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

Articles by Alok Prasanna KumarSubscribe to Alok Prasanna Kumar

Mandatory Reporting under POCSO

The obligation on every person to report any knowledge they have of an offence thought to have been committed in violation of the Prevention of Child Sexual Offences Act raises serious questions related to medical ethics and the privacy of the victim. The implementation of the POCSO in recent times has thrown up the problems the provision has caused, requiring serious reassessment.

A Setback for Data Privacy Rights

The pullback of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 has nullified the multi-year efforts put in by various stakeholders that have gone into shaping the bill. The promise of a “comprehensive legal framework” to protect the citizens’ data is a hollow one, coming with no clear deadlines or underlying principles.

Lawless Laws and the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s blessing for the PMLA shows its contempt for human rights and the Constitution.

Of Judicial Courage in Testing Times

With respect to the independence of the judiciary, there is a tendency to conflate the independence of the institution with that of the individual in the institution. An independent judiciary requires not only systems and norms designed to prevent interference but also individuals prepared to uphold such independence at great cost. One such individual was Justice Syed Mahmood who served in the Allahabad High Court during British Rule.

The Error of ‘Judgment’

The disillusionment with the true nature of the Indian judiciary is appalling.

A Fatal Blow to the Goods and Services Tax

The Supreme Court’s judgment in Union of India v Mohit Minerals (P) Ltd (2022), while interpreting the 101st Amendment, has weakened the governance framework of the goods and services tax. The Court’s approach in the matter has exposed the fatal contradictions of the GST architecture in the Constitution and should prompt a rethink on how the GST framework needs to change to promote true cooperative federalism.

Sedition and the Misuse of Laws

The true state of fundamental rights in India cannot be determined by reading the judgments of the Supreme Court or the high courts that, though called “constitutional courts,” are not the “only” “constitutional courts” in India. The magistrates and civil judges, despite called the “subordinate courts,” are just as important but receive much less attention in conversations about fundamental rights.

Backward Class Reservation in Local Bodies

The 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments have failed on multiple fronts due to a combination of poor drafting and unclear intent. The current impasse over the implementation of reservations for “backward classes” in panchayati raj institutions and urban local bodies is a result of poor drafting of these amendments and unclear policy objectives. The impasse threatens the future of grassroots democracy in India by putting on hold the local body elections for indefinite periods of time and can only be addressed through a constitutional amendment.

 

POCSO and Judicial Discomfort

While the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 was ostensibly introduced to combat child sexual abuse, its overbroad provisions have made it possible to criminalise even consensual sexual acts and has caused judicial discomfort. This column examines three different orders of high courts across the country where such judicial discomfort over the strict application of the POCSO has been expressed.

 

Denying Choice, Defying Precedent

In trying to “regulate the practice and process” of surrogacy through the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, the imagination of a “family” is limited to strict heteronormative, patriarchal definitions. This definition excludes the never married, the widowed, the divorced, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer couples and numerous other classes of people who do not seem to fit within the rigid patriarchal norms outlined in this bill. Such exclusion is in the teeth of established jurisprudence of the Supreme Court and an affront to constitutional values

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