Justice Kalifulla-headed Ayodhya mediation panel is likely to submit report by August 15.
New Delhi: All eyes are set on Supreme Court, as it reopens after seven week long summer break, on the outcome of the plea seeking the review and recall of its December 14, 2018, verdict giving clean chit to the decision making process for the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets in ready-to-fly conditions.
Coupled with this is the contempt plea against Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his “Chowkidar” goof-up while misinterpreting top court’s April 10 order junking Centre’s plea claiming privilege over three documents relied upon by the petitioners — the former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, journalist-turned politician Arun Shourie and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan — to allege corruption.
The verdict, both on the plea seeking the review and recall of December 14, 2018 Rafale judgment and the contempt plea against Gandhi was reserved on May 10, 2019.
While rejecting the Center claim of privilege over three documents and the maintainability of the review petition, the top court by its April 10 order had said, “ ...we hold and affirm that the review petitions will have to be adjudicated on their own merit by taking into account the relevance of the contents of the three documents, admissibility of which, in the judicial decision making process, has been sought to be questioned by the respondents (the Centre) in the review petitions.”
Rahul Gandhi had already given an unqualified apology for the goof-up.
The issue appears to have got diluted after the trouncing of the Congress at recently concluded Lok Sabha election where BJP has emerged in an assailable position.
Besides Rafale and Rahul, another important judgment that is awaited is on the plea seeking to put under sun-light the decision making process leading to the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary including disclosure of correspondence exchanged between the Chief Justice of India and the Union law ministry in the course of the appointment of judges.
Another important judgment that was reserved on May 1, 2019, was on the Centre’s plea seeking the review of its March 20, 2018, verdict diluting stringent provisions of immediate arrest and no anticipatory bail for the accused on a complaint under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The top court by the judgment, which was sought to be reviewed, had said that police will hold an inquiry to ascertain the veracity of the complaint filed under the Act before acting on it.
Besides the judgment that are expected to be pronounced in the days to come after the reopening of the court, the other important issues that will be deliberated by the top court includes Ayodhya title matter and challenge to constitutional validity of 10% reservation for economically weaker sections of society.
The three member panel headed by former top court judge Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla is likely to submit its report by August 15.
The panel also comprising Art of Living founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and senior advocate Shriram Panchu as its members was set-up on March 8 to undertake mediation to find an amicable solution of the emotive dispute. It was given extension till August 15 on May 10, 2019.
On 10% reservation for EWS, the petitioners challenging it are seeking the matter to be referred to a larger constitution bench as they have contended that it was in teeth of earlier judgments pronounced by the top court in 1992 and 2006.
It has been contended that the amendment to constitution providing for EWS quota violated the “basic structure” of the Constitution as in 1992 top court judgment it was held that economic criteria cannot be the sole basis of reservations under the Constitution.
It had also been contended that the amendment breaches the 50 per cent cap set by the 1992 judgment by a nine-judge Constitution Bench and later by 2006 judgment also known as Nagaraj judgment.
The top court is also seized of the challenge to the citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. that seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.