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Aadhaar case, Ram Mandir, women in Sabarimala Temple: Key judgments ahead of Dipak Misra in his last week as CJI

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra is retiring from Supreme Court on 2 October. But since his last day (next Tuesday) falls on a national holiday, the apex court won't function on that day and thus, Misra has only six more days left to clear some landmark judgments. However, as per reports, there is no pronouncement lined up for the bench on Monday.

 Aadhaar case, Ram Mandir, women in Sabarimala Temple: Key judgments ahead of Dipak Misra in his last week as CJI

File image of CJI Dipak Misra. PTI

Aadhaar Case

Among the most awaited verdicts is, the Aadhaar case judgment. The constitutional validity of Aadhaar was questioned and challenged in court on the touchstone of it violating the Right to Privacy. The UIDAI chief also gave a presentation in the court maintaining that Aadhaar was unique due to its pan-India appeal and contended that there was no threat to citizen's privacy through it. The CJI-led bench, however, had observed that citizens must be given a choice of identities to access services. And therefore, the court will now rule on whether it was right of the government to have brought it as a money bill in Lok Sabha, which debarred Rajya Sabha from contesting its fate. The judgment will have a bearing on Speaker's powers to allow bills to be presented as money bills in the Lower House as, Opposition leaders in the Upper House had questioned this move earlier.

Ram Mandir Issue

Another key verdict ahead of Misra is the Ram Mandir issue. While the bench would not decide on the title suit, what is pending for orders is a legal question by Muslim appellants — on whether a mosque is essential for Islam or not. A 1994 Supreme Court judgment had said that Muslims can pray anywhere in the open and this was challenged. The argument is that Islam will collapse without its mosques to congregate and pray. The court on Monday transferred the case to be heard by a three-judge constitutional bench on Friday.

Women's entry in Sabarimala Temple

Misra will also deliver his verdict in the Sabarimala temple case in which, the prohibition on the entry of women — in the age group of 10 to 51 years — in the Sabarimala Temple, is under challenge. So far, going by the observations that the court had orally made during the hearing of the case, it appears that the centuries-old ban may indeed be lifted. The bench had orally observed that a ban on the entry of women inside the Sabarimala Temple is "steeped in patriarchy and chauvinism".

Reservation for SC/ST in promotions

Another important judgment will be on Centre's petition questioning the 2006 judgemnt laying down criteria of quantifiable date demonstrating the inadequacy of SC/ST representation in the higher echelons of administration, coupled with administrative efficiency for grant of reservation in promotion. This is a politically sensitive matter, which has been challenged by the Centre. The government had questioned the conditions for permitting reservation in promotion and had contended before the top court that being SC/ST is a "great stigma" that can't be erased by having the benefit of reservation for two or more generations.

Other cases

One more judgment that may have a deep political bearing would be, deciding that at what stage a person charged with criminal cases can be ousted from the electoral fray. Besides this, the court also will take up the challenge to Gujarat High Court's order on the 2017 election of Congress leader Ahmed Patel as a Rajya Sabha member. Patel had challenged the high court permitting trial on the election petition by defeated candidate Balwantsinh Rajput alleging corrupt practices in the polls.

The court will also hear a challenge to the practice of female genital mutilation among the Dawoodi Bohra community. The case was referred to a five-judge constitutional bench on Monday. Meanwhile, a constitution bench headed by the Chief Justice had reserved its verdict on a challenge to the provision of adultery, during CJI's last month of service where it was argued that the provision under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code treats a woman as a commodity owned by the husband. Thus, it was stated that the provision violates the constitutional concepts of sensitivity and gender equality. The court will now give out a verdict on the "discriminatory" adultery law that punishes the man alone for being in an extramarital relationship.

In the last week, the CJI-led bench had reserved its verdict in the Bhima Koregaon case, in which the arrests of five activists arrested for Maoist links was challenged. The court may decide on the plea for a SIT probe in the case.

All-in-all, these crucial judgments would have bearings on the right to privacy, politics and social morality in the country and thus, would be keenly watched, as Misra will look to end his tenure on a positive note, having delivered the landmark Section 377 verdict recently.

With inputs from IANS

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Updated Date: Sep 24, 2018 13:39:32 IST