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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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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Etching the contours of public morality

The Daily Guardian

The sum and substance of these discussions is that under the framework of the Indian Constitution, it is the State, meaning thereby the Executive and the Legislature but not the Judiciary, which has the power to invoke public morality within reasonable bounds for the purposes of placing reasonable restrictions on fundamental rights guaranteed by Part III…

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Is Article 32 available against the judiciary?

The Daily Guardian

In the previous piece, this author had demonstrated through application of principles of interpretation and with the aid of Constituent Assembly Debates (CAD) that the Judiciary does not fall within the meaning of “the State” for the purposes of Article 12. This effectively leads to the conclusion that the Judiciary does not have the Constitutional mandate to interfere with fundamental rights…

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Is judiciary part of the ‘State’ under Article 12?

The Daily Guardian

On the basis of this history, it can be reasonably stated that Part III of the Constitution, which deals with fundamental rights and the remedies to enforce them, has been crafted with a view to protect fundamental rights from unreasonable and summary abridgement by legislative and executive bodies of all grades who form the “State”. The role of the judiciary is limited to exercising its power of judicial review under Articles 32 and 226 to assess the constitutional validity of such State action. …

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Constitutional morality, public morality and moral diversity

The Daily Guardian

The pith and marrow of this discussion is that constitutional morality may be invoked on the basis of the provisions of the Constitution to question the conduct of the State and to identify the metes and bounds within which the State must operate.…

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Constitutional morality versus public morality

The Daily Guardian

In the last piece, this author had highlighted the views of Dr. Ambedkar on “Constitutional Morality” as expressed in the debates of the Constituent Assembly on November 4, 1948. While his views on the subject cannot be interpreted as being representative of the entire Assembly, at the very least what can certainly be inferred is that one school of thought represented by Dr. Ambedkar interpreted constitutional morality as translating to respect for the values as embodied in and by the Constitution, both by the State as well as the people.…

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