Flashback 2015: Memon's pre-dawn hearing, NJAC made SC eventful
New Delhi, Dec 25: An unprecedented pre-dawn hearing sealing Mumbai blasts' convict Yakub Memon's fate, relief to ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in coalgate and ousting of cricket czar N Srinivasan hogged the limelight in 2015 in the Supreme Court where a historic bid of the Executive to wrest back primacy on judges' appointment got a drubbing.
Besides, the apex court in an activist mode dealt with the aspect of pollution and other issues of fundamental rights with path-breaking verdicts on freedom of speech by striking down controversial section 66A of the Information Technology Act that provided for arrest for posting allegedly "offensive" content on social networking sites.
However, the turf war between the legislative/executive combine and the judiciary over the NDA government's ambitious law -- National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) Act -- aimed at replacing the 22-year-old collegium system of judges appointing judges for higher judiciary -- was the cynosure of all eyes which ended with the legislation being dubbed as unconstitutional and compromising independence of judiciary.
The verdict by the five-judge Constitution Bench which revived the collegium system after almost a year culminated in guidelines to improve it, with the apex court at the fag end of the year asking the Centre to draft memorandum of procedures in consultation with the CJI.
Another setback the NDA government had was for defending the action of previous UPA regime over the cyber law curtailing the freedom of speech and expression of netizens.
The Supreme Court, whose path-breaking verdicts on the issue is almost unparalleled, lived up to its glorious past and in yet another legendary verdict held section 66A of IT Act as "unconstitutional" which had a "chilling effect" on freedom of speech and expression.
So was the case for Narendra Modi government on the issue of Jat reservation when its efforts to defend the pre-poll decision of the Manmohan Singh regime did not yield favourable result with the apex court saying earlier "possible wrong inclusions" cannot be the basis of further inclusions.
After the verdict on the cyber law, the top court again drew international attention for holding pre-dawn hearing when the last-ditch effort by human right activists to save 1993 Mumbai serial blasts master mind Memon from gallows failed.
He was hanged, hours after the apex court on July 30 passed the order of rejection of his plea just before 05:00 AM which was filed at midnight after dismissal of identical relief in the day.
Taking a cue from the Memon episode, a similar attempt was made by the Delhi Commission for Women which, through its chairperson Swati Maliwal, rushed to the apex court without success on the intervening night of December 19-20 to stop the release of juvenile offender in the horrific December 16, 2012 gangrape case.