More than a year after the Supreme Court had a dedicated bench to decide cases requiring interpretation of the Constitution, the top court has decided to bring back the practice, having fixed two days in a week for hearing such matters in 2016.
A constitution bench consists of at least five judges who deliberate upon matters that warrant a substantial question of law. There are 29 such matters, including the question on the universality of the Aadhaar number and the legality of euthanasia.
Chief Justice TS Thakur set-up two constitution benches that shall hold a two-hour hearing every Monday and Friday. An administrative order issued by the SC registry has also listed 10 cases to be taken up.
“Our judges are free after 1:30 pm on Monday and Friday. I would consult them to have these benches on those two days,” he had told the Attorney General who welcomed the suggestion.
It was on Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s appeal for an urgent hearing on the Aadhaar issue that CJI explored the option of having regular sittings of the top bench.
The SC has restricted the use of Aadhaar numbers to certain schemes through its orders issued on August 11 and October15. These include the public distribution system, distribution of cooking gas and kerosene, the rural jobs guarantee scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, central and state government pensions, and the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme.
The controversy over the removal of UPA-appointed governors is also on the agenda of constitutional benches.