Do tobacco control laws in India have any real impact on tobacco consumption and consumer behaviour? To what extent can the state be held responsible for increased tobacco consumption? The Indian state has tried to address both these questions by decreeing on choice and restricting consumption. However, one can’t be sure if it has had any tangible impact on production or consumption. Moreover, most of these laws affect and proscribe small retailers, utterly negligent of the big players that promote tobacco implicitly. In such a scenario, Harshita Jain questions if tobacco control laws in India are capable enough to be effective?
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.
The legality of live-in relationships in India is quite muzzled. While there’s no legislation defining live-in relationships in India, the judiciary hasn’t been averse to the idea. So even though it’s pretty common now, no legal protections are extended to couples as the state does not legally recognise the relationship. The subject offers a conundrum for the couple and often act as an impediment to access social security. Alekhya Sattigeri writes about the legal status of live-in relationships in India, detailing the judiciary’s stance on the same.
Indian colonial and post-colonial legislation and society together tried to push sex workers in India outside the domain of the ‘normal’. Even after independence, the shadow of moral chastity reflected on the drafting and interpreting laws that continued to create exclusionary spaces for sex workers in India by further invisibilising them. From criminalisation to victimisation, Shivangi Banerjee describes the derogation of sex workers in India.
Journalist Siddique Kappan case recently reignited after his video asserting his belief in the Indian Constitution and Judiciary went viral. Siddiquie Kappan got arrested while he was on his way to report the Hathras rape case in Uttar Pradesh. He is among many small and independent journalists who are wrongfully incarcerated under draconian laws like the Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act and sedition. The latter is, in fact, a colonial leftover.
Both these laws reverse the burden of proof and are worded to warrant human rights violations. Shubhra Agarwal, a Lawctopus Writers Club member, breaks down the case with its timeline. She also explains how the case defies legal protections, abusing excessive state power to silence voices of dissent.
Custodial deaths in India saw a surge in 2020, even when most of India was under a lockdown. These deaths cannot be seen linearly without drawing back to the sites of injustice. The increase shows that an inquiry is needed to understand how the protector of the state trespasses the bounds of the law, destroying the last bit of human rights. Such overstepping is often celebrated in commercial movies, and therefore often abuse of power becomes an acceptable norm in reality. Lavanya Gupta and Teesha write about the state of custodial deaths in India. Speaking from the two cases that got some media coverage owing to their brutality, they explain how impunity works for the police in India. And how legal documents like FIR, case files, chargesheet and memos expose the state’s criminalisation.
The increased incidents of violence against healthcare professionals pose extreme consequences upon the overall healthcare system. Though violence against doctors and medical staff is not exclusive to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has only garnered media now. The government, for the longest time, didn’t promulgate focus laws to deal with such violence. But the Epidemic Diseases Act amended last year provides for some respite, although it is draconian in its own way. Gunjan Bahety analyses existing judicial pronouncements and legislation, suggesting adequate changes. She also presses for a balanced law that protects healthcare professionals without impinging on other’s right to legal recourse.
While the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act 2021 garnered praise, abortion in India is still a question of morality concerning many religions. Even though India promulgated the Medical Termination Act in 1971, it was fraught with issues that were left unaddressed. Is the amendment successful in undoing the fallacies of the principal Act? What has been the role of the Indian Judiciary in this respect? Rujuta Joshi writes about the history of legalising abortion in India. She moves from the making of the MTP Act 1971 to the promulgation of MTP (Amendment) ACT 2021.
She also discusses the role of the Indian Judiciary, society and several administrative issues, which kept India from realising a woman’s choice and agency over her own body.
Even after Section 377 was decriminalised in India, homosexuality continues to be a taboo subject. And the LGBTQIA+ community continues to face social ostracization, one that is offered from within and outside the family. The present commentary by Disha Pathak briefly discusses society’s obsolete lens on homosexuality and the judiciaries’ own flaws in realising the 2018 Judgement.
The recent pronouncement by the Supreme Court in Union of India v. K.A. Najeeb is being touted as a ray of justice for several accused arrested under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Shivangi Banerjee analyses the judgement and highlights the implications it might have for future cases. She further elucidates the timeline of UAPA and narrates the story of its permanence.
By Digvijay Singh I am Chandrika I am Gayatri I am Fatima, Banu, Uma, I am Jayalakshmi, I am Saraswati I am ones of those
By Pranav Gupta, Symbiosis Editor’s Note: The author believes that some of the present laws in India discriminate against men. More specifically, the author discusses Section
By Shreshtha Garg & Anand Kr. Dubey Editor’s Note: The objectives are to study the role of human rights to improve the criminal justice system
By Ayush Choudhary, Amity Law School Centre-2 Noida Editor’s Note: The aftermath of the Nirbhaya Rape case in December 2012 was an overaching amendement to s. 376
Rape is one of the most heinous crimes and is often described as the “beginning of a nightmare” for the victim. In this paper, efforts have been made to identify how judiciary being the third pillar of the Constitution has played a vital role in finding the proper solution in rape cases. Sometimes through wide interpretations of the various provisions of legislation and sometimes by laying down landmark judgments where there were no specific laws.
Shabnam Saidalavi, School of Legal Studies, Cochin Editor’s note: Freedom of expression is a fundamental right that goes to the very heart of individual identity
The nation-wide outrage over the brutal gang rape and subsequent death of the physiotherapy intern in India’s very own capital city, New Delhi was the driving force behind the passing of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. It has been known all over as one of the most concrete steps taken by the Indian government to curb violence against women. Major amendments by the Act, not only widen the ambit of certain offences but also recognise new offences like acid attacks which earlier lacked a specific provision and definition in the Code. The Act is deemed to be one of the most important changes that have been made in the existing criminal laws namely the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act.