A group of nearly 200 civil society members have written to Chief Justice of India N V Ramana about their concerns regarding “non-listing as also pending adjudication” in the Supreme Court on “several urgent matters affecting citizen's fundamental rights” and “of national importance”.
While mentioning 421 Constitutional Bench matters, the letter specifically pointed to eight issues: abrogation of Article 370 “without due parliamentary process”, “continuing misuse of UAPA”, the Citizenship Amendment Act, farm laws, sedition as enshrined in IPC Section 124, breach of fundamental right to privacy in matters related to Pegasus and Aadhaar, electoral bonds and transparency, and the Rafale aircraft deal.
The letter specified that with the recent appointment of nine judges to the Supreme Court, the total strength is now 31, and while it is a “welcoming development”, “it has also raised public expectation of adjudication on long-pending cases which have deeply affected people's lives, livelihoods and communities”.
The letter stated that besides being issues of “national importance”, these cases “affect the daily lives of very large sections of the populace”. They requested the CJI to “consider constituting Benches of appropriate strength as a matter of great urgency, to hear the cases concerning these and other constitutional matters, which are pending before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, some for over two years”. “Early disposal of these Constitution cases will restore the faith that we as citizens repose in the judiciary and the Supreme Court,” it noted.
The 197 signatories include former Navy chief Admiral (retd) Laxminarayan Ramdas, retired IPS officer Julio Ribeiro, economist Jean Dreze, activists Medha Patkar and Shabnam Hashmi, journalists Ammu Joseph, Sujata Madhok, Venkitesh Ramakrishnan and Chithira V, among others.
According to data accessed on the on November 1, 2021, the letter pointed out that there are 49 main matters and 372 connected matters pending of the 421 Constitutional Bench matters pending before five-, seven- and nine-judge Benches.