NEW DELHI (PTI) — Upon reopening on July 1 after a six-week summer vacation, the Supreme Court will deal with very sensitive issues, including the Ayodhya land dispute, review petitions in the Rafale case and the contempt case against Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing his “chowkidar chor hai” slogan to the top court.
The Supreme Court, which would function with its full judicial strength of 31 judges under the stewardship of Chief Justice (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, is likely to deliver its verdict in the review pleas in the Rafale case.
The petitions, including the one filed by ex-Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, seek review of the top court’s December 14, 2018 judgment dismissing all petitions challenging procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.
Also, a three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice would decide the fate of BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi’s contempt plea against Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing to the top court his “chowkidar chor hai” jibe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Rahul Gandhi, however, has already given an unconditional apology for it and has sought closure of the case.
The outcome of the in-camera mediation proceedings, undertaken by a three-member panel headed by former top court judge Justice FMI Kallifulla, to find an amicable solution to the politically-sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute, would also be heard.
The mediation committee, which also comprises spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, is “optimistic” about finding an amicable solution to the vexatious dispute. It has been granted time till August 15 by a five-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice.
Fourteen appeals have been filed in the Supreme Court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be divided equally among three parties — the Ram Lalla, the Sunni Waqf Board, and Nirmohi Akhara.
The top court will also be hearing a plea seeking a probe and lodging of an FIR against activist lawyers Indira Jaising, Anand Grover and their NGO ‘Lawyers Collective’ for allegedly violating rules relating to receipt and utilisation of foreign funds.
The petition has been filed by ‘Lawyers’ Voice’, a voluntary organisation of advocates.
Another important case that the top court would be hearing is the PIL of lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay challenging the constitutional validity of Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir and limits Parliament’s power to make laws for the state. It will also be dealing a host of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A, which provides special rights and privileges to residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
On February 11, the Jammu and Kashmir government had sought permission from the Supreme Court to circulate a letter to parties for adjourning the hearing on pleas saying that there was no “elected government” in the state.