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From Master of the Roster to Master of all Judges?

  • Published
    30th May, 2023

Context: In the recent case of Ritu Chhabria v. Union of India, a Division Bench of the Supreme Court upheld the ability of an under trial to be freed on default bail in the event that the inquiry is still on-going and takes longer than is allowed by law. 

An extraordinary decision 

  • New directions: CJI entertained a recall application and directed courts to decide bail applications without relying on the decision laid down in Ritu Chhabria case. 
  • No scope of CJI review: The CJI could only intervene if another Coordinate Bench had taken up the same matter in a separate case, disagreed with Ritu Chhabria's position, and forwarded the case to the CJI for recommendation to a bigger Bench.
  • Devoid of Constitutional backing: By allowing an intra-court appeal to be heard by the Supreme Court as an extra means of challenging an order made by a Bench without the CJI.
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