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

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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.

Natco-Bayer Verdict

Bayer has lost its case challenging the grant of India's first-ever compulsory licence to Natco Pharma to manufacture an affordable generic version of an anti-cancer drug, but the celebratory air has to be tempered. The issue of what constitutes "local working" of a patent in India remains, in general, unsettled. This article looks at the legality of local working requirements under the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. It also analyses the interpretations of "working" by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board, and the Bombay High Court, and considers their broader implications.

Haryana’s Panchayati Raj

The conditions imposed by the amendment to the panchayati raj law in Haryana have not only excluded a large section of the population from contesting elections but have also deprived voters of their right to choose. All appropriate measures must be undertaken to ensure that these exclusionary conditions are withdrawn.

Banning Child Pornography

The government needs to find a mechanism to ban child pornography, and not pornography as a whole, without appearing to be a censoring filter for content on the internet. 

Condition of Undertrials in India

A large number of the poor, the Dalits and people from the minority communities are languishing in jail as undertrials because of a property-based bail system and a poor legal aid mechanism. This article suggests ways in which both these tools could be strengthened for speedy dispensation of justice.

Corporate Responsibility for Bhopal

Union Carbide Corporation managed to wrangle out of the Bhopal gas tragedy by exploiting a loophole in the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act. If governments are not vigilant, other companies, ushered for “Make in India”, would do the same.

Supreme Court's Decision on Reporting of Proceedings

The media should not see the Supreme Court's recent decision on reporting of judicial proceedings as a staggering overreaction by the judiciary. It should instead build on the clarity that the Court has brought to the issue and cast itself as a participant in - rather than a victim of - orders aimed at striking a balance between the freedom of the press and the right of a litigant to a fair trial.

Supreme Court's Seniority Norm

Given that the Chief Justice of India composes panels and assigns cases to judges, unlike in systems where cases are randomly assigned to avoid bias or where apex constitutional courts sit in plenary sessions, the question of how the CJI is appointed is crucial. This article seeks to answer this question by empirically investigating whether the seniority norm existed prior to the establishment of the Supreme Court of India - specifically, in the high courts of Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Allahabad, Patna, and in the Federal Court of India.

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