Reading Time: 6 mins In early July 2020, An extract of the final award of the ad-hoc tribunal constituted to settle disputes related to the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) regarding Italian marines Case between India and Italy was published by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). It has ordered to cease all criminal proceedings against the two Italian Soldiers in Indian courtrooms by rejecting India’s contention that the soldiers, who were accused of killing Indian fishermen, could be trialled in Indian courts. Following the order, Centre has made a plea in Supreme Court seeking the closure of cases against the Italian soldiers. But the Supreme Court has refused to pass any such order without hearing victims’ kin and getting them paid the compensation.
Reading Time: 8 mins Recently Kesavananda Bharati, the seer of Edneer Mutt in Kasaragod district of Kerala, whose petition challenging the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act 1969 led to the landmark “basic structure” doctrine verdict delivered by the Supreme Court in 1973, passed away. The case of Kesavananda Bharati vs. State of Kerala was heard for 68 days and continues to hold the vertex spot for the longest proceedings ever to have taken place in the top court. The judgment is considered among the most significant and consequential decisions by the Supreme Court as it set out the “basic structure” of the Constitution that Parliament cannot amend.
Reading Time: 7 mins A 5-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court reopened the debate on quota within quota for SCs and STs by supporting their sub-classification to ensure equality in the upliftment of all within the marginalised community. Disagreeing with another SC verdict on the same subject, the case was referred to a larger bench comprising of 7 judges or more.
Reading Time: 9 mins In January 2020, the Supreme Court sought response from the health ministry and environment ministry to the Public Interest Litigation seeking the right to euthanasia for persons suffering from rabies. This petition points out the limitations of SC’s 2018 judgement that provided for guidelines for passive euthanasia.
Reading Time: 8 mins In a judgment that would remove ambiguity in Hindu women’s inheritance rights after the amendment to the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, the Supreme Court in its Vineeta Sharma Vs Rakesh Sharma case held that a Hindu Women’s right to be a joint heir to the ancestral property is by birth. It comes in the backdrop of various judgments providing contradictory views on the 2005 amendment and clears the confusion.
Reading Time: 7 mins The Supreme Court, recently, reversed the Kerala High Court judgment of 2011 in the Padmanabha Swamy temple case and upheld the right of the Travancore Royal Family to manage the property of deity at Shree Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. This is another historic apex court judgment with respect to the debate of legal-constitutional-state interference in the religious sphere after the Sabarimala Case.
Reading Time: 9 mins The Supreme Court, on March 2020, had struck down RBI’s controversial circular that prohibited any central bank regulated entities from providing banking services to anyone dealing with virtual or cryptocurrencies. This ruling allows banks to handle cryptocurrency transactions. Though this may threaten the country’s financial system, it does provide an opportunity for the government and the central bank to form regulatory frameworks and laws that, while allowing the use of cryptocurrencies, can ensure preventive measures that can counter private cryptocurrencies.
Reading Time: 6 mins Updates *
On February 7th, 2020, with regards to Mukesh Kumar Vs the State of Uttarakhand case, the Supreme Court ruled that states are not legally bound to provide reservations to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government jobs. The apex court had stated that individuals do not have the fundamental rights to claim reservations in the promotions. This is based on the provisions of the Indian constitution. This recent judgement is not new. The top court had pointed out the fact that reservations are not fundamental rights in several judgements in the past.
Reading Time: 7 mins In an important step towards granting women the right to serve in the military on equal terms with men, the apex court had recently granted women officers the right to “permanent commission” and the right to command. This order brought women officers in 10 streams of the army on a par with their male counterparts. This case was first filed in the Delhi High Court by women officers in 2003 and had received a favourable order in 2010. However, the order was never implemented and was challenged in the Supreme Court by the government. The recent order by the supreme court opens the doors for women to command military units like logistics, signals, etc., thus placing them in the position of leading bodies of 500-600 men in combat support duties. This ruling is hailed as a “great leap” towards equality in the army.