Thursday, August 05, 2010

'Honour' Killings, Love Commandos and what Liberal-Secularists must do

Lok Sabha discussed 'honour killings' yesterday, the Supreme Court convicted three 'honour killers' for murder, the Khaps demanded a ban on same-gotra marriage, further details of the legal changes being considered by the Group of Ministers to curb these killings emerged, and 'Love Commandos' have set up a helpline to protect victims of family honour. It has been a busy week!

Some of the GoM proposals raise familiar liberal dilemmas: while the liberal horror at these killings is evident, should we support reverse onus clauses for murder? (See also, this earlier post). Of course, not all proposals are questionable. Simplifying the procedure under the Special Marriage Act is perhaps of utmost importance.

But those of us who consider ourselves liberal and secular can act at a personal level too. If these 'Love Commandos' are a serious bunch, they can do with legal help. Let the lawyers and law students volunteer to provide help where we can and where it is needed. Second, we must choose the secular alternatives in family law, wherever available. The Special Marriage Act will stop being 'Special' and become the norm only when citizens use it extensively - even when they are marrying someone from the same community.

Friday, March 14, 2008

No more posts!

I have stopped posting on this blog. Please visit Law and Other Things, where I continue to post on similar issues, along with some other people.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Law for the unorganised sector

A Bill has been proposed to provide certain benefits and safeguards to those working in the unorganised sector, most of whom are women.

Monday, June 25, 2007

ARC recommendations on Law and Order

The Second Administrative Reforms Commission has made several recommendations on law and order, including the repeal of the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, requiring a mandatory and immediate investigation of every encounter killing, and also the creation of a seperate investigative authority insulated from political control. It, however, also recommends that confessions made to a police officer be admissible if it is video-taped, which has the possibility of jeopardising civil liberties.
An earlier report by the Commission dealt with ethics in governance.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Poor quality of higher education

The National Assessment and Accreditation Council has reported that most of the higher education institutions in the country are of very poor quality. The report is available on its website.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

AP restricts propagation of religion

The Andhra Pradesh government has prohibited the propagation of a religion near a place of worship of another religion through an Ordinance. It is interesting to note that the Constitution of India under Article 25 grants the right not only to profess and practice but also 'propagate' a religion.

Challenge to sanction requirement in corruption cases

A Public Interest Litigation petition has challenged the requirement of prior political sanction in the prosecution of corruption cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, claiming that it violates Article 14 of the Constitution.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Foreign universities Bill

The government has prepared a Bill to outline the conditions under which foreign universities will be allowed to set shop in India - one of them includes non-repatriation of earnings in India.

Monday, May 28, 2007

RTI shames CM

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Ministed had indeed given his consent to a Government Order detrimental to free speech, which he had claimed to be ignorant of. This was revealed in the file notings obtained through an RTI application.

Affirmative Action for the disabled

Further provisions of affirmative action in state employment have been made for the physically disabled.

Constitutional Amendment to define 'minority'

The government is proposing a Constitutional Amendment Bill to ensure that a 'minority' at the level of each state rather than at the national level. This is not really changing the law but merely writing into the Constitution what was already the import of a Supreme Court judgment in 2005.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hate Speech

V Venkatesan discusses the hate speech provision, s. 295A of the IPC and its evolution. In requiring 'deliberate and malicious intention', the bar was sought to be set high. But, as recent events demonstrate, does this provision increase rather than decrease religious strife?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Social Security for the unorganised sector

The cabinet has cleared for the consideration of the Parliament a Bill to provide social security to workers in the unorganised sector, with massive governmental investment. However, stakeholders have criticised the Bill for being a mere statement of intent, without any provision for entitlement - it just envisages a commission which will recommend policy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Baroda and free expression

The Baroda arrest has sparked a debate on the value of freedom of expression and the place of art in society. Pratap Bhanu Mehta explains that the entire point of having a freedom of expression is to protect speech that might offend - this should not be restricted to 'art' alone. Amit Chaudhury explains the art-work in question and why it should be protected.
Arun Jaitley, on the other hand, argues for punishing blasphemy.

Caste-religion link challenged

The Justice Mishra Committee for Religious and Linguistic Minorities has demanded that caste-based reservations must be delinked from and made available to people from all religions.