Five Of 2022's Most Progressive Judgements In India

As the year comes to an end, let’s take a look at five progressive judgements that prioritised women’s rights and gender equality, paving the way for a promising future.

Kalyani Ganesan
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India still has a long way to go in achieving true equality, but the year 2022 has been positive for women. As the year comes to an end, let’s take a look at five progressive judgements that prioritised women’s rights and gender equality, paving the way for a promising future.

Five 2022 Progressive Judgements In India

Abortion rights for all women

In September of this year, the Supreme Court of India justified the right of a woman to an abortion up to 24 weeks into her pregnancy, regardless of her marital status. "Even an unmarried woman can undergo abortion up to 24 weeks on par with married women," said Justice D.Y. Chandrachud of India's Supreme Court. This ruling came after an unmarried woman who was pregnant from a consensual relationship was denied abortion at the lower court because she was past 20 weeks in her pregnancy.

This judgement is highly welcomed because, married or unmarried, pregnancy is a woman’s choice, and she needs to have the right to decide whether to go through with it or not without any external interruption.

Ban of Two-finger test

Medical experts use the two-finger test to determine whether a woman has engaged in sexual activity. The Supreme Court of India banned the "two-finger" test, calling it a patriarchal and regressive practise that has no scientific basis. "This court has time and again deprecated the use of the two-finger test in cases alleging rape and sexual assault. The so-called test has no scientific basis. However, it re-victimizes and re-traumatises women. The two-finger test must not be conducted, and the test is based on the incorrect assumption that a sexually active woman cannot be raped. Nothing can be further from the truth," the SC observed. The ruling came into being in the case of State of Jharkhand vs. Shailendra Kumar Rai @Pandav Rai.


This is a laudable movie because the worst thing a sexual assault survivor can go through is being physically touched and investigated again, even if it is by a doctor. Moreover, following a patriarchal model without any scientific basis is regressive for society.

Marital rape is rape

In March, the Karnataka high court refused to drop the rape charge against the man by his wife under Section 376 of the IPC, holding that a marriage cannot confer any special male privilege "for unleashing of a brutal beast" on the wife. "If it is punishable for a man, it should be punishable for a man, albeit the man being a husband," Justice M. Nagaprasanna said in his verdict. This ruling came after a wife filed a case for sexual assault against her husband in the Karnataka High Court.

This decision is commendable, as society still believes that by marrying, women give their consent to sex for the rest of their lives. No, a wife has every right to refuse her husband's sexual advances. Her response can be verbal or non-verbal. Anything other than "yes" is a "no," and "no" means "no." The trauma, pain, exploitation of body autonomy, and violation of boundaries are the same even if the perpetrator is the husband.

Maternity leave for mothers who had children through surrogacy

The Tamil Nadu government grants 270 days of maternity leave for TN government employees having a surrogate child. This maternity leave is applicable to all women government employees and teachers. The leave will be applicable from the date of the child’s birth and is valid for only two children.


Regardless of how she chooses to have children, a mother is a mother. Every new mother, whether or not she has biologically delivered the child, deserves to spend quality time with the child. It’s also vital for the child to be with the mother. A new mother, even one who had a baby through surrogacy, has the same hectic and tiring schedule as any mother. It’s important to give these mothers ample time with their newborns because they deserve it.

Recognizing unmarried partnerships and LGBT relationships as family

The Supreme Court has observed that "familial relationships may take the form of domestic, unmarried partnerships, or queer relationships," while noting that an "atypical" manifestation of a family unit is as real as its traditional counterpart and deserves protection under the law. This ruling came after the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality in 2018, activists raised the issue of recognising LGBT marriages and civil unions, as well as allowing live-in couples to adopt.

As more and more couples come out about their sexuality and many people set up live-in relationships and start families, it's crucial they be recognised as "families" as well. With the government recognising them, the perception of society will gradually change, and people will become more open-minded. We need to prepare the future generation to be more inclusive.

Suggested Reading: Abortion Laws For Women: Why Is The Womb So Heavily Legislated?

Look back 2022 #womensrights laws in India