Ayodhya, Rafale, Article-370: SC to hear important cases next week
The Supreme Court will reopen on Monday, July 1, after its annual six-week-long summer vacation and the first week will be jam-packed with important cases. Politically-sensitive Ayodhya case, the controversial Rafale matter, and contempt plea against Congress President Rahul Gandhi will come up for hearing in the next few days. A PIL related to Article 370 will also be dealt with. Here's more.
From now on, senior-most judges will hear PILs
Notably, a new roster highlighted that CJI Gogoi and four senior-most judges, Justices SA Bobde, NV Ramana, Arun Mishra, and RF Nariman, will hear PILs, from now on. Matters related to elections will be heard by either CJI Gogoi or Justice Bobde. Meanwhile, CJI Gogoi and Justices Arun Mishra and UU Lalit will hear contempt of court matters.
The sensitive Ayodhya case will come up for hearing
Undoubtedly, all eyes will be set on the in-camera proceedings, undertaken by the SC-constituted mediation panel in the Ayodhya case. Earlier this year, the top court formed a three-member team with an intention to find an amicable solution to the decade-long dispute. Former SC judge FMI Kallifulla heads the panel, which also includes spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and lawyer Sriram Panchu.
Since 2010, SC has been sitting on Ayodhya-related pleas
To note, the Ayodhya case has been lying in the top court for almost a decade. In 2010, the Allahabad High Court divided the disputed land equally among three parties- deity Ram Lalla, Sunni Waqf Board (which handles Babri Masjid), and Nirmohi Akhada. In total, 14 appeals have been filed in the top court against the lower court's order, but a closure remains elusive.
Will SC agree to review its verdict on Rafale procurement?
The Rafale issue is another high-end case which will come up for hearing in the top court. Several petitioners, including former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, have demanded the top court to review its December 14, 2018 judgment. In the verdict, SC said it was satisfied with the process followed to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets from France, but many contended it.
Elections have ended, but Rahul's problems haven't
Separately, a contempt plea filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi against Rahul is also on the top court's schedule. While slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi during electioneering, Rahul said even the top court admitted that "chowkidaar chor hai". Lekhi dragged Rahul to court for falsely attributing the remark. The top court said it never made the comments. Subsequently, Rahul tendered unconditional apology and sought closure.
BJP leader's PIL against Article 370 will come up too
Apart from the aforementioned cases, SC will also hear a PIL filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay challenging the constitutional validity of Article 370. Article 370 grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir and prohibits people from other parts of the country from purchasing property there. A bunch of petitions pertaining to Article 35A could also be dealt with.