The year 2017 saw a number of important verdicts and judgments passed by the judiciary. Take a look at some of the important decisions taken by the courts:
1. Seeking votes in the name of religion, race and caste was termed “a corrupt practice”
On 2nd January, a seven-judge bench headed by chief justice T S Thakur, in a landmark judgment passed a ruling which made seeking votes in the name of religion, caste or community an illegal practice by a 4:3 majority. In effect, it implies that anyone who does use these unfair means to seek votes, can be set aside.
2. The VIP lal-batti culture was prohibited
On 19th April, the culture of lal battis on cars of important people (VIPs) was banned after a discussion was held at a cabinet meeting and was later announced by the Finance Minister that this was a move to end VIP culture. The ban came into effect from May 1.
3. The rarest of rare death sentence was upheld for Nirbhaya’s rapists
On 5th May, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for the four people accused in the gangrape of Nirbhaya and said that they don’t deserve leniency for their brutal and barbaric act. The convict’s lawyer, however, said that this was a clear violation of human rights.
4. The 6 culprits of the 1993 Mumbai blasts were pronounced guilty.
Under the terrorists and disruptive activities act (TADA) and the Explosives Act, six were declared guilty for the 1993 Mumbai blasts, a terrorist activity that came about after the Babri Masjid demolition on 16th June.
5. Triple Talaq was deemed “unconstitutional”
On 22nd August, a five-judge bench of the Parliament including chief justice J S Khehar deemed Triple Talaq as unconstitutional, saying that it violates constitutional morality. However, since no law had been enacted for punitive action against those who violate it, there was rampant flouting. The Union Cabinet cleared the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill making the practice a non-bailable offense.
6. And the Right to Privacy was flagged as the cornerstone of the Constitution.
Chief Justice Khehar headed a nine-judge bench and ruled that right to privacy was a fundamental right under the constitution on 24th August. It was stated that “right to privacy is an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty under Article 21 and entire Part III of the Constitution“.
7. ‘Godmen’ like Gurmeet Singh were sentenced to prison for sexual assault
The head of the social group, Dera Sacha Sauda, he had been found guilty of sexually assaulting two of his female followers, as a result of which CBI Judge Jagdeep Singh pronounced 20 years of imprisonment on 28th August.
8. Sexual intercourse with a minor wife became punishable by law
On 11th October, the Apex Court criminalised sex with a minor wife aged between 15 and 18, stating that it is a violation of the constitution. The judgment came about after a petition was filed by the NGO, ‘Independent Thought’.
9. While the Talwars were acquitted of their daughter’s murder
On 12th October 2017, Nupur and Rajesh Talwar were acquitted in the murder of their daughter Aarushi Talwar and their manservant, Hemraj in 2008 by the Allahabad High Court. They stated that they could not be held guilty based on what evidence they had.