All National Register of Citizens (NRC)-related matters will now be heard by the same Bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohington F Nariman.The Bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha today transferred the cases to the Bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohington F Nariman, which will take up further hearing of the cases of Original Inhabitant (OI), Panchayat Certificate and NRC on November 22.
Justifying his order the chief justice made clear that only he was authorized to decide the roster.
The judge was arrested in September and is lodged in Tihar Jail here after CBI accused him of guiding the private medical college and assuring its management of favourable settlement of their cases in the Supreme Court.
Taking exception to the manner the second petition was filed and entertained by the bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar, the bench of Justice Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan asked advocate Prashant Bhushan as to what was the urgency.
He said there are serious apprehensions and therefore this matter should be taken up at 12.45 PM today.
This has led to speculation on the differences between the Chief Justice and the second senior-most judge.
Justice Arun Mishra reacted: "Is that not a bad reflection on us that only five senior judges should hear the matter".
"But, at the same time, we are also duty bound to place the developments that when the hearing of the matter was in progress, the Officer of the Registry placed a xerox copy of the proceedings purportedly issued by Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India, a copy of which is annexed to this Order", Justice Chelameswar writes in the order.
In a good news for 21,000 judges of the lower courts, the Union Cabinet on Friday gave its nod to set up a commission to recommend hike in their salaries.
The happenings in the court on Thursday, too, were intriguing.
The college moved the Supreme Court against the government's order. The CBI said Rs 2 crores was recovered during the raids.
The court also issued notice to Centre and the CBI on the plea seeking setting up of SIT headed by ex-SC judge under its monitoring.
It may be recalled that on October 12, a Division Bench of Supreme Court, headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Navin Sinha, had rejected an intervention petition filed by the Assam Pradesh Congress party challenging the Gauhati High Court order rejecting the validity of the Panchayat certificate issued as proof of citizenship for the goal of the updating of NRC.
It also said that unless the position about the CJI's powers "is clearly stated, there will be utter confusion" and affect the court's smooth functioning.
Both the petitioners also doubt the intentions of the CBI. Justice Chalameswar's order stating that the Constitution bench to deal with the cases should comprise of five senior-most judges was seen as a direction trespassing the authority of the Chief Justice, which was indirectly nullified.
On Friday, the CJAR petition was heard by a bench headed by Justice AK Sikri, who referred it to the Chief Justice for listing and to resolve the issue of a similar petition already having been referred to a Constitution Bench by Justice Chelameswar.
Expressing its displeasure, the court on Friday allowed the Supreme Court Bar Association to implead itself in the matter before the five-judge bench.
Justice Arun Mishra referred to Bhushan's argument that the CJI should recuse from hearing the case and said, "Mr Bhushan, your comment was not appropriate".