New Delhi: Updates on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam and a report by the committee tasked with probing the ‘conspiracy’ surrounding the charges of sexual harassment against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi are among the key issues that the Supreme Court will look into once it reopens after its almost two-month-long summer break.
The apex court will also review the steps taken by Bihar to tackle the Encephalitis-related deaths in children and on the power tussle between Puducherry’s Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi and Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy.
Once the court resumes its duties, Gogoi will have just about four months before he retires in November.
A quick glance at the cases that will be heard by the top court in the coming days.
The ‘conspiracy’ behind sexual harassment charges against CJI Gogoi
According to a report in The Telegraph, the Supreme Court-appointed committee probing allegations of a corporate-underworld nexus to implicate CJI Gogoi in a sexual harassment case has come across evidence, which it says needs to be looked into by probe agencies. The report by the committee headed by former SC judge A.K. Patnaik will likely be submitted before the bench led by Justice Arun Mishra sometime in July.
Earlier in June, the apex court had issued a notice to Bihar and sought a status report on steps taken after over 100 children died in Muzaffarpur due to the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome. The notice was issued on a PIL filed by advocates Manohar Pratap and Sanpreet Singh Ajmani who sought directions to the Centre and the state to arrange for 500 Intensive Care Units (ICU) and the required number of medical professionals to deal with the outbreak.
The final NRC list is expected to be released on 31 July after the apex court had made it clear that it would not extend the deadline beyond the stipulated date.
In light of the exclusion list released on 26 June, however, the court may hear an intervention filed by advocate Fuzail Ayyubi on behalf of the All Assam Minorities Students’ Union wherein they have sought the mandatory minimum period of 30 days for filing of claims to those who have been recently excluded from the draft list.
At the last hearing on 30 May, the top court had directed the matter to be listed on its reopening and it has tentatively been listed for 1 July.
SEBI vs IBC
On 10 July, the top court will hear a plea on whether the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) will override the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act. This is important since the National Company Law Tribunal on 30 April had directed SEBI, the market regulator, to detach the properties of a debtor – running a Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) — on the grounds that the provisions of the IBC override that of the SEBI Act. SEBI had challenged this in the top court.
Eviction of Tribals from Forest Land
The court will on 10 July review an affidavit filed by the Centre on procedures followed to assess claims of forest dwellers and tribals facing mass eviction.
Earlier this year, the court had ordered the eviction of tribals and forest dwellers whose claims to forest land were rejected. On 1 March, however, the apex court stayed its 16 February order, which would affect about 20 lakh forest dwellers who were set to lose their land by July.
LG vs CM in Puducherry
The power tussle between Puducherry LG Kiran Bedi and Chief Minister V. Narayansamy will come up before the Supreme Court on 10 July. Bedi had filed a plea in the top court seeking clarity on the powers of LG and the CM of the union territory of Puducherry.
Review of Rafale judgment
The apex court on 10 May reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas seeking a review of its December 2018 judgment that said the India-France deal for the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets didn’t need scrutiny. The court had agreed to hear the review pleas in open court on 26 February. Former Union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha along with advocate Prashant Bhushan had filed a plea seeking a review, and another plea seeking to initiate perjury proceedings against government officials for misleading the court on the issue.
Also pending is the verdict on a related plea filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi seeking contempt proceedings against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for his ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ comment which he attributed to the Supreme Court.
Judgments and orders
It has been almost four months since the top court reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas — almost 65 in all, seeking a review of its 28 September 2018 judgment where it struck down the age bar for entry of women in the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine in Sabarimala.
In August, the top court will also hear a panel of mediators who have been tasked with finding an amicable solution to the Babri Masjid issue in Ayodhya. Earlier this year on 8 March, a five-judge bench led by CJI Gogoi had referred the highly communalised matter for mediation.
Once it reopens, the court is also expected to deliver its verdict on a plea seeking clarity on whether the CJI’s office is covered under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The top court had reserved its verdict on a plea filed by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal on 4 April.