Freedom of Speech

Constitutional Law

Whither ‘right against moral paternalism’?

The right to privacy squarely includes an individual’s right to make a moral choice, whether it is with regards to marriage, food, attire, ideology or religion, inter alia. While there is not much judicial discourse on this essential right against moral paternalism, the Kerala High Court recently passed a remarkable judgment recognising an individual’s right against moral paternalism.

October 1,2018

Miscellany

Manto, the writer, was not a man

Writing, for Manto, was a violent transmission (or translation) of reality, where language speaks what it hears, and often fails to digest. Writing was Manto’s indigestible preoccupation. He was not looking for coherence, but instability. Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays Manto the way a refined artist pays tribute to another. His rendering of Manto allows you to reinvent the writer.

September 25,2018

Law and Religion

Blasphemy laws: Philosophically fallacious, legally unconstitutional

Already, religious lobbies use Section 295A and insist on the importance of its existence is representative of their intentions to attack free speech and silence criticism. IPC 295 AA, as it is called in Punjab, now proposes to punish ‘whoever causes injury, damage or sacrilege to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Srimad Bhagwad Gita, Holy Quran and Holy Bible with the intention to hurt the religious feelings of the people’ with imprisonment for life.

September 25,2018

Analysis

Understanding ‘Sedition’ in India

The notable rise in the recent cases of sedition in India, urge the question of the origins and relevance of the law in contemporary times. Is the a law a mere colonial residue which treats citizens as subjects, or is it essential in troubled times to keep the fabric of the nation from falling apart?

September 17,2018

Law and Conflict

UAPA: An obituary for democracy

This piece comments on the Bhima Koregaon arrests, the multitude of problems with the UAPA as well as its empirically evident history of sinister targeting of those defending the powerless against State excesses. UAPA criminalises ideology and association. By virtue of declaring an organisation 'unlawful’ or/and ‘terrorist’ and banning them, it criminalises their ideologies de facto” and verily creates a regime of thought crimes. A disturbing pattern of targeting those working for the rights of minorities subscribing to ideologies at variance with that of the dominant state brass emerges if one were to look at those who were detained for years under the UAPA.

September 10,2018

Civil Society

#BhimaKoregaonArrests: Mumbai civil society condemns police action

'We the undersigned civil society organisations/ groups/ collectives, have jointly convened this urgent Press Conference to condemn the appalling state actions of reprisals against noted human rights activists and intellectuals, which are clearly politically motivated and an attempt to stifle voices of dissent. The unjustified raids on and arbitrary arrests of the above public spirited individuals who have tirelessly worked for the cause of the poor and marginalized sections of society, are nothing but an attack on Indian democracy and an attempt to undermine the democratic fabric of our society.'

August 29,2018

Civil Society

Why I won't appear on Republic TV

As a lawyer I believe in the Rule of Law and not in media trials. So I prefer to continue going about my work and duties as a trade unionist, a lawyer and a teacher; serving people as best I can and as I have been doing for the past three decades. Let my love for my country and its citizens speak, not through words, but through my work.

August 21,2018

Law and Religion

Why India’s ‘blasphemy law’ should go

Paired with the fact that a suit can be filed at any of the 600 district courts across the nation, Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code prima facie seems facilitative of abuse and harassment. This misuse was pre-empted by the Section’s drafting committee which feared that it might be used to target not just the ‘scurrilous scribbler’, but also any form criticism or mere comment upon religious matters.

August 21,2018

Democracy and Rule of Law

Attempt on Umar Khalid's life a sign of the times

Umar Khalid blamed the hate news channels that normalise everyday violence against those who question the government in his statement on camera after the incident at Constitution Club, the heart of the national capital. He said he remembered his mentor, the slain journalist Gauri Lankesh when he was attacked.

August 13,2018

Freedom of Speech

SMCH: A full-scale surveillance state

The SMCH can reasonably be construed to be a surveillance mechanism encompassing the entire digital space, laying the groundwork for an information system where it only flows from a Statist source, with all dissenters silenced into fear of State sanction.

July 18,2018

Freedom of Speech

What about Shah Faesal’s freedom of speech?

The J&K bureaucrat’s resolve to not back down has initiated discourse regarding the Government gagging its employees via draconian laws, the importance of Fundamental Rights, and why Rules such as those in question need to be struck down as they deprive individuals of their civil liberties.

July 16,2018

Technology and Governance

Mahua Moitra’s writ petition against Social Media Hub

The petition contends that the SMCH aims at creating an advanced surveillance infrastructure via which the Government could “monitor” and “cut to size” all individuals who critique the government via social media, rather than its stated objective of being an analytical tool aiding the Ministry to gauge the effectiveness of its social media campaigns.

July 13,2018

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