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Rick Halperin
2017-08-27 11:21:26 UTC
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August 27



INDIA:

With Justice Dipak Misra at the helm, a series of high-impact cases await
resolution----A look at the career highlights of India's new Chief Justice and
what lies ahead for him



When Justice Dipak Misra takes office as the 45th Chief Justice of India on
Monday, his 13-month tenure may see a resolution of knotty and high-magnitude
issues spanning the spectrum, from the validity of Aadhaar to the
Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title disputes.

With Justice J.S Khehar's exit, the Aadhaar Constitution Bench has lost its
lead judge. It will be up to Justice Misra now to either lead the Bench or have
Justice Chelameswar lead it.

Justice Misra may soon set up a Constitution Bench to decide the special status
accorded to the State of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 35A, a provision
incorporated in the Constitution through a Presidential Order in 1954 and not
by a constitutional amendment.

Following the strong comments made in the recent privacy judgments against
Section 377 of the IPC, the Supreme Court under the leadership of Justice Misra
would have to soon set up a Constitution Bench of 5 judges to decide the
validity of the section that criminalises gay sex.

Justice Misra would also need to guide the resolution of a prolonged impasse
with the government on the finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP)
for appointment of judges and the filling up of judicial vacancies across high
courts and the Supreme Court.

The MoP draft, which was handed over to the Supreme Court Collegium by the
government way back in August 2016, has been in limbo through the tenures of 2
of his immediate predecessors - Justice T.S. Thakur and J.S. Khehar.

After a pathbreaking role as the chairperson of the National Legal Services
Authority with initiatives like Nyaya Sanyog that marries technology with the
concept of complete access to justice by litigants, including undertrial
prisoners, Justice Misra is expected to train his focus on taking radical steps
to bring down the growing pendency of over 2.8 crore cases in the lower courts.

The Supreme Court under Justice Misra's predecessor Justice J.S. Khehar had
taken suo motu cognizance of pendency and judicial vacancies in subordinate
courts. The apex court is considering the evolution of a centralised mechanism
for the appointment of judicial officers in subordinate courts. It is to be
seen whether Justice Misra would take the proposal further.

Justice Misra made history when he led the 3-judge Bench which heard Yakub
Memon, the sole condemned man in the Bombay blasts case, who came knocking on
the Supreme Court's door for reprieve in the wee hours of the day he was hanged
to death.

Justice Misra is hearing a slew of important cases with far-reaching
consequences, including the BCCI case for transparency in Indian cricket
administration and the SEBI-Sahara spat, in which the court is playing the
taskmaster to get Sahara repay the crores it owes its investors.

In May 2017, Justice Misra authored the landmark judgment confirming the death
penalty of 4 convicts in the brutal Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case that
shook the nation and spurred the genesis of a stringent anti-rape law. In his
verdict, Justice Misra termed the convicts as those who "found an object for
enjoyment in her... for their gross, sadistic and beastly pleasures... for the
devilish manner in which they played with her dignity and identity is humanly
inconceivable".

He had upheld constitutionality of criminal defamation. He was also part of the
Bench of the Supreme Court's 7 seniormost judges who convicted then sitting
Calcutta High Court judge, Justice C.S. Karnan, of contempt of court and
sentenced him to six months' imprisonment.

In a recent judgment, Justice Misra described eve-teasing as a "pernicious,
horrid and disgusting" practice in India. Recently, it was Justice Misra's
Bench which put its foot down to ensure that not a single National Eligibility
and Entrance Test (NEET) student in Tamil Nadu would suffer because of the
State government's proposal to promulgate an ordinance to freeze NEET. The
Centre later backed out of promulgating the ordinance.

In 2015, a Bench led by Justice Misra set aside the ban on dance bars under the
Maharashtra Police Act while observing that there are other alternatives to a
ban on dance performances to ensure safety of women.

Justice Misra also hit the headlines when the Bench he was leading ordered that
patrons should stand up in respect and "committed patriotism and nationalism"
when the National Anthem and National Flag are featured before shows in cinema
theatres across the country.

(source: The Hindu)

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