ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Alok Prasanna KumarSubscribe to RSS - Alok Prasanna Kumar

Three Wrong Ways to Talk about ‘Delhi Smog’

Two Small Steps towards Transparency

Two recent decisions, one administrative and one judicial, have given hope that the judiciary has finally accepted how non-transparent and unaccountable its functioning has become. The decision to make collegium resolutions public and the judgment to streamline designations of “senior advocates” are necessary first steps towards the larger goal of transparency in the judiciary. Both instances highlight the need for the bar and advocates to speak up for the institution and on behalf of the larger public interest.

Contradictions and Unanswered Questions

In reading and understanding the Supreme Court’s judgment in K Puttaswamy v Union of India, the Supreme Court’s articulation of the right to privacy carries within it certain contradictions in thought and approach. Given that this judgment was delivered in the absence of a specific fact situation, its true meaning may only become evident as the Court proceeds to apply it in specific cases. On this front, as we may find out in the future, there is a gap between what the judges are “saying” in this judgment and what they may end up “doing” in the future.

Rethinking the Surrogacy Bill

The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016, introduced ostensibly to provide a legal framework for surrogacy in India, is a regressive legislation that seeks to control women’s bodies and reinforces heteronormative notions of what a family is. By limiting surrogacy to “altruistic surrogacy” only, it creates space for women being pressured to bear children for family members. The Rajya Sabha standing committee’s report, having heard a wide cross section of society on this matter, has rightly criticised this bill and called for its redrafting.

Rethinking India’s Federalism

Addressing the problems in local body governance requires a reimagining of federalism in India and moving away from the centre–state framework. Beholden to partisan politics and the state’s unwillingness to part with powers, local bodies have not been able to fulfil the potential envisaged for them in the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution. The answer lies in locating their powers and functions in the Constitution itself.

Defecting from the Law

The impunity with which legislators in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have ignored the anti-defection law points to certain weaknesses in the processes and norms laid down in it. What is required to remedy this, however, is not just a minor tweak, but a complete overhaul of the way the law works to adequately address the problem of defections by sitting legislators before it overwhelms India’s democracy.

One Decade of the RTI Act

Tilting the Balance of Power: Adjudicating the RTI Act published jointly by Research, Assessment and Analysis Group, Satark Nagrik Sangathan and Rajpal and Sons, New Delhi, 2017; pp xvii + 291, ₹ 400.

The Crisis in the Judiciary

Having sentenced JusticeC S Karnan to imprisonment for criminal contempt of court, the Supreme Court cannot afford to drift back into complacency about the judiciary’s troubles. The systemic problems with judicial appointment and accountability become obvious when we examine other instances of misbehaviour by judges thathave wrecked damage to the judiciary’s credibility.

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