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SC’s 5-judge Constitution bench not to sit this week

A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court which was scheduled to hear certain important cases, including the land acquisition matter from Tuesday, will not sit in this week.

According to the notice uploaded on the apex court website, the hearing of cases by the Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was cancelled.

Other cases included as to whether lawmakers enjoy immunity from prosecution for accepting bribes to vote in Parliament or an Assembly.

“In supersession of earlier notice dated the April 16, 2019 uploaded on the Supreme Court website mentioning that Constitution bench will sit in Chief Justice’s court from April 23, 2019, now, take further notice that the Constitution bench will not sit in the week commencing from April 23, 2019,” the notice said.

As per the earlier notice of April 16, the five-judge bench was scheduled to hear from April 23, two matters pertaining to the interpretation of Section 24 of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013.

The two cases were referred to the Constitution bench as two benches of the apex court of same strength had taken a contradictory view on the issue.

The apex court had on April 2 asked the Centre and the parties concerned, who have challenged the validity of various provisions of the Act, to consensually frame the questions of law to be answered by a five-judge Constitution bench.

The hearing in two land-acquisition matter is ongoing.

The third case to be taken up by the bench related to the issue whether a lawmaker enjoys immunity under Article 194(2) of the Constitution from prosecution for accepting bribes to vote in Parliament or Assembly.

This crucial question with “wide ramification” and of “substantial public importance”, will be dealt by the apex court as it has decided to revisit its 21-year-old verdict in the sensational Jharkhand Mukti Morch (JMM) bribery case earlier this month.

In 1998 five-judge constitution bench had held in the PV Narasimha Rao versus CBI case that lawmakers have immunity under the Constitution against criminal prosecution for their speech or vote given in the house. Source Deccan Herald

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