Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Political Liberalism in the British Post-Colony



A new book, Fates of Political Liberalism in the British Post-Colony, has just been published by Cambridge University Press. The book contains essays on "the legal complex" in post-colonial countries. I recently bought a copy in New Delhi, and can confirm the availability of a South Asia edition. There are 3 essays on India: On the Federal Court by Rohit De, on Police Brutality by Charles Epp, and on the Basic Structure Doctrine by Manoj Mate. I've only had a chance to read Mate's essay, although the other two also look very interesting. I enjoyed reading Mate's essay, and found it to be a helpful overview and useful read on how the doctrine and the debate evolved. I noticed, though, an unfortunate error-ridden paragraph:

"Following independence, the Congress Party established the Constituent Assembly, which would be charged with the drafting of India's Constitution. Additionally, lawyers and legal scholars within the Congress Party, including Babasaheb Ambedkar, India's first attorney general, played as key role as members of the Constituent Assembly." (page 114)

Corrections:
1) The Constituent Assembly did not follow from independence. It began in 1946 - although it achieved legal status through the Indian Independence Act 1947.
2) The Assembly was formed on the basis of the 1945-46 Provincial Elections, and was not established by the Congress.
3) Ambedkar was not part of the Congress Party.
4) Ambedkar was not India's first attorney general. That gentleman was MC Setalvad. Ambedkar was India's first law minister.
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