Chronology of events regarding human rights in India
1829 – The practice of sati was formally abolished by Governor General William Bentick after years of campaigning by Hindu reform movements such as the Brahmo Samaj of Ram Mohan Roy against this orthodox Hindu funeral custom of selfimmolation of widows after the death of their husbands.
1929 – Child Marriage Restraint Act, prohibiting marriage of minors under 14 years of age is passed.
1947 – India achieves political independence from the British Raj.
1950 – The Constitution of India establishes a sovereign democratic republic with universal adult franchise. Part 3 of the Constitution contains a Bill of Fundamental Rights enforceable by the Supreme Court and the High Courts. It also provides for reservations for previously disadvantaged sections in education, employment and political representation.
1952 – Criminal Tribes Acts repealed by government, former “criminal tribes” categorized as “denotified” and Habitual Offenders Act (1952) enacted.
1955 – Reform of family law concerning Hindus gives more rights to Hindu women.
1958 -Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958-
1973 – Supreme Court of India rules in Kesavananda Bharati case that the basic structure of the Constitution (including many fundamental rights) is unalterable by a constitutional amendment.
1975-77 – State of Emergency in India – extensive rights violations take place.
1978 – SC rules in Menaka Gandhi v. Union of India that the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution cannot be suspended even in an emergency.
1978-Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978 1984 – Operation Blue Star and the subsequent
1984 Anti-Sikh riots
1985-6 – The Shah Bano case, where the Supreme Court recognised the Muslim woman’s right to maintenance upon divorce, sparks protests from Muslim clergy. To nullify the decision of the Supreme Court, the Rajiv Gandhi government enacted The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act 1986
1989 – Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 is passed.
1989–present – Kashmiri insurgency sees ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits, desecrating Hindu temples, killing of Hindus and Sikhs, and abductions of foreign tourists and government functionaries.
1992 – A constitutional amendment establishes Local Self-Government (Panchayati Raj) as a third tier of governance at the village level, with one-third of the seats reserved for women. Reservations were provided for scheduled castes and tribes as well.
1992 – Babri Masjid demolished by Hindu mobs, resulting in riots across the country.
1993 – National Human Rights Commission is established under the Protection of Human Rights Act.
2001 – Supreme Court passes extensive orders to implement the right to food.
2002 – Violence in Gujarat, chiefly targeting its Muslim minority, claims many lives.
2005 – A powerful Right to Information Act is passed to give citizen’s access to information held by public authorities.
2005 – National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) guarantees universal right to employment.
2006 – Supreme Court orders police reforms in response to the poor human rights record of Indian police.
2009 – Delhi High Court delcares that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which outlaws a range of unspecified “unnatural” sex acts, is unconstitutional when applied to homosexual acts between private consenting individuals, effectively decriminalising homosexual relationships in India.