As the financial status of any country evolves, so does the judicial system. With time, there are certain amendments are made which are for the well being of the country’s citizen. Likewise Indian judicial system was amended or new laws in India were added to it many times, here are six of those times:
#1 Nirbhaya case
A 23 year girl was raped brutally by 6 people. Out of which, 5 were adults and one was juvenile. He aged 17. The 5 adults were sentenced to death, out of which one hanged himself. The juvenile was sent to correction home for 3 years which led to a rage among people. There were protests to punish him as well which subsequently led to replacement of our Juvenile Justice Act 2000. According to the new law, the age bar to be tried as an adult was lowered from 18 to 16 years, which added into the new laws in India.
#2 Mary Roy’s case
The case made changes to the equality act. Mary Roy’s father died without leaving a will for his property. The Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092, stated that if a man died without leaving a will for his daughter, she would not be entitled to anything. A son, however, would get the property.
Mary fought against this rule, not just for herself but for all other Syrian Christian women. The Supreme Court ruled that the Indian Succession Act 1925, be applied to Christians in Travancore and Cochin too.
#3 Mathura case
Mathura, a tribal girl was raped by the constables on 26 march 1972, when her brother lodged a complaint against her boyfriend.
The Supreme Court, however, ruled in favour of the policemen assuming it was ‘peaceful or consensual’, stating that there were no signs of struggle on Mathura’s body and that she did not raise any alarm. But Mathura said that they had threatened her into submission.
There was a huge public uproar and the case finally forced an amendment in the Criminal Act 1983. The amendment meant that custodial rape was a punishable offence and the method to deal with ‘consent’ was henceforth included under India’s rape laws.
#4 The Vishakha case
In 1992, Bhanwari Devi, a social worker, was gang raped in a village in Rajasthan, only because she tried discouraging a family’s efforts to wed their one year daughter. She filed a case and received a lot of support from NGOs. Although their efforts didn’t help her cause directly, what they did helped women all over the country.
It led to the Supreme Court announcing a prime verdict that helped protect women from sexual harassment at their workplace which by extension also helped establish gender equality. Before 1997, there were no guidelines to deal with such cases at a workplace.
#5 Rajagopal case
In 1994, A prisoner had been convicted of murder and wrote an autobiography. He asked a weekly magazine in Madras to publish it, and they decided to go ahead with it. The autobiography had details of the murder and the fact that many senior officials were also involved.
The officials, obviously scared, claimed the story to be false and sued the publication for libel & defamation. But the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the media house, stating that public officials can only sue publishing houses if the published material was untrue.
This judgement for this case upheld freedom of expression and the right to privacy.
#6 Shah Bano Begum
Shah Bano was 62 when she got divorced by her husband Mohd Ahmed Khan in the year 1978. She asked for alimony, but was refused as it was against Islamic custom.
The government, thus, ruled in favour of her husband.
The Supreme Court, however, keeping secularism and the welfare of women in mind, ruled in favour of Shah Bano. Thus, entitling her to maintenance under Section 125 of Criminal Procedure code.
This judgement now entitles all ex-Muslim wives to basic maintenance of 3 months from their ex-spouses, post which their care is handed over to their relatives or the WAKF board.
These 6 prominent cases in the history have led to the addition of new laws in India for the protection of its citizens.
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