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Only Chief Justice is empowered in constitution of benches: HC

Chennai: The Madras High Court today dismissed a PIL seeking a direction to the Registrar General of the Court to constitute a special bench for deciding habeas corpus petitions challenging detention of persons under the
PTI August 12, 2014 23:56 IST
PTI
Chennai: The Madras High Court today dismissed a PIL seeking a direction to the Registrar General of the Court to constitute a special bench for deciding habeas corpus petitions challenging detention of persons under the Goonda's Act.

In his PIL, Prisoners Rights Forum Director P Pugalenti, an advocate, submitted that pendency of habeas corpus petitions increased day by day and the court found it difficult to dispose off all the petitions challenging preventive detention of hundreds of people in time.

There is need for a special bench to decide on the cases, he contended.

He submitted that constitution of a special bench for disposing of such habeas corpus petitions is “a must” considering the fact that a large number of prisoners have already completed more than 8 months out of 12 months of total period of detention.

A regular bench would not be in a position to dispose off these cases, he contended.

Dismissing the petition, a division bench, comprising Justice V Dhanapalan and G Chokkalingam, said “the historical background and the power derived by the Chief Justice as the administrative head of the court, the power to constitute the benches and regulate the sitting arrangements is the absolute prerogative of the Chief Justice.”

“The Honourable Chief Justice has inherent power to allocate the judicial business, including who of the Judges should sit alone and who should constitute the bench of two or more Judges.”

“No person can claim as a matter of right that petitions be heard by a particular bench and a particular judge”, the court said.