What’s New in Law

  • Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. versus Union of India through Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of India in 2018 that decriminalised all consensual sex among adults in private, including homosexual sex. The court was asked to determine the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a colonial-era law which among others criminalised homosexual acts as an “unnatural offence”. On 6 September 2018, the court unanimously declared the law unconstitutional “in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex”. Portions of Section 377 (Unnatural offences) Indian Penal Code relating to sex with minors, non-consensual sexual acts such as rape, and bestiality remain in force.
  • Joseph Shine versus Union of India. Supreme Court Struck down section 497(Adultery) Indian Penal Code. A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on 27 September 2018 unanimously ruled to scrap Section 497. While reading the judgment, Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, “it(adultery) cannot be a criminal offence,” however it can be a ground for civil issues like divorce.
  • Indian Young Lawyers Association versus The State Of Kerala Supreme court of India on 28 September, 2018 allowed the entry of women of all ages in sabarimala temple. However, the lone female judge in constitution bench Justice Indu Malhotra dissented.
  • Common Cause (A Regd. Society) versus union of India. Supreme Court of India held that Right to die with dignity is a fundamental right, also allowed passive euthanasia and living will, and issued guidelines regarding Living will.

  • Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (retd.) versus Union of India. Supreme Court of India held that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory for opening of a bank account, mobile connection, school admissions. However, Aadhaar card is mandatory for filing of income tax return.
  • Shayara Bano versus union of India. Supreme Court of India declared triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) as unconstitutional.

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018(22 of 2018).

  • Amends IPC, CRPC, POCSO, IEA
  • Investigation must be completed within 2 months.
  • Trial must be completed within 2 months.
  • Appeal must be disposed off within 6 months.
  • No provision of anticipatory bail.
  • Punishment for rape 10 years rigorous imprisonment to life imprisonment.
  • Punishment for rape less than 12 years: 20 years rigorous imprisonment to life imprisonment plus fine or with death.

Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2018.

Commonly known as triple talaq bill passed by Lok Sabha. Bill punishes pronouncement of triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) imprisonment for 3 years and fine. Cognizance of the offence can be taken only on complaint is lodged by the victim wife or her close blood relatives. Also, the offence will be compoundable at the instance of the wife on such terms and conditions as deemed fit by the Magistrate. The offence is also bailable, and Magistrate can grant bail, but only after hearing the wife. The Bill provides for grant of custody of the minor child to the wife, and also maintenance suitably determined by the Magistrate

Fugitive Economics Offenders Bill, 2018.

  • Was passed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The Bill allows for a person to be declared as a fugitive economic offender (FEO) if: (i) an arrest warrant has been issued against him for any specified offences where the value involved is over Rs 100 crore, and (ii) he has left the country and refuses to return to face prosecution.

  • To declare a person an FEO, an application will be filed in a Special Court (designated under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002) containing details of the properties to be confiscated, and any information about the person’s whereabouts. The Special Court will require the person to appear at a specified place at least six weeks from issue of notice. Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears.
  • The Bill allows authorities to provisionally attach properties of an accused, while the application is pending before the Special Court.

  • Upon declaration as an FEO, properties of a person may be confiscated and vested in the central government, free of encumbrances (rights and claims in the property). Further, the FEO or any company associated with him may be barred from filing or defending civil claims.