Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi who is all set to retire on November 17 is expected to deliver at least five judgements in less than 10 working days before he retires.
Reportedly, the cases being heard by the CJI touch diverse topics such as defence, religion and politics. Here are the details of the major cases being heard by the bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case:
The five-judge Supreme Court Constitution bench, led by CJI Gogoi, is expected to deliver its verdict on petitions filed by various Hindu and Muslim parties seeking ownership of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.
The five-judge Constitution Bench headed by the CJI also comprises of Justices S A Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer, who are hearing appeals against the September 30, 2010, verdict of the Allahabad High Court.
The Supreme Court is hearing a total of fourteen appeals filed against the 2010 judgment of Allahabad High Court which ordered that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among three parties – the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla Virajman.
On October 16, the apex court concluded hearing all arguments in the case and reserved its judgement in the matter. The marathon hearing concluded after forty days, making the Ayodhya hearing as the second-longest in the history of the Supreme court after the landmark hearing in Keshavananda Bharati case which had lasted for 68 days.
It is being speculated that the Supreme Court will deliver the judgement on or before November 17, the day CJI Ranjan Gogoi retires.
The five-judge bench of Supreme court, comprising of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwikar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra are hearing 65 petitions that urge a review of the previous verdict.
The review Bench led by CJI Gogoi is expected to deliver its judgement on the previous controversial September 2018 order, lifting the ban on entry of women in the menstruating age of 10 to 50 years, from entering the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala.
In September 2018, the apex court had struck down the Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965, which restricted the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 into the Sabarimala Temple.
The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the review petition was necessitated after the Communist Kerala government with the help of state police force had turned the area near Sabarimala into a war zone under the garb of implementing the controversial Supreme Court judgement.
The Supreme Court led by CJI Gogoi has also reserved its verdict on a joint review plea filed by senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, former Union Ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha in the Rafale fighter aircraft deal.
Controversial left-wing advocate Prashant Bhushan, former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, and Arun Shourie had urged the Supreme Court on May 10, stating that its earlier judgement in the Rafale deal issue should be recalled and reviewed since it was obtained by the government through “multiple falsehoods and suppression of material” and relevant information.
In 2018, the Supreme Court had given a clean chit to the Rafale deal and found no impropriety in the deal whatsoever.
SC hearing on Rahul Gandhi’s “Chowkidar Chor Hai” comment:
The Supreme Court bench led by the Chief Justice has also reserved judgement on the criminal contempt plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Meenakshi Lekhi against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Gandhi, who was then the Congress president, had unconditionally apologised for wrongfully attributing the phrase ‘chowkidar chor hai’ to the Supreme Court. He had made the remark while speaking to reporters in April after SC’s verdict allowing the maintainability of the Rafale review pleas.
Rahul’s unconditional apology comes after much embarrassment to his image and his party as he was made to admit he had said it at ‘the heat of campaigning’.
Supreme Court on the Money Bill:
The Supreme Court Bench of CJI Gogoi has also reserved its judgement on pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Finance Act, 2017 on the ground that it was passed by Parliament as a Money Bill.
The Centre has justified that certification of Finance Bill, 2017 as a money bill saying it has provisions which deal with salaries and allowance to be paid to members of tribunals from the consolidated funds of India. The Centre contended that certification of Finance Act as a money bill was done by the speaker of Lok Sabha and the court cannot judicially review the decision.