Supreme Court Judgments for 2018
The year 2018 has proven to be the most significant year for the Indian Judiciary as we saw two CJIs Dipak Mishra and Ranjan Gogoi passing a lot of important supreme court judgments. The Constitution bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra delivered major supreme court judgments on topics such as the Sabarimala Case, Aadhar Privacy, and Article 377 on the aspect of Homosexuality, Adultery, etc. At the end of 2018, CJI Ranjan Gogoi delivered the much-awaited Rafale judgment. Above all, The supreme court judgment to remove two major sections from the Indian Penal Code i.e., Adultery and Homosexuality was a landmark move and much-awaited change in the 21st century. Furthermore, the Apex Court recognizes the ‘Right to Die’ with dignity as a fundamental right in Euthanasia Case. As Sabarimala Judgement allowed young women to enter the temple, this year proved to be good for Indian women.
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 women from entering the temple in 1991. After a decade, in 2006 six young women from the Indian Lawyer’s Association have filed Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court of India. Later the matter was referred to the Constitution Bench of five judges along with the 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 the majority of 4:1 held that ‘Devotion cannot be subjected to Gender Discrimination and women are allowed in every temple.’ The lone woman on the bench Indu Malhotra dissents.
Supreme Court Verdict on Homosexuality: [Navtej Singh Johar& Ors. V. Union of India]
In the following case, the constitutional bench unanimously declared that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is unconstitutional. Earlier, 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 a larger bench can answer the issues raised. As a result, a five-judge bench heard the matter and declared it unconstitutional.
Supreme Court Verdict on 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 the Supreme Court of India, challenging the Constitutional validity of the 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 the 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.
Supreme Court Judgment on 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 the Indian Penal Code. Basically, the section says that if a man has sexual intercourse with a woman without the consent of her husband will be penalized. The section is read with Cr.P.C Section 198(2). The issue challenged here was that, if the husband was found to be in an adulterous relationship then, the wife does not have any right under this section. Secondly, sexual intercourse with the husband’s permission is not an offence whereas the wife’s consent is not necessary. The bench of five Supreme Court Judgement 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 judgment on ‘Euthanasia’, the previous judgment 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 a 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 the Right to Die with Dignity.
Supreme Court Judgment on Fire Crackers [Arjun Gopal & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.]
The petition was filed by the father of the 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 the 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, the Apex Court banned the online selling of firecrackers and fixed the duration for the 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 the other five judges, gave the verdict and it was held that the Lieutenant General of Delhi had to act according to the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers of Delhi Government except on the matters of policy, land, and public order. Moreover, the bench also stated that LG cannot interfere in each and every decision of the State Government. It is not necessary to obtain the 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.
2018 is considered a significant year for the Indian Judiciary as various major cases were decided by the Apex Court. Further, the supreme court judgments on cases that were pending for the last many years were also given a verdict in 2018. Moreover, 2019 will also be very crucial for the Indian Judiciary as some important major judgments like Triple Talaq and Ayodhya Case were decided.
- 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.
- The judgment of the Supreme Court of India regarding the 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