The central government’s repulsion towards the inclusion of Other Backward Classes in the caste census in India has exposed the state’s casteist notions. Moreover, the tussle within BJP party lines and the push from the opposition has only politicised this demand. But the real question remains: why such a census is crucial? Aeshita Singh highlights how the reluctance towards the caste census in India stems from the upper caste imagination of caste.
While necessary for access to law, personal laws in India simultaneously present a challenge to fundamental rights, often leading to injustice. Especially in cases where the right of one minority is pitted against the other. Kumar Aditya revisits the Constituent Assembly Debates and their conundrum over Uniform Civil Code and personal laws in India. Kumar follows from international conventions and treaties and presents a strong case for codifying personal laws in a way that’s voluntary and harmless to any religion.
In recent years, the right to protest in India has become a courageous exercise of upholding democracy and constitutional ideals. To protest then is not simply exercising one’s right. It is also an act of defiance, and a means to uphold other fundamental rights. Dhruv Vatsyayan and Arpit Saxena ask if the peaceful right to protest is indelible to other fundamental rights, then why does it face excessive executive action. Dhruv and Arpit also trace the history of the right to protest in India in colonial and post-colonial times.
Section 295A, a variant of blasphemy law in India, has been subjected to criticism for its vague definition. Moreover, its use in recent years has been more political than religious, often curbing freedom for artists and content creators. Now this abuse and its colonial shadow have extended to digital space. Sahil Panchal argues against Section 295A, reasoning how it’s a version of Blasphemy law in India. He also argues that the Section limits artistic freedom and is often dictated by political impulses.
As bodies piled one over the other, waiting to get cremated, the dignity of the dead got buried by systemic failure and lack of legislation in India. While those who suffered losses, including the caretakers, are trying to locate government accountability, several states are still fudging data. Hence, it’s essential to revisit and remind ourselves of the government failure amid rising cases, all of which has been conveniently brushed aside. During the second wave, death by the pandemic became banal, and Diksha Garg is writing to ask why was it so? She also asks how will the dead be assured dignity posthumously.
Farm laws 2020 created quite a stir over the last year. Farmers from across Punjab and Haryana hurdled at Delhi NCT borders, and others rallied in their states, lending support to those sitting at the Tikri Border. But, while the protests silently loomed over the ends of Delhi, unweathered despite the pandemic, the farm laws and their issues are still unaddressed. Amidst the relative silence from both ends, government and farmers, this article tries to reignite the discussion on what went wrong. Abhinash Ray writes on the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act to detail its provisions, critiquing it and providing solutions for its implementation.
Article 21 is the perfect example of the transformative character of the Constitution of India. The Indian judiciary has attributed wider connotation and meaning to Article 21, extending beyond the Constitution makers’ imagination. Rija Jain understands the various components of freedom that stem from the ‘right to life’.
A lot has been written about corruption in Nigeria since independence. Even though the country tried to inculcate transparency and accountability through reformations, it seems to retreat to its past. With eclipsing free speech and failing legal machinery, corruption has only surged. Damilola Bajo describes the many instances of corruption in Nigeria and how they have affected democracy. In this commentary, she moves ahead with a solution-oriented approach to counter corruption, arguing how collective desire and change can propel effective policy implementation.
Constitutional experts have written extensively about cooperative federalism in India, and have highlighted several faultlines. While the Constitution makers made efforts to make governance truly collaborative, they also conferred specific powers to the central government, giving an upper edge to the Parliament in decision making. Aradhana Swanand details various provisions in the constitution that allow and inhibit the full realisation of cooperative federalism. She also details the advantages and disadvantages of effective governance in a quasi-federal state like India.
On June 7, Justice N. Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court wrote a progressive judgment, setting new precedents for all cases that deal with LGBTQIA+ persons’ rights. The judgment is deemed exceptional for several reasons, but one of the many is his attempt to understand the processes he seeks to undo. Justice N. Venkatesh, through his actions, attempts to fully realise what it means to be queer in a heteronormative society. Vershika Sharma explains how Justice N. Venkatesh made an effort to overcome his biases to understand same-sex relationships. She argues that the same shifts how we see transformative constitutionalism. She argues that this movement is a progression from Navtej Johar judgment in implying the concept of ‘transformative constitutionalism’.
Recently, the Supreme Court struck down the claim to Maratha reservation, citing that the reservation ceiling in a state cannot exceed 50 per cent. The Apex Court stated that neither there were extraordinary circumstances to grant Maratha reservation nor the states had the power to decide Socially and Educationally Backward Classes. Aeshita Singh explains the nitty-gritty of the Maratha reservation judgment, citing its faultlines and implications.
Ambedkar invoked the phrase ‘constitutional morality’ during the Constitutional Assembly Debates to express his doubts regarding the legislature. His concerns were hinged upon a moment of transition, wherein India was still recuperating from partition and the colonial ideas of subordination. Years after his invocation, the Supreme Court in 2014 once again mentioned the principle of constitutional morality. Since then, the principle has only developed as the innate voice of the constitution, one that is different from popular or social morality. Nishant Mishra details the history and significance of constitutional morality, highlighting some concerns regarding the irregularity in its implementation.
Article 13 reserve and preserve the fundamental rights of the citizen, protecting from laws that may otherwise infringe upon our freedom. Article 13 requires that all amendments and laws passed by the Parliament are tested based on their validity under the Indian Constitution. Highlighting the transformative character of the Constitution, Anamika Mishra decodes Article 13, peeling it Clause by Clause. The underlying theme of the article also reflects on judicial review and its effect on interpreting Article 13.
It’s only ironic that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) had first sought increased autonomy and Statehood for Delhi in the year 1980, 1998 and 2003. In an unforeseen U-turn, with BJP at the Centre, Delhi’s autonomy is further discarded. Gunjan details the new Amendment passed by the Lok sabha as the NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Act 2021 and its repercussions.
Academike and Lawctopus bring to you a special series on seven women who were part of the constituent Assembly. Begum Aizaz Rasul was amongst the fifteen women who continue to inhabit the world through their speeches in the Constituent Assembly Debate Archives. Article researched by Divya Dwivedi. Written and edited by Sonali Chugh and Umang Poddar
Joyanta Chakraborty, IMS Unison University Editor’s note: The islands of Andaman and Nicobar famously contain not only the Kaala Paani jail but also several groups