List of landmark court decisions in India

Landmark court decisions in India substantially change the interpretation of existing law. Such a landmark decision may settle the law in more than one way. In present-day common law legal systems it may do so by:[1][2]

  • Establishing a significant new legal principle or concept;
  • Overturning prior precedent based on its negative effects or flaws in its reasoning;
  • Distinguishing a new principle that refines a prior principle, thus departing from prior practice without violating the rule of stare decisis;
  • Establishing a "test" (that is, a measurable standard that can be applied by courts in future decisions).

In India, landmark court decisions come most frequently from the Supreme Court of India, which is the highest judicial body in India. High courts of India may also make such decisions, particularly if the Supreme Court chooses not to review the case or if it adopts the holding of the lower court.

Individual rightsEdit

The ADM Jabalpur case was overruled on the doctrinal grounds concerning the rights by the Right to Privacy verdict.[3]

Criminal lawEdit

Constitutional jurisprudenceEdit

The Supreme Court of India, which is the highest judicial body in India, has decided many leading cases of Constitutional jurisprudence, establishing Constitution Benches for hearing the same. Given below are a list of some leading cases:

  1. S.P. Gupta v. Union of India & Anr. (Transfer Case (civil) 19 of 1981; 1982 2 SCR 365)
  2. Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association & Anr. v. Union of India (W.P. (C) 1303 of 1987)
  3. In re Special reference 1 of 1998


  1. ^ Meaning of leading case in the English Dictionary
  2. ^ A. W. B. Simpson, Leading Cases in the Common Law, Clarendon Press, 1996 [1]
  3. ^ "Supreme Court rights old judicial wrongs in landmark Right to Privacy verdict, shows State its rightful place-India News , Firstpost". Firstpost. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 31 December 2021.
  4. ^ James, Sebin (21 November 2021). "Police Officials To Face Action If Arrest Procedure Under Sec 41A CrPC & 'Arnesh Kumar' Guidelines Are Violated : Telangana High Court". Retrieved 21 November 2021.