The government took many historic decisions in 2019. The Judiciary, too, issued quite a few historic verdicts on various matters of import in 2019. Some verdicts were indeed of great commendation while others left plenty to be desired. In this article, we shall go through a list of verdicts delivered by the Judiciary that either created a storm or brought an end to one.
1. The Ram Mandir verdict
The Supreme Court, on the 9th of November, brought to an end one of the greatest historic struggles for the Hindu Community. With its landmark judgment, the Supreme Court paved the way for a Bhavya Ram Mandir at Ram Janmabhoomi. The Court verdict also awarded five acres of alternate land to the Muslim community.
In its verdict, the Court took into account historical facts about Ram Janmabhoomi and accepted that a Hindu Temple did stand at the site of the disputed structure. Liberals and Muslims were definitely not happy with the verdict but everyone saw it as an inevitability given the overbundance of evidence in favour of the Hindu community. Later, review petitions were also filed by the Muslim petitioners but they were rejected by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court in November dismissed the review petitions against the December 14th judgement of the SC which declined to order a probe into the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets by the Modi government from Dassault Aviation. The review petitions were filed by Advocate Prashant Bhushan, Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha.
It is pertinent to mention here that the documents leaked by The Hindu were cropped and digitally manipulated to conceal evidence that can go against the Rafale case that Modi detractors were trying to build to help Congress and Rahul Gandhi in the run-up to 2019 elections.
The Supreme Court has held that the plea on charges of perjury against the officials is also not fair. While the judgement did cast a shadow on the integrity of Rahul Gandhi who furthered this lie repeatedly, it also indicted The Hindu that published cropped documents in order to further this lie.
The Supreme Court led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi could not come to a conclusive decision in Sabarimala review petitions and have referred the case to a larger bench by a 3:2 majority. The Supreme Court said that the issue of women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple is not just limited to Sabarimala. It involves the entry of women into Mosques as well. The Supreme Court referenced to larger Bench of issues arising in case of entry of Muslim women into a mosque, female genital mutilation cannot be ruled out.
CJI, justices- Khanvilkar and Malhotra viewed to refer the matter to a larger bench. Justices Chandrachur and Nariman gave dissent view on Sabrimala review pleas. The Supreme Court could not reach a consensus on the review petitions and this, the Sabarimala matter referred to a larger bench by 3:2 J Chandrachud and Nariman dissent Review petitions being kept pending.
Later, the Supreme Court declined to pass an order on the plea to allow the entry of two women into the Sabarimala temple, which meant there was effectively a stay on its 2018 verdict that permitted the desecration of the Sabarimala Temple.
In the last week of September, the Tripura High Court in an atrocious judgment banned Pashubali (animal sacrifice) at the Maa Tripureswari Mandir in Udaipur and other Hindu temples in Tripura. Tripureswari temple, also known as Tripura Sundari Temple, is one of the 51 Shaktipeeths, and Pashubali is an integral custom of the temple. Kamaleswari Kali temple, located beside the India-Bangladesh border in Kasba village in west Tripura, is another important temple in the state where Pasbhubali is performed.
However, for a while even after the ban, Pashubali continued at the Temple as the administration was hesitant to implement the order. Ultimately, the Supreme Court, nearly two months later, issued an interim order that permitted the resumption of the sacred ritual at the Temple.
A Ranchi court in July granted bail to a woman who was arrested for allegedly hurting ‘religious sentiments’ by writing about Tabrez Ansari’s death on her Facebook account. However, while granting the bail, the court put up a condition that she should distribute copies of Quran to various Islamic organisations.
Magistrate Manish Singh had ordered Richa Bharti to distribute a copy of Quran to Anjuman Islamia in presence of the administration and take an acknowledgement receipt. She was supposed to donate four other copies of the Quran to other schools and colleges. Bharti could take help of local police administration in this. She was ordered to collect receipts and submit them to the court in 15 days. Over and above this, she was also asked to deposit two bonds of Rs 7,000 each.
The verdict created a huge furore across the country and people were outraged by what they considered a clear attempt to hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus. Ultimately, the Court was forced to take back its crazy order and things returned to normalcy.
6. The Madras High Court’s Richa Bharti Moment
The Madras High Court ordered a youth in October charged with posting objectionable content on Facebook to pay Rs 25,000 each to a trust run by the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) and an orphanage run by a Christian organisation in Mayiladuthirai (Mayavaram) in Nagapattinam district as a condition for his anticipatory bail.
The TMMK is an Islamic Fundamentalist organization that has a history of its members engaging in radical activities. However, despite numerous objections by the petitioner, the Madras High Court issued the highly controversial order.