We are pleased to announce the launch of the Monsoon Issue of Volume 3 of the Journal of Indian Law and Society. This issue sees contribution from Nandan Nawn, Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Manavi Belgaumkar, Jane Schukoske amongst others. Issues of inter-disciplinary interest that have been widely debated in the recent past, feature in this issue.
Two papers deal with different aspects of enactments relating to food security. Balu G. Nair’s paper entitled The National Food Security Bill, 2011: An Opportunity Lost?gives us a succinct overview of the Food Security Bill 2011, discussing some of its major inadequacies. The author has pointed out that from the point of view of the rights discourse as well as structural injustice; the Bill has completely failed to make a move forward towards achieving food security. Given the situation in our country, what is needed is a bold move towards food security, and not a watered down solution. This point has been further highlighted by Nandan Nawn’s paper Reforms in PDS Administration Through Computerisation: A Weak Case for Aadhaarisation which is on the computerization of the Public Distribution System, a move, he claims is a mere eyewash by the government. He has discussed in his paper that the linking of Aadhar to the PDS without any substantial reforms in the food distribution system and the move towards cash transfers brings to light the increased evasion by the government of its responsibilities. Given the fact that political parties have now stepped up the pressure on the government to bring a modified version of the Food Security Bill, it is hoped that these papers will help in furthering the academic discussion surrounding this important legislation.
This issue of the journal also deals with the issue of sexual offences in the country. The law on sexual offences in India is archaic, suffering from major drawbacks and inadequacies, and is in need of a complete overhaul. Pallavi Arora examines this problem in her paper titled Proposals to Reform the Law Pertaining to Sexual Offence in India. She suggests the gradation of sexual offences based on UK law. She argues against the differentiation between penile penetrative and non-penile penetrative offences. Besides this she explores what the age of consent should be in India and argues for the criminalization of marital rape. Prashant Pranjal et al further highlight the undesirable consequences of raising the age of consent for sexual relations in the recently enacted Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. Their paper gives us a pensive insight into a legislation that has been hailed as a first of its kind in India. They highlight the nuances of sexual abuse of children in India adeptly detecting major blotches in the legislation and its conflict with other legislations.
Jane Schukoske and Roopali Adlakha’s article titled Enhancing Good Governance in India: Law Schools and Community-University Engagement highlights the role that Indian law schools can play in enhancing good governance at the grassroots level by improving the delivery of entitlements to meet the basic needs of the disadvantaged communities. Their article examines the different legislations empowering law schools to involve students in legal aid clinics and studies the role of these student organizations in fulfilling the educational and societal development objectives of law schools. Shraddha Kulhari and Sujoy Chatterjee’s paper titled The Emergence of A “High Court of India”: Separating the Myth From the Substance highlights the issue of discrepancy in law caused due to differing judgments by the High Courts. It analyses the reasoning of the Madras High court judgment in using the obiter of the Kusum Ignots Case and discards its argument. To ensure certainty and uniformity in law, the paper suggests a sounder alternative, which is also in consonance with the constitution.
Finally, Manavi Belgaumkar and Sudhir Krishnaswamy have reviewed Prafull Goradia v. Union of India. They point out that the judges ought to have not only justified the basis for the substantiality test developed in this case but also should have set determinate standards for such a test. Given these omissions, the judgment gives rise to more issues than it resolves. This case comment, we hope, will further the debate surrounding this judgment.
We sincerely hope that our readers find the contents of this issue engaging.