Compulsory Voting in India – Pros, Cons, Way Forward

Reading Time: 7 mins Electing a government to govern the nation/states for the next five years by casting vote in a polling booth is an onerous responsibility on the shoulders of every voter in a democratic country. Unfortunately, even after seven decades of independence and numerous elections held in the country so far, despite extensive appeals by the Election Commission, government and other celebrities, large number of voters still perceive, voting is an optional luxury enjoying low priority. According to the 255th Law Commission Report, “Electoral right” of the voter includes the right to “vote or refrain from voting at an election.”  The Representation of People Act, 1951 – the law that governs elections also talks of “right to vote rather than a duty to vote”. Last year, in the monsoon session of parliament, Lok Sabha members expressed diverse views on a private member’s bill seeking compulsory voting.

Right to recall – Meaning, Arguments in Favour, Against, Way Forward

Reading Time: 5 mins Of the many issues that plague the Indian democratic elections, one of them is the non-fulfilment of the election promises. Unfortunately, Indian voters have cast their votes based on these promises and they are left with no recourse. The world is watching the largest democracy, and maybe it is time to empower our electoral with “Right to Recall”. Recently, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister muted the scope of introducing a bill in the state assembly, empowering the people to recall the elected representatives of Panchayat bodies if they lose their confidence.

Alternative dispute resolution in India

Reading Time: 9 mins The Already burdened courts with a huge pile of cases to be heard along with the current COVID-19 induced break to the justice delivery system has made experts to renew the debate on having a robust alternate dispute resolution system in India. The Coming into force of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation recently has given a shot in the arm to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism worldwide.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020

Reading Time: 4 mins Recently, Parliament has passed the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill 2020 (FCRA) in its monsoon session which would greatly tighten and restrict the existing Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). Though The bill is receiving backslash from the NGOs and the Opposition with regards to the encroachment of NGOs financial administration, it has been passed with a view of increasing transparency in the working of an organization receiving foreign funds.

Role of the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha and Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha

Reading Time: 7 mins The Monsoon session of Parliament, which got delayed by several months due to the Covid-19 pandemic has begun recently. Similar to the last many sessions, Parliamentary disruptions once again became the common feature of Indian Parliamentary proceedings. A no-confidence motion against the Deputy Chairman is a first in Parliament and it is also an event which stood out in this Monsoon session of the Parliament. Though the Monsoon Session of Parliament began with the election for the post of deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha still lacks a deputy speaker. The post has been vacant for the last 456 days and is a record.

Question Hour and Other Instruments for Executive Accountability

Reading Time: 6 mins The recent decision to abandon “Question Hour” during the Monsoon Session of Parliament,  has evoked serious concerns about the democratic without the functioning of the institution. Question Hour isn’t just an open door for the members to bring up issues and raise questions, yet it is a parliamentary gadget principally implied for exercising legislative control over executive actions. The decision has been made because of the pandemic and a truncated Monsoon Session. Parliament has also curtailed the Zero Hour.

UN Guidelines on Access to Social Justice for People with Disabilities

Reading Time: 5 mins Access to justice is a fundamental right, as well as a prerequisite for the protection of all other human rights. Norms and standards relating to access to justice for persons with disabilities are set out in a series of binding and non-binding instruments at international and regional levels. Across the world, persons with disabilities encounter considerable obstacles in terms of access to justice. Aiming to make it easier for disabled people around the world to access the justice system, The United Nations has released its first-ever guidelines on access to social justice for people with disabilities recently.

Kesavananda Bharati Case and Basic Structure of the Indian Constitution – Evolution, Salient Features, Significance and Criticism

Reading Time: 8 mins Recently Kesavananda Bharati, the seer of Edneer Mutt in Kasaragod district of Kerala, whose petition challenging the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act 1969 led to the landmark “basic structure” doctrine verdict delivered by the Supreme Court in 1973, passed away. The case of Kesavananda Bharati vs. State of Kerala was heard for 68 days and continues to hold the vertex spot for the longest proceedings ever to have taken place in the top court. The judgment is considered among the most significant and consequential decisions by the Supreme Court as it set out the “basic structure” of the Constitution that Parliament cannot amend.

Judicial Transparency in India – Problems, Concerns and Way Forward

Reading Time: 12 mins With the retirement of Justice Arun Mishra on September 2, not only the strength of the Supreme Court judges will get reduced to 30 from the total 34 but the regional imbalance will get further accentuated. As many as nine high courts are not represented at all in the apex court and with Justice Mishra’s retirement, this will rise to 10. Justice Mishra belongs to the state of Madhya Pradesh and he is currently the only representative from the state. The high courts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Odisha have no judges in the Supreme Court currently. In this context the way in which the system of appointments is currently functioning needs a serious rethinking as advocated by recent survey published in May 2020 by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy with a majority of the surveyed advocates demanding greater transparency in its operation.