Top 15 Judgments That Changed India

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India, with an independent judiciary, is among those countries following the common law system and believing in democracy. The country has its challenges but its also constantly developing.

Here we’re going to discuss the top 15 judgments that changed India:

1. End of Jury Trial

The famous case of “KM Nanavati V. State of Maharashtra, 1961” was merely an open and shut case. This case ended the judge trials in the Indian judiciary system. In this case, the accused murdered his wife’s lover, and the Bombay High Court found him not guilty. A movie named Rustom, based on this case and starring Akshay Kumar was also released in 2016.

2. Golaknath Case 

In the landmark judgment of “Golaknath v. State of Punjab, 1967,” the honorable supreme court addressed the individual’s rights for the first time and said parliament could not curtail any individual from exercising his/her fundamental rights given by the constitution of India.

3. Emergency Provisions & Indira Gandhi

“Indira Gandhi V. Raj Narain, 1975,” famously known as the Raj Narain case, led to the fall of Indira Gandhi’s era. In its landmark decision, the court of the law struck down Article 71 (2) and 329 A of the constitution of India. According to these articles, if a court declares any election of the president, vice-president, prime minister, and speaker of Lok Sabha void, then the decision of the court is null and void. This case actually saved our democratic status.

4. Personal Liberty Case

Although the personal liberty issue was first discussed in the AK Gopalan case. In “Maneka Gandhi V. UOI, 1978” case, the concept of personal liberty was widely discussed. In this landmark judgment, the Supreme Court gave this concept of just, fair, and reasonable proceedings.

5. Violation of Fundamental Rights

After the case of “ADM Jabalpur V. Shivkant Shukla, 1976,” the fundamental rights under Article 14, Article 20, and Article 22 of an individual remain suspended during an emergency.

6. Basic Structure Doctrine 

The doctrine of basic structure was first discussed in the judgment (also the longest judgment in Indian history) of “Kesavananda Bharati V. State of Kerala.” Till then, this doctrine was discussed from time to time and strengthened by the “Minerva Mills V. Union of India, 1980.”

7. Foundation of All India Muslim Personal Law Board

The judgment of the “Mohd. Ahmed Khan V. Shah Bano Begum, 1985” case was a secular judgment held by overruling Sharia law that invoked the Muslim community, and all this ruckus led to the foundation of the All Indian Muslim Law Board.

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8. PIL

Mumbai Kamgar Sabha’s case led to the foundation of Public Interest Litigation in India.

9. Environment Concern

The first environment-related Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by environmentalist MC Mehta in 1986. Judges, in this case, discussed the wider concept of Article 21 and 32 by including a healthy and pollution-free environment as a right to life.

10. The Landmark Judgement in Vishakha’s case

This led to the formation of the female workforce. In the landmark judgment of “Vishakha V. State of Rajasthan, 1997,” the honorable court talked about sexual harassment in the workplace, its definition, guidelines, and how to deal with it.

11. Section 377

“Naz foundation V. Government of NCT of Delhi, 2009,” is also known as the Naz foundation case or Section 377 case. In its judgment, the supreme court overturned its previous judgment declaring S.377 of IPC as unconstitutional and criminalizing homosexuality.

12. Right to choose NOTA

In the famous case of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties vs. The Union of India, also known as NOTA (None of the Above) judgment, the supreme court permitted to reject the electoral candidate and choose NOTA option.

13. Aruna Shanbaug Case

Aruna Shanbaug was a rape survivor who continued to be on PVS for a period of more than 42 years. In 2011, a PIL was filed in the interest of Aruna for euthanasia. Initially, the court rejected the PIL, but this case started the debate about the need to change the euthanasia laws in India.

14. An Incident that Shook the Nation

The Nirbhaya case was a wake-up call for our judiciary and legislature. This case set up the fast-track courts in India and resulted in the amendment of criminal law and rape definition in CrPC, IPC, Evidence Act, and Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act.

15. Third Gender

In this latest judgment, the supreme court ordered the government to recognize transgenders as the third gender and provide the same opportunities as other minorities.

Some incidents are so impactful that they end up changing the entire course of a country. India is among them, and these cases are proof.

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