Gautam Bhatia (for Info only, not official)

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Gautam Bhatia

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    ... A recent seminar on cities in Brasilia was revealing on two counts. First, it pointed out the dismal quality of life in the world’s most wretched urban areas — almost all, without exception, in South Asia. Second, since the seminar was Third World-centric, its outcome was all the more damning. The criteria it used were truly basic — health, education, population density, access to water and clean air. The seminar did not even venture into First World standards of parks, recreation, social cohesion, entertainment, culture, or the quality of life. Polluted air, rain-flooded streets and traffic snarls — these are obvious to most residents of Indian towns, and hardly need any restating. Strained on utilities and infrastructure, the city survives from day to day like a heavily-sedated patient in an ICU. ...

    Indian Express on Nov. 13, 2017, 12:30 a.m.

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    ...There are plans for widespread and aggressive protests. The government fears that the protests might turn violent. It decides to cut-off the water supply to the entire region for an indefinite period of time, reasoning that people will be too busy looking for water to protest, and too exhausted by the time they have found it. In this way, law and order has been preserved. Our intuitions rebel against this kind of reasoning. We think — rightly — that access to water is a basic, non-negotiable right, a part of the right to life, and that it cannot simply be left at the mercy of the government. If the government wishes to keep law and order, then it must find other, less drastic ways of doing so, such as increasing security, perhaps a curfew, or even winning the trust of the people and addressing their grievances. Cutting off e-access In the 21st century, the Internet has assumed an increasingly important place in our lives. ...

    The Hindu on Oct. 18, 2017, 12:26 a.m.

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    ...On Tuesday, this constitutional vision, under siege for much of India’s journey as a democratic republic, came within a whisker of destruction at the hands of the Supreme Court. But when all the dust had cleared in Courtroom No. 1, it finally became evident that Chief Justice J.S. Khehar had been able to enlist only one other judge, out of a Bench of five, to support his novel proposition that the religious freedom under the Indian Constitution protected not just individual faith, but whole systems of “personal law”, spanning marriage, succession, and so on. This view would not only have immunised instantaneous triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) from constitutional scrutiny, but would also — in the Chief Justice’s own words — have ensured that “it is not open for a court to accept an egalitarian approach, over a practice which constitutes an integral part of religion”. ...

    The Hindu on Aug. 23, 2017, 11:26 p.m.

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    ...Last week, however, two events revealed that 70 years after Independence, the freedom of speech still occupies a fragile and tenuous place in the Republic, especially when it is pitted against the authority of the State. The first was the Jharkhand government’s decision to ban the Sahitya Akademi awardee Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s 2015 book, The Adivasi Will Not Dance, for portraying the Santhal community “in bad light”. And the second was an order of a civil judge at Delhi’s Karkardooma Court, restraining the sale of Priyanka Pathak-Narain’s new book on Baba Ramdev, titled Godman to Tycoon. Neither the ban on The Adivasi Will Not Dance, nor the injunction on Godman to Tycoon, are the last words on the issue. ...

    The Hindu on Aug. 17, 2017, 2:52 p.m.

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    ...Last week, however, two events revealed that 70 years after Independence, the freedom of speech still occupies a fragile and tenuous place in the Republic, especially when it is pitted against the authority of the State. The first was the Jharkhand government’s decision to ban the Sahitya Akademi awardee Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s 2015 book, The Adivasi Will Not Dance, for portraying the Santhal community “in bad light”. And the second was an order of a civil judge at Delhi’s Karkardooma Court, restraining the sale of Priyanka Pathak-Narain’s new book on Baba Ramdev, titled Godman to Tycoon. Neither the ban on The Adivasi Will Not Dance, nor the injunction on Godman to Tycoon, are the last words on the issue. ...

    The Hindu on Aug. 16, 2017, 11:47 p.m.

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    ...Within its comparatively humble interior is a varied and random set of items strung together to give a disjointed but true picture of Black history: a pair of handcuffs, a slave cabin, metal shackles used in slave ships, a slave auction poster advertising ‘a general assortment of Negroes’, boxer Muhammad Ali’s head gear, writer James Baldwin’s passport, even the inauguration day newspaper of America’s first black president. The other, less a national landmark, is a city’s tribute to one of its famous sons: a life-size statue of Arthur Ashe, the tennis legend and activist, holding up books and a racket on a city road in Richmond, the capital of Virginia. ...

    TOI on July 7, 2017, 2 a.m.

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    ...With the Madras High Court on Tuesday staying the rules for four weeks, the battle has swiftly moved to the court as well. And with this, apart from the political turmoil, legal and constitutional fault lines have also been reopened, causing much uncertainty about what the outcome will be. In the Constituent Assembly This dispute has a history, which goes back to the founding of the Republic. During the framing of the Constitution, the subject of cow slaughter was one of the most fraught and contentious topics of debate. ...

    The Hindu on May 31, 2017, 11:21 p.m.

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    ...The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has warned secular authorities against interfering with religious law. On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lent his support to the Muslim women fighting against the practice of triple talaq. Also Read Triple whammy One would expect the judges of the Supreme Court to adjudicate the constitutional validity of triple talaq (and, if they choose, of the other practices under question as well) detached from the political debate, and strictly in accordance with law. A closer look reveals, however, that the court cannot decide this case without engaging in a series of complex and difficult choices. ...

    The Hindu on May 10, 2017, 11:52 p.m.