ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Alok Prasanna KumarSubscribe to Alok Prasanna Kumar

A Fatal Blow to the Goods and Services Tax

The Supreme Court’s judgment in Union of India v Mohit Minerals (P) Ltd (2022), while interpreting the 101st Amendment, has weakened the governance framework of the goods and services tax. The Court’s approach in the matter has exposed the fatal contradictions of the GST architecture in the Constitution and should prompt a rethink on how the GST framework needs to change to promote true cooperative federalism.

Sedition and the Misuse of Laws

The true state of fundamental rights in India cannot be determined by reading the judgments of the Supreme Court or the high courts that, though called “constitutional courts,” are not the “only” “constitutional courts” in India. The magistrates and civil judges, despite called the “subordinate courts,” are just as important but receive much less attention in conversations about fundamental rights.

Backward Class Reservation in Local Bodies

The 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments have failed on multiple fronts due to a combination of poor drafting and unclear intent. The current impasse over the implementation of reservations for “backward classes” in panchayati raj institutions and urban local bodies is a result of poor drafting of these amendments and unclear policy objectives. The impasse threatens the future of grassroots democracy in India by putting on hold the local body elections for indefinite periods of time and can only be addressed through a constitutional amendment.


POCSO and Judicial Discomfort

While the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 was ostensibly introduced to combat child sexual abuse, its overbroad provisions have made it possible to criminalise even consensual sexual acts and has caused judicial discomfort. This column examines three different orders of high courts across the country where such judicial discomfort over the strict application of the POCSO has been expressed.


Denying Choice, Defying Precedent

In trying to “regulate the practice and process” of surrogacy through the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019, the imagination of a “family” is limited to strict heteronormative, patriarchal definitions. This definition excludes the never married, the widowed, the divorced, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer couples and numerous other classes of people who do not seem to fit within the rigid patriarchal norms outlined in this bill. Such exclusion is in the teeth of established jurisprudence of the Supreme Court and an affront to constitutional values


Consequent to the lifting of the “ban” imposed on the trade of crypto-assets by the Supreme Court of India, there has been a surge of interest in investing in crypto-assets from the general public, spurred by aggressive marketing campaigns by well-funded start-ups. In the absence of proper regulation, there is a very real danger that the public may be mis-sold this product with harm to the wider economy.


Demography, Democracy and Population Policies

Uttar Pradesh’s proposed bill to enforce a “two-child norm” tries to link state government jobs, local government positions and welfare to the two-child norm through a series of incentives and disincentives. With the communally tinged rhetoric around this bill gaining currency, it is necessary to revisit the Supreme Court’s controversial judgment in Javed v State of Haryana (2003) where such problematic provisions relating to panchayat elections were upheld.


On the Maratha Reservations Judgment: Part II

Apart from holding the Maratha reservations unconstitutional, the Supreme Court also interpreted the 102nd amendment to take away the power of state governments to designate communities as “socially and educationally backward classes.” This particular aspect of the Court’s judgment is poorly reasoned, goes contrary to the express provisions of the Constitution and threatens to upset well-set principles and practices in relation to reservations in India.


On Maratha Reservations Judgment: Part-1

The Supreme Court’s constitution bench judgment striking down the Maharashtra government’s reservations for Marathas has affirmed and applied well-accepted tests laid down in the Indra Sawhney judgment. However, it has also missed an opportunity to re-examine the artificially imposed 50% limit on reservations in jobs and seats. The justification for retaining the same, however, could also affect reservations for the economically weaker sections.


Debating Supreme Court Reform

US President Joseph R Biden’s newly set up commission to recommend reform of the United States Supreme Court has brought to the forefront the “political” role of constitutional courts. While the US Supreme Court inhabits a vastly different legal, constitutional and political sphere from its Indian counterpart, nonetheless there are interesting parallels given common shared values towards the independence of the judiciary and constitutional governance.



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