November 17 is the date when Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi retires from office. But, he has less than 10 working days to deliver judgements on cases that are sensitive in nature and have to do with issues that pertain to defence, religion and politics.
Out of all the judgements that he will be delivering, none among them is as awaited as of the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land case. The court was hearing the arguments in the case on a daily basis for 40 days and finally concluded it before going on Diwali break.
The verdict by the Supreme Court on the disputed 2.77-acre land would also supersede the judgement given by the Allahabad High Court in 2010, which ruled that the land be divided into three parts between the concerned parties – deity Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board.
Then comes the verdict from the five-judge Review Bench led by the CJI, which will either uphold or pronounce a new judgement on its 2018 judgement which barred menstruating women from worshipping at the Sabrimala Temple in Kerala. Petitions against this ruling were filed stating that the Sabrimala deity is “Naishtika Brahmachari”, whose penance will not be disturbed by entering of menstruating women between the age of 10 to 50 years into the temple.
Then there is the verdict on the Rafale fighter jet deal, which is in response to a review petition filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan, and former Union Ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha. The point of contention in this case is why the CBI did not register an FIR when the petitioners filed a corruption complaint in the 36-jet fighter deal in October 2018. The plea also alleges that the government misled the court during its earlier judgement of December 2018, in which it upheld the agreement.
The judgement for the criminal contempt plea filed against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi by BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi is also among the verdicts pending. Rahul Gandhi has already ‘apologised unconditionally’ for wrongly attributing the phrase ‘chowkidaar chor hai’ to the apex court. The statement was made by Rahul in reaction to a Supreme Court verdict which allowed the maintainability of Rafale review petitions.
A judgement was also reserved by the Bench led by Gogoi on pleas which challenged the constitutional validity of Finance Act. 2017 on the basis of it being passed as a Money Bill in Parliament.