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'Extremely surprising for Bar member to want particular judge to hear': CJI DY Chandrachud

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      15 December, 2023 02:57 PM      0 Comments

NEW DELHI: The Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud on Thursday expressed concern on the recent trend of members of the Bar ‘choosing’ judges who should or should not hear their cases. The CJI said in this regard, "…it is extremely surprising that any Bar member should be saying I want a particular judge to hear my matter and that this particular judge shouldn’t hear my matter”.

He sought to answer the critics who had questioned the Supreme Court's Registry for shifting of certain cases, saying it is easy to fling letters and make allegations but it is infact extremely surprising for a Bar member to say his matter should not be heard by a particular judge.

The development came days after letters were written to the CJI by former Supreme Court Bar Association President Dushyant Dave and Adv. Prashant Bhushan questioning shifting of sensitive cases to a particular bench.

Hearing a case, the CJI on Thursday told Sr. Adv. A M Singhvi, appearing for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Satyendar Jain, that his client’s case was listed before Justice Bela M Trivedi because Justice A S Bopanna who was previously hearing the matter wrote to the Registry that he will not be able to hear the case due to medical reasons.

The CJI said on September 25, 2023, Justices Bopanna and Trivedi then ordered to list the matter on November 24 after the Diwali break.

On November 24, the matter came up before a bench of Justices Trivedi and Satish Chandra Sharma. Singhvi said it was adjourned twice after that.

The CJI said in this regard, “I tell you one thing because a lot of letters are flung around at the registry saying why the matter was pulled out. I tell you the reason for it. It is very easy to fling letters and allegations…there was a communication from the office of Justice A S Bopanna, I do not want to disclose the reasons why he is not on duty that will infringe on his privacy but I can only say for medical reasons my lord didn’t resume duty after Diwali vacation. There is a communication from his residential office to the registry…..therefore, this matter was assigned on November 21, 2023 to Justice Trivedi who was part of the bench. There are medical reasons for the learned judge not to be on duty.” 

Since Justice Bopanna said that all matters which were heard by him should be kept as de-part heard, therefore this matter was assigned to Justice Trivedi who had last heard the matter, he said.

“She (Justice Trivedi) will take a call as I told you it is none of my business what the judge does on the judicial side. The learned judge will take a call on what is to be done about the matter. The reason why the judge has to hear the matter is because there is an application for extension of interim bail. He has been granted interim bail for a certain period that bail sought to be extended…otherwise your client will have to surrender, if the judge doesn’t hear,” the CJI told Singhvi.

Singhvi said he had to point out the same as nobody knew the position regarding the concerned bench and he had argued the matter for two hours before a bench presided over by Justice Bopanna.

Making an interjection, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the only way to deal with such malicious letters is by ignoring them and not dignifying them.

Meanwhile, a bench of Justices Trivedi and Sharma ordered that the interim medical bail granted earlier this year to AAP leader and former Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain be extended till January 8, 2024.

The Supreme Court had first granted Jain medical bail on May 26 this year and the relief has since been extended till date. 



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