The Supreme Court will have a permanent Constitution Bench comprising of Five Judges to adjudicate case involving a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of this Constitution.
The Times of India reports that from October 1, the Supreme Court will have a permanent five-judge bench.
This follows a significant move by the Supreme Court which amended the Supreme Court Rules 2013 to provide for single bench sitting to deal with transfer petitions and special leave petitions arising out of bail orders with respect to offences punishable up to seven years imprisonment.
Article 145(3) provides that the minimum number of five Supreme Court Judges is to sit for the purpose of deciding any case involving a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of this Constitution or for the purpose of hearing any reference under Article 143
In the course of the hearing of the appeal, if a bench is satisfied that the appeal involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of this Constitution the determination of which is necessary for the disposal of the appeal, such Court shall refer the question for opinion to a Court constituted as required by this clause for the purpose of deciding any case involving such a question and shall on receipt of the opinion dispose of the appeal in conformity with such opinion.
The existing practice in the Supreme Court is that when a division bench of the Supreme Court refers a matter to Constitution bench, the Chief Justice of India constitutes a bench of five judges taking into account the factors like pendency of cases, engagement of judges in other cases etc.