Arghya Sengupta (for Info only, not official)

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Arghya Sengupta

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    ...This moral authority suffered a fatal blow when the Chief Justice chose to reassert his own administrative powers in the face of allegations concerning the possible lack of probity of senior public functionaries. The situation demanded statesmanship — unfortunately the Court engaged in whataboutery, raising the spectre of contempt of court, only to drop it finally. A criminal conspiracy The genesis of this episode lies in the filing of petitions by Prasad Education Trust before the Supreme Court and Allahabad High Court. The trust operated a medical college whose permission to run certain courses had been declined. ...

    The Hindu on Nov. 15, 2017, 8:05 a.m.

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    ...This moral authority suffered a fatal blow when the Chief Justice chose to reassert his own administrative powers in the face of allegations concerning the possible lack of probity of senior public functionaries. The situation demanded statesmanship — unfortunately the Court engaged in whataboutery, raising the spectre of contempt of court, only to drop it finally. A criminal conspiracy The genesis of this episode lies in the filing of petitions by Prasad Education Trust before the Supreme Court and Allahabad High Court. The trust operated a medical college whose permission to run certain courses had been declined. ...

    The Hindu on Nov. 14, 2017, 11:43 p.m.

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    ...It was thus little surprise that the Supreme Court outlawed instant triple talaq, a judgment hailed for empowering women in their struggle for gender equality. But that is unfortunately where praise for the judgment must begin and end. Scarcely has a judgment with such a progressive outcome been underpinned by such regressive reasoning. The dissenting opinion of Chief Justice Khehar and Justice Nazeer considers triple talaq, despite being discriminatory, to be protected by freedom of religion in the Constitution. To offset this result, they recommend legislation by Parliament on this issue and before such legislation, prevent Muslim husbands from pronouncing triple talaq. Justices Nariman and Lalit, in their majority view, consider Sharia law to have been statutorily incorporated by the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937. ...

    TOI on Aug. 24, 2017, 2 a.m.

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    ...Contrary to many of his predecessors Mukherjee disposed of 34 petitions, rejecting 30 of them and leaving none pending for his successor. Ironically, by literally leaving nothing behind, he leaves a clear legacy for future presidents to follow – reject mercy petitions in principle as an anachronism that has no place in the Constitution of a democratic republic. The power of pardon, a prerogative power exercised by the sovereign of England, has been described as “the brightest jewel in the British crown, and the most precious of the rights of the people”. Representing the fiction that the sovereign was the embodiment of divinity, the power extended to commuting sentences and pardoning death row convicts, as he pleased. Its practical workings however were less exalted and more mundane. As described by Vic Gatrell in The Hanging Tree, often judges themselves would commute death sentences, replacing them with transportation to America. ...

    TOI on July 25, 2017, 2 a.m.

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    ...By providing millions of disenfranchised and invisible Indians with an identity, Aadhaar may be tremendously empowering; equally, if not implemented carefully, it has the potential to alienate, empowering the state at the cost of the citizen. The direction the Aadhaar project takes rests on a critical reform—a comprehensive law on personal data protection. In this context, especially at a time when public emotion regarding Aadhaar is running high, a few facts may be appropriate. The Aadhaar Act, 2016 contains an entire chapter dedicated to protection of information, becoming the first modern-day statute in India to explicitly do so. It obliges both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the range of agencies which collect Aadhaar data to keep data secure. ...

    Live Mint on May 31, 2017, 4:52 a.m.

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    ...In a 21st century retelling of the story the Supreme Court of India disowned one of its own – Justice Karnan, formerly of the Madras high court – by convicting him of contempt of court. By ordering his imprisonment for six months the Court attempted to hide from public view its enfant terrible, and with it, the embarrassment he caused the institution with his public utterances, actions and conduct. There can scarcely be two views on the fact that Justice Karnan’s actions eroded the dignity of the judiciary immeasurably. He made unsubstantiated allegations against his brother judges, including of custodial rape; stayed his own transfer order to the Calcutta high court and passed ‘orders’ imprisoning the Chief Justice of India and seven other judges of the Supreme Court. ...

    TOI on May 11, 2017, 2 a.m.

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    ...Despite this, a critical reform that is taboo for discussion is how the Chief Justice of India, the head of the institution, ought to be appointed. Any suggestion that departs from the existing convention of seniority—appointing the seniormost serving judge of the Supreme Court as the Chief Justice—attracts the fatal charge of ‘supersession’. Supersession, in turn, brings back painful memories of Indira Gandhi’s assault on the judiciary immediately prior to and during the Emergency, rewarding judges who were sympathetic to government and punishing those who were not. Any attempt to appoint anyone apart from the seniormost judge as Chief Justice is thus inevitably conflated with a sinister design of creating a judiciary ‘made to measure’. There was much wrong in the way in which Indira Gandhi’s government superseded unsympathetic judges. ...

    Live Mint on Jan. 27, 2017, 1:13 a.m.

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    ...Its judgment, on appeal by a candidate in elections to voters to vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate on the grounds of ‘his’ religion, race, community, caste or language, prohibits any appeal to the aforementioned facets of any of the candidates or critically, the voters too. This has tremendous implications on the practice of electoral politics. At the same time, it produces competing judicial visions of democracy in India. The four majority judges show little appreciation of the pervasive consequences of their judgment and why the distinction between the candidate and the voter is an illusory one. Equally, the three dissenting judges appear overly concerned with consequentialist reasoning and reach an outcome that has been shown to be unworkable in practice. ...

    TOI on Jan. 5, 2017, 2 a.m.