A busy few days before retirement for Dipak Misra

Benches headed by CJI are to deliver verdicts in key cases

September 23, 2018 10:26 pm | Updated September 24, 2018 12:04 am IST - NEW DELHI

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

A slew of judgments on issues varying from the validity of Aadhaar to the entry of women into the Sabarimala temple await pronouncement with just six working days left for the retirement of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on October 2.

All these cases were heard by Benches led by Chief Justice Misra.

There are no judgments scheduled for Monday, which leaves five days, not counting the fact that the last day of Justice Misra as Chief Justice is a holiday.

Primary among the pending judgments is the one on the validity of the Aadhaar scheme. A five-judge Constitution Bench had reserved its verdict after hearing extensive arguments. The hearings saw the UIDAI chief even give a PowerPoint presentation in open court on the benefits.

‘Choice of identities’

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, on the Bench, however had repeatedly observed that citizens should be given a “choice of identities” to access welfare and services. The Bench was heard saying that a certain kind of identification, such as biometrics, should not exceed the objective of the purpose.

The UIDAI had maintained that Aadhaar was “unique” because of its pan-India appeal unlike other forms of local identities.

The Bench was apprehensive about the aggregation of personal data in a central storage system, but the UIDAI had countered that the Aadhaar Act provided an “adequate, sufficient and reasonable safeguard” against data leak.

Another much awaited decision is whether a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Misra would refer to a five-judge Bench the legal issue raised by the Muslim appellants on whether a mosque is essential to Islam.

They have questioned a line in the 1994 judgment in the Ismail Farooqui case,which says Muslims can pray “anywhere, even in the open”.

They argue that Islam would collapse without its mosques to congregate and pray.

After quashing triple talaq as unconstitutional, it is to be seen whether a Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Misra would lift the centuries-old prohibition on women aged between 10 and 51 to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

The court has already orally observed that a ban on entry for women at Sabarimala temple is steeped in patriarchy and chauvinism.

A Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Misra has to decide whether the pre-Independence provision of adultery (Section 497) treats a married woman as a commodity owned by her husband and violates the constitutional concepts of gender equality and sensitivity.

Lastly, a three-judge Bench led by the Chief Justice last week reserved for its judgment a petition filed by historian Romila Thapar and four others against the pan-India crackdown and arrest of rights activists. The petition argues that this is a State move to quell dissent.

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