Contradictory SC verdict on right of CJI to constitute benches

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It refers to the Supreme Court verdict by a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India wherein while admitting Chief Justice being first amongst equals on one hand, exclusive right to Chief Justice is given to form benches on the other hand. Evidently by giving such a special right to Chief Justice without any fixed norms, Chief Justice gets some privileged right over his fellow judges thus negating the aspect of Chief Justice being first amongst the equals. Moreover, it is against principle of natural justice that a bench headed by Chief Justice may decide about some aspect involving office of the Chief Justice.

Seniority of judges is a well-established criterion in justice-delivery-system, and should not be ignored in practice. If such would not have been a reality, then collegiums deciding appointments in higher judiciary could not compulsorily have senior-most judges as its members. But no argument holds well practically because the Supreme Court is final even though it may be wrong.

Subhash Chandra Agrawal

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)