Observer Desk

Posted on 11.07.17 by

Supreme Court 2nd Session 2017 (3rd July – September 22)

The Supreme Court opened on 3rd July after a break of 45 days for the Second Session in 2017. will continue till 23rd September.

Two significant personnel changes will shape the Supreme Court this Session. Mr. K.K. Venugopal was appointed as the 15th Attorney General for India replacing Mr. Mukul Rohatgi. Few encomiums were written for Mr Rohatgi and we await a careful review of his 3 year stint.

Chief Justice, Jagdish Singh Khehar will retire on 27th August and Justice Dipak Misra is expected to be the next Chief Justice of India. While cover stories on retiring Chief Justices are common place, the Caravan chose to carry Chief Justice Khehar on its cover in June 2017, three months before his retirement. CJI Khehar sits on the Bench deciding the Triple Talaq, the Review petition on Highway Liquor Ban and the C.S. Karnan contempt matter. Significant decisions are likely before his retirement. Justice Prafulla Chandra Pant will also retire this Session on 29th August.

Two important constitutional law cases are likely to be argued this term: the Whatsapp Privacy Case (Karmanya Singh Sareen v UOI ) challenges Whatsapp’s data sharing policy with Facebook; the Assam Accord Case (Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha v UOI) challenges the constitutional validity of Section 6A of Citizenship Act, 1955 which sets a different cut-off date for granting Indian citizenship to Bangladeshi migrants as compared to the date prescribed in the Constitution.

Cow politics has made its way to the Supreme Court in the form of two separate challenges: a PIL by Tenseen Poonawala challenges cow protection legislation enacted by 6 States which provides immunity to private citizens acting in “good faith” to enforce the law thereby encouraging cow-vigilantism. In another matter, the Central Government notification under the Prevention of Cruelty Act 1960, which bans the sale and purchase of cows and buffaloes at animal markets for slaughter has been challenged.

Surprisingly the listing of the main case challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhar (and the Unique Identity Authority), namely the K.S. Puttaswamy v UOI is still unclear. It has been almost two years since the matter was referred to a Constitutional Bench but a 9 judge Bench is yet to be constituted.

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