The Impact Of Recent Supreme Court Decisions On Voting Rights, Abortion And Other Controversial Issues In India
The Supreme Court of India is the country's highest judicial body, with a
significant impact on the legal and social fabric. In recent years, the court
has issued several landmark decisions on a variety of topics, including voting
rights, abortion, and other contentious issues.
This article will look at the impact of recent Supreme Court decisions in India
on voting rights, abortion, and other contentious issues. It will investigate
the legal and social consequences of these decisions, as well as the broader
context in which they were made.
Voting Rights: The ruling on the electoral bonds scheme was one of the most
significant recent Supreme Court decisions on voting rights in India. The
scheme, which allows political parties to receive anonymous donations through
bonds purchased from select banks, was upheld by the court in April 2019. The
scheme has been chastised for its lack of transparency and potential for
corruption, with opposition parties claiming it benefits the ruling party.
The decision of the court was met with mixed reactions. Proponents of the scheme
argued that it was necessary to protect donors' anonymity and to avoid political
witch hunts. However, critics warned that the decision would reduce transparency
and undermine the integrity of the electoral process.
Another recent decision concerning voting rights was the Sabarimala temple case.
The court ruled in September 2018 that women of all ages should be allowed to
enter the temple, overturning a centuries-old tradition that barred menstruating
women from entering. Protests and violence erupted in Kerala as a result of the
decision, with some religious groups claiming that it violated their religious
The Sabarimala temple case raised serious concerns about how to strike a balance
between religious freedom and gender equality. While some saw the decision as a
victory for women's rights, others saw it as a violation of religious beliefs
Abortion: Another contentious issue that has been the subject of recent Supreme
Court decisions in India is abortion. The court ruled in July 2021 that the
state of Uttar Pradesh could not deny a woman the right to terminate her
pregnancy due to foetal abnormalities. The decision was viewed as a significant
victory for reproductive rights because it affirmed a woman's right to choose
and rejected the notion that foetal abnormalities could be used to deny access
The court's decision, however, was not without controversy. Some religious
organisations and conservative politicians argued that it violated traditional
Indian values and jeopardised the sanctity of life. Others warned that the
ruling could pave the way for abortion laws to be liberalised and allow for
selective abortion based on gender or other factors.
Other contentious issues:
In recent years, the Supreme Court has also issued decisions on a variety of
other contentious issues. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the
Aadhaar biometric identification scheme in 2018, which had been challenged by
privacy advocates who claimed it violated citizens' privacy rights. The ruling
was interpreted as a victory for the government, which argued that the scheme
was required for efficient administration and the delivery of social welfare
The court issued a landmark decision decriminalising homosexuality in 2019,
overturning a colonial-era law that had criminalised consensual same-sex
relationships. The decision was viewed as a significant victory for LGBT rights
in India, indicating a significant shift in the country's social and cultural
In 2020, the court also issued a decision on a contentious issue concerning land
rights in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The court upheld the legality of a law
that allows non-residents to buy land in the state, overturning a decades-old
rule that barred outsiders from doing so. The ruling was viewed as a divisive
move by the government to alter the region's demographics and lessen the
influence of its Muslim-majority population.
Legal and Social Implications:
Recent Supreme Court decisions on voting rights,
abortion, and other contentious issues in India have had significant legal and
social ramifications. On the one hand, the court's decisions have reaffirmed the
Constitution's enshrined principles of democracy, equality, and justice. They
have defended the rights of marginalised groups like women and LGBT people, as
well as challenged discriminatory practises and traditions.
However, the court's decisions have also sparked debate and polarisation in
society. Many of the court's decisions are deeply rooted in religious, cultural,
and political ideologies, and as a result, they have elicited strong reactions
from various groups. Some have accused the court of overstepping its bounds and
infringing on the legislative and executive branches' powers, while others have
praised the court for its bold and progressive rulings.
Understanding the impact of these decisions requires an understanding of the
larger context in which they were made. With the rise of Hindu nationalism and
the erosion of secular values, India is currently undergoing significant social
and political changes. The court's decisions have both reflected and shaped
these changes, with some claiming that they have helped to strengthen democratic
institutions and protect fundamental rights, while others warn that they have
legitimised a political and cultural agenda that is antithetical to India's
pluralistic and democratic ethos.
Here are some key case laws concerning the Supreme Court's recent decisions
on voting rights, abortion, and other contentious issues in India:
Electoral Bonds Scheme:
Association for Democratic Reforms v. Union of India (2019):The Supreme Court upheld the legality of the electoral bonds scheme, which
allows political parties to receive anonymous donations through bonds purchased
from select banks, in this case. The court ruled that the scheme was not illegal
and did not violate citizens' fundamental rights.
Sabarimala Temple Case:
Indian Young Lawyers Association v. State of Kerala (2018):The Supreme Court ruled in this case that women of all ages should be allowed to
enter the Sabarimala temple, overturning a centuries-old tradition that barred
menstruating women from entering. The court ruled that the custom was
discriminatory and violated women's constitutional rights.
Anoop Kumari v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2021):The Supreme Court ruled in this case that the state of Uttar Pradesh could not
deny a woman the right to terminate her pregnancy due to foetal abnormalities.
The court ruled that the right to choose was a fundamental right and that the
state's decision infringed on it.
Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India (2018):In this case, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Aadhaar
biometric identification scheme, which had been challenged by privacy advocates
who claimed it infringed on citizens' privacy rights. The court upheld the
scheme's constitutionality but imposed some conditions on its use.
Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India (2018):The Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality in this case, overturning a
colonial-era law that had criminalised consensual same-sex relationships. The
court ruled that the law was discriminatory and violated LGBT people's
In conclusion, recent Supreme Court decisions in India on voting rights,
abortion, and other contentious issues have had a significant impact on the
country's legal and social landscape. They have challenged long-held norms and
practises, upheld fundamental rights, and shaped the larger political and
cultural context in which they were created. While these decisions have received
both praise and criticism, they are an important part of India's democratic and
constitutional framework, and their consequences will be felt for years to come.
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