Recent Landmark Judgments By The Supreme Court Of India

Published on 29 Sep 2018 by Shivi

With the motto of ‘Yato Dharma Tato Jaya’, the Supreme Court of India has always been the epitome of justice in the country. With the recent iconic judgements passed by the apex court, the common man is perceiving the judicial system of the country in a new light. 2018 has not come to an end yet and the Supreme Court has already accorded some of the most astounding judgements that would be remembered for years to comes.

Here’s a brief look at the four most noteworthy and landmark judgments by the Supreme Court in 2018:

1. Decriminalisation of Section 377 of the IPC

The Supreme court, on September 6, struck down the Victorian era law on homosexuality. The part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalised homosexuality in India was held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and struck down, paving the way for more open-minded and accepting society that recognises the right to equality laid down under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The judgment came as a victory for the LGBTQ community of the country which fought tooth and nail to legalise consensual gay sex in India. CJI Dipak Misra called Section 377 as irrational, arbitrary and incomprehensible, which fetters the right to equality for the LGBT community, which holds the same equality as other citizens. Justice Chandrachud voiced that Section 377 destroyed gay people's identity and criminalising gay sex made the LGBT a closeted community. He also said that the state has no business to get into controlling the private lives of the LGBT community or any citizen as a matter of fact.

READ: Section 377 Decriminalized: SC Upholds Right to Equality

2. Aadhaar verdict

The Supreme Court recently held that the Aadhaar system that includes a Unique Identification Number for the citizens of India was constitutionally valid, ensuring that the citizens’ lives are not disrupted by it. The top court abolished the clause that makes linking an Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile numbers and having Aadhaar for school admissions mandatory.

The court held that Aadhaar does not violate the right to privacy and will be continued for government services and benefits like distribution of rations and collection of income tax. Also, the biometric identity programme cannot be used by private and corporate entities for the collection of data.

3. Adultery verdict

The Supreme Court also struck down the grey-bearded law that criminalised adultery. The apex court took down the adultery law as unconstitutional, declaring that the husband is not the master of his wife. The court attenuated the provision of the Indian Penal Code that punished a married man for indulging in a consensual sexual relationship with a married woman, with her husband’s permission. Section 497 of the IPC was held unconstitutional by the court, which also expressed that there was no evidence or data to claim that abolition of adultery as a crime would result in “chaos in sexual morality” or an increase of divorce.

The court also stated that Section 497 puts a married woman in the light of a chattel of her husband. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud called the provision of Section 497 as a ‘codified rule of patriarchy’. Justice Indu Malhotra expressed that adultery law is the end product of Doctrine of Coverture, which holds that a woman loses her identity and legal right with marriage and violates the fundamental rights of a woman.

READ: Grounds for Divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act,1955

4. Passive Euthanasia Is Permissible

The Supreme Court gave legal sanction to passive euthanasia in March 2018 upholding the right to die with dignity as a fundamental right. The court permitted ‘living will’ by a patient on withdrawing medical support if they slip into an irreversible coma.

The judgment stems out from a petition filed by ‘Common Cause’, an NGO that asked the court to recognise the living will of a person. The petition stated that in case a medical expert holds an opinion that a person suffering from a terminal disease reaches a stage from which there is no return, the patient should be given the right to refuse life support.

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