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

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Human Sacrifice, Sentencing and the Death Penalty

In the judicial discourse on the relationship between human sacrifice and punishment in criminal law, there are glaring errors. Looking closely at the Supreme Court’s judgment in Ishwari Lal Yadav v State of Chhattisgarh , the deviation from the principle of individualised sentencing and the consequences of ignoring evidence on the complex anthropological and psychological dimensions of human sacrifice are reflected upon.

Probing into the Freedoms of Queer Liberation in India

Reception of the reading down by the Supreme Court of Section 377 should be more circumspect, since there is much in the decision that offers reasons for concern. Rather than making a rupture with the contemporary majoritarian political climate, the decision is, in fact, a continuation of a longer nationalist project aimed at consolidating the ideal citizen subject of the Indian nation state.

Recusal Refusals

Judges recuse themselves from benches to retain people’s trust in the judiciary. Lately, there have been controversial recusals: in one case by a few Supreme Court judges, and in another where a recusal was refused. The Chief Justice of India too had refused to recuse himself in a third case. Through an examination of various tests of determining bias and examples of other countries, a critical examination of the propriety of these refusals to recuse has been made.

Delhi’s Pollution Crisis Is a Product of State Apathy and Ignorant Policy

The government is either unwilling or incapable of implementing effective policies to tackle the current pollution crisis.

How Can the Judiciary’s Ability to Dispense Justice Be Improved?

India has a large pendency of court cases, and this has affected the judiciary’s ability to provide justice. While the creation of an All India Judiciary Services was seen as a solution to this and other problems since its introduction in 1958, the idea has received a mixed response. A batch of orders by the Supreme Court in 2019 alters recruitment rules. The author argues that these changes will help fill vacancies without compromising on the quality of judges.

Medical Negligence and Law

India has adopted the Bolam rule from the United Kingdom and has been using it to adjudicate cases of medical negligence. The evolution of the Bolam rule in the UK as well as the way the rule is applied in India by the Supreme Court reflects a balance between judicial intervention and deference to medical expertise. Although it is settled that it is the courts and not medical experts who must finally decide on whether the conduct of a doctor is negligent, the standards to be used when evaluating expert evidence and the extent to which such cases must be deferred to are evolving. The Supreme Court has not clearly stated the judicial standard against which it will test these differing opinions of medical experts and has not been consistent in its willingness to do so. Therefore, the application of the Bolam rule in India has been inconsistent and this is likely to have an impact on the decisions made by medical practitioners.

Sabarimala Protest

The dynamics of the Sabarimala issue and its politics are analysed by trying to disassemble three intertwined features of the issue, namely the deep-rooted masculine performance in the Sabarimala pilgrimage, evolution of temple politics and the process of constituting the temple as a standard site of worship for the “Hindus,” and caste dynamics and Hindutva’s political desire.

Pause for Thought

The Supreme Court’s verdict allowing girls and women of all ages to enter Sabarimala temple, thus overturning the ban on women between the ages of 10 and 50, is examined in this article along with an analysis of the majority ruling.

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.

Misuse of the Prevention of Atrocities Act

The Supreme Court in Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v State of Maharashtra (2018) has toned down the effectiveness of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 based on incorrect facts and faulty logic. The Court has made the filing of first information reports and arrest of the accused impossible in cases of caste atrocities while simultaneously providing no remedy to members of the SCs/STs against caste discrimination and violence. The Supreme Court judgment may unwittingly turn out to be a licence for upper-caste culprits to violate the law with impunity.

Judicial Delays, Mounting Arrears and Lawyers’ Strikes

Report No 266 of the Law Commission of India, published on 17 March 2017, touches upon several aspects and issues regarding the state of the legal profession in India. The problem of lawyers’ strikes and consequent wastage of judicial time is discussed vis-à-vis the report. Lawyers’ strikes in India contribute to the problem of judicial inefficiency and the Law Commission recommends taking strong institutional actions to end these.

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