A vacation bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed its anguish at the Registry not listing a matter despite a direction given to that effect.
When Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned a matter for urgent listing tomorrow, the bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala asked him to approach the Registrar, saying that the vacation bench does not have the power to order urgent listing of cases.
"Your lordships' discretion cannot be circumscribed by the Registry", Singhvi submitted.
Justice Surya Kant said that the procedure during vacation for seeking urgent listing is to mention before the Registry. The judge said that yesterday an exception was made by the bench by directing the listing of a matter today, and despite that, the Registry did not list the case.
"We made an exception yesterday, passed an order to list a matter. But the Registry did not list the matter. We don't want to say more", Justice Surya Kant said. It appears that the reference is made to the direction passed by the bench yesterday for listing a special leave petition filed by the Central Government against a direction of the Tripura High Court in a case challenging the security cover given to Mukesh Ambani. Though the bench had directed the listing of the Centre's petition today after a mentioning made by the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, the case is not listed today.
As regards Singhvi's case, the bench asked him to go before the vacation officer.
This is not the first time a vacation bench is expressing helplessness in granting urgent listing of matters. On May 31, a bench led by Justice BR Gavai said that the Chief Justice of India is the master of roster and hence a vacation bench can't direct listing of cases.
"We never faced this difficulty in High Courts. In High Courts, a vacation judge has to be judge for all purposes even for administrative purposes, Here, we are controlled by Registry...unless the matter is allotted to us we can't, it's the Chief's prerogative. We can't assume jurisdiction of Chief Justice and take up the matter to ourselves", Justice Gavai had said.
In another case, Justice Gavai told in a lighter vein that a lawyer may have to use more persuasive skills before the Registry to get urgent listing of a case.
Justice CT Ravikumar, who was heading the vacation bench last week, said in many cases that urgent listing can be granted only after placing the matter before the Chief Justice of India.