CJI Bobde looks at the pending cases involving serious constitutional questions

The courts in India have been severely criticised for not showing a sense of urgency in deciding several cases of vital national importance such as the petition challenging the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, the constitutionality of the Citizenship Amendment Act and the validity of the electoral bond.

The Citizenship Amendment Act and the announcement about the National Register of Citizen triggered off mass civilian protest movements across the country. The CAA passed by the Parliament in December 2019, was the first major issue CJI had to deal soon after assuming office. The issue was sought to be brutally suppressed by the State through the invocation of S.144 orders, police crackdown internet shutdowns etc. It was drastic change in the core concept of Indian citizenship and this led to uncertainties about National Register of citizens and the anxieties about its National Population Register sent the country into a state of turmoil. 140 writ petitions were filed in Supreme Court by different parties across the nation challenging the CAA-NPR-NRC.

CJI Bobde chose to give priority to the questions of essential religious practices raised in the Sabarimala review. Nine-judge bench was formed to decide several questions relating to ambit of religious freedom by CJI. Due to the pandemic since March the regular functioning of Supreme Court was thrown out of gear which switched the hearing to video conferencing. The Supreme Court itself has shown that hearing of major cases involving complex issues can be held via video conferencing. So that the judiciary system will function properly.

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