‘Easy to fling allegations, letters’: CJI Chandrachud on row over listing of cases

NEW DELHI: It was a medical exigency and not a conspiracy as alleged. Breaking his silence on recent allegations by some advocates on irregularities in listing of some “sensitive” cases in the SC, CJI D Y Chandrachud Thursday explained why a petition filed by AAP’s Satyendar Jainwas listed before a bench headed by Justice Bela Trivedi and not before Justice A S Bopanna which was earlier hearing it.It was simply because Bopanna later fell ill.
He said this clarification was needed as lots of letters were being “flung around” on why some cases were being shifted from one bench to another, in what was seen by many as a reference to the letters shot off by senior advocate Dushyant Dave and advocate Prashant Bhushan alleging irregularities in the listing of cases. “It is very easy to fling allegations and letters,” the CJI said.
Rubbishing the allegation of any irregularity and violation of norms, the CJI said that the matter got listed before Justice Trivedi as Justice Bopanna was not holding court after Diwali vacation due to medical reasons. “There is a communication from the office of Justice Bopanna. Due to medical reasons, he didn’t resume duties after Diwali. He wrote to registry that all matters which were heard by him should be de-part heard and all the matter were de-part heard on his instruction. I cannot compel the learned judge to hear the case,” he said.

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The CJI cleared the air, refuting suggestions of a “design” while hearing a plea for extension of the bail petition of former Delhi minister Satyendar Jain, on medical grounds. With Jain’s petition listed for hearing on Wednesday before Trivedi, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned before CJI in the morning that the case should be listed before Justice Bopanna’s bench. The CJI, however, refused to interfere, saying the matter is listed and it is for the presiding judge to decide.
When the bench headed by the CJI reassembled after lunch break, Chandrachud told Singhvi that he went through the case details and explained why it was listed before Trivedi. The CJI said it had been listed and heard by a bench of Bopanna and Trivedi on multiple occasions when the interim relief given to the petitioner was extended and currently the matter needed to be heard as application for extension of interim bail was filed and the case got listed before Trivedi as she was part of the earlier bench.
The CJI seemed to be referring to letters written by senior advocate and former Supreme Court Bar Association president Dushyant Dave and advocate Prashant Bhushan who alleged irregularity in listing of cases in the apex court.
Dave’s letter was strongly opposed by SCBA president Adish C Aggarwala and Bar Council of India chairman Manan Kumar Mishra who expressed full faith in CJI and termed the allegations as baseless and misconceived.

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