Outgoing Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, who demits office Monday, October 1, 2018, has left behind a lasting legacy through a series of pathbreaking judgments during his tenure in the Supreme Court. Misra has introduced several social reforms with a bunch of revolutionary judgments, including the recent Sabarimala, Aadhaar, gay sex and adultery verdicts. Misra is the 45th Chief Justice of India from August 28, 2017.
Since October 2 will be Misra's last day in the Supreme Court, Justice Ranjan Gogoi is set to be sworn in as the next CJI on October 3. In early September the Chief Justice of India Office has written to the Union of India (UOI) and recommended Justice Gogoi as the successor to CJI Misra.
With Misra's last working day upon us, let's have a quick look at those major important cases, which still await the Supreme Court verdict and will be heard under 46th Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
Backlog burden of Supreme Court:
As per the latest data, there are 54,013 pending matters in the Supreme Court, which will take more than two years to just clear regular logs only if the apex court does not take any new cases.
Of those 54,013 pending matters, the most important and revolutionary cases include - Ayodhya dispute, Article 35-A and the Bhima Koregaon Violence in Maharashtra.
What happened so far?
1. Ayodhya Dispute:
Ayodhya dispute refers to the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case, the decades-old socio-religious debate between Hindus and Muslims. The Supreme Court is dealing with a total of 13 appeals, which were filed against the 2010 judgment of the Allahabad High Court. In the landmark hearing, the Allahabad High Court had on September 30, 2010, ordered that the land should be partitioned equally among three parties - the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. In its last hearing on September 27, a three-judge bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra said it has to find the context in which the five-judge bench had delivered the 1994 judgment stating that a mosque was not integral to Islam which arose during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute. Declining the matter to refer to a larger bench, Justice Ashok Bhushan and CJI Misra has fixed the matter for further hearing on October 29. Apart from Misra, the other judges on the bench are Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Abdul Nazeer. Nazeer, however, had passed a dissenting order in the case.
2. Article 35-A:
Article 35-A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, came under scanner after We the Citizens, a Delhi-based NGO moved the SC, saying that the Article 35A and Article 370 of the Constitution discriminate among the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and rest of India. It demanded that the SC should term Article 35A “unconstitutional” as it was a “temporary provision” which came into effect immediately and was not presented before Parliament. Article 35A gives a special status to the people in Jammu and Kashmir, preventing non-locals from buying and owning any immovable property in the state. On August 31, a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud listed the matter for further hearing in the second week of January 2019.
3. Bhima Koregaon violence:
The Supreme Court on September 28 extended the house arrest of five rights activists for four weeks in connection with the infamous Bhima-Koregaon violence case. The apex court refused to constitute SIT investigation into their detention. The five activists - Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha — have been under house arrest since August 29. However, this is not the first major development in the year-old case. Early in June, the Pune police had arrested Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale and Rona Wilson for their alleged 'Moist' activity in Maharashtra's Bhima Koregaon village. A three-judge-bench consisting of CJI Dipak Misra, Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud were dealing with the case.
Bhima Koregaon violence refers to the alleged Maoist attack early this year that rocked Maharashtra's Bhima Koregaon village during the 200th-anniversary celebration of a British-era war on January 1. It is also believed to be the assassination attempt of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the lines of former PM Rajiv Gandhi.
For those unserved, Ranjan Gogoi, the CJI designate picked up Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice K M Joseph for his bench in the Court No 1. On the other hand, Justice Kaul is ranked 16th among the judges while Justice Joseph is the juniormost justice ranked at 24.