Book Launch: “The Law of Emergency Powers” by  Dr. Abhishek Singhvi and Prof. Khagesh Gautam

New Delhi, 21 January, 2021: Hon’ble Mr. Justice, N.V. Ramanna, Judge, Supreme Court of India along with three leading judges of the Supreme Court of India: Hon’ble Mr. Justice Surya Kant, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hon’ble Dr. Justice D. Y. Chandrachud will release the notable publication The Law of Emergency Powers:  Comparative Common Law Perspectives authored by Dr. Abhishek Singhvi and Prof. Khagesh Gautam and published by Springer on 23 January, 2021.

The book presents a comprehensive legal and constitutional study of emergency powers from a comparative common law perspective. It is a comparative study on three jurisdictions and explores in detail various emergency powers, statutory and common law, constitutional and statutory law, martial law and military acting-in-aid of civil authority, wartime and peacetime invocations, and several related and vital themes like judicial review of emergency powers. The three jurisdictions compared are: the pure implied common law model (employed by the UK), implied constitutional model (employed by the USA), and the explicit constitutional model (employed by India). The book’s content has important implications, as these three jurisdictions collectively cover the largest population within the common law world, and also provide maximum representative diversity. The book covers the various positions on external emergencies as opposed to internal emergencies, economic/financial emergencies, and emergent inroads being made into state autonomy by the central or federal governments, through the use of powers like Article 356 of the Indian Constitution.

As per Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University,  “The scholarship and wisdom of this book is essential in understanding the application of the law regarding the interpretation of emergency powers, their application and the impact on Constitutionalism. The deep and rigorous analysis of emergency power in India and the comparison with the US and UK systems will provide insight and is an essential reading for all who want to understand the complexity of emergency powers and their application in the leading democracies of the world.”

Reflecting on his experience at the Supreme Court Bar, Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India said, “This work is the result of many years of hard work and patience. The work you see here today was originally prepared as my doctoral dissertation in Cambridge in 1985. The Supreme Court of India is not said the most powerful Supreme Court in the civilized world for no reason. Our Court is the only apex court in the common law world that has declared proclamations of emergency to be unconstitutional. It is not an easy thing to do. When examined in a comparative perspective, we can learn much about the manner in which a constitutional power ought to be exercised and the manner in which it is actually exercised. The wealth of citations and references in this work, and the discussion and treatment of specific issues, I hope, would be found useful by all the members of the Bench and the Bar.” 

Highlighting some of the aspects of this work, Professor Khagesh Gautam, Associate Professor, Jindal Global Law School said, “Study of emergency powers in India is limited usually to article 356 of the Constitution.  This work takes a more comprehensive approach.  Not only does this work provide a comprehensive discussion of articles 352 and 356, it finally fills the gap by providing a detailed treatment of article 360 which is perhaps one of the most academically ignored provision of our Constitution.  The effectiveness of the Supreme Court’s landmark 9-judge bench decision in Bommai has been demonstrated.  The discussion of US law on martial law, and UK law on military acting-in-aid of civilian authority has particular significance for us in India.”  Drawing attention to the comparative nature of this book, Prof. Gautam said, “Our friends in South Korea might find this work useful as South Korean Constitution expressly allows a proclamation of ‘martial law’. That is not surprising though, since it was drafted mostly by American lawyers.” 

Dr. Singhvi is an eminent jurist, senior third-term parliamentarian, visible media personality, well-known columnist, author, thinker, and commentator. He was the youngest designated Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India (at age 34); the youngest Additional Solicitor General of India (at 37); and is a former elected Vice President, Supreme Court Bar Association (at 39). He is a former Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee of Law, one of the senior-most national spokespersons of the Congress Party & former Chairman of the AICC Law and Human Rights Department.

Professor Khagesh Gautam is an Associate Professor of Law at Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India. He received his LL.M. from Columbia Law School, where he graduated as a Stone Scholar. He teaches Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence. He has also taught at the China University of Political Science and Law, Changping, Beijing, and at William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii, USA, and is currently pursuing doctoral work at an advanced stage at Maurer School of Law, Indiana University, Bloomington.

View the book launch live on the following YouTube link here

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