Reflections on Access to Justice for Transgender People in India

By Shivani Dewalla 

Our arrival unto the world is marked by “their” presence. Marriages would be incomplete without “their” performances, “their” blessings. The halt at the traffic light is one of the most likely places to spot “them”. But why is it that their presence is only restricted to such occasions? Why are they not present in our classrooms? In our offices? Why are they not our neighbours? Or our friends? “Their” existence and conditions are synonymous to the English idiom ‘elephant in the room’; they exist but they are seldom part of our daily conversations, daily life. In fact even if this article ends without naming “them”, it will not be a task for the readers to identify them- such is their pervasiveness in the Indian society.

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The case for social and legal change for domestic work in India

By Madhulika

The coronavirus pandemic has acted to highlight and exacerbate the failures in access to justice for domestic workers in India. The spread of Covid-19 and the ensuing lockdown measures implemented by the Government of India to contain its spread has had a profound impact on work and workers. In India, women employed in paid domestic work have been amongst the most critically hit. As per the National Sample Survey Organization, there are as many as four million paid domestic workers in India, though unofficial data suggests that there might be close to 90 million.

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Why India’s Constitutional Guarantee of Anti-Discrimination is Not Enough?

By Vatsal Patel

India is perhaps the only country where the constitutional guarantee of non-discrimination is not backed by a comprehensive legislation. While Article 15(1) of the Indian Constitution posits a mandatory duty upon the State to not “discriminate against any citizens on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them” (Vertical Anti-Discrimination); Article 15(2) places a similar obligation upon Indian citizens, to not discriminate against fellow citizens, in terms of granting them access to public-spaces (Horizontal Anti-Discrimination). These articles are in addition to a discrimination-free commitment in public-employment under Article 16(2) and a broad guarantee of a right to equality under Article 14.

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Singapore High Court denies justice, again.

By Anmol Ratan

In March 2020, the High Court of Singapore by the way of its decision in the case of Ong Ming Johnson v. Attorney-General and other matters upheld the validity of its colonial sodomy law, namely the Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code yet again. This section criminalises the act of ‘gross indecency’ among two male persons by punishing them for a maximum term of 2 years. The issues raised in this case were premised on the constitutional validity and interpretation of Section 377A and its nature vis-e-vie the constitutional rights of liberty, equality and freedom of expression as envisaged under Articles 9(1), 12(1) and 14(1)(a) of the Constitution of Singapore. The judgement which was pronounced by Judge See Kee Oon justified the existence and legality of Section 377A on the arguably unfounded grounds of public morality and religious harmony. Continue reading “Singapore High Court denies justice, again.”

‘The Model Minority’: a Hinderance to the Pursuit of Justice

By Debadrita Chakraborty 

Indian immigrants fail to acknowledge their complicity in injustices both in India and America. Here’s why.

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is here to stay. Catalysed by one of the most heinous racial homicide of the 21st century, BLM protests have since snowballed into one of the greatest ‘domino’ resistance movement in the U.S. The sustained nature of the movement and its organised approach towards decolonising the Global North’s white washed history and curriculum have resonated with other minority and racially targeted communities who have expressed solidarity by not only dissenting against institutional racism and police brutalities but also reflecting on their own complicity in anti-black racism. However, one of the most visible and prominent minority group that has remained relatively apolitical in a deeply political time despite its history of colonial oppression and state sanctioned hostile policing is the Indian migrant community in America.

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How casteist is the Coronavirus pandemic? 

By Anmol Ratan 

History bears testimony to the fact that unlike most of the world, India is not new to practice of social distancing. Maintaining social as well as physical distance has been historically entrenched in various form of isolation by the upper castes in the Hindu social order ever since the Vedic times[i]. Based on the religion of Hinduism and its scriptures, social distancing, which today is claimed to be the only curative measure for COVID-19, has always been used as a socially-sanctioned weapon of mass social disruption and collective discrimination against the lower castes and Dalits in the Indian subcontinent. It has been a part of India’s unjust history and continues to be a reality even in India’s fight against coronavirus.

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Outlawing the Practice of ‘Female Genital Mutilation’ in Sudan: An advanced step towards preaching health as a Human Right

By Sahajveer Baweja

Our guest contributor is currently a 3rd-year B.A.LL.B. student at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala, India. 

Recently, Sudan has made a landmark move by amending its Criminal Code and penalising the archaic practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) making it punishable by three years of imprisonment. FGM as a practice stems from the social customs of a girl’s tribe or ethnic group and aids to define her in the context of her community. The practice of FGM is widespread in 28 African countries especially in Sudan where 87% of the Sudanese women have been its victim. Statistically, almost 100 to 140 million women in Africa have undergone the ritual of FGM in the last 50 years. Moreover, such practice of FGM has been traced in a few minority groups in Asia and Middle East Countries as well, but the chances of occurrence there are less and very limited because of strong penal provisions.

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What the UK can learn from Ireland’s ‘Direct Provision’ Controversy

By Conor Courtney

Direct Provision is an Irish approach to asylum law which incorporates a series of rights, and constraints, placed upon asylum seekers. These restrictions are places on those who are living in Ireland, awaiting the decision as to their status.

Although the State provides many necessities with regards to asylum applicants, such as healthcare, dental care, housing, food, and a weekly stipend, the corollary of these entitlements are equally important deprivations. As an asylum seeker, the State has maintained that there is no right to seek out employment. Continue reading “What the UK can learn from Ireland’s ‘Direct Provision’ Controversy”

Human Rights as a Western Construct: India as an Example

By Ila Tyagi 
LLM student, Ila Tyagi, argues against ‘universal human rights’ as they are typically understood, drawing from cultural relativist arguments and using India as an example.
In many developing countries, human rights are often considered to be western concepts imposed on them by foreign governments and treaties. The problem lies in the narrow and egocentric definition of human rights[1]. There are many arguments against the universality of human rights. This essay aims to explain some of the arguments against human rights and presents a solution to universalise human rights.

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