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

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The Fundamental Freedom to Migrate within India

The debate over migrant workers in recent times and their invisibility in government data and in policy discourse has led to a series of responses from state and central governments. While the number of returning migrants is lower in the second wave of Covid-19, nothing much has changed for the migrants on the ground. This past year has seen state governments, such as Haryana and Karnataka, move to give preference to “local” persons over migrants, even as a draft national migrant policy is under consideration. Is there a constitutional right to migrate within India? What, if any, are the duties cast upon governments and employers? These questions must be considered if the current migrant crisis is not to result in deprivation of the fundamental right to internal migration.

Safeguarding Fundamental Rights

In recent times, the right to speech, expression and the right to protest have been constantly undermined. An attack on these rights runs contrary to the spirit of civilised democracy. We need to exercise these rights within the Constitution’s conditions and the government is duty-bound to provide these conditions.

India’s Unforgivable Laws

Several unconstitutional laws in India repress its citizens. A reading list from the EPW Archives.

Downgrading the Status of Chief Information Commissioner

The right to information, much like the right to vote, is rooted in the same fundamental right, with the offices of the chief information commissioner and the chief election commissioner, respectively, operating at the same level of autonomy, towards the enforcement of these rights. The proposed amendments to the Right to Information Act, which reportedly seek to downgrade the status of the chief information commissioner and information commissioners, reduce the autonomy of this constitutional institution and are, consequently, an assault on the right to information and democracy.

The Court Fails the Citizen

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

10 Years of Khairlanji

Was justice really done in the Khairlanji massacre? Is there any let-up in atrocities against Dalits? More importantly, will the victims get justice given the depressing trend in recent judgments, where perpetrators of violence against Dalits have been repeatedly acquitted?

Taking Free Speech Seriously

Offend, Shock, or Disturb: Free Speech under the Indian Constitution by Gautam Bhatia, Oxford University Press, 2016; pp 392, `653 (hardcover).

Right to Abort in Surrogacy Contracts

This article makes an enquiry into the right to abort in surrogacy contracts as visualised by the bill on Assisted Reproductive Technology drafted by the Indian Council of Medical Research and introduced in Parliament in 2010. It argues that the bill's anti-abortion clause raises important questions of ethics, fundamental rights as well as legal remedies, if any, in the event of a breach of contract.

NBA Contempt of Court Case

The Narmada Bachao Andolan contempt of court case, involving advocate Prashant Bhushan, Medha Patkar and Arundhati Roy, is analysed here from three perspectives: the frivolous nature of the complaint; the scope of the fundamental right to freedom of speech as against the power to punish for contempt of court; and the need for restraint on the part of social activists in their criticism of the judiciary.

Expanding Our Fundamental Rights

 The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Cases, Materials, and Commentary by Sarah Joseph, Jenny Schultz and Melissa Castan; Oxford University Press; pp 745, £ 75.

Drinking Water as a Fundamental Right

The recent landmark judgment by the Supreme Court, placing drinking water as a fundamental right should serve as a stern warning to the politician-bureaucrat nexus who have in recent years turned a blind eye to the growing pollution of Indian rivers. That the court too has sided with the people, and should help in initiating a debate on a crucial issue that has serious implications for the continued health and well-being of most citizens.
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