New Roster System of Supreme Court of India

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Chief Justice of India has now introduced new roster system in the Supreme Court. This new roster will come into effect from 2 July, 2018. The roster will apply to new cases.

Two months after introducing a subject-wise roster system to hear cases in the Supreme Court, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra recently made several changes in it.

As per the new roster, the bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra will continue to hear all matters relating to public interest litigations (PIL), social justice issues, elections, habeas corpus and contempt of court.

Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who now becomes the second most senior judge of the Supreme Court, will deal with cases relating to labour laws, indirect taxation and personal laws among other matters.

Justice Chelameswar was adjudicating cases on labour, taxation, land disputes, eviction cases and consumer protection cases, general cases involving financial transactions, and water laws.

Justice Madan Lokur has been allocated matters relating to service, social justice, personal laws, land acquisition, mines and minerals, consumer protection and armed and para-military forces. He will also hear matters dealing with ecological imbalance, protection and conservation of forests, protection of wildlife, felling of trees and groundwater levels.

Justice Kurian Joseph has been assigned cases of labour laws, rent Act, family laws, contempt of court and personal law. He will also hear matters on religious and charitable endowments, besides all land laws and agriculture tenancies.

The latest member of the Supreme Court Collegium, Justice A K Sikri will look into cases of direct and indirect taxes, election and criminal matters, personal law, contempt of court, ordinary civil cases and appointment of law officers.

Simple money and mortgage matters have been taken away from Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice A.K. Sikri, and have been handed over to Justice Kurian Joseph.

Justice Gogoi has instead been allotted Ordinary Civil matters.

Justice Sikri has also been handed over Indirect Tax Matters; matters pertaining to judicial officers; and matters pertaining to employees of Supreme Court/ High Courts/ District Courts and Tribunals and individual judicial officers etc. He has however been relieved of hearing matters relating to armed and parliamentary forces, as well as eviction matters under the Public Premises (Eviction) Act.

The roster change was effected in view of Justice J. Chelameswar’s retirement on 22 June, after a nearly seven year long stint at the Supreme Court. With his retirement, the dynamics of the Apex Court collegium are also set to change as Justice A.K. Sikri would become a part of the collegium, which also includes Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, and Justices Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph.

The master of the roster controversy in news:

The four senior-most Judges of the Supreme Court- Justice Chelameswar, Justice Gogoi, Justice Lokur and Justice Joseph- had held the press conference asserting that the administration of the Apex Court is not in order. The primary concern raised in the letter pertained to assignment of matters.

It claimed that there are numerous such instances of “abuse of the power of the master of roster” and went on to list down such instances.

The Roster of Supreme Court judges came into public domain from February this year in the wake of this press conference.