The Supreme Court will reopen today after winter vacation. There are several high-profile cases that are pending in the apex court besides a number of vacancies. There is also a new entrant to the collegium sytem headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi. The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its verdict on CBI Director Alok Verma’s plea seeking to challenge the central government’s decision to send him on leave after divesting him of all duties. All eyes will be on the hearing and subsequent verdict on the Ayodhya title suit. The hearing is scheduled to begin on January 4.
On the first day after re-opening, the top court will hear a crucial plea filed lawyers from Hyderabad challenging the decision to transfer the Andhra Pradesh High Court to Amaravati from the Telangana capital. Separate high courts for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh came into being on Tuesday, more than four years after the latter was bifurcated to create the youngest state in the country. Thottathil B Radhakrishnan took over as the first Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court in Hyderabad, while C Praveen Kumar took oath as the Acting Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court at Vijayawada.
The second senior most judge after Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B Lokur has retired. With this, the strength of judges in the Supreme has come down to 26. The sanctioned strength of judges is 31. Justice AK Sikri is also scheduled to retire in the first week of March and Justice Arun Mishra has been inducted into the Collegium.