Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) questioned the government regarding the delay in approving Collegium recommendations for judicial appointments to several High Courts (HC).
The Supreme Court has recently ruled that reservation for promotions in public posts is not a fundamental right, and a state cannot be forced to provide the quota if it decided not to. The idea that reservation is not a right may be in line with the Constitution, but, the government still has the responsibility to offer Reservation for vulnerable sections of Indian society.
In 2020, India lost arbitration cases to Vodafone and Cairn. These cases were against India’s retrospective taxation regime that came into effect on 2012. On December 21, the Indian government challenged the Vodafone case verdict before the Singapore Court. Given the retrospective taxes’ reputation of being unattractive for investors, the government could do well in removing such taxations – especially at the time when India is considering increasing investments to ensure Atmanirbhar Bharat. Alterations in this regard should be ensured to enable India to become a lucrative investment destination.
The Supreme Court has recently ruled against the protests at Shaheen Bagh by stating that the right to protest in a public place is not absolute and public places cannot be indefinitely occupied by such protests. While the protest ended in March, the verdict was given in October. This verdict is criticised for the apex court’s indifference towards the government’s ignorance of the voices of the people, which is the reason behind such lasting protest.
Media is recognized as the fourth pillar of Democracy after Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. Therefore, to ensure democracy, there is a need for free and independent media. However, these days the role of media is often criticized, especially in reporting criminal matters. The media sometimes go beyond its domain and starts interfering with the functions of the court. Often the media have gone a step further and published information based on mere assumptions and suspicion about the line of investigation by the official agencies to vigorously report on the issue on a day to day basis and comment on the evidence without ascertaining the factual matrix. Such reporting has brought an undue pressure in the course of fair investigation and trial.
In early July 2020, An extract of the final award of the ad-hoc tribunal constituted to settle disputes related to the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) regarding Italian marines Case between India and Italy was published by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). It has ordered to cease all criminal proceedings against the two Italian Soldiers in Indian courtrooms by rejecting India’s contention that the soldiers, who were accused of killing Indian fishermen, could be trialled in Indian courts. Following the order, Centre has made a plea in Supreme Court seeking the closure of cases against the Italian soldiers. But the Supreme Court has refused to pass any such order without hearing victims’ kin and getting them paid the compensation.
Recently Kesavananda Bharati, the seer of Edneer Mutt in Kasaragod district of Kerala, whose petition challenging the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act 1969 led to the landmark “basic structure” doctrine verdict delivered by the Supreme Court in 1973, passed away. The case of Kesavananda Bharati vs. State of Kerala was heard for 68 days and continues to hold the vertex spot for the longest proceedings ever to have taken place in the top court. The judgment is considered among the most significant and consequential decisions by the Supreme Court as it set out the “basic structure” of the Constitution that Parliament cannot amend.
A 5-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court reopened the debate on quota within quota for SCs and STs by supporting their sub-classification to ensure equality in the upliftment of all within the marginalised community. Disagreeing with another SC verdict on the same subject, the case was referred to a larger bench comprising of 7 judges or more.
In January 2020, the Supreme Court sought response from the health ministry and environment ministry to the Public Interest Litigation seeking the right to euthanasia for persons suffering from rabies. This petition points out the limitations of SC’s 2018 judgement that provided for guidelines for passive euthanasia.