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Home All Updates (241) Landmark judicial de
Landmark judicial de
Landmark judicial decisions changed the Constitution as well as everyday life. Their impact still echoes. 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 wife's 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 Parliament's 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. Parliament's 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 President's 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
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