From the historic Ayodhya verdict to the dismissal of Rafale review pleas, the nation witnessed many landmark Supreme Court judgments in 2019. Here are the top 5 verdicts of the year.
The Supreme Court bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi gave its verdict on the 70-year-old Ayodhya land dispute case on November 9.
The apex court said that the faith of Hindus that Ayodhya is Lord Ram’s birth place is undisputed, and Ram is the rightful owner of the land. The court ordained the Centre to set up a trust to monitor the construction of Ram temple at the site. The bench also ruled to give five acres of “suitable” alternate land to Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board.
Review petitions filed against the judgment were dismissed by the court on December 12.
Sabarimala case review
In September 2018, the SC had ruled that regardless of gender, all pilgrims should be allowed entry to the Sabarimala temple in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala.
Earlier, women belonging to the age group 10-50 were not permitted to enter the Sabarimala temple, considering the celibate nature of the deity. The judgment was strongly opposed by many, leading to violent protests in the district. Many resorted to violence and physical threats against the women who tried to enter the temple.
Review petitions were filed in the case; On November 14, 2019, the Supreme Court Constitution Bench referred the pleas and writ petitions to a seven judge bench. The court is expected to hear the petitions in January 2020.
Rafale review petitions
On November 14, the court dismissed the pleas seeking review of its 2018 Rafale verdict, which gave a clean chit to Narendra Modi government. It also a rejected the pleas seeking a probe into the Rafale deal, saying that “there was no reason for any intervention on the sensititve issue of the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft”.
“Perception of individuals cannobe the basis of a fishing a roving enquiry by this court,” the SC had said.
Office of the CJI under the RTI
Through its November 13, 2019 verdict, the top court also brought the office of the CJI under the scope of Right To Information Act. A five-member bench, led by then CJI Gogoi, in its verdict said that independence and accountability go hand in hand and that independence of the judiciary cannot be ensured only by denying information.
Contempt case against Rahul Gandhi
The Supreme Court on November 14 ended the contempt proceedings against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his ‘Chowkidar chor hai’ comment.
On April 10, 2019, the top court had dismissed Centre’s objections over the admissibility of certain documents supporting the pleas seeking review of its 2018 Rafale verdict. While commenting on the same, Gandhi wrongly attributed the ‘Chowkidar chor hai’ remark to the Supreme Court.
The Congress leader later tendered an unconditional apology to the apex court. The court ended the contempt proceedings, warning Gandhi to be “careful next time”.