The Supreme Court, High Courts, and other courts that makeup India’s legal system are regarded as the guardians of the rule of law and order in society. The goal of creating a distinct court system is to provide Indian citizens with appropriate and impartial legal answers. The irony of our legal system is that it has a significant backlog of cases that need to be resolved quickly and efficiently. In the midst of this, India’s judiciary issues major decisions that have far-reaching effects and can either advance or set back society. Let’s look at most important rulings from the Indian Supreme Court.
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Scrapping of Section 377 of the Constitution
In June 2016, Navtej Johar and five other members of the LGBT community petitioned the Supreme Court to strike down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. A five-judge bench unanimously overturned Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code on September 6, 2018. One of the famous Supreme Court rulings was when the court permitted consenting relationships between members of the LGBT community.
The Supreme Court made it quite plain that LGBT people are free to choose to have a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex. They both have a right to have their fundamental rights upheld. The same-sex relationships that were consenting were also deemed legal by the Apex Court. However, the Court affirmed Section 377’s prohibitions against non-consensual activities committed on animals.
The Indian citizens now can cast a “Right to Negative Vote” if they believe that the candidates running for office are unqualified and unworthy of their support, thanks to the Supreme Court’s issuance of the NOTA, or “None of the Above,” voting option. According to the Court, “Negative voting will cause a structural change in the polls, and political parties will be compelled to present clean candidates. The right to reject a candidate is a fundamental freedom of speech and expression under the Constitution if the right to vote is a statutory right. It is regarded as a seminal decision regarding election law.
Suspending Sale of Acids
The acid attack supreme court judgment was taken in response to the rise in acid attack instances. The court mandated that the national and state governments in India control the sale of acids. Only after the buyer has given the seller a copy of their legitimate ID should the deal be finalized. Additionally, such sales must be reported by the vendors to the local police and the buyer must explain the reason for the purchase. In its significant ruling, the honorable supreme court also requested comments from the government’s chief secretaries regarding providing free medical care to victims of acid attacks.
Banning Triple Talaq
After 15 years of marriage, Shayara Bano was divorced by Rizwan Ahmad using the immediate triple talaq technique, also known as talaq -e bidet. To declare the Muslim community’s practice of polygamy, nikah-halala, and talaq-e-bidder unconstitutional, a Writ Petition was submitted to the Supreme Court. Additionally, Bano asserted that these actions contravened articles 14, 15, 21, and 25 of the Indian Constitution.
Shayara Bano’s appeal was endorsed by the Union of India and women’s rights groups including the Bebaak Collective and the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA). They concurred that these actions need to be condemned as unconstitutional. After the request was approved, the supreme court constituted a constitutional bench of five judges. According to SC, triple talaq is prohibited in all forms. Additionally, instant triple talaq was determined to be unconstitutional. The triple talaq practice was outlawed on August 22, 2017, and the husband could face up to three years in prison.
Allowing Passive Euthanasia
In charge of nursing at Parel’s King Edward Memorial Hospital was Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug. One day a hospital sweeper attacked her and pulled her back with a dog chain around her neck. As a result of this catastrophe, her brain was irreversibly damaged, and she entered a vegetative state (PVS).
Pinki Virani, an activist, and journalist petitioned the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the constitution, arguing that since she was terminally ill and had no possibility of recovery, she should be let to depart away peacefully. This was not acceptable. She held this job for 42 years before passing away in 2015.
The Supreme Court determined after consulting with medical professionals, that she was still able to breathe and experience emotions while inside a PVS. It was believed that taking her life against her will was unjustified. It simultaneously acknowledged the right to die and allowed passive euthanasia, sometimes known as compassion killing. To avoid abuse, certain restrictions were placed on this, though.
Freedom of Speech And Expression Over The Internet
The Supreme Court’s decision regarding the usage of social media is a major decision that altered India. Shreya Singhal argued before the Supreme Court against the arrest of a social activist under the IT Act in response to a complaint made by an MLA of Andhra Pradesh via criminal attorneys. The Court determined that section 66A of the IT Act is an arbitrary rule that breaches the right to free speech and expression online of nationals and is in derogation of Article 19(1)(a).
The Court continued by stating that Section 66A cannot be justified in light of the restrictions on free speech and expression specified in Article 19(2), such as those related to public order, defamation, and incitement to commit a crime, decency, and morality.
Privacy As A Fundamental Right
High Court Judge in retirement Judge K.S. Puttaswamy challenged the legality of the Adhaar scheme regarding “the right to privacy” in 2012 by filing a petition in the Supreme Court against the Union of India. The subject was brought before the Constitution Bench in response to earlier court rulings so that it could be determined whether or not the right to privacy was recognized as a separate fundamental right under the Indian constitution.
The Supreme Court of India’s nine-judge panel gave a significant ruling on August 24, 2017, upholding the basic right to privacy protected by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. In other words, it was decided that section III of the Constitution’s right to privacy was a given. By arguing that the collection of demographic and biometric data does not violate the fundamental right to privacy because it is limited and used only for identification purposes, it justified the Adhaar Legislation.
Identification of Third Gender
The petition, which was submitted in 2012 by a non-governmental organization on behalf of the Kinnar transgender community, demanded a formal declaration of the petitioner’s gender identity rather than the gender assigned to them at birth and claimed that failing to do so violated Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. The Additional Solicitor General, who represented the government, admitted that the predicament was a serious social issue. He disclosed to the Court that the government had earlier established an Expert Committee to look into various problems facing the transgender community.
The following was decided to defend and safeguard the rights of transgender people granted by the Indian Constitution:
- Hijras and Eunuchs must be regarded as the “third gender” in addition to binary gender.
- People who identify as transgender have the right to select their gender.
- They require special consideration for employment and admittance to public educational institutions as they belong to socially and educationally underprivileged sections.
- They must have access to the government’s social programs.
- There must be facilities to address their psychological and physical issues.