The Supreme Court on Thursday will announce verdict on review petitions against its orders in two important cases – entry of women into Sabarimala temple and the Rafale deal.
After the historic verdict on the Ayodhya dispute, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi-headed bench of the Supreme Court was left with four other important judgments that have to be delivered within a week before he demits office on November 17.
Rafale fighter jet deal
The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce its verdict on petitions seeking a review of its judgement giving a clean chit to the Modi government in the Rafale fighter jet deal with French firm Dassault Aviation.
On May 10, the apex court had reserved the decision on the pleas, including one filed by former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, seeking a re-examination of its findings that there was no occasion to doubt the decision-making process in the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets. A Bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph is likely to pronounce verdicts on three review petitions filed by the trio, lawyer Vineet Dhandha and Aam Aadmi Party lawmaker Sanjay Singh. On December 14, 2018, the apex court dismissed the petitions seeking an investigation into alleged irregularities in the Rs 58,000 crore deal.
The apex court will deliver its judgement on as many as 65 petitions — including 56 review petitions and four fresh writ petitions and five transfer pleas — which were filed after its verdict sparked violent protests in Kerala. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had reserved its decision on February 6 after hearing various parties including those seeking re-consideration of the September 28, 2018 judgement. Other members of the bench are justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. The apex court, by a majority verdict of 4:1, on September 38, 2018, had lifted the ban that prevented women and girls between the age of 10 and 50 from entering the famous Ayyappa shrine in Kerala and had held that this centuries-old Hindu religious practice was illegal and unconstitutional. The five-judge constitution had heard the pleas in an open court and reserved its decision after hearing the parties, including Nair Service Society, Thantry of the temple, The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and the state government, in favour and against the review plea.