Law, Justice and Human Rights in India: Short Reflections
Kalpana Kannabiran
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

Law, Justice and Human Rights in India is a collection of short essays on a range of contemporary issues—prisoners’ rights, campus violence, women’s rights, state impunity, judicial accountability, citizen engagement in law-making, and questions of discrimination against Dalits, Adivasis, persons with disabilities, and sexual and religious minorities.

Framed by the Constitution of India, the chapters provide a sense of the times we are living through, with each essay addressing an urgent debate that has arisen at a particular moment in India’s contemporary history. Kalpana Kannabiran brings her formal training in law, sociology and gender studies, and her work as a feminist socio-legal counsellor with a women’s collective, into her essays, allowing them to open up alternative spaces for dialogue and public discourse on dissent. Reflecting upon issues of social justice and human rights, she offers insights into the Constitution and law, moving these out of the sacred, unreachable precincts of constitutional courts and into the realities of everyday life.

This volume presents an account of the making and unmaking of laws through resistance struggles and movements, encouraging readers to engage with the language, protocols and practices of legislations.

The continuing relevance of the concerns raised in this collection and its level critique of power and dominance will interest anyone who wishes to trace the development of human rights debates in India over the past two decades.
Kalpana Kannabiran is an independent researcher with a specialisation in critical gender studies, law and society, and sociology. She is co-founder of Asmita Resource Centre for Women, Hyderabad. She was Professor, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, and Regional Director, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad.

Foreword by Anand Teltumbde


Part A—Understanding Discrimination

one   The Adivasi Experience         

1.     Adivasis and Gujarat 2002

2.     The Burden of Criminal Neglect

3.     Constitutional Conversations on Adivasi Rights

4.     Without Land or Recourse

two   Blocked by Caste

5.     Caste, the Academy and Dalit Women

6.     Reservation and the Creamy Layer

7.     Chunduru: On the Road to Justice

8.     Roadmap for Reservation in Higher Education

9.     Atrocities That No Longer Shock        

10.  Scope of Constitutional Morality

11.  The Annihilation by Caste

12.  Post-truths about Rohith Vemula


three   Disability Rights

13.  Creating Enabling Environments        

14.  The Rights of Prisoners with Disabilities

15.  Between the Divine and the Diabolical: Disability Rights over the Edge     

16.  Right to Privacy as Right to Life

four   Minority Rights

17.  An Apology to Mohammed Akhlaq

18.  Kashmir and Una Define a New Practice of Politics

19.  Babri Masjid Revisited

20.  We Shall Not Be Silenced, nor Shall We Ever Forget

five   Queer Rights

21.  From ‘Perversion’ to Right to Life with Dignity

22.  It’s Time to Scrap the Eunuchs Act

six   Women’s Rights

23.  Rethinking the Law on Sexual Assault

24.  Girl Punk, Interrupted              

25.  A Moment of Triumph for Women

26.  Lessons from Badaun and Beyond

27.  Article 17 is at the Heart of the Matter

28.  Graded Patriarchies and Graded Inequality: Sabarimala

29.  Judicial Opacity on Women’s Entry in Sabarimala

Part B—Civil Liberties, Human Rights and Law

seven   Civil Liberties

30.  On Human Rights and Radical Evil

31.  The Abolition of the Death Penalty     

32.  Something is Rotten in the States of …

33.  And We Must Say It Again … Again Yet Again

34.  Democratic Futures in Peril: An Assault on the Right to Privacy

35.  Constitutional Justice is Non-negotiable

eight   Free Speech

36.  Free Speech is the Cornerstone of Constitution          

37.  ‘Hard Words Break No Bones’: Sedition, Free Speech, Academic Freedoms and Sovereignty in India

38.  Mourning the Loss of Gauri Lankesh

39.  Taking Aim at the Messenger  

40.  No Rollback on the Right to Dissent

41.  Kancha Ilaiah: For Lives Lived in Labour

42.  They Cannot Stop Me from Teaching Marx and Ambedkar’: A Conversation with K. Satyanarayana

43.  Hate Speech and the Barbarity of ‘False Equivalence’

nine   Professions and Civil Rights

44.  Of Lawyers and the Law

45.  Lawyer, Judge and Aam Aadmi           

46.  When Professional Associations Start Promoting Narrow Sectarian Agendas

ten   Judges are Equal Citizens

47.  Parables of Justice and Women Therein         

48.  Privacy, Sequestered Courts and the Place of Dissent

49.  The Court is not above the Constitution

50.  Redeeming the Constitution

51.  Juridical Viralities, Courts and the Question of Justice

eleven   ‘Freedom to Be’ in Universities

52.  Education, Campuses and Violence

53.  Disrupting Caste in Class

54.  A Call to Resurrect the Constitution, or What is a University?          

55.  Urgent Notes from a University in Crisis        

56.  The University is not a Feudal Village

57.  A Year after Rohith Vemula’s Death …

58.  ‘I Don’t See What is Happening within Universities as Separate from What is Happening in the Political Arena’

twelve   Human Rights Cultures

59.  Development, Justice and the Constitution

60.  Regulating Cultures through Food Policing

61.  Paresh Rawal Must Be Asked to Forfeit His Seat

thirteen   Futures of Citizenship

62.  Of Law, Resurrection and a Future

63.  Constitution, Hostile Environments and ‘Atrocious’ Interpretation: A Sign of Our Times

64.  Through the Clouds of Protest, Sightings of Hope

65.  Retrieving the Idea of Citizenship

66.  Safoora Zargar and the Search for India’s Soul

67.  Governance by Annihilation and by Hate

The Market

Primary: Trade

Secondary: Sociology, Law, Media and Journalism

3-6-752 Himayatnagar, Hyderabad,
500 029 Telangana
Phone: (040) 27662849, 27662850
Follow us on
Copyright © Orient BlackSwan, All rights reserved.
Disclaimer and Privacy Policy
Terms and Conditions
Frequently Asked Questions