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

Articles by Ujjwal Kumar SinghSubscribe to Ujjwal Kumar Singh

The Disqualification Debate

Locating Rahul Gandhi’s “disqualification” within the legal-constitutional frameworks en­ables us to generate evaluative questions for thinking about constitutional democracy: What are the objectives of disqualification and how integral is it to achieving accredited and nor­mative standards of democracy?

Elections in a Pandemic

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the “legal exceptionalism” of election time must be examined to see the constraints that the pandemic places on the Election Commission of India, as well as the “special” responsibilities that it must discharge to ensure that procedural certainties are commensurate with a public health emergency. This article argues that the focus on the pandemic must not take our attention away from the larger concerns around the conduct of the commission and its implications for trust in the institution and electoral integrity.


The ‘Inside–Outside’ Body

In the context of the stand taken by the National Human Rights Commission of India on the Rohingya refugees, this article probes its location as an “inside–outside” institution. As an institution of “internal restraint” to exercise vigilance over the state, the commission is both constrained and empowered by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, which brought about its existence, as well as its location within the domain of the state, which often reduces it to performing a legitimisation function. Yet, over a period of time, though unevenly and sometimes ineffectively, it has carved out triumphal moments that have opened up state actions to judicial and public scrutiny.

Police States and Academic Freedom

The government should not impinge on academic freedom under the spurious plea of protecting "national interest". This is what is happening with increasing frequency in the recent past and needs to be condemned and stopped. This article, based on the experience of two teachers of Delhi University, shows how the police used illegal methods to obstruct their research and intimidate them.

POTA and the Case of Raja Bhaiya

The manner in which successive governments in Uttar Pradesh have made use of the extraordinary powers of initiation and dropping of proceedings granted to the executive under the Prevention of Terrorism Act is brought out in the case involving Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiya. The entire episode also brings out the way in which caste is ubiquitously embedded in the political grid of the country.

Repeal of POTA

Considering that both 'terrorism' and 'organised crime' are hard to pin down in precise terms, that the police use such laws as a surrogate for shoddy investigation and that they invert due process and eschew accountability and judicial review, it is important that MCOCA also goes.

POTA and Federalism

Debates surrounding POTA have focused largely on its abuse and misuse. The manner in which POTA has unfolded, however, shows another trend that needs to be examined. Surreptitiously but surely, POTA is figuring in centre-state relations as a centralising force. While from a civil rights perspective it is immaterial whether citizens suffer at the hands of the central or state governments, it is important to see this process of centralisation as a tendency that is counterproductive in a polity that sees federalism as a manifestation of democratic decentralisation and a means to preserve political/ideological and cultural plurality.

State and Emerging Interlocking Legal Systems

Interrogating extraordinary laws is not merely questioning their legality. One must move beyond notions of legality to see how within a complex network of laws, extraordinary laws unfold in ways, which have far-reaching implications for the criminal justice system. Through an exploration of trial court judgments, the Malimath Committee Report and the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002, this essay demonstrates how extraordinary and ordinary laws have come to traverse common ground, bringing about a 'permanence of the temporary'.

POTA Review: What Will It Achieve?

Despite a parliamentary ordinance in October that ostensibly conferred quasi-judicial powers to the POTA review committee, situations of conflict have arisen between governments at the centre and the states over exclusive initiative in the matter. Other areas, especially those pertaining to the relative powers of the review committee and the special POTA courts, too remain ill-defined. The exact relationship between the special POTA courts and the review committee now depends on the course of a show cause notice issued by the committee to the Tamil Nadu government on the question of Vaiko's arrest.

Democratic Dilemmas

The debates over coercive, extraordinary laws before and after independence raise some crucial questions on the inherent fragility of the democratic dilemma - the assertion of authority at the expense of citizens' liberty. It is necessary to look at the various strands of the debate, to see how they define democratic politics and what constitutes the idea of the undemocratic and the extraordinary.

Punjab: Amnesty for Police Officers

The issue of amnesty to police officers charged with human rights violations in Punjab during the days of militancy became a public issue in the context of the assembly elections in the state. The discourse that developed around it posed human rights and national security as contradicting concepts quite overlooking the fact that there exists a common terrain constituted by norms of constitutional democracy and rule of law.

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