Why the dance bar ban had to go

Fifteen years after the Maharashtra government decided it wanted its bar girls to dance no more, the recent decision of the Supreme Court in Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association v State of Maharashtra has delivered the reassuring message that liberal winds continue to blow through the fair corridors of the Supreme Court.…

Dangers of Internet: What is Fake News?

When journalist-turned-politician S Ve Shekhar casually forwarded a social media post suggesting that women journalists needed to sleep with their bosses to keep their jobs, he found himself accused of crimes under Sections 504 (Provoking Breach of Peace), 505 (Public Mischief) and 509 (Insulting the Modesty of a Woman) of…

Pul’s perversity tale

In history, no one has the last word, but the former Arunachal Chief Minister Kalikho Pul’s suicide note must at least be a kind of judicial full stop. The note is as you would expect a credible suicide note to be: a potent 60 page tale of misappropriation of public…

Sedition is the new Arranged Marriage

When Karl Marx observed in 1852 that history repeated itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, he could have been taking about our sedition law! Consider the absurdity of the situation we face today. Back in college, when my friends and I ranted from time to time about some…

Decriminalising Defamation

When the inimitable Subramanian Swamy added his name to a gallery of eminent Indian politicians who have been sued for criminal defamation, he could at least demand that he be taken seriously because he had suffered the mandatory rite of passage! I am not being facetious. An allegation you make…

Persecuting victims: Justice for the emotionally overblown

Long before Tarun Tejpal’s legendary libido unfairly dented her credibility; Tehelka’s Shoma Chaudhury devastatingly demolished CBI’s case against Arushi Talwar’s parents back in June 2013. Avirook Sen’s recent book on the subject expands substantially on her critique without necessarily unearthing a great deal of new data. What neither Chaudhury nor…

Reimagining India’s Legal System

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they must stop to radically rethink their priorities. For nations, we call them inflection points, sometimes cultural transformations. For mature managers, we call them midlife crises! In every case, it’s about testing basic ideological assumptions about what we believe we want, or…