This volume presents an integrated collection of essays around the theme of India’s failure to grapple with the big questions of human rights protections affecting marginalized minority groups in the country’s recent rush to modernization. The book traverses a broad range of rights violations from: gender equality to sexual orientation, from judicial review of national security law to national security concerns, from water rights to forest rights of those in need, and from the persecution of Muslims in Gulberg to India’s parallel legal system of Lok Adalats to resolve disputes. It calls into question India’s claim to be a contemporary liberal democracy. The thesis is given added strength by the authors’ diverse perspectives which ultimately create a synergy that stimulates the thinking of the entire field of human rights, but in the context of a non-western country, thereby prompting many specialists in human rights to think in new ways about their research and the direction of the field, both in India and beyond.
In an area that has been under-researched, the work will provide valuable guidance for new research ideas, experimental designs and analyses in key cutting-edge issues covered in this work, such as acid attacks or the right to protest against the ‘nuclear’ state in India.
Table of Contents
- Arudra Burra - Civil liberties in the early constitution: the CrossRoads and Organiser cases
- Rajgopal Saikumar - The constitutional politics of judicial review and the Supreme Court’s human rights discourse
- Surabhi Chopra - Securing rights, protecting the nation?: national security and the Indian Supreme Court
- Siddharth Peter de Souza - India’s parallel justice systems: engaging with Lok Adalats, Gram Nyayalayas, Nari Adalats and Khap Panchayats through human rights
- Satvinder Juss - Unconstitutionalising India’s death penalty
- Oishik Sircar - Gujarat 2002: refracted memories, inadequate images
- Robert Wintemute - Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights in India: from Naz Foundation to Navtej Singh Johar and beyond
- Sital Kalantry and Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum - Acid attacks in India: the case for state and corporate cccountability for gender-based crimes
- Raminder Kaur - The right for rights: the lawful and the lawless in India
- Rajshree Chandra - India’s Forest Rights Act: righting indigeneity, subverting property
- Philipe Cullet - The human right to water: a testing ground for neoliberal policies
- Bhumika Modh and Uma Mahesh Sathyanarayan - Realising human rights obligations of the World Bank in India: a human rights critique of the World Bank Country Partnership Strategy for India (2013-17)
Satvinder Juss is a Professor of Law at King’s College London and a Barrister.
'India’s Courts have developed an enviable human rights jurisprudence admired throughout the world. At the same time, it has a questionable human rights record on ground realities. This is not a dichotomy but, like so many nations, India has a bi-focal ability, to perceive the ground realities as a state of ‘being’ and its normative jurisprudence as a state of ‘becoming.’ This anthology does not seek to expose but remind us of this mighty dissonance. Perhaps, some but, not all courts, were more vigilant in their concerns to evolve a masterly jurisprudence despite the compromises inherent in India’s Constitution. Even so cruel human rights absurdities persist. These essays take us to national security massively trumping rights, the parallel ‘legal’ system of khap panchayats (caste communities) severely punishing people, the legal mimicry of the Gujarat and other riots, the increasing lawlessness, acid attacks, forest rights, the wayward law on death penalty, the water crisis and the shadow of the World Bank on India’s economy. I put this book down with a sadness that I had reached the end, but spirited by the hope that more books like this will be written.'
- Dr Rajeev Dhavan, supreme court lawyer, New Delhi