Thank You Supreme Court

  • This article gives some instances where the Supreme Court has worked extra hard, including burning mid-night oil.

I heard a video of researcher and author Ratanji Sharda where he thanked the Supreme Court for providing speedy protection from arrest to a woman lawyer. And all hope that all Indians are provided the same degree of service.


Who was granted bail and why?


According to an Indian Express report the lady, who claimed to be part of a fact finding committee that visited Manipur post the recent violence. She is Mrs Annie Thomas, wife of D Raja a well known Communist Party of India leader.


The report states, “The FIR was registered at Imphal police station on Saturday night against the members of the fact-finding committee, including CPI leader and National Federation of Indian Women General (NIFW) secretary Annie Raja. The FIR has been registered under sections including those pertaining to conspiracy to commit offences, provocation with intent to cause a riot, defamation, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace, imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration, and promoting enmity between different groups.”


I am not getting into the facts of the case. The FIR was filed on Saturday night i.e. July 8. With courts being closed on Sunday, she was given protection from arrest on Tuesday, July 11, morning.  


Wonder why she did not approach the Manipur High Court? Points worth noting are two, the respected SC moved quickly. Two, is SC undermining the authority of the High Court this way? Three, it was a government appointed fact-finding committee. The NIFW is associated with the Communist Party of India.


Another interesting case is that of activist Teesta Setalvad.


On Saturday July 1, 2023 the Gujarat High Court rejected Teesta’s bail application and asked her to surrender immediately. Hours later, on the same day the HC order was stayed for a week by the SC and she was granted interim protection. What happened?


According to this Indian Express report, her matter first went to a two judge vacation bench who differed on granting her interim protection. Hence, they requested the Chief Justice of India to assign it to a large bench. So on Saturday, a larger bench was constituted who held a special hearing at night, past 9.15 pm and pronounced its order.


I must appreciate the hard work put in by respected judges. This India Today report gives us three cases where the SC opened its doors post-midnight – all three were appeals against death penalties.


One was in 2015, appeal against hanging of Yakub Memom convicted in the 1993 Mumbai Bomb Blasts case.


“Yakub Memon’s lawyers reached the CJI’s residence at 11 pm triggering rumours of a rare midnight hearing. This was one of the rare few times that the country was about to witness a court hearing to give all possible legal avenues to a convicted terrorist who was behind the deaths over 200 people. The courtroom was abuzz at 4 am and within a few hours the court dismissed Yakub Memon’s last appeal.”


Two, SC heard the appeal of a Nirbhaya convict at 2.30 am before the hangings.


Third was in 2014, when SC heard an appeal by the Nithari killers and stopped their hanging.  


Some more instances of late night hearings based on media reports.


Four, was the famous Billa Ranga case in the 1980s when the father of the current CJI Chandrachud sat late in the night to hear a plea that they should not be hanged. Source

Five was in 2018 when SC burnt midnight oil in a plea against the swearing in of BJP leader Yeddyurappa as Karnataka Chief Minister. To read in detail what happened that night  

Six was in 1985 when SC doors were opened past midnight to hear a bail plea against the arrest of a prominent businessman in a FERA case. Source


In 2006 CJI Sabharwal had mooted the idea of evening courts. I hope the idea is explored. It shall reduce congestion and perhaps help result in faster disposal of cases. Source


Errors if any are unitended and without malafide intent. Post seeing live videos of proceedings in SC, I have a better understanding of the challenges faced. So am sharing links of earlier articles that have ideas for the higher judiciary.


1. Ideas to have more Women Judges in Higher Judiciary

2. Issues relating to the Higher Judiciary

3. Efficient judicial system shall enhance ease of doing business

4. Vacation Policy SC needs to shed its colonial past

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