ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Alok Prasanna Kumar

Too Late for Social Justice

The Supreme Court’s flawed and jurisprudentially unsound judgment in E V Chinnaiah (2005), which prohibited inter se reservations among Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities, looks likely to be overturned by a seven-judge bench in State of Punjab v Davinder Singh. However, this may turn out to be too late to have any transformational effect on social justice, given the shrinking of the state.

A Powerful Internal Critique

The Supreme Court’s judgment cancelling the remission of the convicts in the gang rape of Bilkis Bano, while being a resounding victory for the rule of law, civil liberties, and basic decency, is also an internal rebuke of the Court itself. The bench is unafraid to not only overtly criticise previous benches, which had paved the way for remission, but also other benches which pay mere lip service to constitutional values while acting contrary to the same.

The Selective Misinterpretation of Article 370

In its judgment upholding the constitutional validity of the abrogation of Article 370, the Supreme Court makes two claims: a historical one arguing that Article 370 was meant to be “temporary” and an interpretive one arguing that Article 370’s text allowed its unilateral abrogation by the President of India. This column examines the two claims made in the judgment, looking to see if a firm basis for either is made out.

The Folly of Re-criminalising Adultery

Notwithstanding the Supreme Court of India’s judgment decriminalising the offence of adultery in the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Parliamentary Standing Committee examining the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill, 2023 has demanded its reintroduction as a criminal offence. Not only is the move regressive, but it also completely misunderstands the reason why the Supreme Court deemed the criminalisation of adultery unconstitutional.

Abortion and the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita

Ostensibly to decolonise and modernise India’s criminal justice system, the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 (which attempts to replace the Indian Penal Code) has been criticised for retaining much of the colonial language and approach that the IPC did. One of those areas is in relation to the law governing abortions in India, but the bill still presents an opportunity to modernise it.

Social Welfare Laws and Federalism

Rights-based welfare legislation, even if passed by the union government, needs implementation at the state level. State governments are not passive implementation agencies and have sometimes stymied the effective implementation of such laws. Three recent examples show the need to better imagine social welfare laws within the context of a federal framework to ensure effective implementation.