Supreme Court to consider appointing ex-apex court judge to enquire into Hyderabad encounter.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it was considering to appoint a former apex court judge to enquire into the encounter killings of four accused persons in the sensational gangrape-and-murder case of a veterinarian in Telangana.

“We are conscious of the fact that the Telangana High Court had taken note of it,” a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde said, adding that the top court only wanted that a Delhi-based former apex court judge should enquire into the case.

“We propose to appoint a former Supreme Court judge to enquire into it,” the bench, also comprising justices S A Nazeer and Sanjeev Khanna, said.

It clarified that the former apex court judge, who would enquire into the incident, would sit in Delhi.

The bench has now posted the PILs, seeking an independent SIT probe into the encounter, for hearing on Thursday.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and advocate Krishnakumar Singh, appearing for the Telangana government, said it had followed the directions laid down by the apex court for an enquiry into encounters and had already referred the case to the state CID.

Ayodhya case: Muslim party objects hearing on all days of week, says it can’t be ‘rushed through’

A Muslim party on Friday objected in the Supreme Court five-days-a-week hearing of the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case in Ayodhya, saying it will “not be able to assist” the court if the hearing is “rushed through”.

The submission was made by senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who is appearing for a Muslim party, when the Supreme Court commenced hearing on the fourth day in the case.

Breaking with the tradition, the apex court decided to hear the sensitive case on Friday which is kept kept fresh cases only, along with Monday. As per the apex court’s procedures, on Mondays and Fridays, the registry lists before the benches fresh and miscellaneous cases after notice cases.

As the counsel for deity ‘Ram Lalla Virajmaan’ started advancing its submissions before a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Dhavan got up and interjected the proceedings.

“It is not possible to assist the court if it is heard on all days of the week. This is the first appeal and the hearing cannot be rushed in this manner and I am put to torture,” he told the bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.

He said the apex court was hearing first appeals after the Allahabad High Court delivered the verdict in the case and the hearing as such cannot be rushed through.

Being a first appeal, documentary evidences have to be studied. Many documents are in Urdu and Sanskrit, which have to be translated, Dhavan said.

The senior lawyer alleged that “perhaps, except Justice Chandrachud, other judges might not have read the judgment (Allahabad High Court’s)”.

He said that if the court has taken a decision to hear the case on all five days of the week then he might have to leave the case.

“We have taken note of your submissions. We will revert back to you soon,” CJI Gogoi said and proceeded with the hearing.

The bench has now started hearing the submissions of senior advocate K Parasaran on behalf of deity Ram Lalla Virajmaan.

The apex court had on Thursday asked the counsel for the deity, which itself has been made a party to the case, as to how the ‘Janmasthanam’ (birth place of deity) can be regarded as a “juristic person” having stakes as a litigant in the case.

The apex court had said on the third day of the hearing that so far as Hindu deities were concerned, they have been legally treated as juristic person which can hold properties and institute, defend and intervene in lawsuits.

The bench, however, had asked Parasaran as to how ‘Janamsthanam’ can file the case in the land dispute as a party.

The law suit filed by the deity in the Ayodhya case has also made the birth place of Lord Ram as co-petitioner and has sought claim over the entire 2.77 acre of disputed land at Ayodhya where the structure was razed on December 6, 1992.

Supreme Court to hear on April 8 pleas challenging Centre’s decision on 10 per cent quota

The Supreme Court Thursday said it would hear on April 8 a batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s decision to grant 10 per cent reservation in jobs as well as admissions to educational institutions to economically weaker sections across all classes.

A bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer said it would also deal with the contentions raised by some of the petitioners who have said that the matter was required to be adjudicated upon by a constitution bench.

At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, sought an adjournment saying he and Attorney General K K Venugopal were appearing in a matter on Thursday before a constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

“I am on my legs before the constitution bench. Please accommodate me,” he told the bench.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for one of the petitioners, referred to the apex court’s last order passed in the matter on March 11 and said the issue of whether these pleas should be referred to a Constitution bench should be considered.

“If the matter is to go before a Constitution bench, then ad-hoc adjournment cannot come in the way,” he said, adding, “You (bench) have to consider if this matter needs to go before a Constitution bench since it attacks the basic structure”.

To this, Mehta said, “On this (issue of whether to refer the matter to a Constitution bench), the Attorney General has to say something.”

He said these pleas have been “suddenly listed” before a new bench and the Attorney General was appearing in a Constitution bench matter today in the CJI’s court.

“We would like to give opportunity to them (Centre) and the Attorney General,” the bench told the counsel appearing for the petitioners.

Dhavan said the Railways is going to hold recruitment with 10 per cent reservation to economically weaker sections as per the 103rd amendment.

The bench orally observed that it would be subject to its final orders in the matter.

Referring to the nine-judge bench decision of the apex court in the landmark 1992 Indira Sawhney case, Dhavan said reservation is to be based on the concept of discrimination.

The apex court allowed a separate plea filed by the Centre which has sought a stay on proceedings initiated in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the government’s decision to grant 10 per cent reservation to economically weaker sections in jobs and education.

On March 11, the apex court had said it was not in favour of passing an order at this stage to refer the petitions to a constitution bench.

The court had said it will consider on March 28 whether the matter is required to be referred to a constitution bench.

The top court had earlier refused to stay the Centre’s decision to grant 10 per cent quota in jobs and admissions to poor candidates in the general category.

However, the court had agreed to examine the validity of the law and issued a notice to the Centre on the pleas.

Petitions have been filed by parties, including ‘Janhit Abhiyan’ and NGO ‘Youth For Equality’, challenging the Centre’s decision.

One of the petitioners has sought quashing of the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019, saying economic criterion cannot be the sole basis for reservation.

The petitioner has said the bill violates the basic feature of the Constitution as reservation on economic grounds cannot be limited to the general category and the overall 50 per cent ceiling limit cannot be breached.

The Centre has come out with the Constitutional amendment bill giving quota benefits to the poor among general category candidates.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha cleared the bill on January 8 and 9 respectively, and it has been signed by President Ram Nath Kovind.

The quota will be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.