After a long one-and-a-half month summer recess, the Supreme Court will assemble back on Monday. For the first time in a decade, the top court will be functioning full strength with all 31 judges including the Chief Justice.
Reportedly, nearly 1,100 cases are pending before the Supreme Court. These include a batch of petitions against the law to provide 10 per cent reservation to the economically weaker section. Petitions concerning with the Ayodhya land dispute and a bunch of other petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A and Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which grant special status to Jammu and Kashmir are among sensitive cases to be heard after the Supreme Court re-opens after a six-week vacation on July 1.
The Supreme Court will also hear the sexual harassment charges hearing against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. Even though the internal committee constituted to probe the allegations, comprising Justices Bobde, Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra had given a clean chit to the CJI, the Supreme Court had constituted a panel with former SC judge Justice AK Patnaik to look into the conspiracy plot behind the allegations against the CJI. Before the summer break, Justice AK Patnaik had sought time to probe the matter and is likely to take up the investigation as the top court assembles again.
The top court is also likely to deliver its verdict in the review pleas in Rafale case. The petitions have sought review of the apex court’s judgment dismissing all pleas challenging procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France. Ex-Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, and lawyer Prashant Bhushan are amongst the petitioners.
A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice Gogoi will decide on the contempt petition filed BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi against Rahul Gandhi. The contempt petition is for wrongly attributing to the top court his “chowkidar chor hai” jibe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Last week, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi had written three letters to Prime Minister Modi with solutions to tackle to vast pendency of cases. The CJI had made 3 specific requests to the Prime Minister – increase the number of Judges in the Supreme Court which currently stands at 31, increase the retirement age of Judges from 62 to 65 and revive the tradition of tenure appointments of retired SC and HC Judges so they can be assigned pending cases.
Currently, the Supreme Court currently has 58,669 cases pending. Out of which, there are 26 cases which are pending for more than 25 years, 100 cases pending for 20 years, 593 cases pending for 15 years and 4977 cases pending for 10 years.