Lives changed in 2018. And the country’s highest court was responsible for so much of it.

The right to die with dignity: Early in the year, the Supreme Court legalised passive euthanasia which allows the withdrawal of medical treatment with the intention to hasten death of a terminally ill patient. The court permitted citizens to draft a living will where they can refuse treatment in case of a coma or terminal illness.

Decriminalising same-gender sex: In September, the Supreme Court decriminalised gay sex holding that consensual sex between two adults is covered under the right to privacy. Last year, the Supreme Court held that Right to Privacy was a fundamental right.

Aadhaar and privacy: We spent a good part of the year being forced to link our bank accounts with Aadhaar until in September, the Supreme Court said that making Aadhaar mandatory for availing government services was unconstitutional and that banks and telecom companies could not ask people to link their bank accounts and mobile numbers with it.

Adultery no longer a crime: A 150-year-old law that considered adultery to be an offence committed by one man against a married man and treated women as mere possessions in the bargain was struck down.

Choice wins: Once again to the rescue, India’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of Hadiya, a 23-year-old young woman, whose family wanted to nullify her marriage to a Muslim man while she had chosen to to stay married, practice Islam and complete her education.

Rescuers wade through the water in an inundated area at Companypady in Kozhikode, Kerala on August 16, 2018. Dozens of people were killed due to flooding, landslides and bridge collapses as torrential rains created havoc in Kerala. Photo: The Times of India/ R K Sreejith

Social media surge: Kerala experienced an unprecedented natural calamity and social media rallied in its support. Hundreds took to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter not just to raise funds for those affected but to coordinate search, rescue and food distribution efforts and reach out to people most in need of help.

Magsaysay award winners Sonam Wangchuk (left, recognised for community-driven reform in Ladakh) and Dr Bharat Vatwani who works to improve the lives of the mentally-afflicted destitute.

Magsaysay winners: When the Magsaysay winners were announced in July 2018, considered the Asian Nobel Prize, it came as a surprise that two Indians—Bharat Vatwani and Sonam Wangchuk were among the winners. Vatwani was recognised for his tremendous work to help the mentally-afflicted destitute, and Wangchuk for his community-driven reform in Ladakh.

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More on Thrive Global India:

Find Every Reason to Rejoice, Look out For Sunshine This New Year

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Words to Thrive by: Who Said Them in 2018


  • Apekshita Varshney is a journalist who has worked with media organisations, non-profits, and the Government of Maharashtra. She is now a freelance writer which gives her time to read, travel, and write fiction. She writes about technology, communities, gender, politics, and well-being.