Thursday, April 08, 2010

Insulation, Judicial and Otherwise

1. In this piece in the Economic and Political Weekly, I analyze what I term (for lack of better terminology) the “democratic” and “political” insulation of India’s constitutional judiciary.

2. In this piece in the Economist, one reads of the insulation of Arunachal Pradesh, where you need an “inner line permit” for entry. There are tensions between cultural preservation and national integration, between Article 19(1)(d) and Article 29(1). Constitutionally speaking, the "marketplace of ideas" concern encapsulated in Article 19 is sometimes sacrificed for the preservation of some ideas, understood as linguistic and cultural identities. Under our constitution, the freedom to move freely throughout the territory of India is subject to “reasonable” restrictions in favor of the “general public” and “scheduled tribes”. Some cultures require insulation for preservation – in other words Article 19(1)(d) must be subordinated to Article 29(1). The question is, where does one draw the line: how do we distinguish the notorious linguistic chauvinist of Maharashtra from those wary of cultural dissipation in the north east? (Again, questions asked, but no answers offered)
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