Aadhaar, Ayodhya and adultery — SC verdicts likely next week

India’s Supreme Court may also give verdict on women’s entry into Ayyappa temple

New Delhi: India’s Supreme Court is likely to pronounce next week a series of judgements — including its decisions in the Aadhaar, Ayodhya and adultery hearings — that would have bearings on the right to privacy, politics and social morality.

Verdicts will returned on the challenge to the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, and whether it is violative of right to privacy, and the “discriminatory” adultery law that punishes the man alone for being in extramarital relationship.

In the case of Aadhaar, the court pronouncement on whether it could have been brought as a money bill will have a bearing on the powers of the Speaker to allow a bill to be presented as a money bill that debars Rajya Sabha from deciding its fate.

The issue was raised by Congress lawmaker in Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh questioning the Lok Sabha Speaker’s decision to allow the tabling of Aadhaar Bill as a money bill.

The next five days starting with Monday (September 24) become significant as both the constitution bench and the three-judge bench are headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and he is left with six working days — from September 24 to September 28 and October 1 — his last working day as Chief Justice in regular court.

Though Chief Justice Misra retires on October 2, it being the national holiday on account of Mahatama Gandhi’s birth anniversary, the court will not be functioning. In all likelihood, most of the judgements are likely to be pronounced in the coming week.

In the Ayodhya case, the court will decide whether a challenge to the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict in the dispute should be heard by a regular bench or a five-judges constitution bench.

The Muslim litigants have insisted that the matter be heard by a five-judge constitution bench as the High Court verdict dividing the disputed land in three parts giving one to deity of Ramlala Virajman, another to Hindu sect Nirmohi Akhara and a third to the Muslims have relied on a 1994 top court judgement.

The Muslim litigants contest the 1994 judgement, which says a mosque is not integral to the Muslim practice of offering prayers.

Besides the likely pronouncement of judgements on Aadhaar, Ayodhya and adultery, the top court is likely to return its verdict in a challenge to the prohibition of menstruating women in the age group of 10 to 50 years to enter Ayyappa’s Sabrimala temple, as well as a challenge to the practice of female genital mutilation among Dawoodi Bohra community.

Another important judgement will be on the Centre’s petition questioning the 2006 judgement laying down criteria of quantifiable date demonstrating the inadequacy of SC/ST representation in higher echelon of administration coupled with administrative efficiency for grant of reservation in promotion.

It is politically sensitive for the government as it has questioned the conditions for permitting reservation in promotion.

The Centre has contended before the top court that being SC/ST is a “great stigma” that can’t be erased by having the benefit of reservation for two or more generations.

Another judgement that may have a bearing on cleansing the legislatures of politicians with criminal antecedents would be at what stage a person charged with criminal cases be ousted from the electoral fray.

Besides the verdict on the plea for top court monitored SIT probe into the recent arrest of five right activists, another important judgement will be challenge to Gujarat High Court order on the 2017 election of Congress leader Ahmad Patel as Rajya Sabha member.

Patel has challenged the High Court permitting trial on the election petition by defeated candidate Balwantsinh Rajput alleging corrupt practices in the election.


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