Monthly Round-Up: January 2021

Law and Other Things opened the year 2021 with a series of articles & discussions on a range of issues. Below, we are pleased to bring you an update on the blog’s activities over the month of January.

Blog Posts

We started off with a piece by Digvijay S. Chauhan titled Sub-Classification in reservations but what of Untouchability and discrimination flowing through SC/ST category?, highlighting the need to address intra-group violence within the SC/ST category. This was followed by a brief argument against legality of the NIA titled Examining the legality of the NIA Act, authored by Varun Garg. We also published a piece by Adithya Reddy titled The Forgotten Alternative to Addressing Caste Discrimination, discussed the role of our ‘modern’ constitution in ‘annihilating caste’, imploring the reader to consider forgotten Gandhian approaches.

Gursimran K. Bakshi and Shrutika Pandey then argued that the recent Farm Bills were beyond the legislative competence of the union government, and that parliamentary procedure was not followed during their enactment, in a post titled Farm Laws: The Ayes have it! The Ayes have it!?. This was followed by Jyotishka Guha’s critique of the Supreme Court judgement on the demonstrations at Shaheen Bagh, titled Right to Protest Judgment: Its Impact on Democracy. Later in the month we published Uttar Pradesh’s Kafkaesque Anti-Conversion Ordinance, in which Surbhi Soni critiques the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance passed by the Uttar Pradesh government.

To continue our series of explainers on the new Labour Codes passed by the Parliament in September 2020, our Reporter Sahil Aggarwal brought you an explainer on the Code on Social Security.

New Scholarship

In our New Scholarship section, we bring to you recently published scholarship in the area of Public Law as well as exciting debates on some of these publications.

We started with a Book Review by Dr. Venkat Iyer covering ‘The Battle of Belonging’ by Shashi Tharoor and ‘A New Idea of India’ by Harsh Gupta & Rajeev Mantri titled Patriotism, Nationalism and the Civilisational State.

We continued our series on India & Global Decline in Democracies as part of our 15 Year Series featuring many renowned public law scholars, indexed here. For the round-table on Prof. Tarunabh Khaitan’s article “Killing a Constitution with a Thousand Cuts: Executive Aggrandizement and Party-State Fusion in India”, we have already published Prof. Khaitan’s introduction and responses from Prof. Tom Daly (Melbourne School of Govt.) (here)and Prof. Rivka Weill (Radzyner School of Law) (here).

This month we published a response from Prof. Samuel Issacharoff (New York University) titled Subversion By Law who provided a comparative perspective through various countries including USA and discussed how attacks on accountability mechanisms significantly contributes in erosion of democracy. Then, we had responses from Dr. Dinesha Samararatne (Melbourne University/University of Colombo) titled Chameleon Constitutions and Sri Lanka’s 20th Amendment and Prof. Gabor Halmai (European University Institute) titled Fellow Travelers in Illiberalism: India and Hungary which contrast the micro-assaults in India discussed by Prof. Khaitan with the route to authoritarianism in Sri Lanka and Hungary respectively, through constitutional amendments.

The next post in the series was contributed by Prof. Mark Tushnet (Harvard Law School), titled Putting Politics Ahead of Institutional Critique who argued against analyzing constitutional retrogression while making strategic political judgments even implicitly and suggested a different approach. We ended the month with a response from Prof. Kim L. Scheppele (Princeton) titled The Case for Systemic Constitutional Analysis who reiterated the importance of systemic analysis as done by Prof. Khaitan in his paper.

We also continued our discussion on Issue 2 of Volume 4 of the Indian Law Review, indexed here, by concluding the discussion on Dierdre N. Dlugoleski’s article titled Undoing historical injustice: the role of the Forest Rights Act and the Supreme Court in departing from colonial forest laws, introduced here. Following CR Bijoy’s response and Shalini Iyengar’s response, we published Dierdre N. Dlugoleski’s response to the discussion. We kicked off the next series with Zaid Deva’s introduction of his article titled Basic without Structure? The Presidential Order of 1954 and the Indo-Jammu & Kashmir Constitutional Relationship. This was followed by a response from Muhammad Mutahhar Amin.

We also published a response by Rohit Sharma and Varun Kannan to Alok Prasanna Kumar’s article Domicile Reservations in National Law Universities, published in Economic & Political Weekly, in which the authors rebutted the arguments and noted that domicile reservations may instead lead to further decrease in diversity in National Law Universities.

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