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Rafale to Sabarimala, SC to hear key cases as it reopens after 6 weeks today


As the Supreme Court reopens on Monday after six-week summer vacation, there is a likelihood that verdicts reserved in crucial cases such as the Rafale case, the Sabarimala case and bringing the office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) under the right to information act, would be pronounced soon.

The most keenly awaited one is the Rafale case. A bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on May 10 had concluded it’s hearing on petitions asking for a review of the Court’s December 14 verdict, declining a probe into the corruption allegations in the Rafale deal.

The review petitions were filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan and former union ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha who relied upon documents leaked by the media to assert that the government had suppressed crucial material information regarding the deal during the earlier round of litigation. The three had also pressed a perjury application against the government for allegedly misleading the court.

Review petitions in the Sabarimala case also await the final decision of the court. It had reserved it’s a verdict on the pleas on February 6.

The top court is also expected to deliver a verdict on the crucial question of whether the right to information act is applicable to the office of the CJI’s.

A constitution bench led by the CJI had on April 4 reserved its order on the matter after hearing an appeal filed by the secretary general of the Supreme Court against the January 2010 verdict of the Delhi high court, which said the office of the CJI was within the ambit of the RTI.

Besides, the court will also take up some crucial matters for hearing, including the one related to sexual harassment allegations against the CJI.

The Justice AK Patnaik panel constituted to probe the conspiracy angle into the sexual harassment allegations, is likely to submit its report to the court. The probe panel was set up by a special bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra after a petition was filed by an advocate claiming he was approached by disgruntled former employees of the top court and corporate lobbyists to frame the CJI.

The top court will so take up a batch of petitions on the constitutional validity of article 370 granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Petitioners want the “controversial” provision to be held invalid as it restricts parliament’s powers to frame laws for the state.