5 most beautiful changes in India – Supreme Court Landmark Judgements

Welcome !!

So, as you are here, I presume that you appreciate India or you want to know more about this mega diverse,democratic nation. I am sure you would develop more love towards this country by the end of this blog.

Let’s have a quick look into it’s history. As we know that India got it’s independence from British Rule in 1947 and within this 72 years, India stood as an emerging global power maintaining along a rich culture and heritage that has been influenced by a history that is several millennia old.

As there is a say “Change is the only constant” , India is still a developing country in economic and Human development terms. Through changes in age-old laws, lives are changing and we are welcoming the nation’s growth with open arms.

Below are the key developments in India in recent times that upheld the fundamental rights to all the citizens of India.

1) Declaring instant Triple Talaq Unconstitutional

Let’s first understand what Triple Talaq is, before jumping into the judgement. Later ask yourself whether the decision is justified or not.

Triple Talaq (also known as talaq-e-biddat) a customary Islamic practice, prevalent among Muslims, that dissolves a marriage when the husband says the word ‘talaq’ thrice under the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act 1937.

Overtime,it is observed that this divorce practice has been misused for foolhardy reasons and practiced even through electronic devices. Cases of husbands divorcing their wives through text messages and over phones have come to light.

Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), launched a campaign to ban triple talaq and “nikah halala” – a practice where divorced women, in case they want to go back to their first husbands, have to consummate a second marriage.

Muslim women protesting against Triple Talaq
                           Muslim Women Protesting against Triple Talaq Practice.                                                                                    Image Reference: Google

As this goes against the rights of equality ,women’s empowerment and propagates the dominance of men over women, triple talaq case had become a prominent issue.

Despite challenges from religious groups,  Supreme Court of India has declared the practice of Triple Talaq as unconstitutional by 3:2 majority.

This was the culmination of a petition filed by Shayara Bano, whose husband of 15 years had divorced her through a letter where he pronounced talaq three times, to declare the divorce as void.

The court has given progressive thoughts enshrined in the Constitution precedence over the muslim personal law in society. Thus, Triple talaq abolishment proved to be a historic judgement that ensures fundamental rights to every citizen &  women empowerment.

2) Decriminalizing gay sex and repealing Section 377

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is introduced in 1864 during the British rule in India to criminalize sexual activities “against the order of nature” ,and thousands of people were prosecuted under it. The law was often used as a cudgel to intimidate, blackmail and abuse of the LGBT community.

The below picture shows LGBT flag(Rainbow flag) which is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride and LGBT social movements.

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A five-judge SC bench gave a historic, unanimous ruling on IPC Section 377 , decriminalising homosexuality. This implies decriminalisation of gay sex holding that consensual sex between two adults was covered under the right to privacy.

The bench, terming Section 377 as ‘irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary’, diluted it to exclude all kinds of adult consensual sexual behavior. But that Section 377 remains in force relating to sex with minors,non-consensual sexual acts, and bestiality.

The ruling stated:

The natural identity of an individual should be treated to be absolutely essential to his being. What nature gives is natural. That is called nature within. Thus, that part of the personality of a person must be respected and not despised or looked down upon.”

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Crowd of people carrying large LGBT pride flag walking on the road in support of decriminalizing gay sex.                                                           Image Reference: Google

“Members of LGBT community members and their family members are owed an apology from society for being denied equal rights over the years,” said Justice Malhotra

Thus, striking down of section 377 partially, heralds a new dawn for personal liberty and is a major victory for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community that has been fighting hard and persistently to legalise gay sex.

Afterall , Everyone has to be given their right to live & freedom from fear of abusing based on sexual orientation.

3) Sabarimala temple opens doors to women

A Hindu pilgrimage center in Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala, the Ayyappan temple in Sabarimala clocks about 45–50 million devotees every year. Women between the ages 10 and 50, though, were kept out,citing menstruating age group as the reason.

Here comes the challenge of Gender Equality vs Religious freedom

On September 28, 2018, a five-bench judge comprising Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra, led by CJI Dipak Misra overruled the Kerala High Court’s 27-year-old tradition that restricted the entry of women into the temple.

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Sabarimala Temple

In its official statement, the court said,

“The dualism that persists in religion by glorifying and venerating women as goddesses on one hand and by imposing rigorous sanctions on the other hand in matters of devotion has to be abandoned. Such a dualistic approach and an entrenched mindset results in indignity to women and the degradation of their status.”

However,this judgement is creating a controversy with opposing religious groups saying “why there is too much of criticism towards one religion i.e Hinduism and why the Hindu religious Institutions are being deprived of freedom to profess, practice and propagate religion”

Whom do you support !!

4) Supreme Court proceedings to be live streamed

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant” – stated a bench led by CJI Dipak Misra on September 26, 2018 delivering a verdict allowing live streaming of court proceedings.

Cases of national and constitutional importance will be live streamed by the apex court for all citizens. The move is seen as a step towards transparency, and increasing accountability of the lawyers and judges.

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The Ruling stated:

 Live streaming would bring in more transparency in judicial proceedings and effectuate the “public right to know”.

This law hopes to enable the legal system to deliver on its promise of empowering the masses.

5) Private companies can’t demand Aadhaar Data

A Supreme Court bench upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, striking down Section 57 of the Aadhaar Act, which used to allow the sharing of citizen data with private entities.

The ruling means Aadhaar is mandatory only to file IT returns and for PAN allotment, and is voluntary for bank accounts, e-wallets, and school admissions.

The bench, in its 1,448-page verdict, also asked the government to make Aadhaar more secure by

 “Adopting and implementing appropriate technical and organisational security measures to ensure that the agencies, consultants, advisors or other persons appointed or engaged for performing any function of authority under this Act have in place appropriate technical and organisational security measures for the information”

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Sample Aadhaar Card

It also means that banks and mobile phone companies can’t anymore insist on Aadhaar number to verify your details when you seek a new connection or open a new bank account. So, next time when any private company asking you about aadhaar linking, Remind them of this & be mindful.

These are some landmark Judgements which are leading to some beautiful changes in India. Hope for a better society with these new laws.

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