Chief Justice Dipak Misra has just concluded a four-month-long hearing in the Aadhaar case, considered the second lengthiest one in the history of the Supreme Court. Though he has kept nine more weighty Constitutional matters for consideration before retirement, the court is off from Friday on an enviable summer vacation. This has left two-feet high bundles of petitions cluttering his courtroom, hardly leaving space for movement. When the judges return from cooler climes in July, the CJI bench has to take up contentious subjects like LGBT rights, whether charge-sheeted lawmakers must be disqualified and religious rights of Hindu and Parsi women. The CJI will have to race against time as he has only three months before retiring on October 2. With the snail pace of Aadhaar in mind, the bar is wondering how the CJI will beat the deadline.
Loyalty does pay
The bus service used by the Congress to ferry its MLAs out of the reach of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka is operated by Sharma Transports, founded by one Dhanraj Parasmal Sharma, regarded as a party loyalist during his lifetime. Sharma, who passed away in 2001, was active in the party in the 1980s and 1990s and had even contested elections for the South Bengaluru Lok Sabha seat in 1998 on a Congress ticket. (He eventually lost to Ananth Kumar, currently Parliamentary Affairs Minister, by a huge margin.) Later he moved into the real estate and transportation/cargo business but retained ties with party leaders in the south and west. The transport business is now run by his son.
Foes turn friends
The events in Karnataka have made friends of old foes. In Bengaluru, people can’t get enough of watching former chief minister Siddaramaiah sitting alongside Janata Dal (Secular) leaders HD Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy to protest Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision to invite Bharatiya Janata Party leader B S Yeddyurappa to form the government. A protest in New Delhi by Yashwant Sinha’s National Forum against events in Karnataka brought dissident Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav, Aam Aadmi Party and Congress leaders together at Vijay Chowk. Yadav is also set to launch a new political party on Friday. The new party will be called the Loktantrik Janata Dal. He will be joined by others like Kerala Rajya Sabha member MP Veerendra Kumar and Gujarat legislator Chhotubhai Vasava in the new party.