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SC To Hear 25 Constitution Bench Matters From August 29, After U.U. Lalit Takes Over as CJI

Analysis by the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy found that there are a total of 587 cases pending before constitution benches, out of which 35 are main matters.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday notified that 25 constitution bench matters will be listed before the relevant benches from August 29, which will be the first working day as Chief Justice of India (CJI) for U.U. Lalit.

CJI N.V. Ramana will demit office on August 26 and Justice Lalit will take over from August 27 but will begin working only on August 29. He will have a short tenure of just over 70 days.

According to the notice issued by the apex court registry, 25 five-judge matters which have been pending for quite some time will be heard the coming Monday onwards by the concerned benches of the apex court. A constitution bench is a bench of the Supreme Court with five or more judges.

The notice said, “Take notice that the following five judges’ bench matters shall be listed before the concerned courts from Monday, August 29 for directions including the filing of common compilation, filing of short written submissions and tentative indication with regard to time to be taken by the counsel. The matters shall thereafter be listed as per directions of the court”.

Analysis by the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy found that there are a total of 587 cases pending before constitution benches, out of which 35 are main matters. A decision in these 35 cases will dispose of most of the connected matters.

Among the important five-judge bench matters which have been listed is a plea challenging the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019 which provided reservation to the economically weaker sections, the challenge to WhatsApp’s privacy policy, and the issue of a parliamentarian or legislator claiming immunity from criminal prosecution for taking a bribe to give a speech or vote in the house.

The top court would also hear the issue of grant of minority status to Sikhs in Punjab, and the validity of state legislation declaring all members of the Muslim community in Andhra Pradesh as part of the Backward Classes.

According to Bar and Bench, among the other matters that will be heard are the Supreme Court’s power under Article 142 to dissolve a marriage between consenting parties; the plea concerning internet safety and seeking directions for the government to secure personal information; the challenge to the prevalent practice of polygamy including Nikah Halala, Nikah Mutah, and Nikah Misyar; whether the executive can use Article 161 of the constitution to frame a policy to grant remission without placing records before the governor; the plea challenging Section 6A(1) of the DPSE Act which provides immunity for officers of the level of Joint Secretary and above; and the plea challenging the current system for appointing members of the Election Commission of India.

Also listed will be the challenge to the Constitution (79th Amendment) Act, 1999 which extended the reservations of seats in assemblies for Anglo Indians, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe communities; and the plea challenging the Union government’s November 2016 decision to demonetise Rs 500 and 1,000 currency notes.

(With PTI inputs)