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For first time ever, 3 SC constitution benches with 15 judges sat today

History was made today, with three Constitution benches sitting at the same time in the Supreme Court at 2 pm, after Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur made crucial changes at the beginning of his tenure in how constitution benches would be constituted.

The first bench at Court No 1 comprising the Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur, and justices Fakkir Mohammed Ibrahim Kalifulla, AK Sikri, SA Bobde, and R Banumathi will continue to hear the Brahmosamaj Education Society vs State of West Bengal case which remained incomplete on 11 January, when the bench first met.

Advocate Siddhartha Chowdhury, who is appearing for the petitioners in WP [C] 9683-9684 OF 1983 was on his legs when the court rose for the day. /Legally India /has earlier carried a report on this case.

The second bench comprising Justices Anil R Dave, Kurian Joseph, Shiva Kirti Singh, Adarsh Kumar Goel, and Rohinton Fali Nariman, heard Common Cause vs Union of India [WP[C] 215/2015] in which the petitioner sought the enactment of a law on the lines of Patient Autonomy and Self-determination Act of the USA, which sanctions the practice of executing a ‘living will’ in the nature of an advance directive for refusal of life-prolonging medical procedures in the event of the testator’s incapacitation.

The Constitution bench is expected to resolve the inconsistencies between the civision bench judgment in Aruna Shanbaug (2011), which allowed passive euthanasia under certain safeguards, and the Constitution bench judgment in Gian Kaur (1996), which held that the right to life does not include the right to die.

The petition makes the prayer that the right to die with dignity be declared as a fundamental right within the fold of right to live with dignity under Article 21.

The case has been adjourned to 1 February, after a brief hearing of the parties, as the Centre wanted some time to make its stand clear to the court.

The third bench comprising justices JS Khehar, Dipak Misra, Madan B Lokur, Pinaki Chandra Ghose and NV Ramana heard Nabam Rebia vs Registrar General, Gauhati High Court, which was referred to the Constitution bench by Justice Khehar only on 14 January.

Rebia is the Speaker of the Arunachal Pradesh assembly, who has been unseated by the Deputy Speaker and the rebels in the ruling party.

Senior advocate, Harish Salve, who represents the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, told the bench comprising justices Khehar and C Nagappan that as important constitutional issues arose in this case, it should be placed before a CB

Today (15 January) Kapil Sibal, counsel for Rebia began his submissions, outlining the legal issues involved in the Governor summoning the session of the assembly without the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.

According the Sibal, the Governor has no discretion to summon the assembly session without the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.

As the Governor summoned the session of the assembly nearly one month ahead of its scheduled session, without the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, it is unconstitutional, he argued. Further arguments in the case will continue on 18 January.

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