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Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave Writes To CJI On 'Sensitive Cases' Being Shifted From One Bench To Other In Disregard Of Rules

Former Supreme Court Bar Association president and senior advocate Dushyant Dave penned a letter to Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, raising concerns over 'sensitive' cases listed before Supreme Court benches suddenly being 'taken away' and listed before other benches. 

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Former Supreme Court Bar Association president and senior advocate Dushyant Dave penned a letter to Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, raising concerns over 'sensitive' cases listed before Supreme Court benches suddenly being 'taken away' and listed before other benches. 

Cases, instead of remaining with the lead judge on a Bench, were listed before the associate judge when the latter starts heading a new Bench, which he said, is in clear violation of the Supreme Court Rules and the Handbook on Practice and Procedure of the Court which govern listing of cases. Most of these cases, Dave noted, were of matters pertaining to human rights, the functioning of constitutional institutions, democracy, freedom of speech etc.

In the open letter directly addressed to the CJI, Dave wrote, "I have personally come across a number of cases listed before various Hon’ble Benches upon first listing and/ or in which notice have been issued, being taken away from those Hon’ble Benches and listed before other Hon’ble Benches. Despite first coram being available the matters are being listed before Hon’ble Benches in which second coram presides."

He further specifically mentioned that matters listed before Court No. 2, 4, 6, 7 amongst others have been shifted out and listed before other Benches, which is in clear violation of the Supreme Court Rules. 

Curiously, the Seniority of the first coram is also being ignored in doing so, he said. "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," the letter stated.

While Dave refused to enumerate further on these matters as many of them are pending before the court, he urged the CJI to look into the matter and take corrective measures immediately, as "such a practice does not augur well for the institution."

The development comes a day after a petition challenging the Union government’s delay in appointing judges whose name had been cleared by the Collegium was not listed before Justice S.K. Kaul on Tuesday (December 5), even though it was earlier decided to be placed before him. Justice Kaul said neither had he deleted the matter from the cause list, nor was he unwilling to hear it. He had earlier heard the matter on November 20 and then posted it for December 5

“I had not deleted it or expressed unwillingness to take it up. I am sure the CJI is aware of it (the deletion). Some things are best left unsaid. We will see,” Justice Kaul said, according to Bar and Bench. 

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