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2018 Rewind: Top Supreme Court verdicts that impacted India

Supreme Court, 2018 year ender, rewind, Sabarimala, Section 377, adultery, Aadhaar,
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GR news Desk | New Delhi

Supreme Court, the highest law body of the land was extremely active in 2018 giving out historic judgements throughout the year. The judgements which called for celebrations, jubilation and praises from various sections of the society. From legalising same-sex relations to opening the gates of Sabarimala for women of all ages, 2018 has been an eventful year for the Supreme Court.

Here are the top SC judgments of 2018

Legalising same-sex relations

(Source: WikiImages)

The Supreme Court in a historic judgement in September, legalised same-sex relations between consenting adults, A five-judge bench of the apex court in a 3:2 majority ruling quoting ―German thinker, Johann Wolfgang’s “I am what I am, so take me as I am,” said “Section 377 fails to take into account that consensual sexual acts between adults in private space are neither harmful nor contagious to society.” Justice Indu Malhotra reading her judgment said, “History owes an apology to the members of this community and their families, for the delay in providing redressal for the ignominy and ostracism they have suffered.”

Entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala temple shrine permitted 

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra put an end to the centuries-old tradition which banned the entry of women in menstruating age into the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The court said that the practice violated the right of Hindu women to practice religion. It also said that patriarchy in religion cannot be allowed to trump the right to pray. However, Justice Indu Malhotra, who wrote the dissenting judgment in the case, said that the notions of rationality cannot be brought into matters of religion. Justice Malhotra, the only woman on the bench, was of the view that the petition does not deserve to be entertained.

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Aadhaar constitutionally valid, but conditions apply

Putting an end to the consitutional validity of the Unique Identification Authority of India dubbed Aadhaar, the Supreme Court struck down Sections 33(2), 47 and 57 of the Aadhaar Act. The bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra ruled that the UIDAI programme served the larger public interest and ensured that the poor has acces to resources. The verdict made Aadhaar mandatory to avail benefits of welfare schemes, to file Income Tax returns and it is also compulsory to link Aadhaar with PAN cards. However, it is not mandatory to provide Aadhaar details to open bank accounts, get SIM cards, or for services from private companies. The court also ordered that Aadhaar is not necessary for school admissions or NEET, UGC and CBSE examinations.

SC scraps IPC Section 497, adultery is not a crime

Striking down section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Supreme Court called it unconstitutional and fell foul of Article 21 (Right to life and personal liberty) and Article 14 (Right to equality). The IPC section 497 made adultery a punishable offence for men. The apex court also declared Section 198(1) and 198(2) of the CrPC, which allows a husband to bring charges against the man with whom his wife committed adultery, unconstitutional. “Adultery can be ground for any civil wrong. There can’t be any social license that destroys the matrimonial home, but adultery should not be a criminal offence,” the court said in its judgment.

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Legalising passive Euthanasia

The Suprme Court in a landmark judgment in March allowed ‘living will’ of an andult in their consious mind to not take medical treatment or voluntariry decide not to take medical treatment to embrace death in a natural way. The court in its verdict maintained that the rights of the patient would not fall out of the purview of Article 21 (Right ot life). The court also laid out certain guidelines for approval of euthanasia. The rules state that the individual should be in a sound mental status and in a position to communicate the purpose and consequences. It must be voluntariy executed with any coercion, among others.