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PMLA, Pegasus, Bilkis: Highlights From CJI Ramana's Court Day Before Retirement

From deferrals to officers being found guilty, here's what transpired in each of the hearings on Thursday.

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A day before Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana's term ends, the Supreme Court heard at least five high profile cases on Thursday, 25 August.

The plea challenging the convicts' release in the Bilkis Bano case, the review plea of the PMLA verdict, and the widely controversial Pegasus spyware allegations were a few of the cases on the retiring chief justice's agenda.

From deferrals to officers being pulled up, here's what transpired in each of the hearings:

Bilkis Bano Case: SC Issues Notice to Gujarat Govt

The Supreme Court on Thursday, 25 August, issued notice to the Gujarat government in a batch of petitions against the remission granted to 11 lifers convicted for the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

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The apex court also asked the petitioners to make the 11 convicts party to the case. Both the state government and the convicts have been asked to file their response in two weeks, when the matter has been next listed.

Read our story detailing the intricasies of the hearing here.

PMLA Review: Aspects on Burden of Proof, ECIR in Judgment Require Relook

A Supreme Court bench also heard a petition against the apex court’s landmark judgment dated 27 July, which upheld the constitutional validity of provisions under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

The widely contested verdict, which went against previous Supreme Court decisions, upheld stringent bail conditions in money-laundering cases.

Stating that the objective of the PMLA judgment was noble, the apex court on Thursday said that there were two issues with the judgment that prima facie required consideration:

  • Regarding the non-providing of ECIR

  • Reversal of burden of proof and presumption of innocence

The Quint's piece delves deeper into what happened at the hearing.

Pegasus: 'Govt Did Not Cooperate in Probe,' Says SC Citing Expert Panel Report

Regarding the highly controversial 'Pegasus' spyware controversy, the Supreme Court on Thursday, 25 August, said that out of the 29 phones examined by the expert committee, five out of them had malware.

The apex court, however, did not clarify if the malware was due to Pegasus.

"It appears 29 phones were given...they have found some malware..five out of 29 phones had some malware, but not saying if due to Pegasus," the court said, citing the committee's report.

The committee also pointed out that the Indian government had not cooperated, according to CJI Ramana.

For more information on the three-part report and how much of it is 'publicly' available, read our story here.

PM Modi Security Breach: 'Officer Failed To Discharge Duty'

The Supreme Court said on Thursday, 25 August, that a committee, appointed by the apex court to look into alleged lapses in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's security during his visit to Punjab in January 2022, found that a Punjab police official had "failed" to discharge his duties.

The bench censured the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ferozepur, Hardeep Bhans, saying that he had "failed to discharge (his) duty and augment the route though sufficient time and forces were available."

What else did the Court say? Read our story to find out.

Teesta Setalvad Bail Plea: Hearing Adjourned to 30 August

While CJI Ramana heard the other four cases, a Supreme Court bench, including Chief Justice of India-designate UU Lalit, deferred the bail plea hearing of activist Teesta Setalvad in the 2002 Gujarat riots conspiracy case to Tuesday, 30 August, after the Gujarat government sought more time to file its reply.

The state's Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has alleged falsification of records by Setalvad in a bid to implicate high state functionaries in connection with the riots.

Read our story for more details on how Setalvad's arrest curiously coincided with the Supreme Court's dismissal of the plea filed by slain former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri's wife Zakia Jafri, challenging the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe in the Gujarat riots case.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:   Supreme Court   PMLA   Pegasus 

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