New Delhi: The Constitutional Benches setup by the Supreme Court disposed of 25 cases in three years, according to a written reply by the law ministry to the questions raised in Lok Sabha.
Decade-wise data by the Ministry shows that the decade before 2020 saw the least number of cases disposed of at 70, while the time period between 1960 to 1969, saw highest disposal of such cases at 956.
There are 54 cases pending before Constitution Benches of the top court. Out of which 38 are five-judge bench matters, 9 are seven-judge bench matters and 7 are nine-judge bench matters.
According to Article 145(3), “any case involving a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution” must be decided by a Bench of at least five judges. Such a Bench is called a Constitution Bench.
While answering questions raised by Alappuzha Lok Sabha MP and Advocate AM Ariff, the Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Law & Justice Arjun Ram Meghwal informed that the Supreme Court has disposed of 2,188 Constitution Bench cases since 1950.
The Alappuzha MP has asked the Law Minister whether the reason for pendency of the cases is the lack of interest shown by the Government in expediting them.
“No, Sir, it cannot be said that the reason for pendency of the Constitution Bench cases is the lack of interest in expediting the same. As per information obtained from the Supreme Court, in respect of the Constitution Bench cases, there are intricate issues of law involved and arguments are addressed for number of days ranging from weeks to months. The said issues require deep analysis and thorough examination of law. Therefore, it is not possible to set out strict parameters and timelines regarding adjudication of such cases. Further, the adjudication and expeditious disposal of cases is within the exclusive domain of the judiciary.” Minister said in his written reply.
The following questions were posed by Ariff to the law ministry in Parliament:
(a) Whether several cases having serious consequences for the legal system of the country are pending before various Constitution Benches of the Supreme Court;
(b) if so, the details thereof including the name of case, type of Constitution Bench and period of pendency;
(c) whether the reason for pendency of the above mentioned cases is the lack of interest shown by the Government in expediting the same, if so, the action taken thereon; and
(d) the decade-wise list of cases heard and disposed of by the Constitutional Benches of the Supreme Court since its inception till date?
According to the data provided by the law minister, the top court deposed 440 such cases between 1950-1959, 956 cases between 1960-1969, 292 cases between 1970-1979, 110 cases between 1980-1989, 157 cases between 1990-1999, 138 cases between 2000-2009, 70 cases between 2010-2019, 25 Cases between 2020-2023.
What Are The Important Cases Pending?
A range of issues from the question of special status for the National Capital of Delhi to the validity of section 6A of the Citizenship Act are pending before the court. Last year, the top court’s constitutional benches gave verdict on abrogation of Section 370 in Jammu & Kashmir and legality of same-sex marriages and adoption rights of queer couples. A key three-judge bench that was constituted to hear challenges to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was dissolved by the top court as one of the Justice on the bench was due for retirement. The Supreme Court has also reserved a verdict on validity of the Electoral Bond scheme by the government.
Last week, the top court concluded hearing the arguments in the case pertaining to minority status of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), but reserved its verdict.
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