Supreme Court Data Portal

History of Constitution Benches

Under Article 145(3) of the Constitution, matters ‘involving a ­substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution’ are required to be decided by a minimum of five judges. These benches of the Supreme Court, often involving five, seven or nine judges, are called Constitution Benches.

Over the course of India’s history, these Constitution Benches have settled key questions involving individual rights and separation of powers thereby fundamentally shaping India’s rule of law framework. Some key issues such as the immutable nature of the fundamental rights under the Indian Constitution (Kesavananda Bharti v State of Kerala), limitation on the imposition of President’s Rule (S.R. Bommai v Union of India), clarifications on the law on personal liberties (Maneka Gandhi v Union of India) and deciding how territorial boundaries of India’s states should be demarcated (In re: Berubari Union) have been decided by Constitution Benches.

In the recent past too, they have been the harbinger of progressive change. Some of these landmark cases involve the decriminalisation of homosexuality (Navtej Singh Johar v Union of India), the declaration of the right to privacy as a fundamental right (Justice (Retd.) K.S. Puttaswamy v Union of India) and the declaration of the ban on women of all ages from entering the Sabarimala temple as violative of their fundamental rights (Indian Young Lawyers Association v State of Kerala).

Previous research on Constitution Benches

While a significant amount of literature has been individually published about the jurisprudence these landmark cases helped create, empirical research on the functioning of these benches is few and far between. Recognising this lacuna, Nick Robinson and others conducted a study, a decade ago, examining all the constitution benches that had been set up since India’s independence until the end of 2009. The research studied voting patterns, the length of judgments, foreign citations and winning party among others. In the recent past, shorter pieces that examine the judgments delivered by these benches have also been published. There is also an ongoing project which studies the Supreme Court, which in its research also touches upon constitution benches. However, none of the above studies comprehensively examine all the cases pending before these benches or conduct an analysis of the associated aggregate statistics. This Constitution Bench Pendency Project is an attempt to plug this gap.

Pendency before the Constitution Bench

As a part of the process of consolidating the cases before it, the Supreme Court now regularly publishes statistics on the number of pending cases, including the number of pending constitution bench cases. These numbers are also bifurcated into the number of main and connected matters. The itemised list on the other hand, is available at the terminal cause list published on the website. Unfortunately however, during the course of our research we found that the list of cases on the terminal causelist fluctuated sporadically without any of the missing cases being heard in court. To ensure a fixity and authority in numbers, we filed an RTI application with the Supreme Court. The results in the present portal reflect the cases pending before the Supreme Court as on 17 November 2022. However, cases disposed of till 7 November, 2022 have been excluded from the dataset. A culmination of this exercise found that there are 45 main constitution bench matters pending before the Supreme Court. Since quite often, one case might dispose of multiple connected matters, a total of 612 cases are pending before these benches.

The JALDI Constitution Bench Tracker

The present tracker examines these cases and hopes to provide the user an in-depth understanding of each of these cases in an accessible form. For every case, the portal explainsthe timelines of events and orders, information on facts, questions of law, arguments, precedents and legislations under challenge. The further readings section hopes to act as a resource for those individuals looking to explore these cases in even more detail. The portal also charts the tagged matters and the pendencies. Since the research mentioned above has found that the number of these benches has consistently dwindled over time, we hope that this portal highlights the need for this particular aspect of the Supreme Court’s pendency to be addressed with gravity. We think that these cases require special emphasis since they involve critical questions of law that only the Supreme Court in its judgment and eminence can resolve.



A large team worked to turn the Constitution Bench Pendency Project (“Project”) into a reality. Prashant Reddy T. (former Lead, Justice, Access and Lowering Delays in India Initiative (JALDI) at Vidhi) and Nayantara Vohra (former Associate Fellow, JALDI) were part of the initial stages of this project including scoping the cases from the terminal list and collating the orders from the Supreme Court website. 

Apoorva (Research Fellow) and Vaidehi Misra (Senior Resident Fellow), under the guidance of Deepika Kinhal (Team Lead and Senior Resident Fellow) led the project in conceptualising and designing the process for creating summaries of these cases. 

Along with them, Aditya Ranjan and Shreya Tripathy (Research Fellows) and Reshma Sekhar (Senior Resident Fellow) helped review the cases that were summarised by the Kautilya Fellows. Vidhi’s Kautilya Society chapters in various law schools across the country are designed to work both independently as well as with Vidhi researchers on real-world research projects.

The following Kautilya Fellows were instrumental to the preparation of this project and the JALDI team would like to thank them for their immense contribution. They are: Abin Thomas Alex, Adhipatya Singh, Akanksha Yadav, Amrashaa Singh, Ankita Gupta, Anukriti Randev, Arjun Butani, Prajwal Venkatesh, Sanskruti Yagnik, Shivani Jaideep Karnik and Soumya Jain. Sanjeev Gumpenapalli, an intern at Vidhi Karnataka also assisted in the research.

Naxcent has helped design and execute our ideas into the format of the Portal. Finally, the JALDI team would like to thank ATECF and the Tree of Life Foundation for the support and grant under which this Project has been funded. 


Raw Case Summaries

Case Link to Summary
Kantaru Rajeevaru v. Indian Young Lawyers Association
Mineral Area Development Authority etc. v. M/S Steel Authority of India
Property Owners Association v. State of Maharashtra
State of Uttar Pradesh v. M/s. Lalta Prasad Vaish
State of Uttar Pradesh v. Jai Bir Singh
Aligarh Muslim University v. Naresh Agarwal
Arjun Flour Mills v. State of Orissa
N. Ravi v. Speaker, Legislative Assembly, Chennai
Rojer Mathew v. South Indian Bank Limited
The State of Punjab v. Davinder Singh
Animal Welfare Board of India v. Union of India
Anoop Baranwal v. Union of India, Ministry of Law and Justice Secretary
Ashok Kumar Jain v. Union of India
Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India
Assam Public Works v. Union of India
Bar Council of India v. Bonnie Foi Law College
C.B.I. v. Dr. R.R. Kishore
Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community v. State of Maharashtra
Janhit Abhiyan v. Union of India
Karmanya Singh Sareen v. Union of India
Kaushal Kishore v. State of Uttar Pradesh
M/s Shanti Fragrances v. Union of India
Mukesh Kumar v. V. K. Singh
Pyare Lal v. State of Haryana
Shilpa Sailesh v. Varun Sreenivasan
Sita Soren v. Union of India
State of Andhra Pradesh v. B. Archana Reddy
State of Punjab v. Sahil Mittal
State of West Bengal v. Paschim Banga BK Samity
Sukhpal Singh Khaira v. State of Punjab
Suvarna Paka Jagga Rao v. Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao
Tej Prakash Pathak v. Rajasthan High Court
Union of India v. Union Carbide Corporation
Union of India v. Preeti Agarwal
Vivek Narayan Sharma v. Union of India

Property Owners Association v. State of Maharashtra

C.A. No. 1012/2002


  1. Impugned order of the High Court
  2. Date for reference to a five-judge bench
  3. Date for reference to a seven-judge bench
  4. Date for reference to a nine-judge bench
  5. An Interim Application for intervention was allowed.
    Current status: Pending final hearing before a nine-judge bench

Bench Composition

Bench Status

Last listed before
Hon’ble Justice
S.P. Bharucha
Hon’ble Justice
Syed Shah Mohammed Quadri
Hon’ble Justice
R.C. Lahoti
Hon’ble Justice
N. Santosh Hegde
Hon’ble Justice
Doraiswamy Raju
Hon’ble Justice
Ruma Pal
Hon’ble Justice
Arijit Pasayat

Hon’ble Justice S.P. Bharucha

  • Bharucha, Sam Piroj, B.Sc., LL.B.�Born on 6th May, 1937.
  • Enrolled as an Advocate of the Bombay High Court on 28th July, 1960.
  • Also appeared in the Supreme Court. Appointed Additional Judge, Bombay High Court from 19th September, 1977 and as permanent Judge on 3rd April, 1978. Appointed as Chief Justice, Karnataka High Court from 1-11-91
  • Appointed Judge of Supreme Court of lndia on 1-7-92. Appointed as Chief Justice of India on 01.11.2001(F/N). Due to retire on 6-5-2002.

Hon’ble Justice Syed Shah Mohammed Quadri

  • Mr. Justice Quadri, Syed Shah Mohammed: Former Judge of Supreme court of India, Born on April 5, 1938.
  • B.A., LL.B. from Osmania University, Hyderabad (A.P); LL.B. from University of London; Specialization in Taxation, Company Law and Islamic Law; Bar at Law from Lincoln's Inn
  • enrolled as an advocate on 7th January, 1963.
  • Practiced both on original side in Trial Courts and on appellate side in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh
  • Was a Part Time Lecturer in College of Law, Osmania University from December, 1972 to October, 1981
  • worked as Government Pleader in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad from October 1981 to July 1986
  • Appointed Judge of High Court of Andhra Pradesh in July, 1986; Was for sometime Dean, Faculty of Law Kakatiya University, A.P. Was also a Member of the Board of Governors, Andhra Pradesh Judicial Academy.
  • Was Executive Chairman, Andhra Pradesh State Legal Services Authority
  • Worked as the Acting Chief Justice of High Court of Andhra Pradesh from November 3, 1997 to December 3, 1997.
  • He delivered many judgments on constitutional law, taxation, civil law and criminal law. Appointed as a Judge of Supreme Court of India on December 4, 1997
  • Is an Executive Member, National Academy of Legal Studies and Research University (NALSAR), University of Law, Hyderabad
  • He has been a member of collegium of the Hon'ble supreme Court.
  • Held the position of the Chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee on January 1, 2003.
  • Retired as the Judge of the Supreme Court of India on April 5, 2003
  • Appointed as Chairman, Authority for Advance Ruling (Income-Tax) with full additional charge of Chairperson for Authority for Advance rulings (Customs & Central Excise) on 27th January, 2004 and working as such from February 4, 2004.

Hon’ble Justice R.C. Lahoti

  • Lahoti, Ramesh Chandra, B.Com., LL.B�Born on 1-11-1940.
  • Joined the Bar in District Guna in 1960 and enrolled as an Advocate in 1962.
  • In April, 1977, recruited directly from the Bar to the State Higher Judicial Service and was appointed as a District & Sessions Judge.
  • After functioning as a District & Sessions Judge for a year, he resigned in May 1978 and reverted to the Bar for practice mainly in the High Court.
  • Appointed Additional Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on 3.5.1988 and made permanent Judge on 4.8.1989.
  • Transferred to Delhi High Court on 7.2.94. Appointed as a Judge of Supreme Court of India on 9.12.1998.
  • Appointed as Chief Justice of Supreme Court Of India on 01-06-2004 (Forenoon). Retired on 01.11.2005.

Hon’ble Justice N. Santosh Hegde

  • Mr. Justice N. Santosh Hegde was born on June 16, 1940.
  • He graduated in law in 1965 and after completing apprenticeship training was enrolled as an Advocate in January
  • 1966 and designated as senior Advocate in May, 1984.
  • He was appointed as the Advocate General for the State of Karnataka in February.
  • 1984 and held that position till August, 1988. He worked as Additional Solicitor General of the Union of India from December,
  • 1989 to November, 1990. He was re-appointed as the Solicitor General of India on April 25, 1998. Appointed as a Judge of Supreme Court of India on 8.1.1999. Retired on 16.6.2005.

Hon’ble Justice Doraiswamy Raju

  • Mr. Justice Doraiswamy Raju, Judge, Supreme Court of India - Born on July 02, 1939.
  • In 1959 obtained his degree in Bachelor of Arts and in 1961 obtained B.L. degree in Law from the Madras University
  • On July 27, 1962 enrolled as an advocate. From the beginning worked in the Chambers of the then Government Pleaders and assisted Advocate Generals of the State from time to time in the High Court. From 1975 - 1987
  • Worked independently as Advocate conducting cases in the High Court on the Original and Appellate Sides in Regular, Civil, Writ, Transport, Taxation and Land Tenure matters.
  • Was Standing Counsel for various Public Institutions and Undertakings like : (a) Tamil Nadu text Book society; (b) Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation; (c) Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation; (d) Arulmighu Dhandayuthapaniswami Devasthanam, Palani; (e) Food Corporation of India; and (f) District Co-operative Central Banks of Kanyakumari, Nilgiris and South Arcot Districts. On April 21, 1987, designated as Senior Advocate by the High Court, Madras.On June 14, 1990 elevated and sworn into as Judge, High Court, Madras. On November 17, 1995 appointed Chairman, Advisory Board, �COFEPOSA
  • On December 11, 1995 appointed Chairman, Advisory Board under Prevention o� Black-marketing and Maintenance o� Supplies of Essential Commodities Act. On May 01, 1998 notified af the Executive Chairman, Legal Services Authority, (State Authority), for the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
  • On July 01, 1998 appointed and sworn into as Chief Justice, Himachal Pradesh High Court, Shimla. On January 28, 2000 appointed and sworn into as Judge of the Supreme Court of India. Retired on 01.07.2004. Present Address: "Kanaka Durga" 20 (Old No.39), Puram Prakasa Rao Road, Balaji Nagar, Royapettah, Chennai-600 014, (Tamil Nadu) Ph. 28132825 & 28130780.

Hon’ble Justice Ruma Pal

  • Mrs. Justice Ruma Pal (Smt.), B.A.(Hons). LL.B,, B.C.L.(Oxn). Born on 3-6-1941
  • tarted practice in 1968 in Civil, Revenue, Labour and Constitutional matters in the Calcutta High Court.
  • Appointed Judge in the Calcutta High Court on 6-8-1990.
  • Appointed as Judge, Supreme court of India on day of Golden Jubilee of Supreme Court of India - January 28, 2000. Retired on 03-06-2006(F.N.)

Hon’ble Justice Arijit Pasayat

  • Justice Dr. Arijit Pasayat, Born on 10.5.1944.
  • Enrolled as an Advocate on 10.10.1968. Practised in Taxation, Commercial and Constitutional matters.
  • Completed Articleship in Chartered Accountancy and passed Intermediate Chartered Accountancy Examination.
  • Appointed as an Additional Judge in the Orissa High Court on 20.3.89. Appointed as Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court on September 20, 1999.
  • Appointed as Chief Justice of Delhi High Court on 10th May, 2000. Appointed as Judge , Supreme Court of India on 19-10-2001. Retired on 10-05-2009(FN)


The main issue in this matter is the Constitutional validity of Chapter VIII-A of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Act, 1976 “MHADA Act”). Taking cognizance of the rising cost of housing in Mumbai during the late 1930s and 40s, the Bombay Rents, Hotel and Lodging House Rates Control Act, 1947 was enacted, which fixed the rent recoverable, to be the amount landlords were recovering on Sep 1, 1940. Considering their returns were now fixed and marginal, landlords were disincentivised from carrying out maintenance and essential repair activities. Lack of upkeep coupled with the coastal climate of Mumbai resulted in deterioration of buildings, with a sizable number of them even collapsing due to the dilapidation.
Due to the ineffectiveness of the MHADA Act and previous legislations in dealing with the issue of safe housing for occupiers, in 1986, Chapter VIII-A (“Acquisition of Cessed Properties for Co-Operative Societies of Occupiers”) was introduced into the MHADA Act, by way of amendment. Chapter VIII-A basically allowed occupants to take ownership of these dilapidated “cessed” buildings (built before Sep 1, 1940) in Mumbai renovate/reconstruct the dilapidated property at their own cost, use the property for the same purpose for which it was used before acquisition and in return, provide a determined sum of money to the original owner. Section 1A of the Act provided that the Act was for giving effect to the policy of the State towards securing the Directive Principle of State Policy specified in Art. 39(b).
This was challenged in the Bombay High Court and the Respondents argued that the Appellants could not challenge the Act on grounds of violation of fundamental rights under Arts. 14 , and 19 view of Art. 31C. Art. 31C bars any constitutional challenge on grounds of Arts. 14 or 19 if the statute has been enacted in furtherance of Art. 39(b) or 39(c). The Bombay High Court rejected the Appellants’ case.
In the Supreme Court, the matter was heard by a three-judge bench which referred the case to a five-judge bench. This Constitution Bench observed that the matter involved the interpretation of Article 39(b) of the Constitution, which had previously been discussed by a five-judge bench in Sanjeev Coke Mfg. Co. v. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. [(1983) 1 SCC 147] . On 21-03- 2001, the matter was therefore referred to a larger bench of seven judges.
The seven-judge Constitution Bench took note of the judgement given by a nine judge bench in Mafatlal Industries Ltd. v. Union of India [(1997) 5 SCC 536] In this judgement, referring to Article 39(b), it was held that “material resources of the community” are not confined to public resources, and includes privately owned resources. The seven-judge bench expressed its doubts over this view, and therefore, on 20-02-2002, referred the matter to a larger bench of nine judges.
It also observed that a similar issue was referred to a nine judge bench in I.R. Coelho v. State of Tamil Nadu [(1999) 7 SCC 580], and suggested that the present matter be heard by a nine-judge bench immediately after the I.R. Coelho case was heard. The final judgement in that case was pronounced in 2007.

Questions of law


Does the ‘doctrine of revival’ apply to constitutional amendments in the same way that it does to ordinary legislation?


What is the scope of Art. 39(b), with particular reference to the phrase “material resources of the community”?


Is Chapter VIII-A of the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Act, 1976 constitutionally valid?
Appellant’s Arguments
  • The decision in Minerva Mills case merely proceeded on the assumption that Art. 31C, as it stood post Kesavananda Bharati was revived. This was neither discussed nor adjudicated upon in Minerva Mills and therefore one could not call this a decision made in Minerva Mills

  • The doctrine of revival as applied to ordinary statutes has not been applied in India to constitutional amendments. Article 368(2) states that “the Constitution shall stand amended in accordance with the terms of the Bill”, casting doubt on the fact that Art. 31C as it stood post-Kesavananda Bharati was still valid, as the Article had not been ‘amended’ by a bill or an Act.

  • The provisions of Chapter VIII-A are violative of the principles of natural justice as the owner is not given an opportunity to make a representation before his right is acquired.

  • For Art. 31C to apply, it had to be established that the true object of Chapter VIII-A was to give effect to Art.39(b) and a mere declaration to that effect was not enough. The Court could examine the true nature, object and scope of the legislation to see whether Art. 31C applied to the legislation.

  • There was no rationale behind the application of Chapter VIII-A to - Only buildings in Mumbai Only buildings built before 01-09-1940, thus violating Art. 14.

Respondent’s Arguments
  • Art. 31C as originally enacted, excluding the part that was declared unconstitutional in Kesavananda Bharati, was ‘revived’ and constituted a law in force.

  • Art. 31C, as it was, post-Kesavananda Bharati was not adjudicated upon in Minerva Mills and subsequent cases because it was an obvious position in law, one which was not disputed at all.

  • "Material resources of the community”were not confined to public resources but included all resources, natural and man-made, public and private owned as was held by a nine-judge bench in Mafatlal Industries Ltd. v. Union of India [(1997) 5 SCC 536], and unless it was successfully challenged, it was the binding precedent that was to be followed.

  • Part VIII-A could not be declared unconstitutional on grounds of violation of Art. 14 and 19 due to the application of Art. 31(C), and even if it could be, it was not violative of Art. 14 and 19.

Court's reasoning

The High Court cited precedent to state that it was very difficult to determine the true scope and effect of a legislation. The Court could only decide if there was a reasonable nexus between the legislation and Art. 39(b), and the Court had to take a broad and liberal approach in determining the same. Considering the apathy of landowners towards ensuring reasonable living conditions for occupiers, it was the duty of the Government to provide shelter to the common people. In light of this, allowing occupiers to finance essential repairs/reconstruction and subsequently acquire such renovated property to ensure safe shelter for citizens was reasonable. It was necessary for the government to distribute the ‘meagre asset’ (property) as equitably as possible for the common good.
The Supreme Court in its referral orders (five and seven-judge benches) expressed doubt regarding the correctness of the interpretation of Art. 39(b) by Constitution Benches in Mafatlal Industries Ltd. v Union of India [(1997) 5 SCC 536], Sanjeev Coke Mfg. Co. v. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd [(1983) 1 SCC 147] wherein the Court ruled that private property came within the definition of “material resources of the community” under Art. 39(b) and could be redistributed for the common good. Considering this was a matter that required reconsideration of decisions of Constitution Benches and there were significant issues of constitutional interpretation at hand, the matter was referred to a nine judge bench.

Sr No. Cause Title Case No. Date of Institution Date of Tagging Pending For*

Shivram Ramayyaa Yerala v. State of Maharashtra through Secretary 

SLP (C) No. 004367/1992

Diary No. 60017/1992


Tagging order not available


Pramila Chintamani Mohandas of Bombay, Indian Inhabitant v. State of Maharashtra through its Secretary

SLP (C) No. 005204/1992

Diary No. 



Tagging order not available


Vinodray Harkishandas Sanghavi of Bombay, Indian Inhabitant v. State of Maharashtra through its Secretary

SLP (C) No. 005777/1992

Diary No. 60012/1992


Tagging order not available


Krishanlal Mohanlal Thakar (Dead) By Legal Representatives v. State of Maharashtra through Secretary

SLP (C) No. 006191-006192/1992 

Diary No. 85404/1992


Tagging order not available


Ms/ Dharamdas Hargovinddas v. State of Maharashtra through its Secretary

SLP (C) No. 008797/1992

Diary No. 60014/1992


Tagging order not available


Dr. Aspi Framroze Golwalla v. State of Maharashtra

SLP (C) No. 007950/1992 

Diary No. 60015/1992


Tagging order not available


Property Owners Association v. State of Maharashtra 

W.P. (C) 934/1992

Diary No. 77220/1992


Tagging order not available


Manju Kacholia v. State of Maharashtra

SLP (C) No. 006744/1993

Diary No. 60013/1993


Tagging order not available


J. C. Mehta v. State of Maharashtra

SLP (C) No. 002303/1995 

Diary No. 1332/1995


Tagging order not available


Rajkumari Narindersain Sindhwani v. Special Land Acquisition Officer

SLP (C) No. 013467/1995 

Diary No. 7063/1995


Tagging order not available


Property Owners Association v. State of Maharashtra

W.P. (C) 660/1998

Diary No. 19571/1998


Tagging order not available


Kamlesh C. Shah v. State of Maharashtra

W.P. (C) 342/1999

Diary No. 10964/1999


Tagging order not available


Dhirajlal Jaradi v. State of Maharashtra through its Secretary

W.P. (C) 469/2000

Diary No. 12139/2000


Tagging order not available


Madhusudan J. Doshi of Mumbai, Indian Inhabitant v. State of Maharashtra through its Secretary

W.P. (C) 672/2000

Diary No. 21029/2000


Tagging order not available


Ahmed Habib Indian Inhabitant v. State of Maharashtra through the Secretary (Housing and Special Assistance Department)

W.P.(C) 419/2001

Diary No. 16528/2001



* as of