Famous Cases

  May 05, 2020

Famous Cases

Fundamental Rights

A. Basic Right

1. National Legal Services Authority Vs Union Of India & Ors. (2014) [Transgender Right]- Gender identity is integral to the dignity of an individual and is at the core of “personal autonomy” and “self-determination” and Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution within their sweep include transgender and are not as such limited to male or female gender.

2. Justice K.S. Puttaswamy(retd.) Vs Union of India and ors., (2017) [Right to Privacy]- privacy is a constitutionally protected right which emerges primarily from the guarantee of life and personal liberty in Article 21 of the Constitution.

3. Common Cause vs. Union Of India, 2018 (Right to die with dignity)- A competent person who has come of age has the right to refuse specific treatment or all treatment or opt for an alternative treatment, even if such decision entails a risk of death.

4. Navtej Singh Johar Vs Union Of India, (2018) [Decriminalising Homosexuality]- The S.C ruled that sexual orientation is an intrinsic element of liberty, dignity, privacy, individual autonomy and equality and that intimacy between consenting adults of the samesex is beyond the legitimate interests of the state.

5. Unni Krishnan, J.P. And Ors, 1992 [Right to education]- The Court in Unni Krishnan expressed its disagreement with the finding in the earlier case of Mohini Jain v State of Karnataka 1992 AIR 1858 that the right to education at all levels is guaranteed by the Constitution.

B. Gender

1. Shafin Jahan v. Asokan K.M & ORS, 2018/Hadiya case [Right to choose while Marrying]- The Supreme court Recognised freedom of choice in her marriage as in her religious belief.

2. Vishaka v State of Rajasthan – 1997 –[Right against sexual violence at work place]- The case resulted in the introduction of Vishaka Guidelines. The judgment of August 1997 also provided basic definitions of sexual harassment at the workplace and provided guidelines to deal with it.

3. Maintenance lawsuit sets precedent (Mohd Ahmed Khan Vs Shah Bano Begum) – 1985- The Supreme Court ruled in favour of Shah Bano and granted her alimony.

4. Shayara Bano vs Union Of India, 2018 (Abolition of Triple talaq)- triple Talaq is manifestly arbitrary in the sense that the marital tie can be broken capriciously and whimsically by a Muslim man without any attempt at reconciliation so as to save it.

5. Joseph Shine vs. Union Of India, (2019) [Adultery]- The apex Court struck down Section 497 of IPC which criminalised adultery holding that it is violative of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.The Supreme Court called the law unconstitutional because it “treats a husband as the master”.

C. Environment

1. MC Mehta v. Union of India, AIR 1987 – Right to Clean environment- The Court held that in the case of industries engaged in hazardous or inherently dangerous activities, absolute liability was to be followed. It also said that the amount.


A. Reservation System

1. Indra Sawhney etc. Vs. Union of India and others, AIR 1993 - It upheld the constitutional validity of 27% reservation for the OBCs with certain conditions. The propositions of 50% threshold in reservations, the bar against reservations in certain types of posts and the exclusion of ‘creamy layer’ were propounded in this case.

2. Nagaraj and others v/s Union of India, 2006 [Reservation in Promotion]- The Supreme Court held that if the state wished to exercise their discretion and make provision for reservation in promotions for SCs/STs the State has to collect quantifiable data showing backwardness of the class and inadequacy of representation of that class in public employment.

3. Jarnail Singh vs Lachhmi Narain Gupta case (2018)- The supreme court asked to look for the creamy layers criteria in case of SC/STs.

B. Basic Features

1. I. C. Golak Nath v. State of Punjab, AIR 1967- It ruled that Legislature does not enjoy the power to amend Part III of the Constitution to take away or abridge fundamental rights.

2. KesavanandaBharati Sripadagalavaru v. State of Kerala, AIR 1973 - The “basic structure of the Constitution” could not be abrogated even by a constitutional amendment.” As regards the basic structure, the Court held that it would be decided from case to case.

C. Ninth Schedule

IR Coelho’s Case (2007) - The Court held that any law inserted in the Ninth Schedule on or after April 24, 1973 (date on which Keshavananda was pronounced) can be subject to judicial review and will be struck down if it violates the basic structure doctrine.


A. Nota Case

1. Right Not to Vote- NOTA Case- In a parliamentary democracy A positive ‘right not to vote’ is a part of voter’s right to expression under Article 19(1)(a) and it has to be recognized and given effect to in the same manner as ‘right to vote’.

2. Lily Thomas vs Union Of India & Ors., (2013)- In this case the Supreme Court in a PIL declared subsection (4) of Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which allowed convicted members of legislative bodies a 3 month time period for appeal against the conviction and sentencing, as ultra vires the Constitution.

B. Illegalising convicted MPs and MLAs

Separation of powers

A. Ordinance

1. D.C. Wadhwa & Ors vs State of Bihar & Ors,1986- The Supreme Court argued that if Ordinance making was made a usual practice, creating an ‘Ordinance raj’ the courts could strike down re-promulgated Ordinances.

B. Judicial Review

1. Minerva Mills case, (1980) - The  Court ruled that Parliament’s power to make Constitutional amendments is limited which itself is a basic feature of the Constitution. The judgement makes it clear that the Constitution, and not the Parliament is supreme.

C. Speaker

1. Kihoto Hollohon vs Zachillhu and Others (1992)- Under Antidefection,The court made it clear that the presiding officer is the one to make the decision and it is final subject to judicial review after the decision is pronounced and effected.

D. President Rule

1. S. R. Bommai v. Union of India, AIR 1994- SC attempted to curb the blatant misuse of Article 356 of the Constitution of India with guidelines.