60 cases in under 3 hrs, 592 matters heard in all in SC: With action-packed day 1, CJI Lalit has big plans in short tenure
Out nearly 900 petition listed before the apex court on Monday, around 592 of them were actually cases which were heard for the first time, though their filing was either of this year or they were filed in some time last year.
These matters included several crucial ones, including the petition concerning the issue of wearing of Hijab inside educational institutions and plea seeking a judicial probe in the deal regarding the procurement of the Rafale jets.
The court also heard various matters involving issues of personal liberty, like a plea by a woman whose husband gave her Talaq-e-Hassan and plea by Bhima Koregaon accused Gautam Navlakha seeking house arrest instead of the judicial custody due to which he is lodged in the Taloja jail.
While presiding on the dais as the CJI, the bench headed by Justice UU Lalit heard around 60 matters in a time span of around 2.5 hours. Meanwhile, while being on the bench, the new CJI also informed the lawyers that a new mechanism for mentioning urgent matters would be in place by Thursday and until then the mentioning can continue via the ad-hoc way of in-chamber mentioning.
CJI UU Lalit also assured that all the fresh cases would find its way in the list and would be heard as soon as possible. The approach of the new CJI seems to be an effort to tackle the long pendency of cases for which the Indian Judiciary is generally criticised for.
Speaking about the pendency of cases in the Indian Judicial system, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju while addressing the Independence Day Celebrations at Supreme Court had said, “Lot of questions are asked about why there is a delay in dispensing speedy justice, but, I can’t sometimes give a definite time…but I can’t say it because I can’t cross the Lakshman Rekha. The fact is that our country is unique and so are the challenges.”
“No country can face the problem that India faces, hence, the judiciary is having its own challenges, its not easy to handle the position that India holds, its easy to make sweeping comments, it isn’t easy when you see the pinch of the shoes,” the law minister added.
Highlighting his vision as CJI at his predecessor NV Ramana’s farewell function, Justice Lalit had said, “I know you’re all waiting for Justice Ramana to speak and not me but since I have the chance I’ll tell something about what I am intending to do in the future during my tenure.”
Justice Lalit, advancing further, stated that he try to address three major areas namely – Listing of cases, mentioning urgent matters and constitution benches.
With regards to listing, he said, “I assure that we will make listing of cases as simple as clear and as transparent as possible.”
Next, about the urgent mentioning, the then CJI designate had said, “We will look into the area of urgent mentionings very shortly so that you can have a clear cut regime where urgent matters can be mentioned freely before any respective courts”.
With regards to matters concerning constitutional questions, Justice Lalit had said, “I believe that the job of the Supreme Court is to lay down the law in clear terms so that people are aware of peculiar positions in law. We will strive to have one constitution bench functioning throughout the year”.
Justice Uday Umesh Lalit was born on November 9, 1957, in Solapur, Maharashtra. His father, UR Lalit, was an Additional Judge at the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court’s and a senior advocate at the Supreme Court.
Justice UU Lalit enrolled as an advocate in June 1983. He specialised in criminal law and practiced at the Bombay HC from 1983 to 1985. Following his stint at the Bombay HC, he worked in the chambers of then Attorney General of India, Soli Sorabjee, from 1986 to 1992.