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Republic Day – Taking stock of constitutional rights protection in India
January 25 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
On January 26, India celebrates Republic Day, in honour of its Constitution that promises a secular republic governed by fundamental rights. Yet, at 75 years, the secular and multi-ethnic fabric its founding fathers envisaged is eroding as the executive restricts essential constitutional rights, including to religious freedom and freedom of speech.
This briefing considers the role of India’s judiciary in the protection of constitutional rights. Some voices in India argue that the Supreme Court has failed its purpose of upholding the constitution. The court dismissed crucial pleas, including one seeking an independent investigation into extrajudicial killings in Chhattisgarh, and left six significant cases pending for a significant amount of time, such as a review of the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir (pending for over three years).
Yet, the Supreme Court remains a largely independent actor within a state that otherwise suffers from increasing consolidation of power among the elites.
This briefing is supported by MEP Alviina Alametsä (Greens/EFA, Standing Rapporteur on India of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee).
This briefing engages experts with significant experience in the Indian Supreme Court in conversation to identify whether the Supreme Court of India can fulfil its role in providing judicial safeguards and uphold constitutional rights:
- Anand Grover, Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and the Director of the Lawyer’s Collective. He was the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health from 2008 to 2014.
- Prashant Bhushan, a public interest lawyer in the Supreme Court of India, associated with the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, PUCL, and Transparency International, and convenor of the Working Committee of the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Judicial Reforms.
- Shahrukh Alam, independent practitioner at the Supreme Court of India whose work focuses on constitutionality and criminal law. She has worked as a social activist, policy-maker, field researcher, professor.
The briefing is organised by The London Story, a think tank run by the Indian diaspora in the EU, registered in the Netherlands (KvK No. 77721306) and in the EU Transparency Register (ID: 723187946512-79).