supreme court


Each time the newspaper unfurls another student’s tragic end, the pressing question lingers: when and how will this come to an end?

Welcome to the latest episode of the Supreme Court’s yet another fascinating dance of questionable rulings. In this piece, we analyse the court’s recent refusal to entertain a petition that sought regulation of private coaching institutes and a law to prescribe their minimum standards.

A fresh Monday’s dawn kindles newfound hope in the heart of petitioner Annirudha Nayal Malpani. Yet, in a distant realm, another heart faces a quiet departure of hope, navigating through the shadows of despair. In a plea that sought regulation of the mushrooming coaching institutes and presented data on student suicides, a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti expressed helplessness and said that the court cannot pass any directions in such a scenario.

The court simply denied coaching institutes as a factor in suicides and backed ‘intense competition’ and ‘pressure of parents’ on their wards preparing for competitive exams as the main reasons for the rising number of suicides across the country. The court clearly mentioned that “coaching institutions in Kota cannot be blamed.” While we can’t deny the fact that societal and parental expectations do contribute a major chunk to the child’s pressure, refusing to hear any fault on coaching institutions still raises a question of doubt.

The widely acclaimed coaching hub, Kota, reported almost twenty-six deaths in 2023. An analysis by the Hindustan Times shows that more than half of the students who decided to end their lives were younger than eighteen years old. To delve into the factors contributing to these tragic outcomes, we need to acknowledge and articulate the underlying elements.

In a report by The Quint, a student studying at one of the premier coaching institutions mentioned that batches with higher aptitudes were given better treatment, like fully equipped libraries, twenty-four-hour teachers on call, etc. The potential toppers were even given fully furnished apartments with a maid and scooters. She added,

When you see others doing well, it instills a sense of competition. But when you see them being rewarded with money and other facilities, it leaves you feeling insecure.

To also contemplate this matter from a psychological lens, the toxic practice of segregating students on the basis of their ranks and grades breeds an air of superiority among high achievers, cultivating an unhealthy sense of competition among peers. Not only this, but these money-centric establishments allegedly lure the potential toppers with money so that they bring fame to ‘their’ coaching institute. As students dabble with homesickness, societal pressures, and financial burdens, the toxic atmosphere intensifies the struggle.

Notably, this isn’t the first time concerns have been raised about regulating coaching institutes and their alleged financial practices. In 2017, when this matter was previously brought before the apex court, the judicial stance was that it fell within the purview of state governments to address and regulate. History seemed to echo itself as the Supreme Court once again redirected the plea to the government, leaving us pondering a singular question: Does this constant redirection yield any effective results? While the Rajasthan government did issue guidelines in November 2022, complying with the orders of the HC and providing assurance of a law enactment, nothing seems to have changed as the state still yielded the highest number of suicides since 2015. In a parallel narrative, the issues confronting the Delhi government’s negligence find resonance in the streets of Mukherjee Nagar, still crying for the ‘framing’ of guidelines proposed in 2020.

The escalating tide of suicide cases demands a no-nonsense consideration for nationwide, centrally mandated guidelines. The grim reality is worsened by the flagrant negligence and incompetence shown by the various state governments. It screams for an urgent and concrete response because ‘pressure of parents’ no longer serves as the only scapegoat, while ‘spring-loaded fans’ and ‘anti-suicide nets’ are not the resolutions anymore.

Read also: The Supreme Court’s Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes

Featured Image Credits: India Today

Dhairya Chhabra
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The Supreme Court of India recently released a handbook that deals with countering harmful language used in court that fosters stereotypes against women.

The language spoken and accepted in court may not directly influence the outcome of a plea, but it serves as a significant indicator of the values upheld and endorsed by a country. Taking a step towards countering inappropriate and harmful language used against women and gender minorities, the Supreme Court recently issued a 30-page handbook detailing alternative and preferred phrases to be used in legal matters. 

(…) the language a judge uses reflects not only their interpretation of the law but their perception of society as well.” -Chief Justice Chandrachud

The handbook tries to eliminate some disdainful language that promotes stereotypes. Some of the identified phrases include ‘career woman’, ‘obedient wife’ and ‘chaste woman’. Another stereotype that the handbook aims to do away with is the idea that women are inherently overly emotional and thus incapacitated to make decisions. It also acknowledges that assumptions made about women’s characters depending on their sexual history and clothing preferences tamper with the judicial assessment of sexual violence cases as they diminish the importance of consent in sexual relationships.

The handbook also wishes to implement the use of more dignified language towards the LGBTQIA+ community. Moving forward, ‘sex assigned at birth’ is stated to be the preferred phrase in place of ‘biological sex’.  

When announcing the publication of this handbook in court, CJI D.Y. Chandrachud said that he hoped this would mark a milestone in the journey towards a more equitable society.

Implementation of measures like this one, especially by a nation’s highest authorities, is crucial for driving a fundamental transformation in how women and gender minorities are perceived within a country. Such initiatives not only signal a commitment to gender equality but also play a major role in determining societal norms in the long run. 

By challenging these long-existing biases, the Supreme Court of India has contributed to a broader cultural shift that recognizes and respects the dignity and rights of women. Hopefully, there is potential in this handbook to inspire change not only within the legal system but also in society as a whole. 

Read also: Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes – SC 

Featured image credits: Boom Live

Arshiya Pathania

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The Tis Hazari court granted bail to DU Associate Professor, Ratan Lal, who had been arrested on Friday by Delhi Police responding to an FIR lodged against him in regards to the ‘shivling’ comment controversy. Read to find out more.

Delhi University Associate Professor, Ratan Lal, who was arrested on Friday night, 20th May 2022, after an FIR was lodged against him for making alleged objectionable remarks through a Facebook post, has been granted bail, on a bond of Rs. 50,000 and a surety of likes, by the Tis Hazari court.

The complaint, which was lodged by a Delhi-based lawyer, Vineet Jindal, alleged that Lal had recently shared a “derogatory, inciting and provocative tweet on the Shivling”.

The DU professor had been arrested by the Cyber Police Station, North under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295A (deliberate act to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion). The Delhi police had been seeking a 14-day judicial remand of Professor Ratan Lal in order to facilitate a proper investigation in the case, considering that they had received six complaints against him so far.


Appearing on behalf of the police, Additional Public Prosecutor, Atul Shrivastava, told the court that, “prima facie some comments have been passed that have the potential to disturb public tranquility”.

Accordingly the FIR was registered… the most important aspect, not expected from such an educated person, was after making such type of remarks, he has not stopped there, he has been defending himself through different videos uploaded on YouTube,” Shrivastava argued.


On the other hand, Professor Ratan Lal’s lawyers (Advocates Amit Srivastava, Aditya Kumar Chaudhary, Dr Satya Prakash, Sanjay K Chhadha, ND Pancholi, Rahul, Mukesh, Deepak Jakhar and Karish Kumar Mehra) had moved his bail application before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Siddhartha Malik, arguing that his arrest was in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines as mentioned in the Arnesh Kumar judgement.

What circumstances happened that you had to make an arrest? He was not a criminal or a habitual offender. He is a professor in a reputed college… You had proper time, you could have served notice, waited for a reply, and if there was an unsatisfactory reply then you could have arrested. This is contempt of Arnesh Kumar judgment and the officers involved in this arrest should face departmental enquiry,” Lal’s lawyer submitted.


On Saturday, 21st May, 2022, students as well as student organisations had held a protest outside Arts Faculty, DU against the arrest of Professor Ratan Lal. This included organisations cuh as AISA, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), and DSU taking a stand in support of the professor. The students participating in the protest held placards saying “Stop attack on our teachers”, “Stop curbing democratic voices”, and “Release professor Ratan Lal”.

The FIR has been lodged against Prof. Lal under the section of blasphemy, an act which has no place in a country such as India which is not a theocratic state. Our constitution recognizes itself as a secular country, promoting all contending schools of thought, including those that are against institutional religions. Therefore, blasphemy must be decriminalized. It is only a tool in the hands of religious fundamentalists to quell voices who stand firmly against religious mongering,” said Noel Benny, SFI Delhi State committee member, while addressing the student gathering.


SFI Delhi also issued a statement in solidarity with the professor, condemning his arrest and the arbitrary action of the state.

This punitive action against Prof. Lal is characteristic of a Brahminical state. Brahminism since its inception as a hegemonic ideology has always violently suppressed its opposers… The current instance of using state machinery and constitutional provisions to penalize critics is only a manifestation of the oppressive ideology, which reaffirms that the state continues to follow the traditions of the Brahmanical order,” read the statement made by SFI Delhi.


Taking its decision, in addition to granting bail, the court directed the DU Professor to refrain from making any new social media posts or from engaging in different means of interaction such as interviews concerning the ‘shivling’ controversy.

In regards to this issue, Professor Ratan Lal had previously argued and made a statement that all he had done was impose a question to the general public as a student of history. 

People can be hurt by anything. Academic discourse cannot be sidelined on account of perceived hurt. I had asked a simple question to enquire if the so-called shivling was broken or cut. Mullahs and Pandits don’t need to comment on it. An art historian should answer this question,” said Professor Ratan Lal.

The court said that considering that the concerned remark by the professor had not been made with the intention of inciting any particular group or promoting tension/ enmity between people and had been made on a structure that was being claimed by different groups as different religious symbols, the court considered that “the post of the accused may be a failed attempt at satire regarding a controversial subject which has backfired, resulting in the present FIR.”

The presence of an absence of intention to create animosity/hatred by words is subjective nature as is the perception of the recipient who reads/hears a statement,” the court order stated.

The court also remarked that the feeling of hurt by one individual cannot be considered representative of an entire community or group of people. Thus, any such complaints should be considered in the larger context of the actual facts and circumstances.


This controversy also launched a lengthy discussion on the concept of tolerance as it exists in the Indian culture and the array of opinions that people might have on this subject.

It is observed that Indian civilisation is one of the oldest in the world and known to be tolerant and accepting to all religions. The presence or absence of intention to create animosity/ hatred by words is subjective in nature as is the perception of the recipient who reads/hears a statement,” the court remarked.

The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate also commented that with India being a country of more than 130 crore people, there can be 130 crore different views and perceptions on any given subject.

The undersigned, in personal life, is a proud follower of Hindu religion and would call the post to be distasteful and an unnecessary comment made on a controversial topic. For another person, the same post can appear to be shameful but may not incite the feeling of hatred towards another community. Similarly, different persons may consider the post differently without being enraged and may in fact feel sorry for the accused to have made an unwarranted comment without considering the repercussions,” said the court, talking about how different people might view the controversial post differently.


https://images.assettype.com/barandbench/2022-05/95080cc7-8d4c-4537-9525-eb04df387e6d/State_v__Ratan_Lal.pdfThe judge noted that the anxieties of the police could be understood and had not been completely ill-placed as they were only trying to accomplish their task of maintaining peace and order amongst the people. However, the court made its decision considering all the facts that were presented before them.

It is true that the accused did an act which was avoidable considering the sensibilities of persons around the accused and the public at large. However, the post, though reprehensible, does not indicate an attempt to promote hatred between communities,” they stated.


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Read Also: DU Professor Booked for his Remarks on “Gyanvapi”

Featured Image: @profdilipmandal on Instagram


Manasvi Kadian

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Since 1st November, 2019, the United Nurse Association has been protesting at Jantar Mantar for minimum wage. However, the struggle started in 2011, won on paper in 2016 with the Supreme Court verdict, and yet they are denied it till today.

The United Nurse Association (UNA) has been protesting day and night at Jantar Mantar to implement the Supreme Court verdict they fought for minimum wage years ago. The UNA caters to more than 10,000 private nurses that further carter to tens of thousands of patients in private hospitals.

The struggle began in 2011 and continued with many marches and protests to meet with the Chief Minister (CM) of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, to raise this issue. After being told in every meeting by him that he can only do something after the Supreme Court passes the verdict, the entire nurse association worked in same terrible conditions fighting for minimum wage.

Viveki, General Secretary of United Nurse Association said, “We were called to the residence of the CM at Civil Lines, Delhi. We begged them to help us; he promised that he’ll go to the extent of even protesting with us once the verdict comes out. However, after the verdict, he has refused all sorts of communication with us.”

However, after a tedious battle the verdict was passed in 2016 in Supreme Court in favour of the nurses.

As per the Supreme Court judgement dated 29-01-2016 in WCP(c)527/2011, nurses who are working in private hospitals in Delhi must get their salary according to the Bed Status, the salary bracket made by the Court which should have been implemented:


  1. In case of less than 200 bedded hospitals, salary given to private nurses must be at par with salaries of State Government Nurses.
  1. In case of less than 100 bedded hospitals, salary given to private nurses should be 10% less than that of State Government Nurses.
  1. In case of 50-100 bedded hospitals, the salary must be 25% less than that of State Government Nurses.
  1. In case of 50 bedded hospitals, salary cannot be less than ?20,000/- pm.


The basic dignity that comes with every profession has often been denied to these nurses. Hence, the verdict also guarantees working conditions and benefits granted to state government nurses, to be implemented to private working nurses. Essential requirements like leaves, working hours, medical facilities, transportation, and even maternity leaves are denied.

We all know about justice delayed is justice denied, however in this case, the verdict came in 2016, and it is the end of 2019 now and that verdict hasn’t been implemented yet, their right to seek redressal has been blatantly ignored in broad day light. What’s worse is that the CM’s office and Delhi Government are still not listening to them and are not even ready for a dialogue.

The first medical personnel provided to the patients are nurses. If the country treats them like this, the future of healthcare remains uncertain.

Currently, in their generosity, they finish their shifts at these hospitals and then protest at Jantar Mantar to not jeopardise their patients. From 15th November, they have been on a hunger strike, after completing their hectic shifts. However, the situation has worsened so much that they are forced to resort to a full protest, leaving patients hanging at Jantar Mantar on 10th December.

A crisis that affects all of us hasn’t received single media coverage yet. Healthcare is the building block of our society, yet it is being treated in pure abeyance. More than that, what is being expected of these nurses is inhumane; dignity that comes with each profession is a constitutional right. While the mainstream media is more interested in covering communal politics, issue that directly affects our progression as a society doesn’t even surface.


Featured Image Credits: Newsd


Chhavi bahmba 

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The Delhi High Court refused to consider a petition which sought University of Delhi to take responsibility for providing all regular college students with hostel accommodation on Wednesday.

The High Court bench comprising of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar gave unanimous decision on the aforementioned matter, and also said that the varsity was not under any statutory obligation to provide hostel accommodation to all students.

The petitioner Parveen Kumar Singh invoked section 33 of the Delhi University Act of 1922, which states that every student of the University shall reside in the College Hall or under such circumstances as prescribed by the Ordinances. This plea furthered that the regular students who were unable to secure a hostel seat should get a monthly stipend of INR 10,000.

The court was of the view that this interpretation of the section 33 was not economically viable as it would cost the University crores of rupees.

The petition which is filed through advocate Kamlesh Kumar Mishra further stated that of the 1,84,668 students enrolled in DU as per an RTI reply, only 6,235 or 3.37% have hostel accommodation.

Accomodation crunch in the University has been an issue for a long time. Due to lack of subsidised accomodation facilities, students have to give in to privatised facilities. The students who do not get the hostel accommodation are exploited by the landlords and property dealers who charge excessive amounts of money for accommodation.

The previously mentioned plea also sought to declare the area in and around the 5-kilometres radius of Delhi University’s South and North Campus as a “Special Students Zone”. It was suggested that this zone should have a fixed minimum rent for the accommodations.

The same plea also sought to end the inequal rates of departmental canteen food for staff members and canteen food for students. It stated that the prices of both should be harmonised, and operate on a break-even basis.  

On this matter, court pointed out that it is not incumbent upon the present judicial body to regulate prices in the University canteen. It is a policy issue that has to be looked at by the competent authority itself.

Advocate Mishra said that he would now move the higher court against the decision of High Court.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat archives.

Antriksha Pathania
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As stated in a press release, the students of Delhi School of Journalism have decided to move to the court for non-delivering of the promised facilities.

Delhi School of Journalism (DSJ) has been in the limelight for continuous protests and agitation against the University administration for non-fulfilment of basic infrastructure facilities like a proper media lab and a computer lab required for the course, since its inception. Dr. M.M. Yogi, Officer on Special Duty, Delhi School of Journalism had assured the students that their demands would be fulfilled ‘soon’, but the situation remains unchanged.

In a revolutionary move, students have now decided to appeal to the apex court against the University to resolve their problems and grievances. According to a press release, students of DSJ, Mohammad Ali, Suman Shekhar, Shahid Ansari,and Ankit Shukla moved to the Supreme Court regarding the matter.

Mohammad Ali, a second-year student of DSJ informed DU Beat that despite paying the highest fee in the University of Delhi, students of DSJ are deprived of basic facilities. He also stated that this step has been undertaken after facing disappointment by the hands of other senior authorities of Delhi University like the Vice Chancellor and Registrar. The students are seeking help from renowned lawyer Mr. Prashant Bhushan.

Maknoon Wani, another student of DSJ stated “The University and DSJ administration have collectively breached our trust. After a series of protests and the subsequent assurances given to us in writing, there hasn’t been any significant development in our college. No media lab has been established and we don’t have the infrastructure required for the proper functioning of the course. Lack of transparency is also an issue for us.” He added that the University has not made any records public citing that the audit has not been done. As a last resort, the students have decided to move to the court.

On the other hand, a press release by Professor J.P. Dubey, Honorary Director of DSJ stated that the students are being provided with the basic facilities, decent classrooms, media workshops, and field visits. It also states that students of third and fourth semester have been provided laptops and are also being exposed to various national and international agencies. 25% students from each batch and section are provided fee concession of 20% to 80% of the tuition fee was also mentioned in the release.

Mohammad Ali believes that if everything goes well, they will soon file an official court case against the University with the help of senior lawyer, Prashant Bhushan. Mr.Bhushan has also assured the students to help them in every possible way.


(With inputs from DU Beat Archives)


Image Credits: Suman Shekhar

Sakshi Arora

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As the Supreme Court ruling further attenuates the Reservation Rights of Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC), DUTA pushes out a letter to question the state of incompetence and wrongdoings.

The Supreme Court in the latest ruling on the reservation rights of SC, ST, and OBC for the appointment of faculty to college and university, has decided to water down from the 200-point system to the 13-point system. The latter system considers the department or subject (taught) as a unit, whereas the earlier system considered the university or college as a unit.

This decision has in turn simply stated made it so that OBC’s would be given every 4th position available in the unit, SC’s every 7th position and ST’s every 14th position, also in the case of small units or departments that don’t have for example 7 or 14 positions, no reservations will be created. The decision as expected has come to anger and agitate those working and prospective workers and has moved the hands of DUTA (Delhi University Teachers’ Association) who have written an open letter explaining how this ruling is absurd and harmful to the ‘Dalit Bahujans’ and is a step back into granting equal rights something that is taken to be the duty of the pillars of our nation. The letter in question was addressed to the Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar asking him to bring in a Bill/ Ordinance to restore the 200-point reservation roster on the basis of college/university as a unit.

The final steps that members of DUTA have decided to undertake is to organise a march on the 31st of January from the Mandi house metro station to the Parliament street, for what they call a step necessary to ensure deliverance of basic human rights.

Feature Image Credits- Hindustan Times

Haris Khan
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These are tumultuous times for the Supreme Court (SC). Despite this, the past year has been dramatically successful for India’s Liberal Majority. Liberalism here must not be confused with ‘outright left wing progression’ or glorification of ‘western ideals’, but the plain and simple primacy of the Individual over the Collective.

The structure of the Indian Constitution was primarily built upon the ideals of its British counterpart. Some clauses of our constitution date back to the late 19th century, and this is clearly evident in the dogmatic, invasive and almost oppressive nature of some laws that govern this 21st century democracy.
In the past year, the Judiciary of India has ventured to instill the public’s dwindling faith in democratic ideals, and some unprecendted judgments have been witnessed. The most celebrated of these was that of August 24, 2017, where a 9 Judge Constitutional Bench unanimously ruled that the Right To Privacy is a Fundamental Right. 2017 witnessed government and private institutions mandating Aadhar Cards for basic functionality, which caused public distress over the invasive nature of UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), its collection of biometric data and its transparency and security. This judgement came as sigh of relief to millions of Indians, albeit temporarily. In September 2018, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme and Act, with conditions. A 4:1 majority of a five Judge Constitutional bench concurred that Aadhar “serves a bigger public interest”. Even though the scope of influence of UIDAI has been drastically decreased, many civil rights activists, rallying behind the sole dissentee Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, deemed this ruling as an illusion of liberty; because Aadhar still remains mandatory for Pan Card and Ration Card registrations, that are essential for one to function in Indian Society.
Decreasing gender bias and discrimination were prioritized on the agenda of the SC under Dipak Misra’s Chief Justiceship, as was discernable in judgements pertaining to Triple Talaq, adultry and age of consent for marital sexual intercourse. The Supreme Court of India declared the practice of Triple Talaq as unconstitutional by a 3:2 majority in a 5 Judge Constitutional Bench.The court said the practice is  ‘unconstitutional’, ‘arbitrary’ and ‘not part of Islam. “Finally I feel free today. I have the order that will liberate many Muslim women,” said Shayara Bano, the petitioner of Shayara Bano Vs Union of India and Others. Amid outrage among a small fraction of India’s muslim community, that tried to justify this patriarchal practice under the veil of ‘religion’ , the court upheld its commitment to women’s rights with grace. Same was the case when a two Judge Bench of Supreme Court held that the age of consent for sexual intercourse was increased to 18 from 15 in cases of married couples. This judgement was an amendment to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code. Last week, a five Judge Constitutional Bench ruled unanimously that Section 497, a 158-year-old law, that criminalised consensual sexual relations between a man and a married woman without the consent of her husband, was unconstitutional. “Adultery can be grounds for civil issues including dissolution of marriage but it cannot be a criminal offence … adultery might not be the cause of an unhappy marriage, it could be the result of an unhappy marriage,” said Chief Justice Misra while reading out the verdict.
Enshrining another insegregable facet of individual liberty, article 377 of the Indian Constituion, that criminalized homosexuality, was revoked. A 5 Judge Constitutional bench unanimously ruled that India’s LGBTQ community has the same sexual rights as heterosexual in India. ‘The right to live with dignity has been recognized. Sexual orientation is a natural phenomenon determined by biology and science. Any discrimination on this basis is unconstitutional,’ said Dipak Misra.
The court also attempted to safeguard individual identity from political propaganda and sensationalist manipulation. It held that seeking votes in the name of religion, caste or community amounted to corrupt practice and consequentially, candidature or office of an elected representative may stand void.
Our society still has a long way to go, constitutional enshrinement doesn’t guarantee proper implementation, and sexism and homophobia continue to influence a large part of Indian populations. Yet, amid all this, the Supreme Court has delivered judgements with profound implications for the Indian society.


Feature Image credits: Deccan Herald
Nikita Bhatia
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DU Beat bids farewell to CJI Dipak Misra on the last day of his tenure, the man under whom the Supreme Court delivered historic judgements. 

On 6 September 2018, section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalised ‘unnatural sex’ between consenting homosexuals was revoked claiming it to be one ‘irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary’ law. A decision that revolutionized our society and one that redefined the meaning of love for us, was just one among a flurry of Supreme Court judgements in the month of September. Another being the striking down  of bar on the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 into the Sabrimala Temple in Kerala marking the end of a hectic week that saw benches led by outgoing Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, delivering 20 verdicts over five days.

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra’s tenure ends on 1 October; but it is an understatement to claim that it has been marked as being eternally inspiring for all successive decision makers of our country. It is not common to see change, it takes time. But the changes in the Indian law made by outgoing CJI Dipak Misra remind us that changes can become. Nothing can be more reassuring. From landmark judgements to scintillating statements, Justice Misra is a rare phenomenon.

Justice Dipak Misra, who was part of the bench that confirmed the death sentence of the four convicts in the December 16 gangrape case and passed the order for mandatory singing of the national anthem in cinema halls, has witnessed the diametric responses to law enforcement. It is this spectrum that enables more informed decisions, and in turn, allowing for a more inclusive yet diverse India.

In his last week in office, over a duration of 5 days, the CJI delivered 20 crucial judgements.   The cases decided in the week of September 22-28 covered a range of issues — from the criminalisation of politics to the discrimination inherent in India’s old adultery law, from the religious aspect of the Ram Janambhoomi title dispute to the civil liberties of activists, and from the legality of the government’s ambitious identification project to the bar on the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 into the Sabarimala temple.

On September 25, in context of the petitions seeking to ban charge-sheeted politicians from contesting elections, the CJI expressed concern at the rising criminalisation of politics but said it was not for the court to lay down such rules and that it was the parliament that has the right authority to deal with the matter.

On September 26, the CJI-led bench delivered nine judgments, including the closely watched Aadhaar verdict and the path-breaking order allowing live-streaming of court proceedings.
On September 27, the CJI wrote the judgment striking down the country’s archaic adultery law that treated “husbands as masters”.

Legal experts and advocates claim that the flurry of verdicts seen over the last five days has been unprecedented. “I haven’t seen an outgoing Chief Justice of India deliver so many judgments in the last week of his office. But it also has to be seen in the backdrop that he led benches that have heard so many important issues in the last year. And understand that these judgments are going to have far-reaching consequences,” said advocate Anil Mishra of the Supreme Court.

Advocate Sunil Fernandes, too, termed the development rare. “Seeing the work load Justice Misra picked up in the last few months, this was bound to happen. He was also part of many constitutional matters. Full credit for what he has done in the last week. He has left his mark on history and will be remembered for playing a role in the constitutional development.” Justice Misra retires on 2 October. The new CJI Ranjan Gogoi (being the first northeast Indian CJI ever) has a tenure of next 13 months.

It is not completely wrong to expect him the streak of just decisions in the wake of Justice Misra’s example. The idea of judicial justice is highly subjective because among other reasons, it calls for moral action. But moral action is more insightful and hence ambiguous than it seems on the face of it. “Morality cannot be martyred at the altar of social morality. Only Constitutional morality exists in our country,” in Justice Misra’s own words. A passionate upheaval of thought has always been a pre-requisite for an upheaval of a social structure. In Justice Misra’s insightful statements, he questions complexities and intricacies of our social backgrounds. In a unified spirit of democracy, his words on homosexuality that redefined ‘love’ or on adultery that revealed the patriarchal truth to our society, or on the Sabarimala verdict redefining social reach of women, CJI Misra has been a remarkable personality of the Indian Judiciary.

In his pursuit of a better India; more accepting, more mentally uplifted, more insightful, more appreciative, Justice Misra has worked on true ideals of our law – to be honest, just, and fair. Challenging all odds, the month of September saw the becoming of this India, in its nascent being. There are miles yet to go, but the first few have been traversed.

Thank you, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. Fare well.

Feature Image Credits : The Tribune

(With Inputs from Hindustan Times)

Kartik Chauhan

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Located in the Pathanamthitta District of Kerala the Supreme Court ordered the Sabarimala temple to do away with the practice of prohibiting women’s entry in the temple 

“Those who believe religion and politics are not linked don’t understand either “. This statement by Gandhi has proven itself to be true time and again. In the Indian context it has taken the form of Partition, Hindu Code Bill, Khalistan movement, Godhra riots, etc. The entanglement of religion and politics resurfaced again this month as the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court took up the Sabarimala case. 

It may become “another Ayodhya ‘if the court tries to tinker with the religious practices”, warned the defendants. The complex issue began when a petition was filed challenging rule 3B of the the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship Rules which puts restrictions on women’s entry. The Sabarimala temple prohibits entry of women between the age group of 10 and 50, because of the celibate nature of Lord Ayyappa. He is believed to be a Brahmachari and in mythology women are viewed as a source of distraction to them. 

The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra on Wednesday ruled “what applies to a man applies to the woman as well, woman’s right to pray was not dependent on any law but actually a constitutional right “ It was further added that entry can only be prohibited on grounds of health and public morality. The defendants of the practice led by organisations like Kshetra Samrakshana Samiti argued that it was based not on sex but menarche (the onset of menstruation) which is absurd since menarche is a physiological condition applicable on women only.

There’s a great need to break the religious taboos that associate menstruation with impurity as it is used as the basis of religious practices that are discriminatory to women. Patriarchy in India has been systematized through a number of religious customs and social practices, which need legal assistance to be dealt with. It is essential that these customs are tested by constitutional provisions. Keeping women out of temples is not simply denying them a place of worship but a public statement of their social inferiority and subordinate status. The values enshrined and promised to every Indian woman in the constitution are far from reality however there’s still hope.  Cases such as that of Sabarimala temple as put by a Supreme Court advocate “help bridge the gap between constitutional ideals and our social reality “.

Feature Image Credits – OPIndia

Bhavika Behal 

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