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

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In Search of Fraternity

Constitutional Law and the Context of Housing Discrimination in India

The paper begins by acknowledging that scholarship in India has neglected the concept of fraternity for a long time, though today research in other parts of the world seeks to locate it either on the side of "horizontal solidarity" or in congruity with the value of "justice." In India, fraternity has been mentioned recently in law but has not yet been given much attention by the social sciences. This paper argues that in the Constituent Assembly, members sought to give specific content to the term fraternity, appropriate to the Indian context. The Supreme Court has subsequently made use of the concept in particular cases. The paper goes on to argue that there are possibilities for giving fraternity purchase in the context of an area, currently very controversial-- that of religion-based housing discrimination--though the Supreme Court held back from applying fundamental rights and constitutional principles in a relevant case in 2005. For such an argument to be made, however, a careful understanding of the way in which law and constitutional jurisprudence work is necessary.

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