Most Important Supreme Court Judgements

Most Important Supreme Court Judgements

Most Important Supreme Court Judgements

A.K. Gopalan Case (1950)

  • The Supreme Court concluded that the provisions of the¬†Preventive Detention Act¬†did not violate the¬†Fundamental Rights¬†entrenched in¬†Articles 13, article 19, Article 21, or Article 22 if the detention was carried out according to the law’s procedures.
  • Article 21 was interpreted narrowly by the Supreme Court in this case.

Shankari Prasad Case (1951)

  • The constitutionality of the First Amendment was questioned in this case, which dealt with the amenability of fundamental rights.
  • The Supreme Court argued that the authority to amend the constitution granted to Parliament under Article 368 also extends to the Fundamental Rights protected in Part III of the Constitution.

Berubari Union Case (1960)

  • This case challenged the Parliament’s authority to transfer the territory of Berubai to Pakistan.
  • The Supreme Court looked into¬†Article 3¬†in-depth and determined that the Parliament could not pass laws to carry out the¬†Nehru-Noon agreement¬†under this provision.
  • As a result, the 9th Amendment Act was enacted to make the agreement enforceable.

Golaknath Case (1967)

  • The questions, in this case, were whether the amendment is a law; and whether¬†Fundamental Rights¬†can be amended or not.
  • The Supreme Court concluded that the parliamentary restriction under Article 13 does not apply to Fundamental Rights and that a new Constituent Assembly would be required to modify the Fundamental Rights.
  • Article 368 also states that while it establishes the framework for amending the Constitution, it does not grant Parliament the ability to do so.

Kesavananda Bharati Case (1973)

  • The core structure of the Constitution was defined by this decision. Although no component of the Constitution, including Fundamental Rights, was outside Parliament’s amending power, the Supreme Court decided that the ‚Äúbasic structure‚ÄĚ of the Constitution could not be repealed even by constitutional amendment.
  • This is the legal basis in India for the judiciary to overturn any amendment passed by Parliament that is incompatible with the Constitution’s core framework.

Indira Nehru Gandhi v. Raj Narain Case (1975)

  • Based on the doctrine of basic structure, the majority decision ruled that the challenged clause 4 of Article 329, which was added by the 39th Amendment in 1975, was unconstitutional.
  • The 39th amendment, it was argued, would nullify a specific provision of the Constitution, namely, the resolution of election disputes through the exercise of judicial power by ascertaining adjudicative facts and applying the relevant law to determine the true representative of the People.
  • The 39th Amendment violates the principle of separation of powers by putting a purely judicial function in the hands of the legislature.

Maneka Gandhi Case (1978)

  • One of the key problems in this case was whether the freedom to go abroad is included in Article 21 – Right to Personal Liberty.
  • This judgment greatly expanded the scope of Article 21, and it achieved the Preamble’s goal of making India a welfare state.
  • The most important aspect of the judgment was the interconnection it established between the provisions of Articles 19, 14, and 21.
  • As a result, this judgment significantly expanded the scope of personal liberty while preserving the fundamental and constitutional right to life.
  • This decision, in addition to protecting citizens from the Executive’s unchallenged actions, also preserved the sanctity of parliamentary law by refusing to strike down Sections 10(3)(c) and 10(5) of the 1967 Act.

Minerva Mills Case (1980)

  • This incident strengthens the¬†Basic Structure idea¬†once again. The¬†42nd Amendment Act of 1976¬†made two amendments to the Constitution, which the court declared to violate the¬†fundamental structure.
  • The Supreme Court’s decision establishes that the Constitution is supreme, not the Parliament.

Waman Rao Case (1981)

  • The decision drew a line of difference between Acts placed under the Ninth Schedule before the Kesavananda decision and Acts placed under the Ninth Schedule after the Kesavananda decision.
  • The court decided that all laws placed under the Ninth Schedule before the Kesavananda judgment cannot be called into question for violating Fundamental Rights, but laws enacted after the judgment can be brought before a court of law. It is also known as the ‘Doctrine of Prospective Overruling,’
  • The court upheld the validity of Articles 31A and 31B, which were added by the first constitutional amendment in 1951, as well as unamended Article 31C, which was added by the twenty-fifth Amendment Act.

Shah Bano Begum Case (1985)

  • The Supreme Court confirmed a Muslim woman’s right to alimony, stating that the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, applies to all citizens, regardless of religion.
  • This sparked a political debate, and the government at the time overturned the decision by passing the Muslim Women (Protection on Divorce Act), 1986, which stipulated that alimony be paid only during the iddat period.

Indra Sawhney and Union of India (1992)

  • The Supreme Court looked into the scope and application of Article 16(4), which provides for job reservation for backward classes.
  • It confirmed the constitutional legitimacy of the OBC reservation of 27 percent, subject to specific limitations (like creamy layer exclusionno reservation in promotion, total reserved quota should not exceed 50 percent, etc.)

S. R. Bommai Case (1994)

  • The Supreme Court attempted to¬†stop the blatant abuse¬†of¬†Article 356¬†(which governs the imposition of¬†the President’s Rule¬†on states) in this decision.
  • It said that the power of the President to dismiss a government of a state is not absolute.
  • It said that the President should use this power only after his proclamation (of imposing President‚Äôs Rule) has been approved by both Houses of the Parliament.
  • Until then, the President can only suspend the Legislative Assembly.
  • In case the proclamation does not get the approval of both Houses, it lapses at the end of a period of two months, and the dismissed government is revived.
  • The suspended Legislative Assembly also gets reactivated.
  • The SC also stated that the proclamation of the imposition of Article 356 is subject to judicial review.

Vishaka and State of Rajasthan (1997)

  • This case deals with workplace sexual harassment.
  • The Supreme Court issued a series of rules for employers ‚Äď as well as other responsible individuals or institutions.
  • The ‘Vishaka Guidelines’ are what they’re named.

Lily Thomas v Union of India (2000)

The Supreme Court ruled that a¬†Hindu man’s second marriage¬†without¬†divorcing¬†his previous wife, even if he¬†converted to Islam,¬†is void unless the first marriage was dissolved by the¬†Hindu Marriage Act.

I.R Coelho and State of Tamil Nadu (2007)

  • This judgment said that even though a law is listed in the¬†9th Schedule,¬†it can still be scrutinized and challenged in court.
  • The 9th Schedule contains a list of acts and legislation that cannot be challenged in court.

Pedophilia Case (2011)

The Supreme Court upheld the¬†conviction and sentence of 6 years¬†and¬†hard imprisonment imposed on two British nationals who were acquitted in a pedophilia case by the Bombay High Court. “Sexual abuse of children is one of the most serious crimes,” the court stated.

Aruna Shanbaug Case (2011)

  • The Supreme Court declared that people have the right to die with dignity, allowing for passive euthanasia under certain conditions.
  • The terrible story of Aruna Shanbaug, who spent¬†42 years¬†in a¬†vegetative condition¬†(blind, paralyzed, and deaf), prompted India’s euthanasia laws to be changed.

NOTA Judgement (2013)

  • The Supreme Court allowed voters to cast negative votes and reject all candidates as unfit for office. It stated that the right to vote and the right to vote “none of the above” are both fundamental rights of voters.
  • It directed the Election Commission to provide the NOTA button on EVMs and ballot papers in a phased manner.
  • The right to vote against candidates in elections is part of the fundamental right to free speech and expression guaranteed to Indian citizens by the Constitution.

Lily Thomas and Union Of India (2013)

The Supreme Court declared that any MLA, MLC, or MP convicted of a crime and sentenced to at least two years in jail will lose their seat in the House immediately.

Nirbhaya Case (2014)

  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013 amended and added new sections to the IPC dealing with various sexual offenses such as acid attacks, sexual harassment, voyeurism, and stalking.
  • It changed the interpretation of the word rape as specified in IPC Section 375.
  • The Supreme Court also redefined rape under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act of 2012, the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, the Indian Penal Code of 1860, and the Code of Criminal Procedures of 1973.

National Legal Services Authority and Union of India (2014)

  • Transgender people were recognized as a third gender as a result of this lawsuit.
  • The Supreme Court also ordered the government to treat them as minorities and to increase reservations in areas such as education, employment, and education.

Triple Talaq Judgement (2016)

The Supreme Court prohibited the antiquated practice of quick ‘triple talaq,’ which allowed Muslim males to break their marriages unilaterally by repeating the word “talaq” three times without providing for maintenance or alimony.

Right To Privacy (2017)

The Supreme Court of India proclaimed the right to privacy to be a Fundamental Right protected by the Indian Constitution.

Puttaswamy Case (2017)

  • This Supreme Court decision safeguards individual rights against invasions of privacy.
  • Supreme Court of India held that the right to privacy is a part of the right to life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution

Repealing Section 377 (2018)

Section 377 was declared illegal by the Supreme Court “insofar as it criminalizes consensual sexual contact between adults of the same sex.

Joseph Shine v. Union of India (2018)

  • In this landmark case, the Supreme Court of India struck down the adultery law (Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code) as unconstitutional, holding that it violated the principles of gender equality and individual autonomy.
  • The judgment decriminalized adultery and upheld the dignity and agency of women.

Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India and others (2020)

  • This case dealt with the restrictions on communication and media in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370.
  • The Supreme Court held that indefinite internet shutdowns and restrictions on freedom of expression must be by the principles of necessity and proportionality, emphasizing the importance of fundamental rights even in times of crisis.

Rambabu Singh Thakur v. Sunil Arora and others (2020)

  • This case pertained to the disqualification of Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in Manipur.
  • The Supreme Court upheld the Speaker’s decision to disqualify the MLAs for defection and stated that the Speaker’s order was subject to judicial review.
  • It reaffirmed the principles of democracy and the power of the Speaker to decide on defection.

Internet and Mobile Association of India v. Reserve Bank of India (2020)

  • In this case, the Supreme Court struck down the circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that prohibited banks from providing services to entities dealing with cryptocurrencies.
  • The court upheld the importance of technological innovation and the right to carry on trade, thereby allowing the use of cryptocurrencies in India.

Laxmibai Chandaragi and another v. State of Karnataka and others (2021)

  • This case involved the inheritance rights of daughters under the Hindu Succession Act. The Supreme Court ruled that daughters have equal coparcenary rights in Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) properties, irrespective of whether the father was alive or deceased when the law was amended in 2005.

Mohammad Salimullah and another v. Union of India and others (2021)

  • This case pertained to the rights of Rohingya refugees in India.
  • The Supreme Court ordered the central government to consider the principle of non-refoulement, which prevents the deportation of refugees to countries where they face persecution.
  • It highlighted the need to protect the rights and dignity of refugees.

Farzana Batool v. Union of India and others (2021)

  • This case focused on the restoration of 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Supreme Court ordered the restoration of high-speed Internet services, stating that access to the Internet is a fundamental right and that any restrictions must be temporary, proportionate, and justified by specific grounds.

Kerala Union of Working Journalists v. Union of India and Others (2021)

  • This case dealt with the constitutional validity of the new IT Rules 2021, which aimed to regulate digital media and online content.
  • The Kerala High Court issued an interim order stating certain provisions of the Rules, emphasizing the need to balance freedom of speech and privacy with legitimate concerns.

Barun Chandra Thakur v. Master Bholu and another (2022)

  • The Supreme Court in this case clarified that when the Juvenile Justice Board does not include a professional with a degree in child psychology or psychiatry, the word “may” in Section 15 of the JJ Act is mandatory.
  • If the Board has a member with expertise in the field, they can choose whether or not to seek outside assistance.
  • Furthermore, the court stated that simply having the mental capacity to commit an offense, as demonstrated by an average IQ score, is insufficient to determine the ability to understand the consequences of the offense.
  • Finally, the court emphasized the importance of detailed guidelines for the preliminary assessment, urging the Central Government, the National Commission for the Protection of Children’s Rights, or the State Commission for the Protection of Children’s Rights to consider issuing guidelines that may assist and facilitate the Board.

Related Links:

Supreme Court Verdict on Article 370The Places of Worship Act 1991
Important Amendments to Indian ConstitutionDelimitation Commission