Week Ahead: Supreme Court, Sept 24-29 2018

What lies ahead this week in the Supreme Court?

Week Ahead: 24th – 28th September, 2018

Chief Justice Misra will retire next week, on 2nd October. Before he retires, he is set to deliver judgments in at least seven important cases.


Constitutionality of Aadhaar – The Court is assessing the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act. The oral arguments lasted for a historic thirty-eight days. The Bench heard the final hearing in May. The Court has to take into account that Aadhaar has already achieved near-universal enrollment.

Sabarimala Temple Entry – The Sabarimala Temple Entry case pertains to the temple’s custom of prohibiting women from entering in ‘their menstruating years’. The Court will decide how to balance the fundamental rights of women against those of the temple and its worshippers.

Arrested Activists – This case pertains to the Maharashtra Police’s arrest of human rights activists on August 28th. The Police allege that the activists caused the Bhima Koregaon violence in January of this year and, further, that they have ties to underground Maoist cells. In previous hearings, the petitioners questioned the integrity of the Police, while the State questioned whether the petitioners had the legal grounds to file a case in the first place.

Reservation in Promotion – The Court has to decide whether the State can grant reservations to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes in matters of promotion. Specifically, the Court must decide if the State can practice reservation in promotion without furnishing any quantifiable data on backwardness, inadequate representation and administrative efficiency. The Court will decide whether to review its judgment in Nagaraj, which made it difficult for the State to grant reservations in promotion by introducing three controlling conditions.

Electoral Disqualification – This case pertains to the rising criminalisation of politics. The Court will decide whether electoral candidates ought to be disqualified when criminal charges are filed against them. Currently, the Representation of Peoples Act disqualifies electoral candidates only upon conviction.

Decriminalisation of Adultery – The Court will decide if Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises adultery, ought to be struck down. The Court will decide whether Section 497 violates the rights to privacy and equality.

Ayodhya Title Dispute – This case pertains to who has the title to the disputed Babri Masjid / Ram Janmabhoomi site. In the last few hearings, the Court heard arguments that called for a larger Bench to hear the case. The case is an appeal against the Allahabad High Court’s 2010 judgement, which divided the site equally between the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

Regular Hearings

Female Genital Mutilation – Today, Monday 24th, the Court will continue hearing a case pertaining to the Dawoodi Bohra’s practice of female circumcision. The practice places the fundamental rights to equality and personal liberty in conflict with the fundamental right to freedom of religion.

Cow Vigilantism – This week, the Court is expected to review compliance reports regarding steps to curb mob vigilantism, submitted by all States and Union Territories. The Bench was expecting to review the reports in the last hearing, 13th September. However, Justice Khanwilkar was on leave. Additionally, not all States/UTs have submitted their reports. The Bench has warned States/UTs that if they fail to submit a report on time, the Court will summon their respective Home Secretaries.