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

Supreme CourtSubscribe to Supreme Court

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.

Story of Public Interest Litigation

Courting the People: Public Interest Litigation in Post-Emergency India by Anuj Bhuwania, New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2016; pp: ix+157; ₹ 495.

Demonetisation and the Rule of Law

The challenge in the Supreme Court and high courts to the current demonetisation exercise requires some serious discussion for what it tells us about the state of the rule of law and constitutional government in India.

No Country for Transgenders?

More than a year after the historic passage of the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 in the Rajya Sabha, attacks on the lives and dignity of transgender persons continue with impunity. The lack of political will is clear as the government attempts to push for a heavily diluted legislation in place of the Rajya Sabha-sanctioned long-suffering community.

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).

Religion and Scheduled Caste Status

The Supreme Court's judgment in the case of Mohammad Sadique carries disturbing implications for Muslim Dhobis, Dooms, Julahas, Mochis, etc, who face social disabilities similar to Hindu Dhobis, Dooms, Julahas, Mochis, etc, but are denied the same legal status. It seems to convey that the former could get the Scheduled Caste status provided they agree to convert to Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism. This judgment is in conflict with the basic tenets of the Constitution. There is thus an urgent need to review the relationship of religion and caste as assumed in the acts that deal with the question of the membership of SCs.

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.

Pages

Back to Top