New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) The Supreme Court has decided to hear urgent matters beginning March 16 following the coronavirus outbreak. Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and second senior-most judge Justice N.V. Ramana are not on the roster for March 16.
The third senior-most judge Justice Arun Mishra, who has been included in the roster, will sit with Justice M.R. Shah and take up plea of Mukesh, the death row convict in Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder, whose counsel has sought filing of fresh curative petition in the apex court.
The bench will also take up a plea by telecom company Vodafone and protection from arrest granted to civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde till March 16, in the Bhima-Koregaon case.
According to a notification issued on March 13, beginning March 16, the top court will hear only urgent matters, where six benches, comprising two judges, will hear 12 cases in the day.
The judges will take a 30-minute break after hearing first six cases on the list, and the remaining cases will be heard after the break.
In a late night circular on Friday, the apex court decided only 6 out of 15 benches will conduct hearing on Monday, and no persons, except lawyers connected with the case, will be allowed inside courtrooms.
The six benches will comprise Justices Arun Mishra and M.R. Shah, Justices U.U. Lalit and Vineet Saran, Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta, Justices L Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhatt, Justices S.K. Kaul and Sanjiv Khanna.
Usually, the apex court on Monday and Friday functions with 15 benches and take up mostly miscellaneous matters.
The cut-down on hearing of matters will postpone hearings on three important national issues — the nine-judge bench hearing led by Chief Justice on faith vs fundamental rights issue arising from petitions seeking review of the top court verdict allowing entry of all age women in the Sabarimala temple; petitions challenging the validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act and also the validity of the Centre’s decision to scrap Article 370, which gave special status to erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Supreme Court staff members have been advised to subject themselves to thermal-screening.
“All staff members may be required to subject themselves to thermal-screening and persons detected with high body temperature would be denied entry and further, they may be subject to the SOP prescribed by the government, Ministry of Health”, said the circular issued by Registrar Administration Deepak Jain.