PASSAGE Three judgments by the Supreme Court in the month of July mark a sharp departure from pedantic legalism and point to the possibilities of a transformative constitutionalism that sustains and elaborates the idea of constitutional morality developed in the Naz Foundation judgment of the Delhi High Court in 2009. The three cases are also very different pieces that speak to different realities in similar fashion: Ram Jethmalani v Union of India (SIT); Nandini Sundar and Others v State of Chhattisgarh (SJ); and Delhi Jal Board v National Campaign for Dignity and Rights of Sewerage and Allied Workers (DJB). It might be argued, and rightly too, that radical jurisprudence by the Supreme Court is not a recent phenomenon – it has an older history rooted in struggles for civil and political rights. While that is the genealogy of this jurisprudence, we need yet to celebrate each signpost in the development of deliberative jurisprudence that responds not merely to the manifestations of a case, narrowly construed, but sees the larger socio-political context as an inextricable part of the bare facts, so to speak. The guarantee of public goods – security, infrastructure for governance, law making and enforcement, provision of material and cultural goods especially for classes that lack the power, privilege and status to secure these for themselves – is state obligation. Neither markets (which cater to self-centered activities of individuals and groups) nor purely private social action can be expected to stand in for the state and provide public goods. Central to the delineation of the problem in these cases is the opening out of the idea of constitutionalism to include a broader idea of justice that enables the mapping of injustice in all its complexity. Tracing the link between the existence of perennial channels for unaccounted monies abroad and the erosion of developmental goals of the state, the Supreme Court contextualizes the need to reign in cash flows and ensure total accountability with reference to the structure of a neo-liberal economy. Gunnar Myrdal’s caution about the dangers of a “soft state” that spawns the “unholy nexus between the law maker, the law keeper, and the law breaker” is immediately relevant. “Carried away by the ideology of neo-liberalism, it is entirely possible that the agents of the State entrusted with the task of supervising the economic and social activities may err more on the side of extreme caution, whereby signals of wrongdoing may be ignored even when they are strong. Instances of the powers that be ignoring publicly visible stock market scams, or turning a blind eye to large-scale illegal mining have become all too familiar, and may be readily cited.” The framework of justice by this token stretches illimitably beyond the narrow confines of constitutional law and decided cases to the letter and spirit of the constitution. “Modern constitutionalism posits that no wielder of power should be allowed to claim the right to perpetrate state’s violence against anyone, much less its own citizens, unchecked by law, and notions of innate human dignity of every individual.”
Q.1 Which of the following options correctly sums up the areas that the author seeks to cover through the passage?
A) Jurisprudence, Justice and the Constitution
B) Jurisprudence, Neo-liberalism and Politics
C) Society, Politics and Jurisprudence
D) The Constitution, Jurisprudence and Enforcement of justice
Q.2 “Central to the delineation of the problem in these cases is the opening out of the idea of constitutionalism to include a broader idea of justice that enables the mapping of injustice in all its complexity.” Which of the following statements would correctly paraphrase the above line?
A) The main way to define the problem is to merge the understanding of constitutionalism and justice so that all aspects of injustice are covered.
B) The essential way to define the problem is to include the understanding of constitutionalism and justice with all aspects of injustice.
C) The crucial aspect of defining the problem is to broaden the understanding of constitutionalism and hence justice to include aspects of injustice.
D) The crucial aspect of defining the problem is to widen the understanding of constitutionalism and hence justice so that all complexities of injustice are covered.
Q.3 How does the author develop the central idea?
A) By making a reference to three cases which form the core of the discussion.
B) By making a reference to the Naz foundation judgment which forms the base for the core of the discussion.
C) By making a reference to recent judicial developments and referring to the lineage of jurisprudence that includes the socio-political context.
D) By making a reference to recent judicial developments and referring to the lineage of jurisprudence in the context of neo-liberalism.
Q.4 It can be inferred that the tone of the author in the third paragraph is