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Delay in MoP: 3 judge Bench disposes of case after DB took serious note

Murali Krishnan

In a rather surprising turn of events, a three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court today disposed of the case relating to the delay in finalising the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP).

This, after a Division Bench comprising Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit had taken serious note of the delay by the Central government in finalising the MoP. The Bench had also sought the Centre’s response on the issue. The Division Bench in its order had noted,

“we need to consider the prayer that there should be no further delay in finalization of MOP in larger public interest. Even though no time limit was fixed by this Court for finalization of the MOP, the issue cannot linger on for indefinite period. The order of this Court is dated 16th December, 2015 and thus more than one year and ten months have already gone by.”

The Bench also sought the personal presence of Attorney General KK Venugopal for the next hearing, while requesting Senior Advocate KV Viswanathan to assist the Court.

The two judge Bench had then listed the matter for consideration on November 14. However, the matter stood transferred to a 3-judge Bench as per the causelist for today.

This 3-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri and Amitava Roy today proceeded to order that “there was no need to proceed” with the matter, in light of the NJAC judgment.

A vehement plea to the contrary by petitioner RP Luthra was turned down by the Bench.

Amicus Curiae KV Viswanathan also tried to apprise the court of the issue. He said,

“It is a matter if grave concern. There is a feeling that there is undue delay. The pendency is shocking. Access to justice is a fundamental right.”

The Bench, however, made it clear that it was not willing to hear the matter on the judicial side. CJI Misra replied,

“No no, these are not things which we need to hear on the judicial side.”

Petitioner RP Luthra then raised his voice, incurring the wrath of the Bench. The Court proceeded to dispose of the case stating there was no need to take up the matter.

At this point in time, it is unclear as to what prompted the Court to transfer a case pending before a Division Bench to a 3-judge Bench.

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