Current Affairs for OAS Prelims 2020: Judiciary

Supreme Court Accords Fundamental Right Status to Internet Access

On 10th January, the Supreme Court declared that access to the internet is protected under Article 19 of the Constitution.

Supreme Court Declares Private Property a Human Right

Granting relief to an 80-year-old woman from Himachal Pradesh, Supreme Court Bench in its 8th January judgement stated that a citizen’s right to own private property is a human right and the state cannot take possession of it without following due procedure and authority of law.

Supreme Court Upholds Constitutional Validity of SC & ST Amendment Act, 2018

On 10th February 2020, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018.

Supreme Court Panel Recommends Several Prison Reforms

  • Recently, a Supreme Court-appointed committee headed by Justice Amitava Roy (retd.) to reform prisons submitted its report to the Chief Justice of India giving several suggestions to improve the living conditions in Indian prisons.
  • In September 2018 the court had appointed the Justice Roy Committee to examine the various problems plaguing prisons, from overcrowding to lack of legal advice to convicts to issues of remission and parole.
  • The decision was in reaction to a letter written by former Chief Justice of India R.C. Lahoti highlighting the overcrowding of prisons, unnatural deaths of prisoners, gross inadequacy of staff and the lack of trained staff.

Reservation in Job Promotions not a Fundamental Right: Supreme Court

In its 7th February 2020 judgement, the Supreme Court said that reservation in promotion in public posts cannot be claimed as a fundamental right. The Supreme Court’s judgment overturned a 2012 ruling by the Uttarakhand High Court that directed the state to provide quotas to specified communities.

SC Directs States to Issue Notification for Establishing Gram Nyayalayas

The Supreme Court has directed the states, which are yet to come out with notifications for establishing ‘Gram Nyayalayas’, to do so within four weeks, and asked the high courts to expedite the process of consultation with state governments on this issue.

Supreme Court Ruling Against Judicial Transparency

In its recent decision, in the Chief Information Commissioner v. High Court of Gujarat case, the Supreme Court, barred citizens from securing access to court records under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Madras High Court Sets Aside Restraints on Puducherry Lt. Governor

A Madras High Court 2019 order restraining Puducherry Lt. Governor from interfering in the day-to-day affairs of the elected government was set aside by a division bench recently stating that the elected Chief Minister and the appointed Lt. Governor should work in unison.

Supreme Court Modifies Order: Free COVID-19 Tests in Private Labs Only for Persons Covered Under ‘Ayushman Yojana’

The Supreme Court recently modified its April 8 order which asked private labs to conduct free COVID-19 tests and said the benefit will be available only to “economically weaker sections” who are covered under a government scheme such as the Ayushman Bharat. The top court said it never intended to make testing free for those who can afford to pay.

Celebrating 47 years of Kesavananda Bharati Case

Supreme Court gave the landmark Kesavananda Bharti vs State of Kerala verdict forty seven years ago on 24th April 1973.This judgement is hailed for giving us the famous doctrine of basic structure of the Constitution which has time and again prevented many constitutional crises.

Supreme Court Declares ‘Secrecy of Ballot’ a Cornerstone of Free and Fair Elections

In a recent judgement Supreme Court has held that Secrecy of ballot is the cornerstone of free and fair elections. It asserted that the choice of a voter should be free and the secret ballot system in a democracy ensures that.

Right to Reservation is not a Fundamental Right: SC

The Supreme Court recently ruled that reservation of seats to certain communities is not a Fundamental Right and refused to act on a petition filed by all political parties from Tamil Nadu who sought 50% OBC reservation in the all-India NEET seats surrendered by states.

SC Verdict on Padmanabhaswamy Temple Management Rights

  • Reversing the 2011 Kerala High Court decision, the Supreme Courtupheld the right of the Travancore royal family to manage the property of deity at Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
  • The ruling ends the legal battle the temple and members of the royal family have fought with the Kerala government for decades over control of one of the richest temples in the world following the death of Travancore ruler Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma in July 1991.

SC’s verdict on Hindu women’s inheritance rights

Through its latest verdict, the Supreme Court expanded on a Hindu woman’s right to be a joint legal heir and inherit ancestral property on terms equal to male heirs.

Supreme Court Verdict on Right to Public Protest

The Supreme Court on 7th October 2020 verdict in Amit Sahni v Commissioner of Police & Others., held that public spaces cannot be occupied indefinitely for protesting or expressing dissent. The landmark judgment was passed on a batch of petitions seeking directions for removing protesters from a public road in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh.

Denying Overtime Wages Affront to Worker’s Right to Life: SC

  • The Supreme Court recently struck down Gujarat government’s decision to exempt industries from paying overtime wages and increasing the working hours of employees by citing the public emergency and economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.
  • The court also invoked its powers under Article 142 to do complete justice and directed that all workmen who had worked overtime be paid overtime wages at double the ordinary rate of wages as provided under Section 59 of the Factories Act.

Right to Residence at Shared Household for Victims of Domestic Violence: SC

  • The Supreme Court has allowed women fighting domestic violence cases the right to reside in the ‘shared household’ even if her husband had no legal right to the house and the same was owned by the father-in-law or mother-in-law.
  • A three-judge bench passed the landmark ruling in Satish Chander Ajuha v. Sneha Ahuja while considering the petition of a septuagenarian couple from Delhi who filed a civil suit to dispossess their daughter-in-law even as the proceedings initiated by her under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, was ongoing.

SC Asks Trial Courts to Consider Witness Protection in Cases Against MPs, MLAs

  • The Supreme Court has asked trial courts hearing criminal cases against sitting and former legislators to consider providing protection to witnesses under the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 even without making any specific application for the same, keeping in mind their vulnerability.
  • The three-judge bench of the supreme court issued the directive during the ongoing deliberations on the petition seeking fast-tracking of cases involving MPs and MLAs.
  • Over 4,400 criminal trials are pending against legislators. Of this over 2500 trials involve sitting legislators. One of the reasons for delay of these cases is stay granted by the higher courts.

Contempt of Court and the Role of Attorney General

Recently the role of Attorney General has come into focus with a spate of contempt cases seeking his approval under the Contempt law of India.

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