Top 5 'Unexpected' Newsmakers of 2013

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By Karuna Chandwani | December 12, 2013 10:00 PM EST

Former Justice GS Singhvi

Before stepping down as Supreme Court judge on Wednesday, former Justice GS Singhvi caused unrest among the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in Delhi and Mumbai when he announced a verdict setting aside a Delhi High Court ruling on decriminalising gay sex.

On December 11, the judgment came as a major blow to gay rights in India, the world's largest democracy, as it resanctioned the ban on homosexual acts and deemed them punishable under Section 377 of Indian Penal Code.

Apart from the LGBT community, Justice Singhvi also received criticism from his own law fraternity and politicians in the ruling Congress government.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi felt the ruling was a letdown for the democratic nation and Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal announced that the penal code section, which dated back to 1960, should be repealed immediately.

Leaders from the main Opposition, Bharatiya Janata Party, did not issue any statement on the matter. Even their prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, known to be dogmatic about serious issues, did not comment on the verdict.

The senior most SC judge had monitored the 2G Spectrum allocation scam cases. He was also credited for the Greater Noida Land acquisition case. However, the verdict on Section 377 was a setback for him among the people.

Arvind Kejriwal, Politician

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener turned the heads of politicians belonging to the rival political parties - BJP and Congress, when he won his Delhi Vidhan Sabha seat from New Delhi constituency against former CM Sheila Dikshit by a whopping 25, 864 votes.

The Kejriwal-led AAP made a stunning debut during the 4 December polls as they won 28 out of a total of 70 assembly seats. Dikshit, in her public statement after the defeat, along with other Congress leaders admitted they had underestimated the AAP and its reach among the Delhiites.

Tarun Tejpal, Media Personality

He was respected as the founder of popular investigative weekly Tehelka and as its former editor-in-chief. But a sexual harassment case against him proved unfortunate for him and for the magazine.

Tehelka's former Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury, who resigned after being condemned about how she handled the allegations against Tejpal said, "This has been a damaging time for all associated with Tehelka".

The Tehelka journalist accused Tejpal of sexually assaulting her during its Think fest that took place in Goa on two dates - 7 and 8 November.

The Goa government filed a sou moto FIR against Tejpal, who was remanded for 12 days in judicial custody on 12 December.

The rape allegations against Tejpal made headlines in international papers. UK-based Guardian said, "The image on the newsstands is brutally simple. A single face. A single word: "Disgrace." Underneath nine words: "A fabled media star falls over allegations of rape.""

Lalu Prasad Yadav, Politician

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) founder hit the headlines in October when he became the second casualty of a Supreme Court order that disqualifies lawmakers instantly after their conviction in a criminal offence.

Lalu was convicted in a 17-year-old multi-crore fodder scam for swindling more than ₹37 crore. He was sentenced to five years in jail by a special CBI court, which slapped a fine of ₹26 lakh on the former Lok Sabha MP.

The verdict on Lalu's conviction was hailed by most parties including RJD's ally Congress. "This will act as a deterrent for the political parties in future," Congress leader Jagdambika Pal had said.

After his bail plea was rejected in both trial and High Court, when Lalu was represented by famous lawyer Ram Jethmalani in the Supreme Court, the apex court agreed to listen to his appeal. He was granted bail by the SC on 13 December.

Sanjay Dutt, Actor

The Supreme Court verdict on famous actor Sanjay Dutt being sentenced to five years in jail for his involvement in the 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai, shocked the Bollywood industry.

In March this year, the apex court upheld his conviction and directed Dutt to surrender within four weeks to serve a remaining of three-and-a-half years in jail. He had already spent 18 months in jail during trial.  

The actor is being lodged in Yerawada jail in Pune, Maharashtra, except for a 14-day leave to attend to his illness.

The 53-year-old actor was given another 30-day parole by prison authorities as his wife Manyata is unwell.

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