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7 most talked about judgments by Supreme Court in 2015

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By Harshmeet Singh

The year 2015 can be rightly termed as the ‘year of judicial activism.’ With the Parliament facing disruptions all through the year, it was the Supreme Court that assumed the leading role in driving the country forward.

Before we enter into 2016 with high hopes, NewsGram brings you the seven most path-breaking judgments given by the Supreme Court in 2015.

  1. Jats don’t belong to the OBC

With an aim to appease the Jat community, the central government listed them under the OBC category in 9 states, giving them reservations in government jobs and educational institutes. Not pleased with this populist step, the Supreme Court struck down the government notification and sense prevailed.

  1. Supreme Court strikes down the Section 66A of Indian IT Act

Section 66A of the Indian IT Act was nothing short of draconian. It was widely used by the police to arrest innocent people for criticizing politicians online. The SC called it a violation of the fundamental right of liberty and freedom of expression and termed it ‘unconstitutional.’

  1. SC orders CBSE to conduct the AIPMT afresh

This year’s AIPMT was filled with allegations of cheating and fraud. Close to six and a half lakh aspirants appeared for the examination. While the CBSE argued that it will exclude the sheets of those found involved in cheating, rather than conducting the exam again, the SC didn’t buy this excuse. The judges said, “if such an examination is saved, merit would be a casualty generating a sense of frustration in genuine students, with aversion to the concept of examination.”

  1. SC declares NJAC unconstitutional and void

NJAC, which sought to take away the judiciary’s right to appoint judges to the High Court and the Supreme Court, remained in the news for the better part of the year. In October, the SC struck down the NJAC and called it ‘unconstitutional and void.’ The presiding judge said, “It is difficult to hold that the wisdom of appointment of judges can be shared with the political-executive. In India, the organic development of civil society, has not as yet sufficiently evolved. The expectation from the judiciary, to safeguard the rights of the citizens of this country, can only be ensured, by keeping it absolutely insulated and independent, from the other organs of governance.”

  1. Panel appointed by SC suspends Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals from the IPL for 2 years

Ever since its inception, the IPL has been marred with serious allegations of spot fixing and match fixing. The SC-appointed panel suspended CSK and RR from IPL for a couple of years since their owners were found guilty of betting on the games and leaking the team’s information to the bookers.

  1. SC sentences Yakub Memon to death

In March this year, SC sentenced Yakub Abdul Razak Memon to death for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts. Though he followed it up a number of review petitions, curative petitions, and mercy pleas, he was eventually hanged on 30th July 2015 in the Nagpur Jail. His death sentence was widely opposed by a number of social groups which accused the court and the government of being unfair to him.

  1. SC allows the Dance bars to be reopened

Putting on hold the Maharashtra Government’s ban on Mumbai’s dance bars, the Supreme Court allowed the dance bars to be reopened. Along with this, the SC also empowered the concerned authorities to regulate the dance performances which they find inappropriate.

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Another Deadline Missed, No Draft Scheme on the Cauvery Dispute Till Now

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme.

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The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.
Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia commons

The Centre yet again failed to submit a draft Scheme on the Cauvery river water dispute before the Supreme Court on the ground that the Prime Minister and other ministers were campaigning in Karnataka, which Tamil Nadu flayed as “brazen partisanship”.

Seeking 10 more days to finalize the scheme, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud: “A draft scheme has been placed before the Cabinet. Because of Karnataka elections, the Prime Minister and all other Ministers are in Karnataka. Before that the Prime Minister was abroad (in China).”

It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Parliament of India, wikimedia commons

The Centre’s submission was countered strongly by senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, who said: “Sorry to say, the Central government is politicizing the issue. They are worried about their electoral fate in Karnataka. Election in Karnataka is on May 12 and somehow they don’t want to do it till then. We have enough of it. It is brazen partisanship of the Union of India. It is the end of co-operative federalism.”

The apex court in its February 16 judgement had directed the Centre to frame a Scheme within six months in accordance with the recommendation by the Cauvery River Water Tribunal for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Regulatory Authority (CRA), which Karnataka opposes strongly.

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme. Tamil Nadu filed a contempt petition against the Centre for failure to act within the deadline.

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During Thursday’s hearing, the court directed the Karnataka government to respond on how much of the four TMC of water it can release by month end. It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

In the course of the hearing, the court asked Karnataka to release 4 TMC of water by Monday.

The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.

The court directed the next hearing of the matter on Tuesday. (IANS)