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Read 25 Important Judgment Of Supreme Court Of India Delivered In 2017

Ashok KM And Apoorva Mandhani
9 Jan 2018 4:42 PM GMT
Read 25 Important Judgment Of Supreme Court Of India Delivered In 2017

1.Right To Privacy Is A Fundamental RightSettling the decades long debate on the issue of the right to privacy being a fundamental right, the Supreme Court held that right to privacy is protected under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. In a unanimous decision, a nine -Judge Constitution Bench overruled the judgments in MP Sharma and Kharak Singh cases. The Petitions were disposed...

1.Right To Privacy Is A Fundamental Right

Settling the decades long debate on the issue of the right to privacy being a fundamental right, the Supreme Court held that right to privacy is protected under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. In a unanimous decision, a nine -Judge Constitution Bench overruled the judgments in MP Sharma and Kharak Singh cases. The Petitions were disposed of in the following terms:

  • The decision in M P Sharma that privacy is not a fundamental right stands overruled.

  • The decision in Kharak Singh that privacy is not a fundamental right stands overruled.

  • Right to privacy is protected as intrinsic part of right to life and liberty.

  • All decisions subsequent to Kharak Singh makes the position clear and will hold the field.

Read the Judgment Here

2.Triple Talaq Unconstitutional

In a landmark decision, Supreme Court of India declared the practice of Triple Talaq as unconstitutional by a 3:2 majority.  While Justices Nariman and Lalit held that instant Triple Talaq is unconstitutional and violative of Article 14 (Right to Equality), Justice Joseph struck down the practice on the ground that it goes against Shariat and the basic tenets of the Quran.

Read the Judgment Here

3.Placing Ordinance Before Legislature Mandatory; Re-Promulgation Fraud On The Constitution

A seven Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Krishna Kumar Singh v. State of Bihar held that re-promulgation of ordinances is a fraud on the Constitution and a subversion of democratic legislative processes. The court also held that the satisfaction of the President under Article 123 and of the Governor under Article 213 while issuing ordinances is not immune from judicial review.

With regard to the question of placing the Ordinance before the Legislature, the majority judgment authored by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud held that the requirement is mandatory. Justice M.B. Lokur, however, opined that it is directory in nature. Further, Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, in his separate concurring opinion, observed, "I would, in that view, leave the question of interpretation of Articles 123 (2) and 213(2) in so far as the obligation of the Government to place the ordinance before the Parliament/legislature open."

Read the Judgment Here

4.Sex With Minor Wife Is Rape

A two Judge Bench of Supreme Court held that sexual intercourse with minor (below 18 years) wife is rape. Justice Deepak Gupta in his Judgment Clarified that Section 198(6) of the CrPC will apply to cases of rape of “wives” below 18 years, and cognizance can be taken only in accordance with the provisions of Section 198(6) of the Code. To this end, the Court read down exception 2 to Section 375 (which defines rape) of the IPC (as amended by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013) which allowed such a sexual act. The age of consent has been made 18 from 15 in these cases.

Read the Judgment Here

5.Seeking Vote In The Name Of Religion/Caste Is Corrupt Practice

Delivering a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court held that seeking votes in the name of religion, caste or community amounted to corrupt practice and election of a candidate who indulged in it can be set aside. A seven judge constitution bench of the Court headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur passed the ruling by a 4:3 majority.

The bench, while interpreting Section 123(3) of the Representation of Peoples Act, observed, "We will not go into the larger debate as to what is Hindutva or what is its meaning. We will not re-consider the 1995 judgement and also not examine Hindutva or religion at this stage.At this stage, we will confine ourselves to the issue raised before us in the reference. In the reference, there is no mention of the word ‘Hindutva’. If anybody will show that there is a reference to the word ‘Hindutva’, we will hear him. We will not go into Hindutva at this stage."

Read the Judgment Here

6.Death for Nirbhaya convicts

Supreme Court of India upheld the death penalty of convicts in Nirbhaya rape and death case.  In a voluminous judgment (430 pages), the bench opined that the attitude of the offenders amounted to “beastial proclivity” and that the incident “sounds like a  story from a different world where humanity is treated with irreverence”. The three-Judge Bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan then dismissed the Appeals filed by the convicts, confirming the capital punishment awarded to them by the Trial Court.

 Read the Judgment Here

7.High Court Judge Jailed for Contempt

In an unprecedented act, the Supreme Court sentenced Calcutta High Court Judge C.S. Karnan to 6 months in jail for contempt. “On merits, we are of the considered view, that Sri Justice C.S. Karnan, has committed contempt of the judiciary. His actions constitute contempt of this Court, and of the judiciary of the gravest nature. Having found him guilty of committing contempt, we convict him accordingly. We are satisfied to punish him by sentencing him to imprisonment for six months. As a consequence, the contemnor shall not perform any administrative or judicial functions,” a 7 Judge Bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar observed.

Justice Karnan was convicted for making scandalous corruption allegations against the Apex Court's sitting and retired Judges.

Read the Judgment Here

8. Guidelines On Senior Designation

In a major effort to streamline and bring in transparency into the process of designating advocates as “seniors”, the Supreme Court  ruled that henceforth all matters relating to it will be dealt preliminarily by a committee headed by the Chief Justice. The two senior most judges and the Attorney General will be part of the committee which will choose a fifth member –from the Bar.

Read the Judgment Here

9.Guidelines To Reduce Road Accident Deaths

The Supreme Court issued guidelines to reduce the number of deaths that occur as a result of road accidents. The Bench comprising Justice M.B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta noted that the number of deaths due to road accidents in the country is said to be over 100,000 in a year, which translates to about one death every three minutes. It further noted that the compensation awarded for deaths and other motor accident claims runs into hundreds of crores of rupees. It then considered the suggestions put forth by all parties and issued the directives.

Read the Judgment Here

10. Criminal Conspiracy Charges Restored Against LK Advani And Others

Delivering a significant verdict with massive political ramifications, the Supreme Court restored criminal conspiracy charges against senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Union Minister Uma Bharti, Murli Manohar Joshi and 13 other in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case. Invoking its extraordinary constitutional powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, the bench of justices P.C. Ghose and Rohinton Nariman also transferred the pending separate trial in a Rae Bareilly Magistrate court and clubbed it with criminal proceedings in the Lucknow CBI Court.

Read the Judgment Here

11. Deadline To Make Public Place Accessible To Visually Disabled

The Supreme Court issued some important directives and set deadlines while disposing of a petition filed by a visually disabled Gurgaon resident seeking proper and adequate access for such persons to public places. The Bench comprising Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan inter alia directed that 50% of all Government buildings of the national capital and all State capitals be made fully accessible by December, 2018.

Read the Judgment Here

12.Can’t Direct Video Conferencing In Transfer Petitions

The Supreme Court overruled the directions issued in the case of Krishna Veni Nagam v. Harish Nagam, observing that if proceedings are directed to be conducted through videoconferencing, “the spirit of the 1984 Act will be in peril and further the cause of justice would be defeated”.

In Krishna Veni Nagam’s case, a two-Judge Bench of the Apex Court had issued guidelines providing an alternative to seeking transfer of proceedings on account of inability of a party to contest proceedings at a place away from their ordinary residence. The Court had left it open to the transferee Court to conduct proceedings or record evidence of witnesses who are unable to appear before it by way of videoconferencing.

The Apex Court, however, now opined that the spatial distance while conducting settlement through video conferencing “will distant the possibility of reconciliation because the Family Court Judge would not be in a position to interact with the parties in the manner as the law commands”.

Read the Judgment Here

13.Legal Heirs Can Prosecute Complaint

The Supreme Court upheld a High Court judgment that allowed legal heirs of the complainant to prosecute the petition before the High Court. The Bench comprising Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan opined, "Had the Code 1973 intended that in case of death of complainant in a warrant case the complainant is to be rejected, the provision would have indicated any such intention which is clearly absent."

Read the Judgment Here

14. Uphaar Tragedy: Ansal Sentenced

The Supreme Court sentenced Uphaar cinema co-owner 69-year-old Gopal Ansal to one year imprisonment in the 1997 Uphaar cinema tragedy which killed 59 cine-goers. The Bench, however, kept intact the earlier order that his brother Sushil Ansal’s punishment will be awarded the five months jail term which he already underwent.

Sending Gopal Ansal to jail, the Court opined that the fine of Rs. 30 crore was not sufficient in view of the irreparable loss of lives. It then ruled that the gravity of the offence and the illegal means employed by him to make gains called for an enhancement of the punishment.

Read the Judgment Here

15.Directives To Prevent Misuse of Section 498A of IPC

The Supreme Court issued new set of directions to prevent the misuse of Section 498A of Indian Penal Code. A two Judge Bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit observed that Section 498A was inserted in the statute with the laudable object of punishing cruelty at the hands of husband or his relatives against a wife particularly when such cruelty had potential to result in suicide or murder of a woman.

"It is a matter of serious concern that large number of cases continue to be filed under Section 498A alleging harassment of married women.To remedy the situation, we are of the view that involvement of civil society in the aid of administration of justice can be one of the steps, apart from the investigating officers and the concerned trial courts being sensitized. It is also necessary to facilitate closure of proceedings where a genuine settlement has been reached instead of parties being required to move High Court only for that purpose," it had then observed.

A larger bench has decided to re-consider these directions.

Read the Judgment Here

16.Speedy Disposal Of Bail Pleas

Supreme Court directed courts to dispose of bail pleas within 1 week. It also issued directions to tackle pendency of criminal cases, reiterating that speedy trial is a part of reasonable, fair and just procedure as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Read the Judgment Here

17. Aadhaar-IT Returns Link Is Alright

Supreme Court of India upheld the constitutional validity of Section 139AA of Income Tax Act which made mandatory linkage of IT returns with Aadhaar. However, the Court partially stayed the operation of the Section subject to the outcome of the Constitution Bench Judgment in the main Aadhaar Case in which the very validity of Aadhaar is challenged. The Bench made it clear that those who don’t have Aadhaar need not apply for it for the purpose of filing IT returns. The Court also ruledthat S.139AA has no retrospective effect.

Delivering the judgment, the Bench comprising Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan observed, "We are adopting this course of action for more than one reason. We are saying so because of very severe consequences that entail in not adhering to the requirement of sub-section (2) of Section 139AA of the Act. A person who is holder of PAN and if his PAN is invalidated, he is bound to suffer immensely in his day to day dealings, which situation should be avoided till the Constitution Bench authoritatively determines the argument of Article 21 of the Constitution. Since we are adopting this course of action, in the interregnum, it would be permissible for the Parliament to consider as to whether there is a need to tone down the effect of the said proviso by limiting the consequences."

Read the Judgment Here

18.States Not Empowered To Create Office Of Parliamentary Secretary

The Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional the Assam Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004. The Bench comprising Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice R.K. Agrawal and Justice A.M. Sapre held that Article 194 of the Constitution of India does not expressly authorize the State Legislature to create the office of Parliamentary Secretary.

Read the Judgment Here

19.Cheque Bouncing Cases Can Be Closed  if complainant is compensated

The Supreme Court clarified that an accused in a case under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act can be discharged even without the consent of the complainant, if the Court is satisfied that the complainant has been duly compensated.  It was also held that the normal role of criminal law that composition of offence is possible only with the consent of complainant/victim is not applicable for cases under Sec.138 of NI Act.  This was because the offence under Section 138 was ‘primarily a civil wrong’.  Therefore, the power under Section 258 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to stop trial and discharge the accused was available to the Magistrate even though the summary trial under Chapter XXI of Cr.P.C.

Read the Judgment Here

20.Woman’s Right To Love And Reject

A three Judge Bench of  Justices Dipak Misra, A.M. Khanwilkar and Mohan M. Shantanagoudar while considering an appeal filed by Accused against his conviction for abetment to suicide of a girl because of his continuous harassment and eve teasing, held that

“One is compelled to think and constrained to deliberate why the women in this country cannot be allowed to live in peace and lead a life that is empowered with a dignity and freedom. It has to be kept in mind that she has a right to life and entitled to love according to her choice. She has an individual choice which has been legally recognized. It has to be socially respected. No one can compel a woman to love. She has the absolute right to reject”

Read the Judgment Here

21.SIT For Manipur Extra Judicial Killings

In a landmark Judgment a two Judge Bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta directed the CBI to constitute a Special Investigation Team and to investigate the alleged extra judicial killings in Manipur.

“we are of opinion that it would be appropriate if the Central Bureau of Investigation (or the CBI) is required to look into these fake encounters or use of excessive or retaliatory force. Accordingly, the Director of the CBI is directed to nominate a group of five officers to go through the records of the cases mentioned in the three tables given above, lodge necessary FIRs and to complete the investigations into the same by 31st December, 2017 and prepare charge sheets, wherever necessary. The entire groundwork has already been done either by the Commissions of Inquiry or by a Judicial Inquiry or by the Gauhati or Manipur High Court or by the NHRC. We leave it to the Special Investigating Team to utilize the material already gathered, in accordance with law. We expect the State of Manipur to extend full cooperation and assistance to the Special Investigating Team. We also expect the Union of India to render full assistance to the Special Investigating Team to complete the investigation at the earliest without any unnecessary hindrances or obstacles. The Director of the CBI will nominate the team and inform us of its composition within two weeks”

Read the Judgment Here

22.Every Author Has A Fundamental Right To Speak Out Ideas Freely And Express Thoughts Adequately

In a significant Judgment a Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dr.DY Chandrachud  dismissed a petition seeking ban of the book ‘Samajika Smugglurlu Komatollu’ written by Professor Kancha Ilaiah .

Upholding the Author’s fundamental right to free speech the Court held,

 “Any request for banning a book of the present nature has to be strictly scrutinized because every author or writer has a fundamental right to speak out ideas freely and express thoughts adequately. Curtailment of an individual writer/author’s right to freedom of speech and expression should never be lightly viewed”

 Read the Judgment Here

23.Accused Is Entitled To Default Bail After 60 Days For Offences Punishable With ‘Imprisonment Up To 10yrs’

Settling the conflicting views of various High Courts, the Supreme Court in a 2:1 majority held that an accused is entitled to statutory bail (default bail) under Section 167(2)(a)(2) of Code of Criminal procedure if the police failed to file the charge-sheet within 60 days of his arrest for the offence punishable with ‘imprisonment up to 10 years.

Read the Judgment Here

24.Landmark Directions on Prison Reforms

 A two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Madan Lokur and Dipak Gupta has issued a set of landmark direction on prison reforms.

The Court took into account the data on unnatural deaths in prisons available from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) website and the data provided by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on suicide in prisons.

Highlighting several such facts and statistics available at hand, the Court highlighted the need for an overhaul, in order to ameliorate the conditions of prisoners across the country and thereby reduce the number of unnatural deaths.

“What is practiced in our prisons is the theory of retribution and deterrence and the ground situation emphasizes this, while our criminal justice system believes in reformation and rehabilitation and that is why handcuffing and solitary confinement are prohibited. It is this ‘rejection’ of the philosophy of our criminal justice system that leads to violence in prisons and eventually unnatural deaths,”

Read the Judgment Here

25.Dismissal Of  CJAR's Plea With 25 Lakhs Cost- Darkest Episode of 2017

The Supreme Court dismissed the plea filed by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms seeking SIT probe into the alleged Medical Council of India (MCI) bribery case and imposed costs of Rs 25 lakhs on it. It held that the allegations made by Kamini Jaiswal and Prashant Bhushan against Chief Justice Dipak Misra were “derogatory and contemptuous” but desisted from initiating contempt proceedings “in the hope that goodwill will prevail”.

Former Supreme Court Judge Justice G.S. Singhvi, Former Law Commission Chairman Justice AP Shah, Former Chief Information Commissioners Mr. Wajahat Habibullah and Mr. Shailesh Gandhi and Ativist Aruna Roy  expressed shock at the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the CJAR’s Petition demanding an independent probe into allegations of corruption in the higher judiciary. They said;

“The approach of the Supreme Court in the matter has been deeply concerning. Rather than taking steps to investigate the matter and uphold citizens trust in the judiciary, the focus of the court appears to be to dismiss any form of questioning in matters of alleged wrong doing and corruption. The court’s observations that the petition is “wholly frivolous…contemptuous, unwarranted, aims at scandalizing the highest judicial system of the country,” is evidence of this misplaced priority. The petitioners had a reasonable basis in terms of the facts recorded in FIR registered regarding the alleged conspiracy to pay bribes to secure favourable judgments.”

CJAR now filed a review petition against the Judgment

Read the Order Here

Image of Justice KS Puttaswamy is taken from here.
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