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In 10 days, CJI has to deliver 5 verdicts

Ranjan Gogoi

Ranjan Gogoi  

He will retire on November 17

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, who retires on November 17, has less than 10 working days left and at least five judgments, touching on topics as diverse as religion, defence and politics, to deliver.

The most awaited among them would be the verdict of the Constitution Bench led by him in the cross-appeals filed by Hindu and Muslim parties for ownership of the disputed 2.77 acres of Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land.

The marathon 40-day hearing was wrapped up by the Bench on October 16. The verdict would decide whether the Allahabad High Court was right in dividing the land among deity Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board in September 2010.

Sabarimala review

A Review Bench of five judges led by Chief Justice Gogoi is expected to either uphold or set aside its September 2018 majority judgment which lifted the bar on menstruating women from worshipping at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. A whopping 65 petitions were filed challenging the authority of the court to intervene with a “centuries-old” belief that the Sabarimala deity is a “Naishtika Brahmachari”, whose penance should not be disturbed by the entry of women worshippers of the menstruating age of 10 to 50.

The Chief Justice was also at the helm of the Bench that reserved judgment on a joint review petition filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan and former Union Ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha in the Rafale fighter aircraft deal on May 10. The review plea alleged that the government misled the court into delivering its December 14, 2018 judgment upholding the agreement.

But the government had argued that the court enjoyed limited jurisdiction over government policy. In the Rafale deal, the Centre had taken a “conscious decision” to go ahead with the procurement of the jets.

The same day, on May 10, saw the Bench led by Chief Justice Gogoi also reserve for judgment on a criminal contempt plea filed by BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who has unconditionally apologised for wrongfully attributing the phrase 'chowkidar chor hai' to the apex court.

A Bench led by Chief Justice Gogoi has also reserved its judgment on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Finance Act, 2017 on the ground that it was passed by Parliament as a Money Bill.

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