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

ConstitutionSubscribe to Constitution

Decoding the Grammar of Constitutionalism

India’s Founding Moment: The Constitution of a Most Surprising Democracy by Madhav Khosla, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 2020, pp 219, ₹599.

India’s ‘Three Pest Campaign’

Over the last few years, the central government has declared certain species of wild animals as “vermin” in some states, thus allowing uncontrolled hunting of these animals. This removal of protection raises serious concerns with respect to its legality, constitutionality, and ethics. An analysis of notifications declaring species as vermin shows that this was done in an arbitrary manner without any scientific assessments. There is thus a clear need to review the manner in which wild animals were declared as vermin.

India's Surveillance Laws, Then and Now: Has Anything Changed?

This reading list looks at A G Noorani's reportage in EPW on the debate surrounding surveillance laws in India in the 1980s.

National Register of Citizens and the Supreme Court

The imminent withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by the union government in the face of strong protests by the residents of the north-eastern states is hardly a victory for constitutional principles or morality. It leaves “illegal migrants” in a continued limbo and heightens ethnic tensions in the North East. It also shifts the focus to the Supreme Court, which has taken upon itself the extremely delicate task of overseeing the preparation of the National Register of Citizens in Assam.

Reforming the Office of the Governor

The blatantly partisan actions of Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala in the aftermath of the Karnataka Assembly elections in 2018, which had thrown up a hung result, call for the need to scrutinise the post and functioning of governors within India’s constitutional scheme. Such malfeasance on the part of governors is not recent and their supposedly neutral role has always been more a pious hope than a reality. The need of the hour is serious constitutional reform, whether by the legislature or by the judiciary.

The Ordinance Route

The deadlock in Parliament has resulted in the increasing tendency of the union government to promulgate legislation through ordinances, when Parliament is not in session. While there are no substantive restrictions on the President’s power to promulgate ordinances, given the inherently temporary nature of ordinances, the exercise of this power must be limited keeping in mind the concerns of rule of law.

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.

Applying for Furlough in Maharashtra

Against the backdrop of the Government of Maharashtra’s amendment to narrow down the circumstances under which prisoners can apply for furlough, this article focuses on the provisions of the Prisons (Bombay Furlough and Parole) Rules, 1959 and outlines three problematic aspects of the amendment

Forgetting Partition

History’s silence resonates in the textual silence of the Indian Constitution on the immense scale of violence and exodus accompanying the partition of the subcontinent, despite the contemporaneity of partition and constitution writing. Clearly discernible on a closer reading of the Constituent Assembly's debates are implicit influences of partition on key constitutional decisions, such as citizenship, political safeguards for religious minorities and provisions creating a strong central tendency in the union. The constitutional memory of partition, as a freak occurrence for which the "outsider" was to be blamed, resembles the understanding of official historiography. Behind these common registers of memory lie powerful nationalist narratives of identity and unity, which indicate a deep and abiding connection between constitutional amnesia and nationalism.

The Court Fails the Citizen

The dismissal of the case on misuse of the sedition law suggests the Supreme Court is removed from reality.

Safeguarding Educational Rights of Minorities

While the minority status issue of the Aligarh Muslim University is sub judice, the Government of India should not go with the narrow and sectarian outlook that deprives minorities of their fundamental rights. Establishing an institution involves a great deal of physical, emotional and financial burden and labour on the part of the founders and the community at large. The article recalls an array of Supreme Court cases which must not be lost sight of while interpreting the minorities' rights to "establish and administer educational institutions."

Pages

Back to Top