Workshop on
“Constitutional Values in Contemporary India”
by Centre for Law and Policy Research
24 .3. 2018

On the 24th of March 2018, Mr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy and his team from the Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) conducted a workshop on “Constitutional values in contemporary India” . CLPR is a non-profit organization established in 2009 with the aim of employing a strategic litigation approach in the field of legal research. The aim of the organization is to inculcate constitutional values and constitutional literacy outside formal university settings.

The workshop commenced with a discussion on one of the most controversial issues that the Supreme Court has taken a stand on, in recent years- Shayara Bano vs. Union of India.

The case was mainly concerned with the deteriorating status of Muslim women due to practices like- Talaq-e-biddat, polygamy and Nikah halala. The prayer in the case was to declare such practices unconstitutional as it violates Articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution of India.

The worksheets were complimented by resources provided by the CLPR on their websites. These websites gave comprehensive details on Supreme Court judgments and the Constituent Assembly debates. The students were required to understand and articulate the intricate details of important Supreme Court judgements. The framework of the worksheet enabled the audience to understand the various parts of a case such as the case background, the judges, oral arguments, constitutional history and the judgment.

The verdict tried to distinguish personal laws from fundamental rights providing more clarity on Article 25 of the Constitution of India. The different outlooks and the reasoning provided by the judges in the above case assisted a paradigm shift within the students.

Students, on further scrutiny, realized that the Uniform Civil Code was deeply intertwined in the case although a demand for it was not made during the Constituent Assembly debates. Another observation that was made in the reading of the case was the absence of women in the bench throughout the hearing of this matter. The workshop emphasized on the political context of Constitutional provisions such as the establishment of India as a Sovereign, Democratic, Republic.

The approach employed by the team was to encourage critical thinking. The worksheets helped students gain an understanding of the contextual history of India’s constitutional values. With an emphasis on the diversity of views in India’s erstwhile constituent assembly, students were made aware of the importance of constitutional interpretation today.

The various websites introduced to the students proved to be of immense help while navigating through research work. The workshop complemented the students understanding constitutional values.

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