Landmark Judgements against the Society View
Updated: Jul 8
India is a multicultural and multi-religious society, some of the views that might be a common ethos in the western world regards to the right to marry, same-sex marriage, live-in relationships are not similarly accepted as the decisions which can be undertaken by an individual as these are considered as taboo and in the past people have been prosecuted under criminal charges for going with their will in terms of choosing their life partner and living with their partner of own choice.
There has been a gradual inclination by the courts in India in favor of the freedom of citizens, to make their own individual choices even if they may seem unethical to society. The Supreme Court of India and various High Courts in India have passed from time to time landmark judgments where the notion was against the society views of being right and wrong but on the rights that are guaranteed to the individual as a citizen.
The article explores some of the landmark judgments that have been passed in the past for various issues that affected the rights of individuals at large.
Right to Marry: Laxmibai Chandaragi B vs The State Of Karnataka 8 Feb 2021. The consent of the family or the community or the clan is not necessary once the two adult individuals agree to enter into wedlock and that their consent has to be piously given importance.
Adultery is not a crime: Joseph Shine vs Union Of India, 27 September 2018 The judgment struck down Section 497 as unconstitutional being violative of Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Constitution. Earlier under Sec 497, any man who had extra-marital affairs with a married woman was liable to be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 5 years, or with fine, or with both. In such a case, the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.
Equal Rights on Property: Vineeta Sharma vs Rakesh Sharma on 11 August 2020. Daughter of a Hindu Family to have equal rights in the property as the son, under Section 6 of The Hindu Succession Act, 1956. Even in such cases where the father wasn't alive during the amendment of the actin 2005.
Same-Sex Relationships: Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, 6 September 2018. Decriminalized the charges under Sec 377, where couples of same-sex could be prosecuted and imprisoned. The bench said the earlier charges violated the rights guaranteed as a citizen under Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 of the Constitution.
Live-in Relationships: S. Khushboo vs Kanniammal & Anr on 28 April 2010. Live-in relationship comes within the ambit of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The Court further held that live-in relationships are permissible and the act of two major living together cannot be considered illegal or unlawful.