Key verdicts likely before CJI Gogoi retires
Judgments on a range of issues – from the Ram Janam Bhoomi- Babri Masjid title dispute to review petitions on the purchase of Rafale jets from France and the entry of female worshippers in the age group of 10 to 50 years in Kerala’s Sabrimala temple – will be delivered before November 15.Updated: Oct 30, 2019, 03:24 IST
With just over two weeks remaining before Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi retires, the Supreme Court is set to deliver judgments on a string of important issues heard by benches led by the CJI.
Judgments on a range of issues – from the Ram Janam Bhoomi- Babri Masjid title dispute to review petitions on the purchase of Rafale jets from France and the entry of female worshippers in the age group of 10 to 50 years in Kerala’s Sabrimala temple – will be delivered before November 15.
Besides, a bench led by chief Justice Gogoi will also decide on the fate of a petition seeking criminal contempt proceedings against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing to the apex court his “chowkidar chor hai” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Even though CJI Gogoi retires on November 17, his last working day in the Supreme Court will be November 15. On November 18, Justice SA Bobde will take over as the next chief justice of India. His appointment was cleared by the President of India on Tuesday.
Presently, the Supreme Court is on a week-long Diwali break till November 4, and the week starting thereafter will witness these judgments being delivered.
A five judge bench led by Chief Justice Gogoi had, in Feburary this year, reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas challenging its verdict in September 2018 that opened the doors of Sabarimala temple to women of childbearing age, setting off massive street protests in Kerala by traditionalists and triggering a political slugfest between the Communist Party of India (Marxist) that’s in power in Kerala and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The top court’s verdict had angered devotees of Lord Ayyappa who oppose the entry of girls and women between the ages of 10 and 50 years into the shrine on grounds that women of reproductive age should not be allowed into the temple dedicated to the celibate god.
The hearing in the controversial review petition on the purchase of Rafale jets was concluded by the Supreme Court in May 2019.
The top court had on December 14, 2018 dismissed all petitions seeking a court-monitored probe of the Rs 59,000 crore contract for Rafale fighter planes made by Dassault Aviation of France. The court had said that there was no reason to doubt the decision-making process. The petitioners had alleged financial malfeasance and commercial favouritism in the deal.
Former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and advocate Prashant Bhushan had moved the Supreme Court for a review of the verdict, saying the ruling contained errors and relied on incorrect claims made by the government in an unsigned note given in a sealed cover to the court.
The 40-day marathon hearing in the Ayodhya title dispute was concluded by a five judge bench, led by CJI Gogoi, on October 16, leaving just over a month for the judges to write their judgment on a decades old controversy.