April 5th, 2017
For the upcoming summer, the Supreme Court has prepared a roll of over 5,000 cases to be listed during the break. These matters would be heard by the two regular vacation benches – comprising two judges each – that would sit from May 11 to July 2. Chief Justice of India JS Khehar announced in the open court that for the first time in the apex court’s history, three constitution benches of five judges each will sit during the summer break.
He did so on Thursday while fixing May 11, the first day of the summer break, for hearing petitions demanding scrapping of triple talaq, nikah halala and practice of polygamy among Muslims.
The court will also hear if WhatsApp sharing with Facebook, its parent company, details of calls, messages, photographs and documents exchanged by 160 million Indian users violated the citizens’ right to privacy.
The third constitution bench will examine whether children born to Bangladeshi migrants could be accorded Indian citizenship.
Nineteen of the 28 judges will be hearing cases during the 45-day break, which is unprecedented. Typically, four SC judges work during court holidays.
The court was ready to give up its vacation to hear “issues of grave importance”, the CJI said. “The court is ready to sit even on Saturdays and Sundays to hear the matter,” he said.
It is to be noted that the practice has often come under criticism in the face of huge backlog. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last year questioned the long vacation.