What Did We Miss While Reading Kesavananda Bharti? |’The Cases That India Forgot’

Book Review: The Cases that India Forgot by Chintan Chandrachud

Can a state Legislature imprison a critic and summon a high Court judge to appear before it? Are religion-based personal laws above fundamental Rights? Why did the Punjab police organize a band to celebrate the defeat of the state in a case of sexual harassment? Is it legal for the government to arm untrained private citizens to participate in counter-insurgency operations? How did Parliament come to pass the First Amendment to the Constitution allowing for caste-based reservations? And why did the Supreme Court acquit a rape accused based on the victims’ sexual history? In this book, constitutional expert Chintan Chandrachud takes us behind the scenes and tells us the stories of ten extraordinary and dramatic legal cases from the 1950s to the present day that have all but faded from public memory. Written in a lively, riveting style, this book has a cast of characters that includes the who’s who of the Indian legal system. It also paints an unexpected picture of the Indian judiciary: the Courts are not always on the right side of history or justice, and they don’t always have the last word on the matters before them. This entertaining book is an incisive look into the functioning of Indian institutions.

Blurb of The Cases That India Forgot

Check out the book ‘The Cases That India Forgothere.

About the Book

The Cases that India Forgot, is a must-read book on the cases that we might have not understood the importance of while reading a plethora of case laws in law school. The book carves a legal journey from the 1950s to the present day and takes you on a memorable ride. Divided into four chapters: Politics, Gender, Religion, and National Security, it makes you question the working of our government and society.

Institutional Failure to behind the scenes of the court of law, the book scratches your head till you are thoroughly stunned. 

Review

The Cases That India Forgot is written in a simple yet engrossing, almost irresistible style. If you are a person who has wondered about the independence of the judiciary and the loopholes in the law, all your questions will be answered, although in an unexpected manner.

It tactfully deals with the law of land, in a very real sense while staying true to the essence of the Constitution. I thoroughly enjoyed walking on this thin line of tabloid sensationalism and legal understanding, and I am sure it will speak to you as well. The political and social aspects have been given due recognition in legal cases, which we often overlook due to our myopic perspective. 

The book focuses on the cases which have faded from public memory but should be given equal importance. It is established that our judiciary is not immune to political influence and abuse of position. In the words of the author, ‘National Security is a shield that protects legitimate government action, but it can often be a cover for a multitude of sins’.

Even though the Supreme Court is considered the apex court and the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the country, the judiciary has few taints in its reputation. Surprisingly, the law school curriculum doesn’t shed light on dissenting judgments of landmark cases. While we might know how Justice Khanna’s dissent in ADM Jabalpur cost him the position of Chief Justice, we have forgotten the value of Justice Sarkar’s dissent in the Keshav Singh Case.

Similar subjects of sensitive nature like manipulation of the Constitution under the veil of political sensitivity have been thoroughly explored at length. 

Further, the gender section of the book delves into the cases of two women belonging to polar opposite sections of society. However, this divide in their social strata has no bearing on the mental harassment faced by a woman whose modesty has been outraged. It was disheartening to know that flag bearers of the constitution itself have indulged in victim shaming and discrimination.

Touching on volatile subjects of caste and religion, the book serves as the reminder of knowing how personal laws have overridden the principles of secularism and inclusivity. These landmark judgments serve as a foundation stone of our socio-political landscape.

Skipping across the barriers of caste, class, gender, and position, the book serves as a kaleidoscope of legalism.

Check out the book ‘The Cases That India Forgot’ here.

Stand-out Factors

The book is rooted in reality, which is impressive. It presents you a fact by fact account of things, making you raise eyebrows and ask questions.

Needless to say, these 200 pages provide a different yet valuable perspective towards the world of law. 

My Rating

Go buy it right now and discuss it with your teachers/colleagues/peers!

About the Author:

Legal luminary and Constitutional Law expert, Chintan Chandrachud comes from the family of legal giants like Hon’ble Justice D. Y. Chandrachud and Hon’ble Justice Y.V. Chandrachud. The author is blessed with an eye for the constitution and legal intricacies, which shows in his flair for writing. 

Other books by the Author

Balanced Constitutionalism: Courts and Legislatures in India and the United Kingdom (2020) (see here).

Check out the book ‘The Cases That India Forgothere.

You could check out other blogs posts at Lawctopus here.

To submit a write-up email umang.poddar@lawctopus.com

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