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Perpetual Life Sentences, Reformation and the Indian Supreme Court

Perpetual Life Sentences, Reformation and the Indian Supreme Court

It is trite to say, or so we hope, that a retributive criminal justice system has no place in a society conceived from the idea that human rights in general, and human dignity in particular, is of paramount importance. As civilized societies dedicated to democracy and constitutionalism, a system of reformative justice seems but natural. [...]

The Not-so-paramount Right to Vote

The Not-so-paramount Right to Vote

Last week, the Election Commission of India announced the time frame for the general elections to constitute the 16th Lok Sabha (“House of the People”) of the Parliament of India. Widely considered to be an election comprising of the highest number of voters in the world, it is but natural that the nature of the [...]

Indian Supreme Court Changes Stance on Death Penalty: Holds Delay to be a Ground for Commutation

Indian Supreme Court Changes Stance on Death Penalty: Holds Delay to be a Ground for Commutation

Recently, in the case of Shatrughan Chauhan v. Union of India, a three-judge bench of the Indian Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment on the death penalty: holding, in particular, that an excessive delay in carrying out the death sentence was an essential mitigating factor in a plea for commutation. In doing so, it joined [...]

Reviewing Koushal: Counting Down the Errors Apparent on the Face of the Record

Reviewing Koushal: Counting Down the Errors Apparent on the Face of the Record

The seven review petitions filed in the case of Koushal v Naz Foundation (“Koushal”) are an exercise in drawing up the rather lengthy list of errors apparent on the face of the Supreme Court of India’s record. On 11.12.13 the Supreme Court in Koushal reversed the Delhi High Court decision in Naz Foundation v Government [...]

Should There Be A Human Rights Approach for Environmental Protection?

Should There Be A Human Rights Approach for Environmental Protection?

Is climate change just an environmental issue or also a human rights issue? Do we need a new international environmental treaty to address the rights of people displaced from their homes? When the rights of indigenous people are in question, is it a human rights issue or an environmental issue or both? Such issues require [...]

Naz and Reclaiming Counter-Majoritarianism

Naz and Reclaiming Counter-Majoritarianism

The term “counter-majoritarian” has, more often than not, been used in a derogatory fashion – especially when it is used to describe an institution like the Supreme Court. However, after the Supreme Court’s ruling on S.377 of the Indian Penal Code, whereby it re-criminalized homosexuality after four years of it being decriminalized in India, it [...]

Naz Foundation: Reading Down the Supreme Court

Naz Foundation: Reading Down the Supreme Court

There is no doubt that the Supreme Court in Suresh Kumar v Naz Foundation held that section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalizes ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature,’ was constitutionally valid. The court overruled the 2009 Delhi High Court decision which had read down section 377 to exclude ‘consensual sexual acts [...]

Of Koushal v NAZ Foundation’s Several Travesties: Discrimination and Democracy

Of Koushal v NAZ Foundation’s Several Travesties: Discrimination and Democracy

There are many things wrong about the 98 page decision of the Indian Supreme Court in Suresh Kumar Koushal v NAZ Foundation. The Court’s extensive quoting but tenacious refusal to engage with the text of the Delhi High Court judgement (of which this case is an appeal); reciting but refusing to analyse the arguments made [...]

Sexual Harassment in the Indian Legal Profession

Sexual Harassment in the Indian Legal Profession

Two big sexual harassment complaints have sent shock waves in India this month– one by a legal intern complaining of sexual harassment from a retired Supreme Court judge and another by a journalist in a well known media house, complaining of harassment by her employer. The complaint by the legal intern is timely because it [...]

Secret Executions in India: Another Reason to Rethink the Death Penalty

Secret Executions in India: Another Reason to Rethink the Death Penalty

Secret executions of death row prisoners are increasingly becoming the order of the day in India. At least three (two ‘successful’, one failed) have been attempted in the last few months. These incidents have been characterised by three kinds of secrecy. First, where the prisoner sentenced to death was not informed in advance about the [...]

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A Quick Overview

Blog posts have been coming in thick and fast over the last month. To help you get up to speed, the editorial team has put together a quick summary of some of the major themes. Justice Verma Committee on Indian sexual violence laws The Justice Verma Committee submitted its report on the reform of India’s [...]