, there is an overlapping of work assigned to different benches - as social justice matters would be listed both before the bench of CJI and that headed by Justice Madan B. Lokur. Besides matters relating to social justice, Justice Lokur's bench will hear matters involving environment protection and conservation, mines, minerals and mining leases. Similarly, matters relating to religious and charitable endowments will be listed before six different benches. If bench headed by Justice Lokur is essentially seen as social justice bench, the bench headed by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman is being viewed as one largely dealing with corporate matters rooted in company law, mercantile law and commercial transactions. Besides the letter petitions and the PILs, the Chief Justice's bench will hear matters relating to habeas corpus, elections, arbitrations, criminal and all ordinary civil matters, contempt of court, appointment of constitutional functionaries and law officers, and the commission of enquiry. Similarly, Justice J. Chelameswar, the second senior most judge after CJI, will hear petitions relating to 14 category of cases. On January 12, the four rebel judges -- Justices Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Lokur and Kurian Joseph - had in an unprecedented press conference alleged arbitrary allocation of work by the CJI and demanded transparency. There are at present 12 benches headed by Chief Justice Misra, Justice Chelameswar, Justice Gogoi, Justice Lokur, Justice Joseph, Justice A.K.Sikri, Justice S.A.Bobde, Justice R.K.Agrawal, Justice N.V.Ramana, Justice Arun Mishra, Justice A.K.Goel and Justice Nariman. The bench headed by Justice Sikri will exclusively hear appeals against the orders of statutory bodies. The matters relating to employees in top court, High Courts and the subordinate courts, armed forces and paramilitary forces, personnel law, civil and criminal matters, land acquisition and requisition matters, land laws and agricultural tenancies, and matter relating to educational institutions have been entrusted to various benches.  

IANS