2018: THE IMPORTANT SUPREME COURT JUDGMENTS

2018: THE IMPORTANT SUPREME COURT JUDGMENTS

Introduction

The year 2018 is proved to be atmost significant year for Indian Judiciary as we saw two CJIs Dipak Mishra and Ranjan Gogoi. The Constitution bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra, delivered major judgments of that year such as Sabarimala, Aadhar, and Homosexuality, Adultery etc. At the end of the year, Refale judgement was delivered by CJI Gogoi. The Apex Court removed two major sections from the Indian Penal Code i.e., Adultery and Homosexuality. Furthermore, the Apex Court recognized ‘Right to Die’ with dignity is also a fundamental right in Euthanasia Case. This year proved to be good for Indian women, as Sabarimala Judgement allowed young women to enter in the temple.

Here is the List of vital Judgements of the year 2018.

Sabarimala Case: [Indian Young Lawyer’s Association & Ors. V. State of Kerala & Ors.]

The Ayyappan Temple is a Hindu temple at Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta District of Kerala. It is believed by the devotees that women in their menstruating age shall not worship there as this restriction being said to be out of respect to the celibate nature of the deity in this temple. A plea is filed in the High Court of Kerala highlighting the matter in 1990. High Court banned the women entering in the temple in 1991. After a decade, in 2006 six young women from Indian Lawyer’s Association have filed Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court of India. Later the matter was referred to Constitution Bench of five judges along with Chief Justice of India. The bench comprised of CJI Dipak Mishra, D Y Chandrachud, A M Khanwilkar, R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra observed that ‘When a man can enter, a woman can also go. What applies to a man, applies to a woman also.’ The bench by majority of 4:1 held that ‘Devotion cannot be subjected to Gender Discrimination and women are allowed in every temple.’ The lone woman in the bench Indu Malhotra dissents.

Homosexuality: [Navtej Singh Johar& Ors. V. Union of India]

In the following case, constitutional bench unanimously declared that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is unconstitutional. Section 377 was titled as ‘Unnatural Offences’ and stated that whoever voluntarily has ‘carnal intercourse’ against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also liable to fine. In the case of Naz Foundation v. Govt. of N.C.T of Delhi, it was held that Section 377 unconstitutional. Later in 2014, in Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation, overturned the Delhi High Court decision and granted Section 377 ‘the stamp of approval.’ The petition was again filed in the Supreme Court of India in 2016 challenging the previous decision

However, when the matter filed in Supreme Court in 2016 challenging a three-judge bench decision, it was opined that larger bench can answer the issues raised. As a result, a fivejudge bench heard the matter and declared it unconstitutional.

AADHAAR: [Justice K. S. Puttuswamy (Retd.) and Anr v. Union of India & Ors.]

In the year 2012, a retired judge of Karnataka High Court Justice K.S. Puttaswamy filed a petition in Supreme Court of India, challenging Constitutional validity of Aadhaar Scheme. The bench in 2015 ordered that Constitution Bench with appropriate strength shall examine the correctness of the decisions of M.P.Sharma v. Satish Chandra which was decided by 8 Judge Bench and Kharak Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 1964, decided by 6 Judge Bench. In 2017 the matter was referred to Constitution Bench of 9 Judges headed by Chief Justice J.S Kehar. The Bench comprised of Chief Justice Khehar and Justices Jasti Chelameshwar, DY Chandrachud, l,R F Nariman, R.K. Agarwal, Abhay Manohar Sapre, and Sanjay Kishan Kaul held that ‘Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right.’ The previous two judgments were overruled.

ADULTERY:[Joseph Shine v. Union of India]

Joseph Shine was a non-resident Keralite, filed public interest litigation under Article 32 of the Constitution challenging Section 497 of Indian Penal Code. Basically, the section says that if a man has sexual intercourse with a woman without consent of her husband husband will be penalized. The section is read with Cr.P.C Section 198(2). The issue challenged here was that, if husband was found to be in adulterous relationship then wife does not have any right under this section. Secondly, sexual intercourse with husband’s permission is not an offence whereas wife’s consent is not necessary. The bench of five Supreme Court Judges headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra declared that ‘Adultery can be a civil offence and a ground for dissolution of marriage.’

Euthanasia: [Common Cause (registered society) v. Union of India & Anr]

This is the second Supreme Court judgement on ‘Euthanasia’, the previous judgement was delivered in the case of ‘Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug v. Union of India, recognized passive euthanasia in 2011. The Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra, A.M. Khanwilkar, A.K. Sikri, Chandrachund and Justice Bhushan held that ‘Right to die with Dignity is fundamental right’. The Apex Court issued detailed guidelines in this regard; also Right to Live with Dignity includes smoothening of the process of dying in case of a terminally ill patient. Further if a person is in Persistent Vegetative State with no hope of recovery deserves Right to Die with Dignity.

Fire Crackers [Arjun Gopal & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.]

The petition was filed by the father of infant. The petition here seeks relief from the fireworks and prevention from harmful burning crops and further steps towards environmental purity. The motive of the petition is to draw attention of the Court to the emergent situation of worsening the air quality situation. The Supreme Court held that only less polluting green crackers can be sold. The green crackers should buy from licensed traders only. Furthermore, Apex Court banned online selling of firecrackers and fixed the duration for bursting of crackers.

LG v. Delhi Govt [Govt of NCT of Delhi v. Union of India and Anr]

In the Constitutional Bench headed by Chief Justice of India and other five judges, it was held that Lieutenant General of Delhi had to act according to aid and advice of the Council of Ministers of Delhi Government except on the matters of police, land and public order. Moreover, bench also stated that LG cannot interfere in each and every decision of the State Government. It is not necessary to obtain concurrence of LG in all matters. Further, the bench agreed that Delhi was not a ‘state’ and occupied a special status under the Constitution of India.

Conclusion

The 2018 was considered as significant year for the Indian Judiciary as various major cases were decided by the Apex Court. Further, the cases which were pending from last many years were also decided in 2018. Moreover, the year 2019 will also be crucial for Indian Judiciary as the important major judgments like Triple Talaq was delivered and Ayodhya Case will be decided.

REFERENCES

  • What is the Sabarimala temple case?; The Statesman; 27 September 2018.
  • Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. vs. Union of India Secretary Ministry of Law & Justice; By Jismin Jose; March 7, 2019.
  • Supreme Court allows passive euthanasia in landmark judgment; 09 Mar 2018; Priyanka Mittal
  • Joseph Shine vs. Union of India; 9 October 2019; Disha Chaudhary.
  • The Right to Die with Dignity: The Indian Supreme Court Allows Passive Euthanasia and Living Wills; Devina Srivastava ; 11th April 2018.
  • Judgment of the Supreme Court of India regarding use of firecrackers leading to air pollution in Delhi NCR; 23/10/2018.
  • Govt. Of NCT Of Delhi vs Union Of India on 4 July, 2018