New Delhi: On the 75th anniversary of independence, the whole country is drenched in the colors of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’. Being a progressive country, India has touched many dimensions of development from the year 1947 till now and has set an example in the world.
India has set an example in every field from agriculture, science, education, medicine, business and arts to the judicial front. In India, which is second in terms of population, getting equal justice for all is a big challenge in itself.
In such a situation, the Supreme Court of the country has given many unprecedented decisions since the year 1947, which changed the condition and direction of the country and the countrymen. Let us tell you about those Verdicts by the Supreme Court, which will be remembered for years. Not only this, whenever there is talk of justice, then these decisions given by the judiciary will be presented as an example. Take a look at the 7 top defining decisions that have shaped the future of Indian democracy here-
1. AK Gopalan v State of Madras, 1950:
AK Gopalan was a communist leader. He was kept in the Madras Jail in the year 1950 under the Preventive Detention Law. The sentences of Gopalan, who was under house arrest since December 1947, were later quashed. On 1 March 1950, while he was in the Madras Jail, Gopalan was given an order under Section 3(1) of the Preventive Detention Act, 1950. This provision allows the central government or the state government to detain anyone to deter them.
Gopalan filed a petition for a habeas corpus writ under Article 32 of the Constitution of India against his detention. Gopalan was barred from disclosing the grounds under which he was detained due to Section 14 of the Act, which prohibited such disclosure even in a court of law. He claimed that the order of his detention violated Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution and the provisions of the Act violated Article 22 of the Constitution.
The matter was placed before a six-judge bench. MK Nambiar, SK Iyer and VG Rao represented Gopalan. Of. Raja Iyer, Advocate General of Madras State, C.R. Pattabi Raman and R. He represented the Madras state along with Ganapati. MC Setalvad represented the Union of India, which was to intervene in the matter. In the end all the six judges wrote their separate opinions. The majority held that Section 14 of the Act, which prohibits disclosure of grounds of detention, was unconstitutional.
2. Kesavananda Bharati Sripadgalavaru v. State of Kerala, 1973:
The Supreme Court’s decision in Kesavananda Bharati Sripadgalavaru & Ors vs State of Kerala & Ors is considered historic because it protected the Constitution of India and prevented totalitarian rule or one-party government rule in India.
In the year 1973, in the Kesavananda Bharati case, the largest ever Constitution Bench of 13 judges of the Supreme Court, in its decision, made it clear that the Constitution is supreme, not Parliament in India.
At the same time, the judiciary also passed the principle of the fundamental structure of the constitution to eliminate the conflict situation. It said that Parliament cannot make any such amendment which adversely affects the fundamental structure of the Constitution.
Under the power of judicial review, the judiciary is free to examine the amendments made by the Parliament in the light of the basic structure of the Constitution.
3. Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, 1977:
In the year 1977 the passport of Maneka Gandhi (the current Minister of Women and Child Development) was confiscated by the current ruling Janata Party government.
In response, he filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the government’s order.
However, the court gave an important decision not taking the side of the government in this matter.
The decision was taken by a seven-judge Bench, which reiterated the right to personal liberty enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution by this Bench, making this judgment an important precedent for matters relating to Fundamental Rights.
4. Shayra Bano v Union of India and others, 2017:
How can we forget Shayra Bano, who fought for her fundamental rights by filing a petition against triple talaq in February 2016. Shayra had gone to her mother’s house in Uttarakhand to get her treatment, when everything was taken away from her by calling her talaq thrice through Telegram. She tried many times to meet her husband and children, but each time she was disappointed.
In her petition, Shayra raised the demand for a complete ban on the practice of triple talaq. He also called halala and having more than one wife illegal. But the clerics of his religion have something else to say. This was the first time that a Muslim woman raised her voice against Ananya herself. But Shayra was told, “You don’t have fundamental rights because of your religion”.
But Shayra did not give up and went to the court and spoke about the violation of her constitutional rights and challenged not only triple talaq but also the evils like halala. After about 18 months, the decision came on this matter and in August 2017, the court declared triple talaq strictly legal.
5. SR Bommai Vs Union of India, 1994:
SR Bommai was the Chief Minister of the Janata Dal government. He was in service in Karnataka between August 13, 1988 and April 21, 1989. On April 21, 1989, the state government’s rule was revoked citing Article 356 of the Constitution which is a state emergency or widely known as President’s Rule. This tactic was most commonly used to keep opposition parties under control. Bommai moved the Karnataka High Court against the governor’s decision, which had recommended Article 356 in the state.
His writ petition was dismissed by the Karnataka High Court. The minister then took the matter to the Supreme Court. It was the nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court that issued the landmark order on March 11, 1994.
The judgment said that the power of the President to dismiss the state government is not absolute. It states that the President should use it only after getting approval from both the Houses of Parliament.
It only allowed the President to suspend the Assembly till then. The decision read, “Dissolution of the Legislative Assembly is certainly not a matter. It should be resorted to only when it is necessary for achieving the objectives of the Proclamation.”
The decision is significant as it put an end to the arbitrary dismissal of state governments under Article 356, pointing to the restrictions.
6. Navtej Singh Johar v Union of India, 2018:
Navtej Johar and five others from the LGBT community filed a petition in the Supreme Court in June 2016 challenging Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. On September 6, 2018, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was struck down by five people unanimously. Judge Bench.
The court allowed consensual relationships between individuals from the LGBT community making it one of the landmark Supreme Court decisions. The Supreme Court also clarified that the choice of LGBT persons to have physical relations with persons of the same sex is their choice. They are equally entitled to the enforcement of their fundamental rights.
The Supreme Court also decriminalized consensual same-sex relationships. However, the Court upheld the provisions of Section 377, which criminalize non-consensual acts committed on animals.
7.Indra Sawhney & Ors vs Union of India & Ors, 1992:
The case highlighted a larger issue and the Indian Constitution recognized social and educational backwardness. However, economic backwardness remained untouched. In the year 1993, Indira Sawhney had filed a case against the Narasimha Rao government. The case was against the government allowing only 10% reservation for the economically backward sections of the upper castes in various government jobs. The Supreme Court, in its decision, said that a 50% limit was to be imposed on caste-based reservations.
The top court upheld the separate reservation for OBCs in central government jobs but excluded the creamy layer. The judgment also said that reservation in appointments under Article 16(4) of the Constitution would not apply to promotion. The decision came into force with 27% central government reservation for OBCs.