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Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave Raises Concerns Over Case Listing in Open Letter to CJI

The senior counsel says that immediate action is needed as sensitive cases are being relisted by the SC Registry.
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Dushyant Dave. Image Courtesy: Twitter

New Delhi: Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave has penned an open letter to Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud, expressing anguish at certain happenings about the listing of cases by the Registry of the Supreme Court”. Dave’s letter highlighted that some of the matters being relisted are “sensitive matters” involving human rights, Freedom of Speech, Democracy, and the Functioning of Statutory and Constitutional Institutions, as reported by LiveLaw.

He claimed that numerous cases were moved from their original benches, despite the presence of the senior judge, and subsequently assigned to other benches, which, he said, contravenes the rules of the Supreme Court.

The open letter comes a day after Supreme Court judge S K Kaul expressed surprise when some lawyers, including Prashant Bhushan, alleged sudden deletion from court number two's cause list. The cases were related to the Centre's alleged delay in acting on the collegium's recommendations on elevation and transfer of high court judges, the PTI reported.

“I have personally encountered several cases initially scheduled before various Hon’ble Benches or cases in which notices have been issued, being transferred from those Hon’ble Benches and listed before alternative Hon’ble Benches. Despite the availability of the original bench, the matters are now being listed before alternative Hon’ble Benches where a second bench presides. Cases previously listed before Court No. 2, 4, 6, 7, and others have been reassigned to different Hon’ble Benches, blatantly flouting the Rules, the Handbook on Practice and Office Procedure as mentioned earlier, and established Practices and Conventions. Notably, the seniority of the original bench is being disregarded,” stated the letter.

As the Master of the Roster on the administrative front, Dave implored the CJI to investigate these occurrences promptly and take corrective actions.

Dave referred to the Supreme Court Rules of 2013 and the Handbook on Practice and Procedure of the Court and Office Procedure on the Judicial Side published by the Supreme Court of India in 2017 to emphasize the authority vested in the Master of the Roster to formulate rosters, constitute Benches, and allocate cases.

He wrote, “Our attention is also been drawn by esteemed Colleagues at the Bar, Seniors, and Advocates on Record (AoRs), about various cases in which they have appeared in the first instance on numerous occasions, later the matters being listed before different Benches.” He pointed out that this was in disregard of the Rules in the said Handbook. 

“On your appointment, strong hopes were created in the minds of Citizens that under your Leadership, the Supreme Court of India will rise to greater heights, the march towards which has somehow paused for some time earlier. The scars caused on account of such improprieties in the past few years on justice delivery have not healed as yet,” Dave added in the letter.

He also added that he wrote the letter following unsuccessful attempts to meet the CJI in person to address this grievance. Despite a Senior Advocate’s prior appointment months ago, arranged on behalf of many advocates, they have not been able to convene with the CJI to discuss this issue, the letter noted. Moreover, despite Advocates on Record (AoRs) sending emails to the Registrar concerning the matter, there has been no response, the letter added.

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