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A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi will deliver two crucial judgments on Wednesday, November 13. These judgments come in cases pertaining to reorganisation of Tribunals and bringing the office of the Chief Justice of India under the Right to Information Act (RTI Act).
The cases were heard by the Constitution Bench headed by CJI Gogoi and comprising Justices NV Ramana, DY Chandrachud, Deepak Gupta, and Sanjiv Khanna.
The judgment in the Roger Mathew case pertains to a challenge to Sections 156 to 189 of the Finance Act, 2017, which amend provisions relating to structuring and reorganisation of tribunals. Various issues were heard in this case, including those pertaining to bringing all tribunals under the Ministry of Law and Justice, uniformity of tribunals, the passage of Finance Act as a Money Bill etc.
The difference between a Finance Bill and a Money Bill was argued at length by Senior Counsel Arvind Datar. This aspect was refuted by Attorney General for India KK Venugopal, who had argued that the decision of the Speaker to table a bill as a money bill cannot be subject to judicial review. Proceedings in Parliament when the House is in session cannot be challenged before a court of law, Venugopal had submitted.
The second case raises the question of whether the office of the Chief Justice of India comes under the purview of RTI. This is an appeal filed by the Supreme Court against an order of the Central Information Commission which had held that the information relating to the appointment of Supreme Court judges should be furnished under the RTI Act.
The decision in the case will have huge ramifications as regards transparency in the Indian Judiciary. The absence of transparency has been particularly highlighted by the way the Collegium resolutions and decisions are arrived at.
The judgment is scheduled to be pronounced at 2PM on Wednesday, November 13.