After delivering numerous important verdicts in 2014 — including cancelling the “fatally flawed” coal block allocations — the Supreme Court will be dealing with many high-profile cases this new year as well.
On the very first day of the year, newspapers reported that the collegium system of appointing judges has been replaced by the national judicial appointments commission (NJAC). However, the new law is likely to be challenged before the top court which will have to decide on its validity.
The SC is also likely to take a final call on the controversial Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, which empowers police to make arrests over social media posts. It had pointed that the law lacked guidelines on when such power can be exercised.
The SC has also been closely scrutinizing the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting row and had kept the BCCI president-in-exile N Srinivasan away from the pursuant probe on the issue. It had hinted at forming a panel to cleanse cricket including the controversial BCCI amendment 6.2.4 that had enabled an administrator like Srinivasan to own an IPL team.
The fate of Sahara’s Subrata Roy, who has been in jail since March last year, still hangs over the his honouring an undertaking to repay nearly Rs 20,000 crores to investors of the banned Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures (OFCD) scheme. It is unlikely that the SC will let Roy go till he pays the bail amount set at a record Rs 10,000 crore.
The SC is also likely to rule in on the question of appointment of the central vigilance commissioner (CVC) and vigilance commissioner. While it allowed the government to continue with the selection process, the SC is yet to give its final stamp of approval to the selection process.
Unhappy with the government’s headway on clean Ganga project, the SC is closely monitoring the progress made in efforts to restore the river. With the NDA government going ahead with the Sethusamudram ship canal project, the SC is likely to resume hearing on the issue.
The newly-constituted special ‘social justice bench’ of the SC will also continue to take up matters of public interest such as Narmada dam project, shelters for homeless persons, welfare of construction workers and exploitation of children in circuses, among others.