Supreme Court on hate speech: The problem on the ground is extraordinary. Extraordinary measures are needed to address it – Published in the Indian Express

In relation to hate speech, the recent direction of the Supreme Court making it incumbent upon the regulatory mechanism to take action is a reflection of the judicial will to deal with an issue which has been largely missing over the past few years. Within the last week, this is the second time that the […]

Minorities, laws and institutions – Published in India-Seminar

AT the beginning of the 20th century the West had propagated the notion that ‘minority rights’ were part of larger ‘human rights’. During World War I, minority rights were both granted and restricted due to political considerations.1 Even after World War II, in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, minority rights, as a group right, […]

Fortify the justice system to ensure Bail is the norm – Published in the Hindustan Times

The Supreme Court (SC)’s intervention, in granting protection to Mohammed Zubair and Nupur Sharma, does not make for an understanding of the criminal justice administration in India, for not many citizens are fortunate enough to have effective legal representation and the benefit of being heard by libertarian judges in the jurisdiction of SC.  The apex […]

From Roe v Wade to civil rights cases in India, the idea of dignity – Published in the Indian Express

Ideally, constitutional courts should be engaged in expanding dignity, individual rights. In practice, they have often erred in this regard. Initially, the idea of dignity came from religious texts. In the last two centuries, it has developed as an enforceable right through constitutional law. The idea of dignity flowing from constitutional law is attractive because […]

What Minority Tag for Hindus means for India – Published in the Hindustan Times

There is an ongoing debate on whether Hindus can claim the protection of rights guaranteed to minorities under Articles 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution. On the face of it, this claim appears absurd (considering the vast majority of Hindus in India). Yet, it may find some legitimacy, if one examines the issue based […]

Interview: Parichay The Blog

Md. Tasnimul Hassan: You represent one of the petitioners who has challenged the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA). What prompted you to challenge it and why do you see it as unconstitutional? M.R. Shamshad:  I am representing the petitioner in my professional capacity, but I feel from my heart that the CAA is arbitrary, unreasonable, discriminatory; a law […]

Hijab Judgment: More Questions Than Answers – Published in LiveLaw

In my view the consequence of Hijab Judgment is of making a song and dance about nothing. It will be read and celebrated by many who have been campaigning for ‘homogeneous’ identity of Indian citizens forgetting its diversity in public space. It was a thin issue where some girls who had chosen to cover their […]

Interpreting Hijab: Why only through the Essential Practices Doctrine – Published in The Leaflet

THE Hijab issue in Karnataka has received lots of public attention throughout the country. I see this issue strictly within the constitutional law perspective. The practice of hijab can be examined firstly within the ambit of right to life under Article 21, read with freedom of ‘expression’ under Article 19 of the Constitution. Ideally, only at the second […]

How to Unclog the Courts – Published in the Indian Express

More judges, timely filling up of posts in all levels of judiciary, fewer cases by the government could provide redress Recently, a senior judge of the Supreme Court of India, while hearing a case, stated that frivolous cases have been making the Court dysfunctional and an institution must not be forced to spend time on […]

Why Islamic Law Allows ‘Blood Money’ To Let A Killer Go Free

This forgiveness or diyah is based entirely on the private right of the victim, and not of the sovereign LuLu Group owner Yusuff Ali’s generous act to save a man who was languishing in a United Arab Emirates jail after being sentenced to death by the top court, has grabbed headlines. The 65-year-old billionaire has […]

The British Have Repealed Their Sedition Act, Why Hasn’t India? – Published in Outlook

We inherited the sedition law from the British. In 1942 itself, CJ Gwyer introduced the concept of inciting ‘public disorder’ and subversionof the government by attempting to violence. While upholding the validity of Section 124-A, Gwyer’s interpretation was reiterated in different wordings and confirmed by the Supreme Court in Kedarnath case in 1962. In 1950, after we […]

CAA Notification: A Backdoor Measure That Could Prove Difficult To Roll Back – Published in the Outlook

In 2015, the Central government exercised its powers under the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 the Rules of 1950 to exempt Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians belonging to Bangladesh and Pakistan, from adverse penal consequences of Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920. At the same time in 2015, the government exercised its […]

Landmark Kerala HC judgement clarifies Muslim women’s right to initiate divorce – Published in The Indian Express

In the past, the Kerala High Court has delivered many landmark judgements in relation to Muslims’ divorce. This month, a Division Bench of the High Court was dealing with the issue of conditions in “Khula”, divorce initiated by the wife. The legal issue before the Court was whether a Muslim wife, once she has decided […]

The Dismal Use of Legislation – Published in Rising Kashmir

In the year 1994, the Supreme Court of India stated that “the culture of law in Indian democratic republic should be on secular lines”; and that there can be no democracy if anti-secular forces are allowed to work dividing followers of different religious faiths flying at each other’s throats. This is the understanding of the […]

Two Bails, Two Views, Many Inconsistencies – Published in the Leaflet

THE order granting bail to the young climate activist Disha Ravi is one of the finest expositions of law in the present times. It comes at a time when many political dissents engaged in permissible actions have been unreasonably criminalised. One hopes that this order will give “disha” (direction) to the other pending and future bail cases of similar […]

Ordinance with Malice – Published in Rising Kashmir

In the recent past, various ordinances were brought by the States including the Ordinance relating to interfaith marriages in the State of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, animal slaughter in Karnataka. All these Ordinances have serious penal consequences affecting personal liberty of citizens. In many cases booked under the UP Ordinance, the High Court of […]

Not All, Only husbands – Published in RisingKashmir

In a recently pronounced judgement, the Supreme Court said that a mother-in-law cannot be the accused of the offence of pronouncement of Triple Talaq under the Act of 2019, as the offence can only be committed by a Muslim man. However, while granting final direction in the judgement, the Court has bound the same mother-in-law […]

Torture, an issue ignored – Published in the Indian Express

In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court stated that “when the protector of people and society himself instead of protecting the people adopts brutality and inhumanly beat the person who comes to the police station, it is a matter of great public concern”. A recently-reported case of torture is of Jayaraj in Tamil Nadu. Very […]

Tale of Two Protests – Published in the Indian Express

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) was passed on December 12, 2019. The law excluded Muslims from its scope of grant of citizenship and led to hundreds of protests being organised in different parts of the country, starting from two universities in New Delhi and later, at Shaheen Bagh in the national capital, which became an inspiration for […]

It is Not for the Law to Decide on Any Other Matter Concerning Marriage of Two Adults – Published in the Indian Express

Contemplating laws to regulate matrimonial relationships between two consenting adults would not be just against the constitutional guarantees but would offend the very notion of individuality and basic freedoms. Many state governments have announced that they are considering enacting an appropriate law to stop marriages which they term as “love jihad” — essentially a part […]