Aadhaar verdict on Wednesday: Other Major SC judgments expected this week
With the tenure of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra entering last week, next few days will witness pronouncement of judgments on a series of significant issues including on Aadhaar, Ayodhya and adultery that would have bearings on the right to privacy, politics and social morality.
Validity of Aadhaar
The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce on Wednesday its verdict on the batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar on grounds of it being violative of the fundamental right to privacy. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had on May 10 reserved the verdict on the matter after a marathon hearing that went on for 38 days, spanning four-and-half months.
No matter which way the Aadhaar verdict goes, the crux of it would be data protraction as during the course of the hearing, the court had repeatedly underlined the need for data protection pointing to its great commercial value and of immense interest to non-State actors in business world.
The draft data protection bill as suggested by Justice S.N. Krishna is yet to be brought before Parliament and it is unlikely to happen soon.
Emphasising data protection, Justice D.Y. Chandrachuid speaking for the majority, in right to privacy judgment, had said, "These are matters of policy to be considered by the Union government while designing a carefully structured regime for the protection of the data."
In the case of Ayodhya, the court will decide whether challenge to the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict on Ayodhya title suit 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 judgment.
The Muslim litigants contest the 1994 judgment which says mosque is not integral to Muslim practice of offering prayers.
On the discriminatory adultery law, the court had questioned the Centre's stand on the challenge to the constitutional validity of Section 497 and Section 198(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure that prosecute man for adultery and spares woman.
The Centre had defended the "discriminatory" provision saying that any contrary view would adversely impact the family life.
Brushing aside the stand of the Centre in the course of the hearing, the Chief Justice Misra had said, "The sanctity of marriage is dependent on mutual reciprocity, willingness for adjustment and accommodation and when we marry, there is no permanent consent for sex by wife."
Pointing to the time society has travelled since 1860, Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman had observed that in 1860, the concept was that woman was a chattel, and thus this provision for consent by the husband to take away the criminality in extramarital sexual relationship between a married man and married woman."
Reservation in Promotion
Another important judgment will be on 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.
Sabarimala Temple Case
The top court is likely also to give verdict on challenge to the prohibition of menstruating women in the age group of 10 to 50 years to enter Ayyappa's Sabarimala temple.
Practice of Female Genital Mutilation
On the practice of 'female genital mutilation' (FGM) in Dawoodi Bohra community, the Centre has stated that it was violative of bodily integrity which is a part of right to privacy and dignity.
The Supreme Court had on September 20 reserved its verdict on a plea by historian Romila Thapar and others seeking the immediate release of five rights activists in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence case and an SIT probe into their arrest.
Ahmed Patel's Re-Election to the Rajya Sabha
Another important judgement will be challenge to Gujarat High Court order on the 2017 election of Congress leader Ahmed 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.
(With inputs from IANS)
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