Supreme Selections: Yearly Digest 2023, PART-V

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PART-V: September and October


The Supreme Court (SC) of India gave a total of 84 judgments this month which includes around 70 Reportable judgments. In September 2023, matters related to divorce, ethnic violence in Manipur, bail, a ban on firecrackers, the constitutional validity of sedition law, and various others were heard by the SC benches. A brief discussion of the important verdicts delivered by the top court in September is as follows:

Children of Invalid Marriages

Judgment NameRevanasiddappa & Anr. vs. Mallikarjun & Ors. 

Bench: Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra

Brief: On September 01, 2023, the Supreme Court ruled that the children born out of void/voidable marriages have a right to claim a share in the property of their parents in Hindu families. The order reads, “Once children born from a void marriage (or a voidable marriage which has been declared to be nullity) are declared to be legitimate by sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 16 (Hindu Marriage Act, 1955), they cannot be discriminated against and will be on par with other legitimate children for the purpose of all the rights in the property of their parents, both self-acquired and ancestral.” 

Decree of Divorce

Judgment NameSmt. Roopa Soni vs. Kamalnarayan Soni 

Bench: Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice M.M. Sundresh

Brief: In this case, the SC granted a decree of divorce to a couple living separately for fifteen years on September 06, 2023. While granting the divorce, the bench said “There is no need to continue the agony of a mere status without them living together.” During the court proceedings, after hearing the arguments from both sides, the SC also observed that “What is cruelty in one case may not be the same for another.” It added, “... an element of subjectivity has to be applied albeit, what constitutes cruelty is objective. Therefore, what is cruelty for a woman in a given case may not be cruelty for a man, and a relatively more elastic and broad approach is required when we examine a case in which a wife seeks divorce.” The bench set aside the judgment of the Trial Court and the High Court and granted a divorce. 

Compensation to Veteran in Medical Negligence Case

Judgment NameCPL Ashish Kumar Chauhan (Retd.) vs. Commanding Officer & Ors.

Bench: Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Dipankar Datta

Brief: The SC bench on September 26, 2023, delivered a decision in favor of a retired Air Veteran (appellant) claiming compensation on account of medical negligence (during blood transfusion) due to which he contracted HIV. An appeal was filed by him against the order of NCDRC (National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission) denying compensation to a retired Air veteran. After hearing the contentions, the bench ordered, “the appellant is entitled to compensation, calculated at ₹ 1,54,73,000/- towards compensation on account of medical negligence of the respondents, who are held liable, for the injury suffered by the appellant.” The top Court ordered the respondents to submit the amount within six weeks.

Inconsistency in Dying Declaration's Impact on Convictions

Judgment NamePhulel Singh vs. State of Haryana (September 27, 2023)

Bench: Justice B.R. Gavai, Justice P.S. Narasimha, and Justice P.K. Mishra

Brief: In this case, the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased was harassed for dowry, and thus, the case under Section 304-B of IPC was not established. While hearing the matter, the SC highlighted that “We fail to understand as to how the same dying declaration could have been made the basis for conviction of the appellant when the same was disbelieved insofar as another accused is concerned.” The bench hearing the matter allowed the appeal and the appellant was acquitted of all charges. 

Other Important Judgments of September Month

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Week 4


This month, the SC delivered the much-awaited judgment regarding the legal validation of same-sex marriage. Along with this, a total of 102 judgments including approximately 82 Reportable judgments were given by the Supreme Court benches. Below are discussed some of the important verdicts of October month.

Section 50 of the NDPS Act

Judgment NameRanjan Kumar Chadha vs. the State of Himachal Pradesh 

Bench: Justice M.M. Sundresh and Justice J.B. Pardiwala

Brief: In this case, the accused (Ranjan Kumar Chadha) was charge-sheeted for carrying 1.25 kg of charas including 33.58% of charas resin content. The Supreme Court was hearing an appeal of the convict charged under Section 20 of the NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act, 1985, on October 06, 2023. After hearing the contentions from both sides the bench answered the question ‘whether the statute would apply to the search of a bag and summarized the principles related to Section 50 of the NDPS Act.’ The bench ordered, “We are of the view that the High Court was justified in holding the appellant guilty of the offence under the NDPS Act, and at the same time, the High Court was also correct in saying that Section 50 of the NDPS Act was not required to be compiled with as the recovery was from the bag.” The appeals were therefore dismissed by the Supreme Court bench. 

26-week Pregnant Woman’s Abortion Plea

Judgment NameX vs. Union of India and Anr. 

Bench: Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra

Brief: On October 16, 2023, the SC of India was hearing a plea filed by a pregnant woman to abort her third pregnancy because she was suffering from postpartum psychosis. After hearing the contentions, the bench observed that terminating the pregnancy of the 26-week pregnant woman would violate Sections 3 and 5 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. It also said that as per the report submitted by AIIMS doctors, it has been determined that there is no fetal abnormality nor termination is necessary to save the life of the petitioner.  

Legal Recognition for Same-Sex Marriages

Judgment NameSupriyo @ Supriya Chakraborty & Anr. vs. Union of India 

Bench: Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, Justice P.S. Narasimha, Justice Hima Kohli, and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul

Brief: By a 3:2 majority, the constitution bench of the Supreme Court declined to allow civil unions for non-heterosexual couples, declined the right of adoption to queer couples, and agreed that there is no fundamental right to marry under the Constitution of India. The decision was delivered on October 17, 2023. While delivering the judgment, the SC also directed the Centre to constitute a cabinet committee to look into rights that can be conferred on non-heterosexual couples. 

Multiple Dying Declarations

Judgment NameAbhishek Sharma vs. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi) 

Bench: Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Abhay S. Oka

Brief: On October 18, 2023, the SC laid down certain principles that are to be considered by the Courts while dealing with cases involving multiple dying declarations. The same was delivered when the bench was hearing an appeal involving the conviction of Abhishek Sharma for the murder of his colleague. Herein, four dying declarations were provided by the deceased. The SC said, “Dying declarations should be voluntary, reliable, and made when the individual is in a fit state of mind.” After listing the principles, the bench pointed out, “These principles provide guidance for courts when dealing with cases involving multiple dying declarations and the assessment of their credibility.”

Manual Scavenging

Judgment NameDr. Balram Singh vs. Union of India & Ors.

Bench: Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Aravind Kumar

Brief: On October 20, 2023, the Supreme Court of India issued directions to the Union and State Governments to ensure the complete eradication of the practice of manual scavenging. It also directed to increase the compensation in cases of sewer deaths and permanent disablement arising from sewer operations. 

Other Important Judgments of October Month

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Week 4

1. How many total judgments were given by the Supreme Court in September and October?
2. When was the judgment regarding the legal validation of same-sex delivered?