The Kerala High Court is the highest court in the Indian state of Kerala and in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. It is located in the city of Ernakulam in Kerala. The court has jurisdiction over the entire state of Kerala and the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, and its decisions are binding on all lower courts within its jurisdiction. The High Court of Kerala is composed of a Chief Justice and such number of other judges as the President of India may from time to time deem it necessary to appoint. The Court has Original Jurisdiction in addition to Appellate and Writ Jurisdiction.
The Kerala High Court has made several landmark judgements in recent years. Some of the notable ones include:
In 2018, the court upheld the right to privacy of an individual and declared that the collection of biometric data without consent as unconstitutional.
In 2017, the court struck down the Section 118(d) of the Kerala Police Act, which gave sweeping powers to police to arrest people for causing annoyance or inconvenience to others.
In 2016, the court ordered the government of Kerala to implement a scheme for providing free sanitary napkins to school girls, stating that it was the state’s constitutional duty to ensure the dignity and well-being of women.
In 2015, the court declared that the Kerala Government’s ban on the screening of the Malayalam film “Da Vinci Code” was violative of the fundamental rights of the citizens.
In 2014, the court held that the state government’s decision to impose a ban on the use of plastic bags below 40 microns was violative of the fundamental rights of the citizens and the principles of natural justice.
These are few examples and the list can go on. These judgements has helped in shaping the legal landscape of the state and have had far-reaching impact on the lives of the people.
The Sabarimala Temple case, also known as Indian Young Lawyers Association v. The State of Kerala, was a landmark case decided by the Supreme Court of India in September 2018. The case dealt with the issue of whether or not the ban on women of menstruating age (between 10 and 50 years) from entering the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala was constitutional.
The Supreme Court, in a 4-1 majority judgement, struck down the ban and ruled that it violated the right to equality and the right to freedom of religion of women. The Court held that the ban was discriminatory and that the temple’s custom of excluding women of a certain age group was not an essential religious practice. The court also stated that the practice of excluding women from the temple is not an “essential religious practice” and that the restriction placed on women is not a “necessary” part of the Hindu religion.
The ruling was seen as a major victory for women’s rights and gender equality in India, and was widely celebrated by women’s rights activists and supporters of the #RightToPray movement. However, the verdict also faced opposition from certain sections of the society and the ruling party in Kerala.