1) Meagre closure for controversial Ayodhya (Ayodhya Ram Mandir Babri Masjid Case) – September 2010

  • Ruled that the land was to be divided into three parts.
  • The high court of Allahabad had ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya where the Babri Masjid was situated before it was demolished in 1992 shall be divided into three parts. Two-thirds of the land was to be awarded to the Hindu plaintiffs and one-third to the Sunni muslim Waqf board.

2) Child sexual assault not to be taken lightly – 2011

  • Punishment not enough for child abusers.
  • The Supreme Court restored the conviction and sentence of six-year rigorous imprisonment imposed on two British nationals who were acquitted by the Bombay High Court in a paedophilia case. The Bench directed the accused to serve the remaining period of sentence. In a landmark judgment the Supreme Court observed “Children are the greatest gift to humanity. The sexual abuse of children is one of the most heinous crimes”.

3) Vodafone’s name cleared in tax battle (Vodafone-Hutchison tax case) – January 2012

  • Landmark decision on taxability of offshore transactions.
  • The Supreme Court ruled in favour of Vodafone in the two-billion-dollar tax case citing that capital gains tax is not applicable to the telecom major. The apex court also said that the Rs 2,500 crore which Vodafone had already paid should be returned with interest.

4) Mohd Ajmal Amir Kasab v State of Maharashtra – 2012

  • One of the most high-profile executions in the country.
  • The Supreme Court observed that the acts on November 26, 2008, had shaken the collective conscience of Indian citizens and had confirmed the death sentence awarded to prime accused Ajmal Kasab by the trial court and affirmed by the Bombay High Court, for waging war against India.

5) Clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi – 2012

  • Questions remains and victims of families yet to get closure.
  • In April 2012 the Supreme Court appointed Special investigation Team (SIT) gave current Prime Minister Narendra Modi a clean chit in the post-Godhra Gulberg massacre case citing that it found no evidence against him. Narendra Modi went on to become the Prime Minister of India with a huge mandate.

6) NOTA Judgment – 2013

  • The right to reject candidates formalised.
  • In 2013, the Supreme Court introduced negative voting as an option for the country’s electorate. According to this judgment an individual would have the option of not voting for any candidate (None-Of-The-Above) if they don’t find any of the candidates worthy.

7) Patent troubles of Pharma company Novartis (Novartis v Union of India & Others) – 2013

  • Case accused of dealing a death blow to innovation in medicine.
  • Novartis’ application which covered a beta crystalline form of imatinib, a medicine the company brands as “Glivec”, which is very effective against chronic myeloid leukaemia (a common form of cancer) was denied patent protection by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board. The Supreme Court in its ruling upheld the board’s decision which eventually led to the medicine being made available to the general public at a much lower cost.

8) Illegalising convicted MPs and MLAs (Lily Thomas v Union Of India) – July 2013

  • Effected much-needed cleansing of legislative bodies.
  • The Supreme Court of India, in this judgment, ruled that any member of Parliament (MP), member of the legislative assembly (MLA) or member of a legislative council (MLC) who was convicted of a crime and awarded a minimum of two-year imprisonment, would lose membership of the House with immediate effect.

9) Uphaar fire tragedy (Sushil Ansal vs State Thr Cbi) – March 2014

  • Split judgment couldn’t reach a decision on sentencing.
  • August 2015: Eighteen years after 59 people were killed in a fire in Delhi’s Uphaar cinema, the Supreme Court held that the prime accused did not necessarily need to go back to jail as they were fairly aged. The court further held that “ends of justice would meet” if the accused paid Rs 30 crore each as fine.

10) Nirbhaya case shook the nation – March 2014

  • Judiciary spurred into action and laws were strengthened for sex offenders.
  • Four out of the five accused in the horrific gang-rape case of Nirbhaya were convicted and given the death sentence. The case also resulted in the introduction of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 which provides for the amendment of the definition of rape under Indian Penal Code, 1860; Code of Criminal Procedures, 1973; the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

11) Recognising the Third gender (National Legal Services Authority v Union of India) – April 2014

  • Third gender acknowledged as citizens with rights.
  • In a landmark judgment the Supreme Court in April, 2014 recognised transgender persons as a third gender and ordered the government to treat them as minorities and extend reservations in jobs, education and other amenities.

12) Section 66A revised (Shreya Singhal v Union of India) – March 2015

  • Cracking down on “offensive” online content not easy.
  • Controversial section 66A of the Information Technology Act which allowed arrests for objectionable content posted on the internet was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in March 2015.

13) Yakub Memon sentenced to death (Yakub Abdul Razak Memon V State of Maharashtra and Anr) – July 2015

  • No reprieve for the accused in 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.
  • Yakub Abdul Razak Memon was convicted and sentenced to execution by hanging in March 2015 for his involvement in the 1993 Bombay serial blasts. His conviction sparked a nationwide debate on capital punishment in India.

14) Dance bars functional again – October 2015

  • After a gap of two decades, dance bars open.
  • The Supreme Court in July 2013 passed a judgment directing the state government to reopen dance bars in Maharashtra which had earlier been banned under the Maharashtra Police Act. The resultant ban by the Bombay High Court was stayed.

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