About Fundamental Rights
Author: Saloni Ratra, Amity Law School, Dehradun.
Fundamental rights are a group of rights that have been recognized by the Supreme Court Of India as requiring a high degree of protection from government encroachment. These rights are specifically identified in the Constitution(i.e. in the Bill of Rights) or have been found under Due Process.
Fundamental rights apply universally to all citizens, irrespective of race, place of birth, religion, caste or gender. The Indian Penal Code and other laws prescribe punishments for the violation of these rights, subject to the discretion of the judiciary. Though the rights conferred by the constitution other than fundamental rights are also valid rights protected by the judiciary, in case of fundamental rights violations, the Supreme Court of India can be approached directly for ultimate justice per Article 32.
Landmark Judgment Of Supreme Court (2017-2019)
a. Right to Privacy a fundamental right.
A long debate occurred on this issue whether the right to privacy is a fundamental right or not. The supreme court held that the right to privacy was protected under article 21 of the constitution of India. In a certain decision, the constitutional bench overruled the judgment, which constitutes a bench of nine judges in the famous cases of MP Sharma and Kharak Singh.
b. Triple Talaq Unconstitutional
In the landmark judgment of the supreme court of India by the constitutional bench of 5 judges declared that the practice of triple talaq is unconstitutional by 3:2 majority. Justice Nariman and Lalit held that it was unconstitutional and violative of Article 14(right to equality).
c. Sex with Minor Wife is a Rape
The constitutional bench compromises of 2 judges of supreme court held that sex with a minor wife which is below the age of 18 is regarded as rape. justice Deepak Gupta clearly stated as section 198(6) will be treated as the section for rape for wives.
d. Seeking votes in the name of caste/religion is a corrupt practice
A seven-judge constitutional bench comprising of chief judge T.S.Thakur passed the judgment by 4:3 majority that seeking votes in the name of caste or religion or community amounts to corrupt practices and the candidate who indulges in it can be set aside.
e. Death for Nirbhaya convicts
Supreme court of India upheld the death penalty for the convicts of the nirbhaya rape and murder case. In a voluminous judgment of 430 pages, the bench opined that the attitude of the offenders amounted to” bestial proclivity” and that the incident “sounds like a story from a different world where humanity is treated with irreverence.”
f. Directives To Prevent Misuse of Section 498A of IPC
The supreme court issued a new set of directions to prevent the misuse of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. A bench compromising of two judges Justice AK Goel and UU Lalit observed that Section 498A was inserted in the statute with the laudable object of punishing cruelty at the hands of a husband or his relatives against a wife particularly when such cruelty had potential to result in suicide or murder of a woman.
g. Lifting ban on the entry of women (aged 10-50)inside Sabarimala temple
The supreme court removed a ban that prevented women from the age of 10-50 to enter into the Kerala”s Sabarimala temple. Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justices Rohinton F Nariman and Dhananjaya Y Chandrachund concurred with each other while Indu Malhotra dissented saying that courts shouldn’t determine which religious practices should be struck down or not.
h. Section 377 stuck down partially
The supreme court in a landmark judgment decriminalized gay sex holding that consensual sex between two adults was covered under the right to privacy. a bench compromising of 5 judges of the supreme court of India partly struck down section 377 pf Indian Penal Code. Any kind of sexual activity with animals and children remains a penal offence.
i. Adultery not a crime
The supreme court stuck down 150 years old law that adultery to be an offence, defined under section 497 of IPC. The supreme court declared Section 497 as unconstitutional .and adultery to be no longer as a crime.
These all are the landmark judgments of 2017-19 upon fundamental rights protected by the supreme court of India.