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

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Queer Rights and the Puttaswamy Judgment

The Puttaswamy judgment is a significant development for the future of legal interventions involving sexual minorities. When it comes to the constitutional challenge of Section 377, the judgment’s acknowledgement of the “chilling effect” vis-à-vis constitutional rights and repudiation of the de minimis rule as it pertains to constitutional harms is crucial in challenging the Supreme Court’s decision in the Suresh Kumar Koushal case.

Holy Cow, Privacy, and Unholy Laws

The impact of the privacy judgment on the constitutionality of the so-called beef statutes is examined through the critique of earlier judgments of the apex court, demonstrating how unscientific and unauthentic information became the basis of these judgments and how a selective approach was adopted in applying directive principles and fundamental duties over fundamental rights. With privacy as a fundamental right, it is no more an issue of just the butcher’s right to trade, but a question of an individual’s choice of food.

The Privacy Judgment and Financial Inclusion in India

Technology promises to overcome traditional barriers to financial inclusion, in particular by harnessing insights from consumers’ personal data. However, use of personal data creates new risks for consumers. Service providers must build consumers’ trust, a necessary precondition to increased participation in formal finance. K Puttaswamy v Union of India frames the use of personal data within the rubric of informational privacy, and in doing so provides guidance about how data practices and regulation in finance can evolve to align with citizens’ rights and reasonable expectations of informational privacy.

Data Protection as a Social Value

The recognition of the individual in K Puttaswamy v Union of India has both normative and policy implications for how we think about and design privacy protections. The emphasis on informed consent has resulted in policy prescriptions that view privacy as an economic value that is best served by market choices. Rethinking privacy as a social or collective paradigm would allow us to develop stronger principles to manage indiscriminate data collection and surveillance by state and non-state institutions.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence and big data present new challenges to protecting our right to privacy both online and offline. Predictive algorithms and online social networks add complex nuances to the idea of informed consent. A global, cross-disciplinary effort is underway to make predictive algorithms fair, accountable, and transparent as these algorithms come to mediate more and more the areas of civic life and public discourse. But these tools and ideas operate inside of existing socio-technical systems that need to balance conflicting goals and tensions.

That Fateful Day

The Babri Masjid was demolished a quarter century ago but it is evident today when we look back that much more than the demolition of a 16th century building is involved. There is a well-thought-out, fully evolved and hardly concealed plan to deprive India of the heritage that has let it survive tempestuous interventions and retain its pluralist fabric. But then the people are bigger than state power as well as any partial social base.

Post Ayodhya: Normalising the Politics of Hate and Hostility

Majoritarian notions of democracy have acquired new acceptability in recent years and notions of majority rule have been pushed to achieve a restructuring of the Indian polity and a stronger authoritarian system politically. India remains a vibrant democracy in most respects but there are strong elements of authoritarianism creeping in like narrow nationalism to deactivate opponents, and increasing measures to intimidate and control the free press and impose curbs on dissent.

Third Life of the Shiv Sena

The most crucial issue is whether, in their reincarnations, parties can substantially give up on the characteristics inherited from the time of their foundation. The example of the Shiv Sena suggests that moderation and normalisation do take place but the predominant tendency is to convert notoriety into normal.

The Shadow of Violence

The 1992–93 communal riots in Bombay scarred the cosmopolitan nature of the city, leading to greater ghettoisation, discrimination, and communal division. Yet the city bears stories of hope and sorrow, of alienation and hurt, all swallowed up in the vigour of eking out one’s daily existence.

When Even Memory of a Riot Dies

Although the 1992–93 Mumbai riots, following the demolition of the Babri Masjid, were investigated by an inquiry commission headed by Justice B N Srikrishna, there have been hardly any convictions even as some victims doggedly fight on for justice. This article traces the journey for justice of victims of the Bombay riots in the face of the indifference of successive state governments and the convoluted justice system.

Constructing Regions Inside the Nation

When the nation or the “centre” and their relations with constituent states are challenged by forces that are neither disciplined nor stabilised inside national territories, then economic regions expand and challenge the capacities of states to regulate them. This paper presents insights gained from new maps of India’s material and cultural regions, manifestations of the spatial patterns of Indian capitalism. Specifically, the focus is on regions of agrarian structure (rent, petty production, and capitalist production and exchange relations) and regions of social identity (caste, ethnicity, and gender).

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