2018 has showcased the inconsistency with which the Supreme Court chooses to interfere in the policy decisions or to monitor investigations, especially pertaining to the ruling regime. As the year comes to an end, it is hoped that the judiciary will be more consistent in its decision-making, decry the use of ‘sealed cover’ in adjudication, and stand up to the Executive bullying, whether in judicial appointments or in administration.
M J Akbar’s resignation is a testament to the sheer power of the #MeToo movement, and the horror of its stories and experiences. In fact, Akbar tried to emulate this government’s bullying tactic by initially denying all the allegations, and then filing a criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani, a senior journalist.
It is evident that neither Vishaka guidelines nor The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (‘SHW Act’) were followed by the organisations, as most of the complaints were either not investigated properly, or women could not complain.
In a judgment running into 493 pages, with four concurrent opinions from Chief Justice Dipak Mishra (who also wrote on behalf of Justice AM Khanwilkar) as well as Justices Rohinton Nariman, DY Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra, the Supreme Court unequivocally upheld the constitutional rights of equality, non-discrimination, freedom of expression, privacy, autonomy, dignity, and health of LGBT persons guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 of the Constitution. The arc of justice and freedom has finally come home, into the lives of LGBT persons, into the law, and hopefully will soon penetrate to their families, work spaces, public places, and in private domains.