The year also witnessed a liberal and pro-active apex court keeping the Centre and corporate honchos on tenterhooks in various cases including Coalgate and 2G scam while the film industry got a rude shock when actor Sanjay Dutt was held guilty and sent to jail for five years in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.

However, a week after a Supreme Court inquiry indicted Justice AK Ganguly for his ‘unwelcome behaviour’ and ‘conduct of sexual nature’ towards the law intern, the apex court drew worldwide criticism for its December 11 verdict setting aside the path breaking direction of the 2009 Delhi High Court which had decriminalized section 377 of the penal code on gay sex.

Furore by different sections of society including the LGBT community, which dubbed the verdict of judges GS Singhvi (since retired) and S J Mukhopadhaya as ‘retrograde’, ‘medieval’ and out of sync with modern times, forced the Centre to rush to the top court for re-look of the judgement.

The year will also be remembered for the steps taken by the apex court to clean electoral system from corrupt elements by disqualifying legislative members on conviction in a criminal case and barring jailed politicians from contesting polls.

Besides, unleashing a crackdown against freebies by political parties, providing none of the above option (NOTA) to voters and introduction of paper trail in EVM, were some of the poll reforms which brought lot of accolades for the apex court which also gave stern message to the CBI not to act like a ‘caged parrot’ and ‘speak in master's voice’.

The hard hitting remarks were made during the monitoring of probe into the coal block allocation scam which witnessed interference by bureaucrats from Prime Minister's office and the then Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, who was forced to resign in the wake of the allegation.

The Coalgate scam also saw the CBI at loggerheads with the Centre and the probe agency seeking ex-officio status of secretary for its director in the Supreme Court which cleared the hurdle for it in its investigation into the scam, in which the names of top industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and former coal secretary PC Parakh also cropped up.

Top corporate honchos including ADAG chief Anil Ambani, Bharti group head Sunil Mittal and former Tata group chairman Ratan Tata made rounds of the Supreme Court this year in various cases and almost all business sectors came under the judicial scrutiny as a fall-out of revelations made in taped conversations of controversial corporate lobbyist Niira Radia leading to directions for registration of cases by the CBI.

Sahara faced the toughest time in the Supreme Court which kept a constant vigil on it around the year and initiated contempt proceedings against its Group head Subrata Roy who was finally restrained from leaving the country for failure to refund Rs 20,000 crore to investors.

Roy is also set to face the heat of the apex court in 2G case in which the top court sought explanation why contempt proceedings be not initiated against him and two journalists of the group for allegedly impeding the probe in the case.

The year also witnessed the Supreme Court passing a slew of orders for protection and welfare of underprivileged, women and people living on the margins of the society. It pulled up the police for its harassment of people in different parts of the country and stripped off red beacon from vehicles of MPs and MLAs and allowed only high dignitaries holding constitutional posts to use them.

Drug trials by the multinationals came to a standstill this year with the top court restraining the government not to allow it till a proper mechanism is put in place to protect interest of people who are treated as ‘guinea pigs’ by pharmaceutical firms creating ‘havoc’ and causing death of many citizens.

The Centre finally assured the court to frame guidelines and that people subjected to drug trial would be recorded in audio/visual medium.

The new drug price policy for essential drugs also came under judicial scrutiny as the Centre went ahead, despite clear warning for the Supreme Court not to do so, to change the criteria from cost based to market pricing based leading to hike in price.

Apart from the legal battle on homosexuality, the other case closely monitored by the international media was the patent battle fiercely fought between Indian pharmaceutical companies and foreign firm Novartis over a cancer drug.

In a major blow to the Swiss pharma giant, the apex court rejected its plea for a patent on cancer drug Glivec clearing hurdles in the way of generic drugs manufacturer to provide affordable drugs to lakhs of cancer patients in the country.

While healthcare issues on drugs were consuming its share of time, the Supreme Court came out with a controversial verdict by scrapping the holding of a single common entrance test (NEET) for admission to MBBS, BDS and post-graduate courses in all medical colleges, paving the way for private colleges to conduct their own examination.

The review pleas have been filed seeking re-examination of the judgement, which raised a few eyebrows. Showing a liberal inclination, the apex court almost gave legal sanctity to social phenomenon of live-in relationship, particularly prevalent in urban areas by asking Parliament to frame law for protection of women in such relationship and children born out of it, saying that such ‘relationship is neither a crime nor a sin’.

It also framed guidelines for bringing live-in relationship within the expression 'relationship in the nature of marriage' for protection of women under the Domestic Violence Act.

The Congress-led UPA's ambitious flagship programme of Aadhaar card lost its sheen this year with the Supreme Court questioning its constitutional validity and said it is not mandatory for people to benefit from the government's social welfare scheme till it decides the case.

Stung by the apex court's order, the Centre and its various ministries rushed to get the order modified but the court refused to oblige them, leaving the validity of the scheme in lurch.

On a fodder scam case against RJD Supremo Lalu Prasad, the Supreme Court, which had almost decided to transfer the trial judge at the far end of hearing, finally dismissed his petition and paved the way to his conviction and five year jail term.

After spending 74 days behind bars, Lalu, who lost his Lok Sabha membership after his conviction, finally got relief from the Supreme Court which granted him bail.

It was a good year for other politicians as the apex court quashed the Disproportionate Assets’ case against Mayawati and also set aside the petitions filed against BJP leader Amit Shah in Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case.

It, however, refused to quash charges against Congress leader Sajjan Kumar and provide any relief to Jagdish Tytler in a 1984 riots case.

In a bid to curb acid attacks on women, the Supreme Court directed that this crime be made a non-bailable offence and fixed Rs three lakh compensation for the victims. It also directed state governments to frame rules to regulate sale of corrosive substances.

Issues pertaining to sports also came before the apex court which expressed displeasure over the businessmen and politicians heading various federations and held it as one of the reasons for deterioration in the standards of sports in the country.

The much-talked about spot-fixing controversy in IPL matches also came under judicial scrutiny with the apex court appointing a committee headed by a retired Delhi High Court judge to probe into the issue. It had also restrained BCCI chief N Srinivasan from taking charge of the board for sometime but later on allowed him with a condition that he would not interfere in the probe in the spot-fixing saga.