New Year’s Day 2014 brings on a breath of fresh air as a group of rather idealistic young people have decided to take on the political establishment and show that it can be done. So far, they have been spectacularly successful in achieving power. It now remains to be seen how they exercise it. I am excited by the idea that the exercise of this new found power will mainly be in the form of Legislation, Governance and Compliance: subjects that every lawyer breathes, lives and makes a living out of. Equally I am apprehensive that this power will be exercised to recreate a very retrograde 1970s type of desi socialism. We will see.
Meanwhile, to provide a context to what needs to be done; all but one of the offerings here is about India’s eminently ‘fixable’ failings as a society.
First, in the Video Section, we offer the full version of Buffalo Jurisprudence, a critique of our legal system. Thus far, fixing the legal system has been on nobody’s agenda, not least because it is frequently seen as the last bastion against absolute chaos in the nation. Still, there are grave issues urgently in need of addressing and now is a good time to visit this reality.
Next in our Comment Section, we offer three insights. First in Enter the Sandman, we delve into the nature of the political compulsions that drive regulatory voids in our society. This raises the unspoken question: how do we achieve fair regulation without first changing the behavior of our polity? Second, in Casting out Criminal Candidates, we examine the electoral compulsions that criminalize practically every politician who wishes to win an election in India’s rural heartland. This raises another unspoken question: how do we address the deep enthusiasm of our people to exchange votes for cash. Finally, shifting gears, in Trial by Social Media, we question the value of free speech when it has the effect of denying other more sacred inalienable fundamental rights, such as personal liberty, a fair trial and the right not to be condemned unheard. In doing so, we question the unstated ideological assumption that freedom of speech comes without a corresponding obligation.
Happy New Year!
Ranjeev C Dubey