Identity politics, elections and the Representation of the People Act, 1951

The Daily Guardian

In 2017, a seven-Judge Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Abhiram Singh vs C.D. Commachen (Dead) By Lrs.& Ors delivered a judgement on Section 123(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951…

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The curious case of Indian secularism

The Daily Guardian

Over the years, the notion that religious minorities have greater religious institutional freedoms has gained a fair amount of traction in public discourse. However, there is nothing in the language of Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution which remotely suggests that the rights recognised and guaranteed therein are more available to one community than the other…

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In Re Noise Pollution and Judicial Restraint

The Daily Guardian

And so without any reference to any text or calling for any evidence, in just a handful of lines, a Bench of the Supreme Court comprising the then Chief Justice of India R.C. Lahoti and Justice Ashok Bhan concluded in 2005 in the landmark judgement of In Re Noise Pollution that there was no nexus between the bursting of firecrackers and Diwali/Deepawali…

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A feudal democracy?

The Daily Guardian

Over the past few days, a well-known and fairly accomplished Senior IPS Officer, who is currently the Home Secretary to the State Government of Karnataka, has been in the news for her public spat on Twitter with a widely followed and encyclopaedic anonymous commentator on history who prefers to go by the Twitter pseudonym, “True Indology” which is perhaps a nom de guerre…

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Conversations, certitude and disagreements

The Daily Guardian

I have written 26 pieces thus far under this column, which is slightly over the halfway mark for the number of pieces I have committed to. Now is a good time to pause for a bit, think and share a few general and generic thoughts. In the process of writing under this column…

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Public morality, public opinion and policymaking

The Daily Guardian

In a democracy where referendum is the exception, and periodic elections are the norm, how are elected representatives expected to gather public opinion on matters of policy, including morality, before passing legislations which are ostensibly based on “public morality”?…

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Free speech and its impact on policymaking

The Daily Guardian

A democracy too places a premium on maximising good for the maximum number of people, but what makes it different is the premise that there is a lot more room for accommodation of diverse voices with every voice, in theory, being equal in the eyes of law notwithstanding its station in the society’s unwritten pecking order. The inherent participatory premise of democracy and the promise of egalitarianism, howsoever illusory, ephemeral and superficial, is what makes it seem so attractive…

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Fifty one shades of speech

The Daily Guardian

Over the last few days, “hate speech” has become the talk of the town because some have taken offense to the contents of a certain programme which, they believe, target a particular community. While the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and the Hon’ble Supreme Court, are simultaneously, and perhaps incongruously, seized of the case, it may be worthwhile to understand the relationship between speech, culture and public morality. In the interest of fair disclosure, this author is appearing on behalf of a few Intervenors in the proceedings before the Supreme Court.…

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