CLS interview with Sr. Adv. K.K. Venugopal

The Constitutional Law Society recently had the opportunity to interview Mr. K.K. Venugopal, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India. He is not only one of the most respected and experienced lawyers in the country but is also regarded as an expert in Constitutional Law. He answered various questions regarding Constitutional Law and litigation as a career for law students amongst others. 

Following are the excerpts of the interview conducted by the Constitutional Law Society of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata.  Continue reading

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BASIC STRUCTURE DOCTRINE: OLD WINE IN A NEW BOTTLE?

The Supreme Court of Pakistan (“SCP”), by an overwhelming majority of 13 out of 17 judges, recently held that it has intrinsic powers to review the constitutionality of a constitutional amendment passed by the Parliament.[i] While the 902 page judgment has been hailed as an ostensibly favorable instance of the current trend of Asian nations such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Malaysia among others[ii] to uphold the Basic Structure Doctrine (“BSD”), an in-depth analysis shows that the BSD was not adopted in an identical manner to India- in fact, a different doctrine was upheld, namely the Salient Features Doctrine (“SFD”). Continue reading

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JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS- USHERING IN A NEW PERSPECTIVE

The discourse around the independence of judiciary in India pivots around the selection of judges, which hitherto had been the sole bastion of the Judiciary. The system of appointment of judges has been a matter of intense discussion and debate since time immemorial. The evolution of “Collegium system” has its genesis in its three judgments, referred to as the “Three Judges Case.” The First judge’s case[1], rendered the judiciary subservient to the executive in the appointment and transfer of the judges, however both the Second[2] and Third judge’s[3] cases established the primacy of the CJI and judiciary in the matter of all judicial appointments. Though the collegium system solved the problem of executive’s arbitrary appointment of judges, it resulted in unforeseen problems. Continue reading

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“ALL BIRDS HAVE A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO FLY”: IMPLICATIONS OF ATTRIBUTING CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO ANIMALS

I. INTRODUCTION

The Supreme Court of India has recently stated that it will decide the validity of the Gujarat High Court order which mandated that birds had a fundamental right to fly.[i] Likewise, The Delhi High Court went ahead and declared the same through an order in People for Animals v. Md Mohazzim[ii]. The order is remarkable because it provides a new angle to animal rights discussion and is confounding as it does not shed much light on the stated proposition in the said order that it was a settled law that birds have a fundamental right to fly as well as the right to live with dignity.[iii] The order wasn’t accompanied with a detailed explanation about the constitutional provisions in question. Instead, the court relied on A. Nagaraja v. Animal Welfare of India[iv] as the ‘settled law’. Continue reading

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Bicameralism: Renewed Significance

In the 2014 general elections, the National Democratic Alliance (‘NDA’) has managed to bag 335 seats, and the Bharatiya Janta Party (‘BJP’) by itself has secured 282 seats – well above the simple majority mark of 272 seats that is required to form a government. Throughout the election season, the campaign pitch of the BJP and its Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, had been ‘development’. Among the promises of economic growth, a key point of discussion has been the tardy rate of passage of bills in both Houses of the Parliament due to frequent disruptions. One of the appeals made by BJP during the campaign was for a sufficient mandate in order to form a ‘stable government’, and ensure the quick passage of bills. Indeed, the BJP ran a successful campaign and were given a strong mandate by the electorate to form a stable government.

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ONE STEP FORWARD & TWO STEPS BACK: OBSCENITY IN INDIA THROUGH JUDGMENT IN DEVIDAS RAMACHANDRA TULJAPURKAR V. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA & ORS.

The issue of obscenity includes under its ambit related issues of decency, morality and righteousness. The debate over obscenity has intensified due to the spread of globalization. The society comprises of people, who adhere to different outlooks: from prudish to neutral to modern. Indian diaspora has not been very tolerant towards creative people in general. Celluloid, literature, press, et al. have been victims of cultural jingoism and rigid puritanism. Wendy Doniger, Tasleema Nasreem and Aseem Trivedi are just a few them. For some, Husain’s portrayal of Bharat Mata was celebration of nudity and the purest form of expression, whereas for others, it evoked lustful thoughts and offended patriotic sentiments Continue reading

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EDUCATION: A LIABILITY OF THE CITIZEN OR THAT OF THE STATE?- LESSONS FROM PAKISTAN

(A version of this article has also been published here. The author thanks Mr. Gautam Bhatia for making her cognizant of the petition pending in the court and some pertinent edits).

Recently, the State of Rajasthan fixed educational qualifications for the Panchayat elections, wherein it mandated secondary education for contesting in Zila Parishad or Panchayat Samiti polls and passing class VIII for Sarpanch elections (in Scheduled areas of Panchayat, the criterion is relaxed to Class V pass) in the form of the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (Second Amendment) Ordinance-2014 (‘Panchayati Raj ordinance’). It is now set to prescribe similar criteria for the civic body polls as well, through the same route of ordinance. This post analyzes these kinds of educational qualifications from the perspective of the state’s duty to provide education, an outlook which surprisingly was not argued in any of the courts where the Panchayati Raj Ordinance was put under judicial scanner (as has been noticed here before). Inspiration is drawn from a judicial decision in Pakistan where a similar law was introduced in early 2000’s. Continue reading

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