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5 Controversial Landmark Judgements

Controversies plays a huge role in shaping our society. Due to these controversies, there were various judgement passed which brought a huge change and impart to our society.
Here are 5 controversial landmark judgements which brought a major change in our Indian society.

  1. The Shah Bano Begum Case (Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum)
    Shah Bano, a 62-year-old Muslim mother of five from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, was divorced by her husband in 1978. She filed a criminal suit in the Supreme Court of India, in which she won the right to alimony for maintenance from her husband. However, under pressure of the protest from Islamic orthodoxy the Indian Parliament reversed the judgement ans laid down that the maintenance only needed to be paid up to 90 days after divorce or during the iddat period.
  2. The Nanavati Case (K.M. Nanavati v State of Maharashtra)
    You must have all seen the movie Rustom, which is not just a reel story but a real one. The story is not less than a typical romantic yet crime drama where Mr. Nanavati who was a Naval Commandant shot dead a business tycoon Mr.Prem Ahuja who was in an illegitimate relationship with his English wife Sylvia. With lots of twist and turns, there was a huge public support for Mr. Nanavati and this controversy was the last case where jury trial was held in India.
  3. Mathura rape Case (Tukaram and Anr v State of Maharashtra).
    In 1972, a 14-16 year old girl Mathura was brutally raped by 2 Policemen inside the Police Station during a visit to give a statement about a complaint of abduction that had been filed by her brother. Unfortunately, the accused were not punished but the social chaos caused due this incident brough a change under the present system, where a woman should not be arrested after sunset and before sunrise unless there is permission from the Judicial Magistrate and at least one woman Police Officer is present at the time.
  4. Vishakha Case (Vishakha and Ors v State of Rajasthan)
    This is one of the most famous landmark judgement which provides various guidelines to equip with sexual harassment at workplace. In this case fee upper caste men ruthlessly raped a poor lower caste woman who spoke up against child marriage in the village.
  5. Kesavananda Bharati case (Kesavananda Bharati v State of Kerala).
    This case is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of India that outlined the basic structure doctrine of the Constitution. This is a case in which Bharati had challenged Kerala Land Reform Act. The judgement passed stated, Parliament can amend every Article in the Constitution but should be restrained from altering the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.


Primary Source

  • Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum AIR 1985 SC 945
  • K. M. Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra AIR 1962 SC 605, 1962 SCR
  • Tukaram and others Vs. State of Maharashtra. Citation: AIR 1979 SC 185
  • Vishaka & Ors. V/S State of Rajasthan (Air 1997 Sc 3011)
  • Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1983) 4 SCC 225; AIR 1973 SC 1461

Secondary Source

Website and blogs

<> accessed Jul 28, 2017.

Author :

Mohini Varma (Children Welfare Centre College of Law)