From Legal Fiction to Reality: Securing the Dignity of India’s Manual Scavengers

Manual scavenging is one of the most inhumane and abhorrent sanitation practices prevalent in modern India: broadly, it means deploying individuals to manually clean up drainage systems. ‘Manual scavengers’ (unfortunately, for the lack of a better term) have been denied their humanitarian due for centuries in the Indian sub-continent and their constitutional due for 70 years in the Republic of India – it is high time the Law dismantles the structure that perpetuates their oppression.

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Cracks in India’s Constitutional Framework

India’s constitutional system was conceptualized to share power (although not equally) between the Union and the 29 states alongside an institutionally grounded system of checks and balances between the parliament, the executive and the judiciary. As the world’s largest democracy proceeds into the sixth week of the nation-wide lockdown to address the outbreak of Covid-19, certain cracks in its constitutional framework have been exacerbated that have the potential to structurally alter the constitutional framework of checks and balances in the aftermath of the pandemic.

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The Delhi Killings and the Making of Violence

The recent killings in Delhi, orchestrated by armed mobs with impunity and legitimized through the highest offices of government and the current ruling party, resulted in the death of almost 50 people, mostly Muslims and mostly the poor and vulnerable among them. The sheer scale, design and brutality of the undertaking revived memories of the 2002 Gujarat riots and the 1984 riots in Delhi, that exhibited a certain pattern. That of absolute unrestraint and complicity. Of the state, the executive, the police, the popular media and in many respects the courts as well, in creating and perpetuating a state of terror while fuelling discrimination and disenfranchisement against minorities, especially Muslims.

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Kashmir: A Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy

On 10 January 2020, the Indian Supreme Court delivered its verdict on the ongoing internet shutdown in Kashmir. While the Court did reprimand the government to some extent, at the time of this writing Kashmir is still cut off from the internet. Anyone who had banked on the Supreme Court to make good on the promise of fundamental rights will be disheartened.

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European Solidarity Statement with Academics and Students in India

We are students, scholars, and academics at European universities who unequivocally condemn the violent attacks on student and faculty members of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi that took place on 5th January 2020. We see the attacks as part of the larger pattern of systematic violence that is being consistently inflicted on students across […]

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Citizenship by Religion

India is presently witnessing a country-wide mass uprising against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, which purposefully aims to grant migrants belonging to six enlisted communities an easy path to Indian citizenship, while denying the same to others – notably Muslims. This Act is unconstitutional as it exploits deliberate omissions on citizenship rules in the constitution while it ignores the constitutional design which is fundamentally based on equality and secularism.

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Constitutional Exceptionalism in Kashmir

The move of India’s President to abrogate Article 370 has been subject to much academic debate and discourse along the doctrinaire lines and limits of traditional constitutional law. Since the Declaration was passed, however, in a state of exception, the consequent legal vacuum necessitates an analysis in light of both political facts and public law.

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Miller/Cherry 2 Goes to Kashmir

There are certain principles which emerge from Miller/Cherry 2 which are meaningful for cases involving judicial review of executive powers. The application of these principles, especially in cases where the line between the executive and legislature is thin (resulting in what Bagehot described as the ‘fusion of powers’), can guide comparative lawyers to hitherto underexplored areas of administrative law accountability of the executive to legislative bodies.

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When the Judiciary Undermines Judicial Independence

India’s Supreme Court has long sought to protect itself, mostly through an insulated appointment system, from political pressures. Judicial independence seems to be the catchphrase for the Indian Judiciary when it is under pressure or attack. But how far has the Court been successful in navigating and managing the problems caused by judicial hierarchies and politics within its very own walls?

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Staatenlos in Assam

In ihrer Heimat gelten sie ab sofort als illegale Einwanderer. Das Land, in das sie ausgewiesen werden sollen, versinkt langsam unter dem steigenden Meeresspiegel. Fast zwei Millionen Menschen, die im indischen Bundesstaat Assam leben, gelten aufgrund der Veröffentlichung eines Nationalen Bürgerregisters durch die indische Zentralregierung seit dem 31. August 2019 als illegale Einwanderer aus Bangladesch. Tatsächlich gelten die Betroffenen bereits jetzt als Staatenlose. Den Menschen droht eine Situation rechtlicher und territorialer Bodenlosigkeit – verloren zwischen nationalem Staatsangehörigkeitsrecht und internationaler Verantwortungslosigkeit.

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