Supreme Court resumes work after summer break: Ayodhya, Aadhaar, Delhi power tussle among matters listed for hearing
In the coming days, the Supreme Court is expected to deliver judgments in crucial cases including Aadhaar's constitutional validity, the power struggle in Delhi, and the review petition filed by death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi rape case.
After a 44-day summer break, the Supreme Court will resume work on Monday to a lengthy list of matters, and is expected to deliver judgments in the coming days in crucial cases including Aadhaar's constitutional validity, the power struggle in Delhi.
The top court will resume hearing appeals against an eight-year-old verdict of the Allahabad High Court on the Ayodhya dispute and those challenging the practice of polygamy among Muslims.
A verdict is likely on Monday on a plea challenging the appointment of incumbent Chief Vigilance Commissioner KV Chaudhary and Vigilance Commissioner TM Bhasin.
Matters pertaining to air pollution in Delhi-NCR, Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC), Vaishno Devi rehabilitation of mule owners, and Manipur encounter killings, among others, are likely to come up for hearing.
A verdict is also expected soon on the review petition filed by death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi rape case soon. In May. the Supreme Court had reserved its verdict on the plea of two condemned convicts — Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta — seeking a review of the 2017 verdict by which they, along with two others, were awarded death penalty.
Assam NRC case
Crucial issues relating to the publication of final draft of the NRC would come up before the Supreme Court on Monday.
A bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Fali Nariman, supervising the process related to the work, had earlier ordered that publication of the final draft of the NRC should be completed by 30 June and refused to extend the deadline any further.
However, NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela said on 28 June that the final draft would not be released as scheduled due to the heavy floods in the state. A plea has also been filed in the apex court seeking more time to prepare the final draft.
The current wave of floods in the state has affected more than five lakh people in seven districts. As many as 25 people have also lost their lives in the floods so far.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had also recently said that the names of all "genuine Indians" would be incorporated in the list of the state's citizens.
The NRC is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam. The first draft NRC for Assam was published in December end as per the top court's direction to have the first draft by 31 December, 2017.
The first draft of the NRC, a list of the state's citizens, was published on the intervening night of 31 December and 1 January where names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated.
Case on constitutional validity of Aadhaar
On 10 May, after a marathon hearing that spanned four months, the apex court had reserved its verdict on the batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar on the ground that it violated citizens’ right to privacy.
After taking up the petitions for hearing on in December, the five judge Constitution Bench was confronted with the petitioners' opposition to the government’s decision to force citizens to link their bank accounts and mobile phones with Aadhaar. On 13 March, the bench extended the interim order till the disposal of the case.
Supremacy in administering Delhi
Another judgment that the Supreme Court is expected to deliver in July relates to the interpretation of Article 239AA of the Constitution and the tussle between the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi over the administration of the national capital.
The Delhi High Court had in 2016 upheld the upheld Lieutenant Governor's administrative powers in governing Delhi. The AAP government challenged this decision in the Supreme Court, where a five-judge Constitution Bench reserved its judgment in the case on 6 December, 2017.
The Delhi government came to a standstill in June when Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and others in the cabinet performed a sit-in protest in the office of Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal over an alleged strike by civil servants. The apex court's verdict, which is expected soon, could settle the debate on power.
On 6 July, a three-member bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra will resume hearing the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi title dispute case.
The Allahabad High Court had, in its 2010 order, favoured a three-way division of the disputed land in Ayodhya. However, it was challenged in the Supreme Court.
A three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had in 2010 ordered that the land be partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
In April, the bench declined a plea by the Sunni Waqf Board to immediately refer the case to a larger bench. The court said that it will first hear arguments on behalf of all the litigants in the matter, including the Sunni Waqf Board and the Uttar Pradesh state government, and then come to a decision on whether to refer the case to a larger bench. Once this decision is taken, the proceedings are expected to move quickly.
On 25 June, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had indicated it may restart its movement for Ram Temple in Ayodhya. "We hope that Supreme Court would hear daily this case from July. We want temple at that site... Our Muslim brothers can build mosque outside of that area," VHP working president Alok Kumar had said while addressing the media.
He also said they want temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya "lawfully" but if the issue "hangs in the court for more than three months then we will consult saints for the future course of action."
With inputs from PTI
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