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

Alok Prasanna KumarSubscribe to Alok Prasanna Kumar

Supreme Court's Schizophrenic Approach to Land Acquisition

The Supreme Court's judgment in the Singur land acquisition case reflects two parallel strands of thinking that have informed its land acquisition jurisprudence: the state's model of "development" versus farmers' livelihoods. It has not been able to properly weave the two into a coherent jurisprudence on eminent domain. The same dichotomy is written into the latest land acquisition laws as well, but procedural protections may mean fewer Singur-like situations in the future.

Securing Women's Right to Free Speech on Social Media

Given the abusive behaviour, harassment and stalking women face from men on the internet, there is a need to take appropriate measures to address this. While the laws criminalise such behaviour, there is a need to put in place adequate mechanisms to ensure that women's concerns are addressed quickly and effectively. The proposed "cyber cell," though very limited at the moment, can become an effective tool if envisioned with a focus on enforcement.

Uniform Civil Code: A Heedless Quest?

The necessity or otherwise of a uniform civil code cannot be debated in the absence of a coherent conception of what the UCC will be and what it will do. Although it has urged the government to enact one, the Supreme Court's own judgments reveal the hollowness in its understanding of the UCC. Perhaps, uniformity itself is no answer to the myriad problems of religion-based personal laws.

Social Boycott Act

The Maharashtra law prohibiting social boycotts is a progressive one, protecting people from social hierarchies that are trying to punish them for transgressing regressive social mores. Since an earlier law outlawing excommunication was struck down by the Supreme Court for infringing the right of religious denominations to manage their own affairs, the constitutional validity of the social boycott law raises questions which this article tries to answer.

Who Will Bell the Cop?

Merely enacting laws, however well-intentioned, to overcome social evils in a society will fail if these laws are not implemented. Two instances are legislation relating to prenatal diagnostics and the prevention of atrocities against Dalits. The failure in implementation can be attributed to the police forces lacking the capability to be modern law enforcement agencies. Wide-ranging and in-depth police reforms are therefore necessary to ensure that laws are actually implemented and effective.

Flailing and Failing at Self-regulation

For those who are aware of the true state of India’s legal profession, the mobs of lawyers attacking Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar within the premises of the Patiala House Court, under the benign gaze of the Delhi Police, would not have come as too much of a...

Absence of Diversity in the Higher Judiciary

Systemic discrimination is not just a feature of institutions of higher learning but seems to be pervading the higher judiciary as well.

Unconstitutionality of Anti-Terror Laws

The Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill, 2015 does more than violate fundamental civil liberties; it is a dangerous instance of the state transgressing the constitutional limits of its lawmaking powers. The federal distribution of powers between the centre and states under the Constitution ensures that only Parliament can legislate on matters such as terrorism that relate to the security or sovereignty of the nation. States cannot arrogate this power to themselves by devising harsh anti-terror laws that apply only within their respective territories. The unconstitutionality of the Gujarat Bill is not just a sum of its numerous illegal parts, but rooted in a deeper, more fundamental failing, namely, that the Gujarat assembly did not have the power to pass such a law in the fi rst place.

Tilting at the Windmills (Again)

Recognising the legal validity of "living wills" is a necessary step in giving effect to the constitutional right to die with dignity and control her treatment. However, given the complex questions and competing interests involved in creating a proper legal mechanism and institutional support for living wills, the Supreme Court should leave it to the legislature.

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