Social movements in India need to broaden their understanding of the prison politics and how the State is actively criminalising the poor, and locking up a large number of marginalised communities in prisons. The State and dominant groups use law as an instrument to perpetuate discrimination and violence against these marginalised groups, which is a replication and extension of the colonial practice of subjugation.
Article 35A, being the right under the Constitution to define a permanent resident, and to consequently confer upon such citizens rights related to immovable property, is intrinsically connected to both land and law in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Tampering with it, therefore, might itself give rise to claims of self-determination propelled by forces that will inevitably manifest under any forced ‘integration’ scenario.
While the Supreme Court will to decrimnalise consensual same-sex relationships is pretty clear to many, there are important issues to address, such as formulating anti-discrimination laws for private sector, making rape laws gender neutral to incorporate homosexual consensual sex acts, as well as move to recognize same-sex marriage.
The death penalty is another method of policing vulnerable communities and is symptomatic of what the current criminal justice system already is. All aspects of the criminal justice system are politically tinted, such as, who is to be arrested and investigated, who is likely to be unrepresented or poorly represented at trial, who the judge thinks is more likely to have committed the crime and deserves punishment, and whether the mercy petition is considered or not.
According to their warrants of appointments signed off by the President of India on August 3, 2018, Justice K M Joseph has been put below the other two justices in the seniority order despite the fact that Justice Joseph’s name was initially recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium much before the name of Justices Banerjee and Saran. The Collegium erred knowing fully that reiteration of his name along with the names of other Chief Justices could compromise his seniority further.
The latest draft of the RTI Amendment Bill 2018 reflects a discriminatory approach towards a statutory body such as the Information Commission. There appears to be an uncanny intention on behalf of the Centre to acquire overarching powers to decide the salaries and tenures of the Information Commissioners. The proposed Bill has also been critiqued for being violative of various Constitutional provisions, especially that of Article 14.
Ambedkar’s concerns were three-fold. How does representative democracy function (successfully) in a society that is fundamentally unequal? How can implementation and adherence by the Hindu majority be ensured? How does law function in a democracy where the lawmakers themselves are socially conditioned? As much as Ambedkar struggled with establishing a legal framework to protect marginalised groups, he left a lasting legacy in the form of an imagination for equality for the millions who followed his path and continue to negotiate within the system, against the system.
Leaders with far greater mandate than what Imran Khan Niazi, the head of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, has achieved in the latest general elections have been hostage to the Pakistani Deep State insofar their India policy goes. However, if Imran the Prime Minister proves to be half as good as Imran the captain, Pakistan is in for some good times.
Justice Rajendra Menon has been subject to incriminating comments from a Joint Inquiry Committee led by Justice Banumathi, as per he he has been found guilty of wrongfully and punitively transferring a former woman ADJ who had accused Justice S K Gangele of Madhya Pradesh of sexually harassing her. Does Delhi High Court deserve Justice Menon as the next Chief Justice in place of Justice Aniruddha Bose of Calcutta High Court, the Collegium’s initial, and unblemished, choice?
Has our approach towards justice stopped taking any other factor into account except the need to immediately replicate the rallying cry of lynch mobs? Just like in the Nirbhaya incident, lynching too has emerged as another dark area representing the failure of governance that Justice Verma had alluded to. We cannot assume that making laws that strike fear will save us all from further collapse.
Given the widespread prevalence of lynching in the country now, it is time to introduce federal crimes, which affect the federation and are not to be described as affecting ‘law and order’ but as crimes that are ‘offences against the Constitution’ and hence for which the Union has to take responsibility.