NEW DELHI: In a letter addressed to Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, senior advocate Dushyant Dave expressed deep concern about certain events related to the listing of cases and their subsequent reallocation to different benches within the Supreme Court. The letter, written by Dave, who is a former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), urged the Chief Justice to take immediate corrective measures.
The context of Dave's letter comes after Supreme Court Judge Sanjay Kishan Kaul expressed surprise over the alleged abrupt removal of matters concerning delays by the Centre in approving the collegium's recommendations on the elevation and transfer of High Court judges. Dave highlighted that he was writing the open letter as attempts by some lawyers to meet the Chief Justice had been unsuccessful.
In the letter, Dave expressed anguish over the situation, stating that such incidents do not bode well for the highly respected institution. He urged the Chief Justice to investigate the matter promptly and implement corrective measures. Dave emphasised the sensitivity of some cases involving human rights, freedom of speech, democracy, and the functioning of statutory and constitutional institutions.
Referring to constitutional schemes and rules governing case listings, as well as the administrative power of the Chief Justice as the master of the roster, Dave pointed out instances where cases were shifted from one bench to another, disregarding established rules and practices. He highlighted that matters listed before specific benches were moved to others, even when the first coram was available, and the seniority of the first coram was being ignored.
“Matters listed before Court No 2, 4, 6, 7 amongst others have been shifted out and listed before other Benches in clear disregard of the rules, the handbook on practice and office procedure referred above and established practice and convention. Curiously, the seniority of the first coram is also being ignored in doing so...,” he said in his letter.
Dave concluded the letter by expressing disappointment over the impact of such improprieties on the justice delivery system in recent years and expressed hope that under Chief Justice Chandrachud's leadership, the Supreme Court would rise to greater heights.