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

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Debating Supreme Court Reform

US President Joseph R Biden’s newly set up commission to recommend reform of the United States Supreme Court has brought to the forefront the “political” role of constitutional courts. While the US Supreme Court inhabits a vastly different legal, constitutional and political sphere from its Indian counterpart, nonetheless there are interesting parallels given common shared values towards the independence of the judiciary and constitutional governance.

Democratic Government by One Person

The recent bill passed in Parliament deems the elected government of Delhi irrelevant.

Pendency during the Pandemic

Twelve months after measures to fight COVID-19 forced courts in India to suspend in-person hearings and move online, the Supreme Court finds itself facing increased pendency and demands to restart in-person hearings. Apart from the increased backlog, the Court also finds itself with fewer judges and no immediate nominations in the pipeline to fill the gaps. The incoming Chief Justice of India will therefore have to address a range of issues that fundamentally affect the Court’s basic functioning.

Anti-defection Law

Two recent observations of the Supreme Court have the potential of being a game changer in Indian politics, with regard to the power of the speaker in determining questions of defection resulting in the disqualification of a member of the legislature. These two observations are analysed and their significance in the anti-defection jurisprudence is assessed. The ubiquitous relationship between the anti-defection jurisprudence and the tenets of inner-party democracy needs to be understood, especially against the backdrop of recent political events where significant upheavals have taken place within party set-ups across the political spectrum.

Economic Worth of Homemakers

The Supreme Court’s recent decision recognising unpaid domestic and care work’s pecuniary value is welcome.

An Act of Judicial Disingenuity

The Supreme Court’s intervention ( Rakesh Vaishnav v Union of India 2021) in the ongoing protests and debate over the three controversial “farm laws” 1 has been met with a storm of criticism (Hegde 2021; Yamunan 2021). It has “stayed the implementation” of the three farm laws “until further orders...

Farmers Reject Supreme Court Committee

Farmers’ refusal of the Supreme Court committee marks an astute recognition of democratic values.

Predicament of the Social Media Ordinance

Using ordinance to protect freedom of expression from foul speech may result in damaging decent communication.

God as a Litigant: Examining the Contradictions and Biases of the Ayodhya Verdict

The Supreme Court of India’s judgment on the Ayodhya dispute enables the triumph of a majoritarian claim—backed by a long, venomous communal campaign—over minority rights. The fact that the majority Hindu community managed to successfully claim a minority religion's sacred place purely based on faith and belief comes out luridly in the judgment. While the god or deity as a juridical person may have legal validity, filing a suit in god’s name and projecting god as a litigant has the potential to bring in biases and conflicts.

The Singur Movement

​ Land Dispossession and Everyday Politics in Rural Eastern India by Kenneth Bo Nielsen, London and New York: Anthem Press, 2018; pp 221, £70, hardcover.

India’s First Per Curiam

A per curiam opinion seeks to project the court as a resolute bloc in unanimous verdicts by concealing the identity of the author(s). However, arbitrarily employing anonymity, without due regard to legal tradition and reason, adversely impacts accountability and transparency in the judiciary. As such, it is important to evaluate the Supreme Court of India’s choice of anonymity in the momentous Ayodhya decision.

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