Recap 2017: Top 10 Landmark Judgments Delivered by Indian Judiciary

Team SoOLEGAL 30 Dec 2017 3:52am

Recap 2017: Top 10 Landmark Judgments Delivered by Indian Judiciary

The year 2017 has been a memorable one for the Indian Judiciary system; from high-end unprecedented courtroom dramas to landmark verdicts. The nation has witnessed it all this year.

As 2017 comes to an end, we look at the top ten key verdicts delivered by Supreme Court of India and other subordinate courts that left a mark this year:

Right to Privacy become a Fundamental Right 

A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court has ruled that Indians enjoy a fundamental right to privacy that it is intrinsic to life and liberty and thus comes under Article 21 of the Indian constitution.
On August 24, the bench, led by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar, pronounced a unanimous judgment even if the judges had slightly different arguments as to how privacy is intrinsic to right to life and liberty.
The bench comprised Chief Justice Khehar and Justices J. Chelameswar, S.A. Bobde, R.K. Agrawal, Rohinton Nariman, A.M. Sapre, D.Y. Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S. Abdul Nazeer.

Supreme Court declares instant triple Talaq Unconstitutional

The Supreme Court by a majority verdict on August 22 set aside the practice of divorce through triple talaq, saying the practice was void, illegal and unconstitutional.

The apex court held that the triple talaq was against the basic tenets of Quran.

“In view of the different opinions recorded by a majority of 3:2, the practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ – triple talaq is set aside,” a five-judge constitution bench said in a 395-page order. [Indian Exp]

When justice was served to India's daughter Nirbhaya

Five years after Jyoti Singh (NIrbhaya) was brutally gang-raped and tortured by a group of six men, including a juvenile, in the national capital's Munrika region, the Supreme Court awarded death sentence to all four convicts - the juvenile was released and another accused Ram Singh ended his life in Tihar Jail in 2013. 

Terming it as a 'rarest of rare' crime, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Deepak Misra, Bhanumathi, and Ashok Bhushan pronounced the verdict on May 5, 2017.

The apex court said, "Taking the serious injuries, the severe nature of the offence committed by the convicts in consideration, we are upholding the sentence. [Times Now]

Sex With Minor Wife Is Rape, Rules Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment, criminalised sex with a minor wife aged between 15 and 18 years, saying the exception in the rape law was arbitrary and violative of the constitution.

Section 375 of the IPC, which defines the offence of rape, has an exception clause that says intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his wife, not below 15 years, is not rape.

However, the age of consent is 18 years.

The apex court said the exception in the rape law was contrary to the philosophy of other statutes and violates the bodily integrity of a girl child. [The Wire]

Freedom of Speech and Expression is Sacrosanct

Just when the country is caught in a confusion as to whether a movie should depict history accurately or can be subjected to the maker’s imagination, the Supreme Court had ruled that freedom of expression was sacrosanct.

While dealing with a petition to ban the screening of a documentary ‘An Insignificant Man’ which is based on the life of Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, and the court ruled that since freedom of speech and expression is a sacrosanct right, such rights cannot be ordinarily interfered with.

Rejecting the plea, the court declined to direct the Central Board of Film Certification to stay the release of the film in cinema halls across the country. [News18]

2G Spectrum Case: When A. Raja and Kanimozhi  acquitted in ED's money laundering case

A special court on December 21 acquitted 19 accused, including former telecom minister A Raja and DMK leader Kanimozhi in the Enforcement Directorate's money laundering case relating to the 2G scam.
Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, Special Judge O P Saini also acquitted Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Asif Balwa, Rajiv Aggarwal, Karim Morani, P Amirtham and Sharad Kumar in connection with the case.
Throughout the six years long trial in the 2G spectrum allocation case, the CBI urged the former telecom minister A Raja, whom it had charged with criminal breach of trust, had misled then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh through two letters. The 1,552-page judgment passed by Special Judge O P Saini, however, shows that although the CBI investigation officer had seen all the PMO files where the letters had been processed, the agency did not summon these files during the trial.

Coal Scam

The special CBI court on December 16 awarded three-year rigorous imprisonment to former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda in a coal block allocation scam and imposed a fine of Rs25 lakh on him.
The court also sentenced former Jharkhand coal secretary HC Gupta, then chief secretary Ashok Kumar Basu and Vijay Joshi of Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Ltd (VISUL) to 3 years rigorous imprisonment in the case. Basu and Gupta were fined Rs1 lakh each, while Joshi and VISUL were fined Rs. 25 lakh and Rs. 50 lakh, respectively.
The 'Coalgate' was a massive political scandal that plagued the UPA government in 2012. The scam came to light after the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) accused the government of India for allocating 194 coal blocks to public and private enterprises for captive use in a fraudulent manner.

Supreme Court's Ban on the Lal Batti culture

Red beacons are synonymous with the “Raj mentality” and are the “antithesis of the concept of a Republic”, the Supreme Court declared in 2013.
The ban, which got effective from May 1 this year, doesn’t allow vehicles of the country’s top dignitaries such as the President, Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to use the 'coveted' Lal Batti.
Following the ruling which put an end to VIP culture, PM Modi tweeted, "Every Indian is special. Every Indian is a VIP. "

Ram Rahim case 

Dera Sachcha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim was found guilty in a rape case, back to 2002 when a Dera sadhvi wrote a letter to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying that she was raped.
A special CBI court sentenced Dera Sacha Sauda chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh to 20 years of imprisonment. Ram Rahim was awarded two 10 years rigorous imprisonment along with Rs. 30 lakh for committing rape of two women.
The supporters of Ram Rahim started widespread protests in New Delhi and Panchkula which left 30 dead and 250 injured.

Fodder Scam

A special CBI court in Ranchi gave its verdict on December 23 in a fodder scam case in which former Bihar chief minister Lalu Yadav was an accused. Lalu Prasad, a former Bihar chief minister, and 15 others guilty of embezzling Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994. His predecessor Jagannath Mishra, who was also among the accused, was acquitted, as were five other accused. The sentencing of the quantum will be on January 3.

Tagged: Indian Judiciary system   Fundamental Right    Triple Talaq   2G Spectrum Case   Fodder Scam     
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