A few days after announcing the verdict on a big case like Ayodhya, the Supreme Court is going to deliver some crucial verdicts once again. On Thursday, the Supreme Court will pronounce its judgments on the Sabarimala dispute and the Rafale plane deal. The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi will deliver the verdict tomorrow at 10:30 AM.
Apart from these two big decisions, the Supreme Court will deliver its judgment also on the contempt case against former Congress president Rahul Gandhi who had attributed to the apex court his personal opinion about the Rafale deal.
The controversy over the entry of menstruating women in the famous Sabarimala temple in Kerala has been going on for a long time. Last year, the Supreme Court, while giving the verdict in this case, lifted the ban on women of 10 to 50 years entering the temple in a judgment that interestingly had a dissenting opinion from the woman judge of the bench.
After this order of the Supreme Court, devotees of Lord Ayyappa staged protests across Kerala and later many review petitions were filed. Their primary grievance is that the opinion of the sect that worships Lord Ayyappa, which includes lakhs of women who do not wish to enter the shrine before turning old, was not taken into consideration while those who were never a part of the belief system were celebrating the judgment as a victory of gender equality.
The Supreme Court will give its verdict on the petitions tomorrow. There were a total of 64 review petitions asking the apex court to change its stand on Sabarimala.
Besides Sabarimala, there’s Rafale
During the Lok Sabha election, the matter of Rafale aircraft deal had turned big. While India was procuring Rafale fighter aircraft from France, two PILs were filed, which alleged corruption in the deal. The price of the fighter aircraft, the contract, the role of the company was questioned.
In its judgment, the Supreme Court had said that the court could not interfere in the matter and that no question was raised on the procurement process. After the judgment, a review petition was filed in the Supreme Court in which the government was accused of misleading the apex court.
India and France have now moved forward on the Rafale plane deal. India has got the first Rafale aircraft although now the case has no effect on the procurement.
Contempt by Rahul Gandhi?
The Supreme Court will deliver its verdict on Thursday on the petition BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi filed against former Congress President Rahul Gandhi. Lekhi alleged that Gandhi said that the Supreme Court had accepted that the Prime Minister’s role in the Rafale deal was not clean.
Lekhi had alleged that Gandhi had linked the statements of the Supreme Court with politics. An apology letter was filed by Rahul Gandhi in this case, but no relief was received from the court.
Before CJI Gogoi retires
CJI Gogoi, who is retiring on 17 November, will be remembered for these verdicts, no matter what shape they take. The chief justice had thrown a party for his colleagues at a five-star hotel in Lutyens’ Delhi after the judgment in the Ayodhya case, the most awaited of cases he was to dispose of before retirement.
CJI Gogoi had enrolled at the bar in 1978. He practised at the Gauhati High Court where he was made a permanent judge on 28 February 2001. He was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on 9 September 2010, becoming its Chief Justice on 12 February 2011. On 23 April 2012, he was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court.
On 3 October 2018, he had been appointed as Chief Justice of India, succeeding Dipak Misra.