Three days after CJI retires, Supreme Court to take up 25 key cases with 5-judge Constitution benches


The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday decided to hear 25 key cases of national importance by five-judge Constitution benches. The move takes effect from Monday, August 29, two days after Justice UU Lalit takes over as the Chief Justice of India (CJI). The current CJI NV Ramana retires on August 26.

The Indian Express reported that this could effectively fast-forward some crucial cases, including challenges to demonetisation (2016) and reservations to the economically weaker sections (2020).

A Supreme Court notification said, “Take notice that the following five judges bench matters shall be listed before the concerned courts from Monday, the 29th August, 2022 for directions including filing of common compilation, filing of short written submissions and tentative indication with regard to time taken by learned counsel. The matters shall thereafter be listed as per directions of the court.”

In an interview given to the Indian Express on August 14, CJI-designate Lalit had spoken about the need to ensure crucial cases are listed on priority. Asked about the delay in cases, he had said: “You touched upon that some matters don’t get listed. That is something which we will have to find a solution to… To have Constitution benches sit all year (is one kind of institutional response).”

The Indian Express reported that among the key cases likely to be taken up are those challenging the exercise of updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam (pending since 2016); challenge to the establishment of the Central Bureau of Investigation (pending since 2016); and the case challenging the demonetisation scheme (pending since 2016).

Other cases include the case seeking classification of Sikhs as a minority community in Punjab (pending since 2010); the PIL challenging the constitutional validity of religious practices of Nikah Halala and polygamy (pending since 2018); the challenge to the practice of ex-communication in the Dawoodi Bohra community (pending since 2004); and the validity of a state law declaring all members of the Muslim community in Andhra Pradesh as part of Backward Classes (pending since 2006).