A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud remarked Friday “it is in the seemingly small and routine matters involving grievances of citizens that issues of the moment, both in jurisprudential and constitutional terms, emerge”. It came in the backdrop of the Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, pointing to the high pendency of cases, said if the Supreme Court “starts hearing bail applications… all frivolous PILs” it will add “a lot of extra burden on the Court”.
The bench, also comprising Justice PS Narasimha, said that “right to personal liberty is a precious and inalienable right recognised by the Constitution” and lack of intervention by the Court can even lead to “serious miscarriage of justice”.
The CJI also announced that the Supreme Court will not have any vacation bench during the winter recess starting December 19. “There will be no benches available from tomorrow till January 2, 2023,” he said.
As per practice, the Supreme Court usually has vacation benches only during the long summer vacation between March and July.
The CJI’s remark on the “right to personal liberty” being “a precious and inalienable right” came in an order directing that the sentence imposed on a man, convicted under the Electricity Act, will run concurrently and not consecutively.
The offender, one Iqram, had been sentenced in nine cases for theft of electricity equipment belonging to the Uttar Pradesh electricity department. He had been sentenced to two years’ simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1000 in each of the nine cases.
“The history of this Court indicates that it is in the seemingly small and routine matters involving grievances of citizens that issues of the moment, both in jurisprudential and constitutional terms, emerge. The intervention by this Court to protect the liberty of citizens is hence founded on sound constitutional principles embodied in Part III of the Constitution. The Court is entrusted with judicial powers under Article 32 and Article 136 of the Constitution of India. The right to personal liberty is a precious and inalienable right recognised by the Constitution. In attending to such grievances, the Supreme Court performs a plain constitutional duty, obligation and function; no more and no less,” the CJI, writing for the bench, said in the order.