10 landmark judgements India’s Supreme Court passed in 2018


The year 2018 saw the Supreme Court of India pass some pivotal judgements that have borne in favour of equality. Under the umbrella of Justice Dipak Misra, the judgements have sparked debate, joy and also anger.

The Supreme Court verdict on decriminalising homosexuality allowing the entry of women in the Sabarimala temple in the year 2018, while appreciated, were also judgements that were widely debated.

The controversy surrounding the Aadhaar Act was also put to rest with Sections 33(2), 47 and 57 being struck down. The primary concern of citizens was abated with private entities no longer being allowed to demand Aadhaar data and the national security exception being revoked.


Here are the some of the major verdicts passed down by the Supreme Court in the year 2018:
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Section 377 Verdict: India’s top court decriminalises homosexuality in landmark verdict

Section 377 Verdict: India’s top court decriminalises homosexuality in landmark verdict

Upholding the rights of individuals, the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality saying that the “LGBT community has the same rights as that of any ordinary citizen. Respect for each others rights and other are supreme humanity. Criminalising gay sex is irrational and indefensible.”

However, while India may have scrapped the controversial Section 377 (A), there’s still a lot of more that needs to be done for true equality to be implemented on the ground level.

Adultery is no longer a crime: Supreme Court scrapped Section 487 of the constitution

Adultery is no longer a crime: Supreme Court scrapped Section 487 of the constitution

Section 487 of the Indian Penal Code deprived women of their own consent and autonomy. The Supreme Court of India unanimously ruled to remove the 158-year old law from the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The law had dictated that any man who has an affair with a married woman will be punished and the woman will only be looked at as the victim and forego legal consequences. An unmarried woman, on the other hand, couldn’t be prosecuted for adultery. So a man couldn’t be prosecuted, by his wife, for having an affair with an unmarried woman.

Triple talaq isn’t constitutional

Triple talaq isn’t constitutional

India banned the practice of ‘instant divorce’ by muslim men. The government decision came after it failed to get approval of Parliament a year after the court ruled that the practice of triple "talaq" violated the constitutional rights of Muslim women.

Supreme Court verdict on the reservation quotas for job promotions

Supreme Court verdict on the reservation quotas for job promotions

The Supreme Court has made it easier to grant caste-based reservations to members of the Dalit community (Scheduled Castes) and Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes) during job promotions. But, the apex court has also potentially made it harder for economically advanced SCs and STs to reap reservation benefits by extending the 'creamy layer' exclusion to those members.

Passive euthanasia - The right to die with dignity is a fundamental right

Passive euthanasia - The right to die with dignity is a fundamental right

The Supreme Court of India established that the right to die with dignity is the fundamental right of every citizen. If a person if in the process of dying, as is the case of terminally ill patients or person who are in a persistent vegetative state, then passive euthanasia and a living will should be considered legally valid.

Aadhar isn’t mandatory, but voluntary for citizens to submit

Aadhar isn’t mandatory, but voluntary for citizens to submit

Just months after India’s Supreme Court prohibited private companies from asking customers their Aadhaar data for authentication, the Indian government approved changes in two key laws that will make legal the voluntary submission of Aadhaar.

The Indian government is amending the Telegraph Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) that will allow people to link their Aadhaar with their bank account and mobile number voluntarily.

Women can now enter the Sabarimala temple

Women can now enter the Sabarimala temple

The 5-judge constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra ruled that women can now enter Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, irrespective of their age. The judgement wasn’t a unanimous decision with Justice Indu Malhotra voting against the petition.

Since judgement was passed, Sabarimala has been a point of contention with the local police and tribals opposing the entry of women and blocking off roads.

The live stream of SC proceedings

The live stream of SC proceedings

In the interest of transparency and larger public interest, the Supreme Court has allowed the live streaming of court proceedings saying that, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Soon to be implemented, the rules for live streaming will be framed under Article 145 of the Indian constitution.

The ban on online sale of firecrackers, and the propagation of ‘green fireworks’

The ban on online sale of firecrackers, and the propagation of ‘green fireworks’

The air quality in India’s national capital, New Delhi, has been a thorn in the side of most of its citizens. The Supreme Court, ahead of the festival of Diwali, ruled that the online sale of fireworks is banned — even via Flipkart and Amazon.

Offline fireworks can only be sold through licensed traders, that too if they come under the cadre of ‘green fireworks’ — that includes the ban of barium salts in fireworks.

Their directive also justified that ‘joined fireworks’ (laris) are banned altogether because they cause unwarranted air, noise and waste pollution.

‘Horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be permitted to inundate the law of the land.’

‘Horrendous acts of mobocracy cannot be permitted to inundate the law of the land.’

The advent of fake news and misinformation, primarily through WhatsApp, instigated a series of mob violence and lynchings across the country earlier in the year 2018. In response, the Supreme Court directed that “The state has to act positively and responsibly to safeguard and secure the constitutional promises to its citizens.”


The bench, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, asserted that an individual or a group cannot take the law into their own hands and deal with another person as though they’re guilty saying, “That is not only contrary to the paradigm of established legal principles in our legal system but also inconceivable in a civilized society that respects the fundamental tenets of the rule of law.”
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