CJI Forms Constitution Bench to Hear 8 Crucial Cases, Keeps Revolting Judges Out

News18.com
According to official information, the bench would be headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan are the others on the bench. They will commence the hearing on eight crucial matters from January 17.

New Delhi: Days after the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court went public with their grievances over the allocation of cases, there was no change composition of the five-judge Constitution Bench that will hear several major cases, including the validity of the Aadhaar act and Section 377.

None of the four - Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph - featured in the list.

According to official information, the bench would be headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan are the others on the bench. They will commence the hearing on eight crucial matters from January 17.

The same combination of judges had last year heard various constitution bench matters from October 10, including the power tussle between the Centre and the Delhi government over administrative jurisdiction and a matter relating to passive euthanasia.

As per the list of business, the 5-judge bench will hear major cases such as those challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act and its 2013 judgement re-criminalising gay sex between consenting adults.

This bench would also hear the contentious issue of the ban on the entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age in Kerala's Sabarimala temple and resume hearing a legal query on whether a Parsi woman would lose her religious identity if she marries a man from a different religion.

Another contentious matter relates to the challenge to the validity of a penal law on adultery, which only punishes a married man for having an extra-marital sexual relationship with a woman married to someone else.

The other issues to be dealt with by constitution bench include the pleas, which have raised a question as to when will a lawmaker, facing criminal trial, stand disqualified. All these matters were earlier referred to larger benches for adjudication by different benches of the apex court.

The daily list of business for Tuesday shows that the two PILs seeking probe into Loya's death are listed before a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, against whom aspersions were cast by a senior advocate in public.

Meanwhile, court sources said it was not confirmed whether the CJI met the four judges who had hurled accusations against him at their controversial press conference on January 12.

In their unprecedented press conference on Friday, the four senior judges of the apex court had mounted a revolt against the CJI, listing a litany of problems. They had also raised questions over listing of PILs concerning Loya's death.

One of the concerns raised by the judges was the allocation of cases. While acknowledging that the CJI is the master of the roster, they said that “there have been instances where case having far-reaching consequences for the nation and the institution had been assigned by the Chief Justice of this Court selectively to the benches of their preference.”

The judges found support from some former SC judges, who wrote an open letter to the CJI on the need for greater transparency. The Supreme Court Bar Association had also passed a resolution, urging that all public interest litigation (PIL) matters, including the pending PILs, should be either taken up by the CJI or be assigned for adjudication to four senior judges who are part of the apex court collegium.