After devoting 402 days as Chief Justice of India (CJI), Dipak Misra will demit office tomorrow (October 2) and if there is no emergency, today will be his last working day at the Supreme Court.
CJI Misra, who assumed the office on August 28, 2017, had a tumultuous 13-month tenure with unusual midnight hearings, confrontation with the government and an unprecedented press conference by four of his junior SC judges.
However, he will best be remembered for a series of landmark rulings in cases of Section 377, Section 497 (adultery) among few others. As his term as CJI effectively ends today, let's have a look at top five judgments of Dipak Misra.
1. Article 377
One of the famous verdicts CJI Misra will be remembered for was scarping section 377 of the Indian penal code that criminalised homosexuality or gay sex. A five-judge constitutional bench headed by Misra ruled that “sexual orientation is a natural phenomenon determined by biology and science. Any discrimination on this basis is unconstitutional”.
2. Section 497 (Adultery)
In a landmark verdict, a Supreme Court bench headed by CJI Misra had struck down a 158-year-old British-era law that made adultery a crime. The law treated a man having consensual sex with another man’s wife as a criminal offence but exempted the woman. Reading out the judgment, CJI Misra said that while adultery could be grounds for civil issues like divorce, "it cannot be a criminal offence".
3. Aadhaar Verdict
This was another historic verdict by a Supreme Court bench headed by the Chief Justice. While the bench upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar, it ruled that private entities can no longer demand Aadhaar verification. After the verdict, private entities were barred from demanding Aadhaar details of customers for verification.
4. Sabarimala Temple Verdict
In yet another landmark verdict, a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Misra scrapped a century-old rule that barred women’s entry into the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala. Allowing women’s entry into the temple, the apex court observed that “women were no way inferior to men”.
5. Live streaming of Supreme Court proceedings
One of the last and key judgments of CJI Misra was allowing live streaming of the Supreme Court proceedings. A bench headed by Misra ruled that the Supreme Court proceedings would make the judiciary more transparent and accountable to the judicial system. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant," Misra had written in the judgment.