Rajeev Dhavan’s new book on quota

Understanding Rajeev Dhavan is a challenging exercise – whether in the courtroom or in print. Here, (pp.5-6)I have done my best, of course as a critique.
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  • this is not a comment on the substance of the argument. only, your piece made me wonder if there is a distinction between dhavan the lawyer and dhavan the public intellectual? we see no problem for criminal lawyers defending ppl they might find distasteful personally and politically. do/should we have different standards for constitutional lawyers? indeed, dhavan himself may claim that he only argues for a position he feels comfortable with and that there was a real change in his beliefs between 1991 and 2008. but at a general level, i wonder what makes an ethical public lawyer – one who makes the best legal case for the client before him, or one who only chooses briefs whose politics he agrees with? can we criticise lawyers for positions they take in the courtroom? of course, the counter-argument is perhaps that senior advocates do in fact have a choice (do they?) and given the stakes involved in public law cases, criticising them for their legal arguments is fair game.

  • My understanding is that the judgment in Nagaraj case did
    not address the issues adequately.
    It gave some general principles and
    left it for the courts to decide on the individual cases.It did not strike down the amendments made in the constitution to protect reservations for SCs/STs
    in promotions. The reservation in
    promotions is not a simple issue
    and the rules in Centre and states may not be uniform.
    Till 1997 OBCs also enjoyed reservation in promotions.Now there is a demand to restore this.

    Arun Shourie addresses this issue
    in his book and provides a critique
    of the judgments, particularly the
    judgment in Thomas case.Given the
    number of cases and the complex
    nature of rules and their interpretation this question
    of reservation in promotions
    deserves a indepth study.