LAOT Monthly Newsletter - October and November
A lot has happened in the past couple of months, some old, some new. Here's what we at LAOT have been doing to help make these occurrences more navigable:
Discussion on Jammu & Kashmir Internet Restrictions Cases: A Missed Opportunity to Redefine Fundamental Rights in the Digital Age’
The Supreme Court, in January 2020, had ruled that using the internet for speech and expression, and to practice a profession, were fundamental rights. Subsequently, it came to light that the Jammu and Kashmir government had issued 93 orders for the suspension of internet services in the Union Territory. In this context, LAOT hosted a much-needed discussion on Devdutta Mukhopadhyay and Apar Gupta’s paper titled ‘Jammu & Kashmir Internet Restrictions Cases: A Missed Opportunity to Redefine Fundamental Rights in the Digital Age’ published in Volume 9 of the Indian Journal of Constitutional Law. The summary of the paper by Devdutta Mukhopadhyay can be found here. Sumeysh Srivastava, responding to the paper, highlighted the problem in arguing for protection of Article 19 when the restrictions imposed are on the grounds of national security, the failure of the Supreme Court to review executive action and the evolving jurisprudence on the right to internet access in India.
‘Unravelling the Role of Autonomy and Consent in Privacy’.
John Sebastin and Aparajito Sen’s paper titled ‘Unravelling the Role of Autonomy and Consent in Privacy’ was another important topic that was taken up for discussion. The authors provided a summary of the arguments they make in the paper which can be found here. Ujwala Uppaluri, responding to the paper, pointed out how the existence of the right to privacy was determined in total vacuum in K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India, and further analyses the effect this will have on the way the right to privacy plays out in practice.
‘Private discrimination, public service and the Constitution’
We had Thulasi K. Raj provide a summary of her paper titled ‘Private discrimination, public service and the Constitution’ published in the Indian Law Review. The paper enquires into the scope of protection against private discrimination under the Indian Constitution and argues for the principle of ‘public service’, which goes further than linguistic and other interpretations of Article 15(2).
The two months saw the publication of the following blog posts.
As the push for Artificial Intelligence continues to grow in India, Amrita Vasudevan’s article ‘Regulating AI in India, of Outcomes and Processes’ becomes an important read to understand the outcomes of adopting a combination of principle and risk-based approaches to regulate Artificial Intelligence in India. It also throws light on the processes set up to enforce regulations and the concerns it raises regarding the displacement of the democratic process.
The discussion regarding structural issues plaguing the Supreme Court was reignited, when at the Constitution Day function, both Attorney General KK Venugopal and the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana spoke about a need for Courts of Appeal. To get a better sense of the historical context, Raghuveer R. Sattigeri’s two-part piece titled ‘Demands for Structural Changes in the Supreme Court of India: A Historical Overview’ is helpful. While Part 1 of the piece dealt with the history behind the demand for Institutional division of the Supreme Court, Part 2 delved deep into the demand for setting up of regional branches of the Court.
While the Joint Committee of Parliament Report on the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 is still being unpacked, read Raghav Ahooja’s important piece on ‘Rethinking India’s intermediary liability regime: The advent of intermediary-turned-publishers,. It analyses how social media intermediaries may become publishers by design with regard to curation of News Feeds, in light of the new IT Rules, 2021. The piece further looks at how such a rethinking of intermediary liability could potentially have a ripple effect across the globe.
Holders of several social media accounts were booked under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for protesting, or mentioning the October 2021 Tripura riots. A special bench of the Supreme Court subsequently granted protection from arrest to two advocates and one journalist who have been booked under the Act (Mukesh v. State of Tripura). Associate Analyst Harsh Jain examined the stringent conditions imposed on the grant of bail under the UAPA along with recent judicial developments in that regard in the Explainer piece “Bail under the UAPA.”
Gursimran Singh Narula analysed the need for a specific vaccine law in India that lays down the rights of vaccine takers and the liabilities of vaccine makers in the piece titled ‘Need for a Vaccine Law: Resolving Liability Issues and Ensuring Injury Compensation’.
Kavya Arora and Eishan Mehta, in “Addressing Intersectionality and Access to Justice: The Need for An Anti-Discrimination Legislation”, discuss the need for horizontality and intersectionality to further access to justice in the form of equality legislation.
Anaya Narain Tyagi in her article titled “Cultural Dissent in Hindutva Cases” unpacks the absence of cultural dissent in the landmark Hindutva decisions of the Supreme Court and the academic scholarship built upon it.
These were followed by Arti Gupta’s two-part piece titled “Subsuming Sexuality Rights within the Nation’s Progress”. In Part I, the author analyzes the flipside of the affirmation of sexuality rights, through an analysis of pictures depicting the performance of these rights. In Part II, the author continues the analysis through an analysis of pictures depicting the performance of these rights.
There were a number of other articles published on the blog, discussing wide ranging topics: From Sukrut Khandekar and Trisha Choudhary’s piece ‘The Chinese Government’s Crackdown on the Entertainment Industry: The Advent of Cultural Revolution 2.0’ critiquing the ‘Circular on Strengthening the Management of Cultural Programs and their Personnel’ issued by the Chinese Establishment to an Explainer written by Mrityunjoy Roy, unpacking the Gujarat HC order in Peter Nazareth v. State allowing a constitutional challenge to the alcohol prohibition policy in Gujarat on grounds of right to privacy, everything was covered.
Reading Lists You Don't Want to Miss!
Here is a collection of LAOT's curated reading lists from the past two months. Check them out!
Published on the occasion of the third anniversary of the historic striking down of Section 377 of the IPC, this reading list compiled by LAOT's Editors Anushree Verma and Yashaswini Santuka discusses the significance of the judgment, what it meant for so many people in the country and how it continues to affect lives. We are currently holding a Book Discussion of Danish Sheikh’s new book, Love and Reparation: A Theatrical Response to the Section 377 Litigation in India.
Manipuri activist Erendro Leichombam booked under the NSA for a Facebook post stating that cow dung and urine were not COVID-19 cures, was granted bail after three months in detention. While the SC’s judgment on his plea for compensation for wrongful detention is still pending, recently the Bombay HC directed the state to pay Rs 20,000 to a man kept in police custody despite the magistrate’s orders. This reading list compiled by Senior Analyst Nitya Ravichandra discusses how compensation for illegal detention has been dealt with in India.
Even as the controversial farmer bills were repealed earlier this week in the winter session of the Parliament in light of sustained citizen protests, a curious case was posed by the SC on whether there is a right to protest while a dispute is pending in Court. Check out this reading list compiled by Associate Analyst Mrityunjoy Roy to look at the discussion that the move triggered. To read more about the right to protest and right to assemble in India, read Dharshini Sugumaran and Padmavathi Prasad’s article “The Shaheen Bagh judgment and what it means for the right to freedom of assembly in India” critiquing the decision of the Supreme Court in Amit Sahni v. Commission of India (2020), regarding the constitutionality of protests in public sites.
During the pandemic, the Central Government had suspended the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme for two years and re-allocated the funds towards Covid management. Recently, the Union Cabinet partially restored the scheme. This list, compiled by Senior Analyst Shanthan Reddy, analyses the origins of the MPLAD scheme and its evolution.
Senior Analyst, Law and Other Things