Important Judgments of SC and High Courts with Short Explanation

Written by admin

Updated on:

Table of Contents

Important judgments of Supreme Court for various Competitive Exam Such as Judicial Services, UPSC, LLM entrance, CLAT llm etc. – Our Legal World


1. NJAC held unconstitutional (Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association vs. Union of India

 2. Yakub Memon midnight hearing [Yakub Abdul Razak Memon vs. State of Maharashtra]

3. Section 66A IT Act struck down [Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India]4. No compromise in Rape cases [State of MP vs. Madanlal]

5. Unwed mother can become sole guardian of a child [ABC vs. State (NCT of Delhi)]6. Uphaar Verdict [Sushil Ansal vs. State through CBI]

7. Award Compensation to the victim of crime [Manohar Singh vs. State of Rajasthan]

8. Section 364A IPC awarding death penalty not unconstitutional [Vikram Singh vs. Union of India]

9. States cannot unilaterally grant remission [Union of India vs. Sriharan]

10. Minimum Education Qualification rule for Panchayat elections upheld [Rajbala vs. State of Haryana]

11. Women can be manager of a Joint Family [Shreya Vidyarthi vs. Ashok Vidyarthi]

12. Complete Departmental inquiries within six months [Prem Nath Bali vs. Registrar, High Court of Delhi]

13. RBI also under RTI [Reserve Bank of India vs. Jayantilal Mistry]

14. Acid Attack Victims in disability list [Parivartan Kendra vs. Union of India]

15. Writ petitions maintainable against ‘deemed Universities’. [Dr. Janet Jeyapaul vs. SRM University]

16. No politician photos in Govt Ads [Common cause vs. Union of India]

17. Age determination of rape victim clarified [State of M.P. vs Anoop Singh]

18. Amendment in complaint can be done [S.R.Sukumar vs. S.Sunaad Raghuram]

19. Obscene language cannot be allowed against ‘Historically respected personalities’. [Devidas vs. State of Maharashtra]

20. Appointment of Archakas to be made in accordance with Agamas [Adi Saiva Sivachariyargal Nala Sanga vs. Government of Tamil Nadu] 

21. Father of deceased victim has right to appeal [Satya Pal Singh v. State of M.P]

22. Jat reservation unconstitutional [Ram Singh vs. Union of India]

23. Concealing pending criminal cases by elected representative illegal [Krishnamoorthy vs. Sivakumar

24. Writs against Judicial actions by judiciary not maintainable [Riju Prasad Sarma etc. Vs. State of Assam]

25. Validity of Sec 499 IPC-Subrhamanyam swamy v UOI

26.Haji Ali Dargah; Dr. Noorjehan Safia Niaz Vs. State of Maharashtra [Bombay High Court, 26-08-2016]

27. Plea of Self-defence; Brij Lal Vs. State of Rajasthan

28. Extra-Judicial Confession; Kala @ Chandrakala Vs. State Through Inspector of Police

29.District Judge Selection; Vijay Kumar Mishra Vs. High Court of Judicature At Patna

30. Constitution; Rajender Prashad Vs. Govt. of NCT [Delhi High Court, 04-08-2016]

31. Government Bungalows; Lok Prahari Vs. State of U.P

32. Voice Samples; Sudhir Chaudhary Vs. State

33. Wild Life; State Vs. Salman Khan [Rajasthan High Court, 25-07-2016]

34. Sedition; Hardik Bharatbhai Patel Vs. State of Gujarat35. Slaughter House; Eagle Continental Foods Vs. Shailesh Singh

36. Victim; Jag Mohan Vs. State of U.P. [Allahabad High Court,

37. Consent; Ayodhya Prasad Vs. State of U.P. [Allahabad High Court,

38. Juvenile Justice; “A” through her Father “F” Vs. State of U.P. [Allahabad High Court]

39.Upload FIRs in Police Websites [Youth Bar Association of India vs.Union of India]

40.Multiple Life Sentences will run concurrently, Remission of one will not affect the other [Muthuramalingam vs. state]

41.DV Act; Relief Possible Against Minors, Women [ Hiral P Harsora and ors Vs. Kusum Narottamdas Harsora]

42.Forcing Husband To Get Separated From His Parents, Amounts To ’Cruelty’ [Narendra vs. K.Meena]

43.Persons in Govt/Judicial service need not resign to participate in District Judge Selection Process [ Vijay Kumar Mishra and Anr Vs High court of Judicature at Patna and Ors]

44.Public Service Commission shall provide Information about answer sheets and Marks under RTI [Kerala Public Service Commission vs State Information Commission].

45.No liquor shops near National Highways [State of Tamil Nadu vs. K. Balu]

46.National anthem must in Theatres [Shyam Narayan Chouski vs. Union of India]

47.SC can transfer cases from Jammu & Kashmir Courts to courts outside it and vice versa [Anita Kushwaha vs. Pushpa Sudan]48.  Upload FIRs in Police Websites

 [Youth Bar Association of India vs.Union of India]

Criminal Defamation law not unconstitutional
[Subramanian Swamy vs. Union of India]

49-  Multiple Life Sentences will run concurrently, Remission of one will not affect the other.
[Muthuramalingam vs. state]

50-  SC can transfer cases from Jammu & Kashmir Courts to courts outside it and vice versa
[Anita Kushwaha vs. Pushpa Sudan]

51-  DV Act; Relief Possible Against Minors, Women.

[ Hiral P Harsora and ors Vs. Kusum Narottamdas Harsora]

Supreme Court struck down the words “adult male” before the word “person” in Section 2(q) of Domestic Violence Act.

52- Forcing Husband To Get Separated From His Parents, Amounts To ’Cruelty’

[Narendra vs. K.Meena]

53-  Directions to Curb Female Foeticide

[Voluntary Health Association Vs State of Punjab]

54- Persons in Govt/Judicial service need not resign to participate in District Judge Selection Process

[ Vijay Kumar Mishra and Anr Vs High court of Judicature at Patna To and Ors]

55- All Tribunals are not necessary parties to the proceedings where legality of its orders challenged

[ S. Kazi vs. Muslim education society]

56- Public Service Commission shall provide Information about answer sheets and Marks under RTI

[Kerala Public Service Commission vs State Information Commission]

57-  Social Security to the Legal Profession Becomes an Essential Part of Legal System

[Cardamom Marketing Corporation & Anr. Vs. State Of Kerala & Ors]

58-  Landmark guidelines for disaster /drought management.[Swaraj Abhiyan vs. UoI]

59-  People with disabilities also have the Right to Live with Dignity

[Jeeja Ghosh vs. UoI]

60-  No liquor shops near National Highways

[State of Tamil Nadu vs. K. Balu]

61- High Court Judges Not Exempt From Airport Frisking

[Union of India Vs. Rajasthan High Court and Ors]

62- Soumya Case: Govindachami Acquitted Of Murder Charges; LIFE TERM Awarded For Rape

[Govindaswamy Vs. State of Kerala]

63- SC issues Guidelines on ‘Appointment of Govt. Lawyers

[State of Punjab vs. Brijeshwar Singh Chahal]

64-  Resolution against Justice Katju can’t be quashed.

[Justice Markandey Katju vs. The Lok Sabha]

SC refused to quash the March 2015 resolution by both houses of parliament against him for describing Gandhi as a British agent and Netaji as a Japanese agent​.

65- Cauvery Dispute and SC:

[State of Karnataka vs. State of Tamil Nadu:]

SC ordered Karnataka to release 15000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu, Later on a plea by state of Karnataka, it was modified to 12000 cusecs.

66-  SC orders NEET.[Sankalp Charitable Trust vs. UoI]

 Supreme Court ordered to conduct the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2016 in Two Phases.

67-  Sedition: Direction to authorities

[Common Cause vs Union of India]

Supreme Court of India issued a direction to all the concerned authorities to follow the Constitutional bench judgment in Kedar Nath v State of Bihar (1962) which limited the scope of sedition.

68- National anthem must in Theatres

[Shyam Narayan Chouski vs. Union of India]

69-  Abhiram Singh V. C.D. Commachen (DEAD) BY LRS. & ORS , New Delhi, January 02, 2017

70. M. Nagaraj v. Union of India.
Validated Parliament’s decision to extend reservations for SC/STs to include promotions (reservation in promotion). However, the Court also laid down conditions which made it difficult for the Central and State Governments to grant such reservations.

1. Lalita Kumari v. State of UP
:FIR mandatory in cognizable cases

2. Mohd. Ahmad Khan vs Shah Bano Begum
:Section 125 of CrPC Secular

3. D.K. Basu v. State of Bengal
:SC guidelines relating to rights of the arrested person

4. Nilabati Bahera v. State of Orissa
:Compensation in case of unlawful arrest and detention

5. Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra
:Rights of women relating to arrest

6. Joginder Kumar v. State of UP
:SC guidelines relating to rights of the arrested person

7. Chanmuniya v. Virendra Kumar Singh Kushwaha
:Right of maintenance in Live-in-Relationships

8. Shiv Shankar Singh v. State of Bihar
:Filing of Multiple FIR

9. Satya Pal Singh v. State of MP
:Father of deceased victim has right to appeal

10. State of UP v. Singhara Singh
:Section 164 by necessary implication prohibits the magistrate from giving oral evidence of the confession made to him

11. State of Madhya Pradesh v. Rustum
:Computation of period of 60/90 Days u/s 167 of CrPC

12. CBI v. Anupam J. Kulkarni
:Police Remand can not exceed 15 Days

13. *Mubarak Ali v. State of Bombay*
:Offence triable where the act is done

14. *Shakuntala Devi v. State of U.P.*
:Availability of Civil Remedy does not bar filing of a case u/s 200 of CrPC

15. *Dina Nath v. Emperor*
:No summary trial in serious or complicated cases

16. Surendra Singh v. State of UP
:Where a Judge who wrote the Judgment dies before it was delivered or pronounced, another Judge can not deliver it

17. Naresh v. State of UP
:Alteration of Conviction u/s 302 IPC to one u/s 304 IPC by HC is not justified u/s 362 of CrPC

18. Ashok Kumar v. UOI:Constitutional validity of Section 433-A of CrPC

19. Rasiklal v. Kishore Khanchand Wadhwani
:Right to bail u/s 436 in bailable offences is an absolute and indefeasible right

20. Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab
:SC guidelines relating to anticipatory bail

21. Jagdish Ram v. State of Rajasthan
:Quashing of FIR on account of delay

22. State of MP v. Madan Lal*
:No compromise in Rape cases

23. *Manohar Singh v. State of Rajasthan*
:Compensation to victim of Crime

24. S.R. Sukumar v. Sunnad Raghuram
:Amendment in complaint can be done

25. Siddaharth Vashisht v. State(NCT of Delhi)

:Cryptic Telephonic Message of a cognizable offence not to be treated as F.I.R.

30 landmark judgments in India

Champakam Dorairajan Vs State of Madras 1951

Well before Arjun Singh, this case concerning admissions of backward classes to educational institutions led B.R. Ambedkar, then the law minister, to pilot the first-ever amendment to the Constitution.

K.M. Nanavati Vs State of Maharashtra 1960

The crime of passion, where Commander Kawas Maneckshaw Nanavati murdered his wife’s lover, marked the end of jury trials in India when the officer was let off.

Golaknath Vs State of Punjab 1967

The Supreme Court made fundamental rights immune from amendment until Parliament reasserted its authority in 1971 by amending Articles 13 and 368 of the Constitution.

Madhav Jiwaji Rao Scindia Vs Union of India 1970

The Supreme Court rejected a 1970 presidential order abolishing titles, privileges and privy purses of India’s erstwhile princely rulers.

Kesavananda Bharati Vs State of Kerala 1973

In 1971, Parliament empowered itself to amend any part of the Constitution. However, the Supreme Court laid down that such amendments could not destroy the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution-fundamental rights are part of the ‘basic structure’.

Himmat Lal ShahVsCommissioner of Police 1973It dealt with a common citizen’s right to hold public meetings on streets and the extent to which the state could regulate this right.

Indira GandhiVsRaj Narain1975
Indira Gandhi declared Emergency after being ordered by the Allahabad High Court to vacate her seat for malpractice. The Supreme Court later overturned the decision.

A.D.M. Jabalpur Vs S. Shukla 1976The Supreme Court declared the right to move court under Articles 14, 21 and 22 would remain suspended during the Emergency.

Maneka Gandhi Vs Union of India1978
The case caused a huge uproar over the definition of freedom of speech.The court ruled that the procedure must be fair and the law must not violate other fundamental rights.

Minerva MillsVsUnion of India 1980
The Supreme Court again applied the ‘basic structure’ theory, saying that social welfare laws could not curb fundamental rights.

Ramesh DalalVsUnion of India1988
The case dealt with the subject of pre-Partition communal violence, and how its depiction was not in violation of Constitutional articles.

Rajan Case 1981Involving the torture and death of a final year engineering student in custody in Kerala, the case led to the resignation of K. Karunakaran, then the home minister, and imprisonment of the officers accused.

Kehar Singh Vs Delhi Administration 1984
Kehar Singh was accused of taking part in the murder of Indira Gandhi. Though the death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court, its accuracy has often been questioned.

Best Bakery Case 2006The controversial trial came to an end with the conviction of nine people. The case related to 14 deaths in an arson attack on the Best Bakery in Vadodara in 2002. A retrial was ordered in 2004 after a local court acquitted all 21 accused.

Indira Sawhney Vs Union of India 1992The Supreme Court upheld the implementation of recommendations made by the Mandal Commission. It also defined the “creamy layer” criteria and reiterated that the quota could not exceed 50 per cent.

St. Stephen’s College Vs University of Delhi 1992The identity of St. Stephen’s College as a minority-run institution was put under the scanner as it was receiving grant-in-aid from the Government. The court ruled that grants could not change the minority character of an institution.

S.R. BommaiVs Union of India 1994The case laid down the guidelines in proving a majority under Article 356. The recent Arjun Munda case judgement was also passed with reference to the Bommai case.

R. Rajagopal Vs State of Tamil Nadu 1994

The case decided that the right to privacy subsisted even if a matter became one of public record. The right to be let alone is part of personal liberty.

P.A. Inamdar Vs State of Maharashtra 2005

The Supreme Court stated that “neither the policy of reservation can be enforced by the state nor any quota of admissions be carved out in private educational institutions”.

Sarla Mudgal Vs Union of India 1995
The Supreme Court held that a second marriage solemnised while the first existed was a punishable offence, though it did not become null and void.

Jamaat-e-Islami HindVsUnion of India1995
The association was banned for unlawful activities. But the decision was reversed due to lack of evidence.

Ministry of I&BVsCricket Association of Bengal1995
The case, which dealt with the broadcast of the Hero Cup, was the first tussle involving the telecast of an international event by a private broadcaster.

Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan 1997
For the first time, sexual harassment, including sexually coloured remarks and physical contact, was explicitly and legally defined as an unwelcome sexual gesture. It stated that every instance of sexual harassment is a violation of fundamental rights.

Samatha Vs State of AP 1997

The Supreme Court said government land, tribal land, and forest land in scheduled areas could not be leased to non-tribals or private companies for mining or industrial operations. Such activity can only be done by tribal people or by a government undertaking.

Rupan Deol Bajaj Vs K. P. S. Gill1998
K.P.S. Gill, former chief of Punjab Police, was fined Rs 2.5 lakh in lieu of three months’ rigorous imprisonment for slapping senior IAS officer Rupan Deol Bajaj on the posterior.

Representation of the People (Amendment) Act 2002
The judgement of a three-member Bench ordered candidates contesting elections to declare their assets and all criminal cases pending against them at the time of filing of nominations.

Tamil NaduVsSuhas Katti 2004
The first case involving conviction under the Information Technology Act, 2000, related to the posting of obscene messages on the Internet.
Om Prakash Vs Dil Bahar2006
In a severe deterrent to incidents of rape, the Supreme Court held that a rape accused could be convicted on the sole evidence of the victim, even if medical evidence did not prove rape

7 Landmark Court Cases In History That Made Way For New Laws In India

1. The Nirbhaya Case – Led to the change in the Juvenile Justice Act

The incident behind the nirbhaya case will held on 16th December 2012, a brutal gang rape. A 23 year old girl named Nirbhaya was raped in a bus by 6 people. The culprits include 5 adults and a juvenile aged 17. After the crime the criminals threw her body on to the road.
After the court proceedings the adults where sent to the jail for 10 years and the juvenile was sent to correctional facility for 3 years. During the trial period one of the adult criminal was found dead in jail.
But the judgement of the case will create a big shock on the people and they all are against it. There were protests to try him as an adult. This will make a replacement in the juvenile Justice Act, 2000. The age bar to be tried as an adult was lowered from 18 to 16 years

2. Shah Bano Begum vs Mohd Ahmed Khan – A win for secularism & Muslim women across the country

Shah Bano was a Muslim lady who was the mother of five and aged 62 when she was divorced by her husband, Mohd Ahmed Khan, in 1978. At that time she filed a case to get alimony but this was against Islamic customs. The government also supports the husband instead of the lady.
When considering the security and welfare of women the Supreme Court on the favour of the women, Shah Bano. So she gets maintenance under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

This judgement now entitles all ex-Muslim wives to basic maintenance of 3 months from their ex-spouses, post which their care is handed over to their relatives or the WAKF board.

3. KM Nanvati vs State of Maharashtra – The death of jury trials

KM Nanavati was a naval officer. His wife is Sylvia. After their Marriage she had an affair with husband’s  friend, Prem Ahuja. On 27th April, 1959, Sylvia confessed to her husband about her relationship with Ahuja, but he did intend to marry her. Nanavati then dropped his wife and children off at the theatre and went to confront Prem Ahuja. He asked Ahuja that if he was willing to marry Sylvia & take care of the children. He refused, so Nanavati shot him.The intriguing story received a lot of media coverage and the jury was said to have been ‘influenced’ by it. Nanavati’s connections with the influential families were also cited as reasons for the jury to rule in his favour.
The case then went to Bombay High Court, where the judge overruled the jury’s verdict and found Nanavati guilty of murder, and sentenced him to life imprisonment. He was however pardoned 3 years later. The case threw light on the fact that a jury could be influenced, thereby abolishing the jury system.

4. Mary Roy vs State of Kerala – Daughters became equals
Mary Roy, mother of Arundhati Roy, makes a way to change the aspects of inheritance act. Her father passed away without leaving a will, then according to Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092, if a man died without leaving a will for his daughter, she would not be entitled to anything. A son, however, would get the property.Mary Roy invoked Article 14 and she fights for getting equality in property rights. This fight was not just for herself, but for all Syrian Christian women. The Supreme Court ruled that the Indian Succession Act, 1925, be applied to Christians in Travancore and Cochin too.Through this Act both sons & daughters whose father was died before preparing a will get equal succession rights.5. Mathura – The Minor who brought about a major changeOn the night of 26th March, 1972, Mathura, a tribal girl, was called to the police station on account of her brother lodging a complaint against her boyfriend. The officers at the station raped her and then let her go. Mathura decided to file a rape case against the constables.

The Supreme Court, however, ruled in favour of the policemen assuming it was ‘peaceful or consensual’, stating that there were no signs of struggle on Mathura’s body and that she did not raise any alarm. But Mathura said that they had threatened her into submission.
Leading cases that had given major changes in Indian legal system

1. Jury decision overturned by High Court (KM Nanavati v State of Maharashtra) – 1961

Hardly an open-and-shut case, the nature of the crime garnered media attention.

This case is notable for being the last case when a jury trial was held in India. KM Nanavati, a naval officer, murdered his wifes lover, Prem Ahuja. The jury ruled in favour of Nanavati and declared him not guilty which was eventually set aside by the Bombay High Court.

2. Amendment masquerades as law (IC Golaknath v State of Punjab) – 1967

Parliaments prevented from taking away individual rights.

In the highly famous case of Golaknath V State of Punjab in 1967 the Supreme Court ruled that Parliament could not curtail any of the Fundamental Rights of individuals mentioned in the Constitution. Parliaments overarching ambitions nipped in the bud (Keshavananda Bharti vs State of Kerala) 1973.

3. Elected representatives cannot be given the benefit of doubt

A highly notable case which introduced the concept of basic structure of the constitution of India and declared that those points decided as basic structure could not be amended by the Parliament. The case was triggered by the 42nd Amendment Act.

4. Beginning of the fall of Indira Gandhi (Indira Gandhi v Raj Narain) – 1975

The trigger that led to the imposition of emergency.

In this landmark case regarding election disputes, the primary issue was the validity of clause 4 of the 39th Amendment Act. The Supreme Court held clause 4 as unconstitutional and void on the ground that it was outright denial of the right to equality enshrined in Article 14. The Supreme Court also added the following features as “basic features” laid down in Keshavananda Bharti case – democracy, judicial review, rule of law and jurisdiction of Supreme Court under Article 32.

5. A step backward for India (ADM Jabalpur v Shivakant Shukla Case) – 1976

Widely considered a violation of Fundamental Rights.

In this landmark judgment, the Supreme Court declared that the rights of citizens to move the court for violation of Articles 14, 21 and 22 would remain suspended during emergencies. Triumph of individual liberty (Maneka Gandhi vs UOI) 1978.

6. Overlapping zones of laws rectified thanks to a writ petition

The case caused a huge uproar over the definition of Freedom of Speech. The court ruled that the procedure must be fair and the law must not violate other Fundamental Rights.

7. Parliament limited by itself (Minerva Mills v Union of India) – 1980

In this landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India in 1980 strengthened the doctrine of the basic structure which was propounded earlier in the Keshavananda Bharti Case. Two changes which were made earlier by the 42nd Amendment Act were declared as null and void by the Supreme Court in this particular case.

8. Constitutional validity of individual rights upheld (Waman Rao v Union of India) – 1981

SC ruled that Parliament had transgressed its power of constitutional amendment.

This case was a landmark decision in the constitutional jurisprudence of India. This case has helped in determining a satisfactory method of addressing grievances pertaining to the violation of fundamental rights by creating a fine line of determination between the Acts prior to and after the Keshavananda Bharati case.

9. Maintenance lawsuit sets precedent (Mohd Ahmed Khan v Shah Bano Begum) – 1985

Shah Bano won the right to get alimony from her husband.

The petitioner challenged the Muslim personal law. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of Shah Bano and granted her alimony. Most favoured it as a secular judgment but it also invoked a strong reaction from the Muslim community, which felt that the judgment was an encroachment on Muslim Sharia law and hence led to the formation of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board in 1973.

10. MC Mehta v Union Of India – 1986

Mounting environment-related concerns.

A PIL filed by MC Mehta in 1986 enlarged the scope and ambit of Article 21 and Article 32 to include the right to healthy and pollution-free environment.

11. Reservation in central government jobs (Indra Sawhney v UOI November) – 1992

Attempt to correct historic injustices constitutionally.

The constitutional bench of the Supreme Court held in this matter that caste could be a factor for identifying backward classes.

12. Wrangle over Supreme Court judge appointments (Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record – Association and another versus Union of India) – 1993

The National Judicial Appointments Commission Act and Constitutional amendment Act passed in 2014 aimed at replacing the collegium system of appointing Supreme Court judges. The act was struck down as unconstitutionalby the Supreme Court in October 2015.

13. Power of Presidents Rule curtailed (SR Bommai v Union of India) – 1994

Persecution of state governments stalled.

This landmark case had major implications on Center-State relations. Post this case the Supreme Court clearly detailed the limitations within which Article 356 has to function.

14. Scam-tainted politicians – 1997

The Jain Hawala case exposed bigwigs.

The Hawala scandal was an Indian political scandal involving payments allegedly received by politicians through four hawala brokers, the Jain brothers. In 1991, an arrest linked to militants in Kashmir led to a raid on hawala brokers, revealing evidence of large-scale payments to national politicians. The prosecution that followed was partly prompted by a public interest litigation. Many were acquitted, partly because the hawala records (including diaries) were judged in court to be inadequate as the main evidence. The high court decreed that the CBI had not brought on record any material which could be converted into legally admissible evidence.

15. Foundation for a female workforce (Vishaka v State of Rajasthan) – 1997

Definition of sexual harrassment and guidelines to deal with it laid down.

In this case Vishakha and other women groups filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against State of Rajasthan and Union of India to enforce fundamental rights for working women under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution. This resulted in the introduction of Vishaka Guidelines. The judgment of August 1997 also provided basic definitions of sexual harassment at the workplace and provided guidelines to deal with it. Hence the importance of the case as a landmark judgment.

16. Afzal Gurus death sentence sparked protests – 2002

Awarded death sentence for role in 2001 Parliament attacks.

Afzal Guru was sentenced to death on February 2013 for his role in the December 2001 attacks on the Indian Parliament. The judgment faced widespread criticism on three grounds – lack of proper defense, lack of primary evidence and judgment based on collective conscience rather than rule of law.

17. Justice deferred in Best Bakery case – 2003

Miscarriage of justice as a large number of witnesses turn hostile.

The Best Bakery was burned down, killing 14 people on March 1, 2002 as part of the 2002 Gujarat violence. The Supreme court, in a rarest of rare case, ordered a re-trial outside of Gujarat in which nine out of the seventeen accused were convicted by a special court in Mumbai in 2006.

18. State of Tamil Nadu V Suhas Katti – November 2004

Short conviction time of seven months.

This was notable for being the first case involving conviction under the Information Technology Act, 2000. A family friend of a divorced woman was accused of posting her number online on messenger groups which led to her being harassed by multiple lewd messages. The accused was later convicted and sentenced.

19. Rameshwar Prasad v Union Of India – 2005

Dissolution of Bihar Assembly unwarranted.

In this case, the petitioner challenged the constitutional validity of a notification which ordered dissolution of the legislative Assembly of the state of Bihar. The dissolution had been ordered on the ground that attempts were being made to cobble a majority by illegal means and lay claim to form the government in the state which if continued would lead to tampering with constitutional provisions. The Supreme Court held that the aforementioned notification was unconstitutional.

20. Victims of sexual assault or not? (Om Prakash v Dil Bahar) – 2006

Controversial ruling had many opponents.
The Supreme Court in the above case declared that a rape accused could be convicted on the sole evidence of the victim in spite of medical evidence not proving that it was rape.

21. Priyadarshini Mattoo case – October 2006

14-year-old fight for justice gets results.
In this matter the Supreme Court had commuted the death sentence awarded to prime accused Santosh Singh (son of former IPS officer), to life imprisonment for the rape and murder of the 23-year-old law student, Priyadarshini Mattoo.

22. Jessica Lal Murder Case – December 2006

Civil society makes big gains.

A model in New Delhi working as a bartender was shot dead and the prime accused Manu Sharma, son of Congress MP Vinod Sharma who was initially acquitted in February 2006 was later sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2006 by a fast track hearing by the Delhi High Court. On 19 April 2010, the Supreme Court of India approved the sentence.

23. Sanjay Dutt plays prisoner in real life – 2007

Conviction under TADA changed under milder Arms Act.
Well-known actor Sanjay Dutt was sentenced to five year imprisonment by the Supreme Court for illegal weapons possession in a case linked to the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai. The Supreme Court also cited that the circumstances and nature of offence were too serious for the 53-year-old actor to be released on probation.

24. Nithari serial murders – 2009

 Koli was served with multiple death sentences.

A Special Sessions Court awarded death sentence in 2009 to Surinder Koli and Moninder Singh Pandher for the murder of a 14-year-old girl. The murders believed to have been committed through 2006 involved instances of cannibalism. Pandher was later acquitted by the Allahabad High Court and was released on bail but Koli’s death sentence was upheld by both the High Court as well as the Supreme Court.

25. Aarushi Talwar murder – 2008

Verdict delivered under unusual circumstances.

A case which received heavy media attention involved the double murder of 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar and her 45-year-old domestic help in Noida. After five years a Sessions court convicted both her parents Rajesh and Nupur Talwar and sentenced them to life imprisonment.

26. Section 377 case (Naz Foundation v Govt of NCT of Delhi) – July 2009

Cause for rejoicing for homosexuals.

In 2009 the Supreme Court declared Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as unconstitutional. The said section earlier criminalised sexual activities “against the order of nature” which included homosexual acts. This judgment however, was overturned by the Supreme in December, 2013.

27. Meagre closure for controversial Ayodhya (Ayodhya Ram Mandir Babri Masjid Case) – September 2010

Ruled that the land was to be divided into three parts.

The high court of Allahabad had ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya where the Babri Masjid was situated before it was demolished in 1992 shall be divided into three parts. Two-thirds of the land was to be awarded to the Hindu plaintiffs and one-third to the Sunni muslim Waqf board.

28. Child sexual assault not to be taken lightly – 2011

Punishment not enough for child abusers.

The Supreme Court restored the conviction and sentence of six-year rigorous imprisonment imposed on two British nationals who were acquitted by the Bombay High Court in a paedophilia case. The Bench directed the accused to serve the remaining period of sentence. In a landmark judgment the Supreme Court observed “Children are the greatest gift to humanity. The sexual abuse of children is one of the most heinous crimes”.

29. Vodafones name cleared in tax battle (Vodafone-Hutchison tax case) – January 2012

Landmark decision on taxability of offshore transactions.

The Supreme Court ruled in favour of Vodafone in the two-billion-dollar tax case citing that capital gains tax is not applicable to the telecom major. The apex court also said that the Rs 2,500 crore which Vodafone had already paid should be returned with interest.

30. Clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi – 2012

Questions remains and victims of families yet to get closure.

In April 2012 the Supreme Court appointed Special investigation Team (SIT) gave current Prime Minister Narendra Modi a clean chit in the post-Godhra Gulberg massacre case citing that it found no evidence against him. Narendra Modi went on to become the Prime Minister of India with a huge mandate.

31. Mohd Ajmal Amir Kasab v State of Maharashtra – 2012

One of the most high-profile executions in the country.

The Supreme Court observed that the acts on November 26, 2008, had shaken the collective conscience of Indian citizens and had confirmed the death sentence awarded to prime accused Ajmal Kasab by the trial court and affirmed by the Bombay High Court, for waging war against India.

32. NOTA Judgment – 2013
The right to reject candidates formalised.
In 2013, the Supreme Court introduced negative voting as an option for the country’s electorate. According to this judgment an individual would have the option of not voting for any candidate (None-Of-The-Above) if they don’t find any of the candidates worthy.

33. Patent troubles of Pharma company Novartis (Novartis v Union of India & Others) – 2013

Case accused of dealing a death blow to innovation in medicine.

Novartis’ application which covered a beta crystalline form of imatinib, a medicine the company brands as Glivec, which is very effective against chronic myeloid leukaemia (a common form of cancer) was denied patent protection by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board. The Supreme Court in its ruling upheld the board’s decision which eventually led to the medicine being made available to the general public at a much lower cost.

34. Illegalising convicted MPs and MLAs (Lily Thomas v Union Of India) – July 2013

Effected much-needed cleansing of legislative bodies.

The Supreme Court of India, in this judgment, ruled that any member of Parliament (MP), member of the legislative assembly (MLA) or member of a legislative council (MLC) who was convicted of a crime and awarded a minimum of two-year imprisonment, would lose membership of the House with immediate effect.

35. Uphaar fire tragedy (Sushil Ansal vs State Thr Cbi) – March 2014

Split judgment couldnt reach a decision on sentencing.

August 2015: Eighteen years after 59 people were killed in a fire in Delhi’s Uphaar cinema, the Supreme Court held that the prime accused did not necessarily need to go back to jail as they were fairly aged. The court further held that “ends of justice would meet” if the accused paid Rs 30 crore each as fine.

36. Nirbhaya case shook the nation – March 2014

Judiciary spurred into action and laws were strengthened for sex offenders.

Four out of the five accused in the horrific gang-rape case of Nirbhaya were convicted and given the death sentence. The case also resulted in the introduction of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 which provides for the amendment of the definition of rape under Indian Penal Code, 1860; Code of Criminal Procedures, 1973; the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

Also Read: Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action v. Union of India: Polluter Pays

37. Recognising the Third gender (National Legal Services Authority v Union of India) – April 2014

Third gender acknowledged as citizens with rights.

In a landmark judgment the Supreme Court in April, 2014 recognised transgender persons as a third gender and ordered the government to treat them as minorities and extend reservations in jobs, education and other amenities.

38. Section 66A revised (Shreya Singhal v Union of India) – March 2015


Leave a Comment