The Supreme Court closed for summer vacation on Tuesday, with 359 cases listed for hearing before it reopens on July 3.
However, the day was quite eventful for the apex court, having convicted a sitting HC judge for contempt, for the first time in the history of the Indian judicial system. It sentenced Calcutta High Court judge Justice C.S. Karnan to six months in jail “for contempt of Indian Judiciary as well as judicial process”.
During the hearing, the court is understood to have been occupied with several advocates who felt that Justice Karnan’s acts were unpardonable and that he deserved the strictest punishment.
However, when Mr. Venugopal suggested that the court should wait for the judge to retire, the CJI thundered: “in contempt we do not distinguish… there is no color… sitting or non-sitting… if he thought we will not punish him as he is sitting, he is wrong.”
Another verdict of contempt was issued against liquor baron Vijay Mallya, for willful disobedience of the court’s order to disclose his assets in India and abroad. The billionaire has now been directed to personally appear before the court on July 10, for the sentence. While Mr. Mallya has been comfortably defiant since the Rs. 9,000-crore loan default happened, the Supreme Court ruling would surely deter his escape ambitions from taking off.
Having had an action-packed day, the court is now set to hear urgent miscellaneous matters and regular hearing matters during the holidays, keeping true to its crusade to reduce the ever-mounting backlog of cases.
The apex court had earlier made headlines, when it had expressed readiness to hear a whopping 5,298 cases which figure in its notice for advance ‘Regular Hearing Matters List’ for summer vacation.
Now, two division benches were nominated for this purpose. The first, comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Navin Sinha, would adorn the court from May 11 to May 14. The second bench, comprising Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Navin Sinha will hold charge from May 15 to May 27.
Moreover, three constitution benches will sit during the same time to grapple with complex issues such as the legality of triple talaq and the right to dignity of Muslim women, WhatsApp’s implications on citizen’s right to privacy, and the vexed citizenship tangle in Assam.
Well, as the Supreme Court itself said, while dismissing an appeal in the DU photocopiers’ case today, enjoy your vacations!