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

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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."

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.

Menstruation, Purity and Right to Worship

The growing protest against temples that deny access to menstruating women should also challenge the institutionalisation of faith and the mediating power of the priest.

Making Good Citizens : Teaching Fundamental Duties in Schools

A committee headed by Justice J S Verma constituted to examine the teaching of fundamental duties in institutions of learning submitted a comprehensive report in 1999. This essay examines the recommendations in the broad context of the ongoing debate on social science curriculum in schools, focusing on the manner in which some of the contested issues within citizenship theory have been explored.

Calcutta Diary

An honourable judge of the Supreme Court has recently observed that the Constitution is more important than a popular mandate. That is all very well, but is the Constitution more important than the mandate of the World Trade Organisation? This is a tough nut to crack, and one the authorities are most reluctant to crack on their own.

The Constitution as Instrument of Social Change

Our Constitution, Government and Politics by M V Pylee; Universal Law Publishing Company, Delhi, 2000; pp ix + 198, Rs 185.

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