Supreme Court: In the new year, the Supreme Court is going to make many important decisions. These include various issues such as the legality of demonetization in 2016, the demand for the formation of an impartial committee for the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Electoral Commissioners, Jallikattu, a bull-taming sport in Tamil Nadu, and delimitation of seats in Jammu and Kashmir. Decision on all these matters was reserved for the month of November or December. Of these, the decision on demonetization will come on January 2.
On December 7, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court had concluded the hearing on the petitions that erroneously declared the ban on banknotes in 2016. By reserving the decision, the court had asked the central government and the Reserve Bank to deliver the documents related to the process related to the demonetization decision. During the hearing, the petitioners had argued that without following due process, it was suddenly announced on December 8, 2016 that the old 500 and 2000 bills had been withdrawn from circulation.
What did the government in SC say about demonetization?
In response to this, the government had said that it was a well thought out plan put in place to stop tax evasion and curb black money. Its purpose was also to tackle the problem of counterfeit banknotes and to stop the financing of terrorists.
Demonetization was recommended by the Reserve Bank. It was implemented after much discussion and preparation. The lawyer who appeared for the Reserve Bank said it was an economic decision. It cannot be reviewed in court.
58 petitions on this matter were filed in the Supreme Court. A five-judge constitution court headed by Justice S Abdul Nazeer began a detailed hearing on the matter on 24 November. In addition to Judge Nazeer, the other 4 members of the constitutional court are Judge BR Gavai, A. s. Bopanna, V. Ramasubramaniam and B. V Nagaratna.
Decision on assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir
The Supreme Court will soon give its verdict on the petitions challenging the delimitation of assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir. This decision was reserved on December 1. Petitions by Srinagar residents Haji Abdul Ghani Khan and Mohammad Ayub Mattu say the correct procedure has not been followed in the delimitation.
The Central Government, the Administration of Jammu and Kashmir and the Election Commission have called this argument wrong. The court has made it clear that this hearing will be held solely on delimitation. The issue related to the removal of section 370 in Jammu and Kashmir will not be considered.
The question of the appointment of electoral commissioners
The Supreme Court has to give a decision on the demand for greater transparency in the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and 2 Electoral Commissioners. The petition has required that the Chief Justice, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition be selected by the Electoral Commissioner.
The direct appointment in this great constitutional position by the government is not correct. The 5-judge constitution bench headed by Judge KM Joseph completed the 4-day hearing on 24 November. The remaining 4 members of the court are Judges Ajay Rastogi, Hrishikesh Roy, Aniruddha Bose and CT Ravikumar. During the hearing, the court said that the person holding the position of Chief Election Commissioner should be such that he can do his job without being influenced by anyone.
The question of the absurd rhetoric of the leaders
Should the Supreme Court frame guidelines to prevent people in positions of responsibility from making absurd statements? A constitution chamber of the court has reserved orders on this aspect.
In 2016, this case started after then UP Minister Azam Khan’s statement in the Bulandshahr gang rape case. The question was then raised that in order to prevent the investigation of the criminal case from being affected, ministers/officials should be prevented from making unnecessary comments about it. If the constitutional bank thinks it should frame the guidelines, then there will be a more detailed hearing on the matter.
Will Jallikattu be allowed?
The Supreme Court has yet to decide whether to allow traditional sports such as Jallikattu (taming of bulls) in Tamil Nadu, Kambala (buffalo racing) in Karnataka and bullock cart racing in Maharashtra. The petitioners say that there is cruelty to animals in these games.
The Animal Cruelty Prevention Act is a central law. But states have made some changes to the law in the name of protecting culture. They should be repealed. The Tamil Nadu government mainly argued in this matter. The state government said that the observance of culture has acquired the status of a fundamental right under article 29 of the Constitution. The argument for cruelty to animals is flawed. Due to Jallikattu, local breed bulls are being protected.
Until when the defendant can be added to the case
The Supreme Court also has to give an important order in criminal cases. In this decision, article 319 of the CrPC must be interpreted, which grants the first instance judge the right to add new defendants in the trial. Does the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court have to decide whether a new person can be cited as a defendant even after the defendant has been convicted in a criminal trial?
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