ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Mihir DesaiSubscribe to RSS - Mihir Desai

A ‘Safe’ Judgment

The triple talaq judgment of the Supreme Court is a partial victory for Muslim women since it declares instantaneous triple talaq as unlawful, but not unilateral triple talaq. Even in the case of the former, it does not declare instantaneous triple talaq as unconstitutional but only unlawful and that is a significant difference. Indian courts, even in respect of legislated laws, have not been very encouraging when it comes to personal laws being challenged on the grounds of discrimination and dignity of women.

A ‘Safe’ Judgment that Relies on the Religious Rather than the Constitutional Test

The triple talaq judgment of the Supreme Court is a partial victory for Muslim women since it declares instantaneous triple talaq as unlawful, but not unilateral triple talaq. Even in the case of the former it does not declare instantaneous triple talaq as unconstitutional but only unlawful and that is a significant difference. Indian courts, even in respect of legislated laws have not been very encouraging when it comes to personal laws being challenged on the grounds of discrimination and dignity of women.

A Combative Hero: Mukul Sinha

Scientist, lawyer, trade unionist Mukul Sinha fought for justice without losing either his sense of humour or his great courage. His perseverance was responsible for the conviction of Maya Kodnani in the post-Godhra riots, imprisonment of a number of police offi cers and the resignation of Gujarat’s then home minister Amit Shah. With his death, Gujarat and India have lost one of the most charismatic fighters for justice.

The Communal and Targeted Violence Bill

The Indian Penal Code and the various police acts give the executive and the police ample powers to deal with communal violence. Failure to implement these laws is one of the major problems confronting the prevention of communal violence. However, there are a number of connected issues which the present laws are powerless to deal with - like responsibility pertaining to the public servant in control of armed or security forces who fails to exercise control over his/her subordinates, witness protection, reparations, and a regular machinery to pay compensation. The National Advisory Council's draft anti-communal violence bill takes these shortcomings into account. However, it too suffers from certain lacunae which need to be addressed.

Land Acquisition Law and the Proposed Changes

An analysis of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and its interpretation by the courts shows that the holder or tenant of the land has suffered in major ways. It gives the government complete power to acquire land for any "public purpose" while the courts have virtually adopted a handsoff attitude and allowed all kinds of land acquisitions for private companies. The proposed Land Acquisition Amendment Bill makes it much easier for the government to acquire land for any private company, is nonparticipatory in nature and has escape clauses as far as giving jobs to the displaced or the provision of "land for land" is concerned. The rehabilitation and resettlement bills which are also on the anvil may provide solace to the displaced but history has shown that such schemes do not work.

Red Herring in Police Reforms

Contrary to popular belief, political interference is not the main reason for the many ills that plague the police force. A number of committees, the National Police Commission, a major Supreme Court judgment and even a draft model police bill have all dwelt on the urgent need for police reform and listed significant recommendations. Nothing has been put into actual practice. However, even these reports and judgments have not dealt with important issues like accountability to communities, involvement of the larger society in policing and the police bias against women, dalits and minorities.
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