- Hardcover: 544 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins India; 1 edition (28 February 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9353026849
- ISBN-13: 978-9353026844
- Product Dimensions: 20 x 14 x 4 cm
- Customer Reviews: 61 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Transformative Constitution: A Radical Biography in Nine Acts Hardcover – 28 February 2019
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The book is divided into three parts. Part one is equality. In that three chapters are included. The first one is Sex Discrimination: Anuj Garg and the Anti- Stereotyping Principle. In the beginning of the each section, Important reference articles are given briefly. Chapter two is Equality before law: Naz Foundation and equal moral membership. And the chapter three is Equality of opportunity: N.M. Thomas, group subordination, and the Directive Principles. The cases and all the articles and sections of the laws are described accurately and it’s explained such a way that a normal person like me who doesn’t understand terminologies of laws and constitutional can easily understand. The references and judgements of different cases and states that are relevant are also mentioned.
Part two is Fraternity. In that fourth chapter is Civil Rights: Indian medical association and horizontal discrimination. Fifth chapter is Religious Freedom and Group Identity: Saifuddin and Anti- Exclusion Principle. And the chapter six is the Freedom to work: Peoples union for democratic rights and forced labour. As I stated before, the author was also professionally involved with four of the cases discussed in the book that are the constitutional challenge to section 377 of the IPC. Another one is right to privacy case, the bail applications of Kabir Kala Manch before the Supreme Court and the constitutional challenge to Aadhaar. I have read very superficially regarding all those cases while preparing for competitive exams but I really enjoyed “learning” about it in this details.
Part three of the book is Liberty. The third chapter of the book is Privacy beyond the Public/Private Divide: Sareetha And Freedom within the family. Chapter eight is Speech, Association, Personal liberty and the state of exception: Jyoti Chorge v. State of Maharashtra and the last chapter is Privacy and Criminal Process: Selvi v. State of Karnataka. We have seen many cases as headlines recently like the Supreme Court’s judgements in adultery, and the section 377 challenge and very famous Sabarimala temple entry case. Those judgements were delivered after the author finished writing the book so there was no time to integrate them but he have instead addressed them in brief postscripts to each chapters.
There were many questions and comments were popping around my mind when I picked up this book and read the introduction but now I feel to inferior considering subject knowledge so I have kept reviews to the point and only mentioned components of the book only. But overall I can conclude that to write such non fiction book, the detail study of subjects and all the cases is required and the author has done pretty good job. The author has explained everything in such a way that common people can understand easily. Written in simple and easily understandable language so that everyone can enjoy it. Terminologies are well explained. References of articles and sections are also provided that are relevant. Overall good one. I recommend this to everyone. Must read for non fiction lovers and who all are preparing for competitive examinations.
It demonstrates how the letter of the Constitution is not the only way to read it - the Spirit of the Constitution is even more important.
To arrive at the Spirit, the book cites the debates of the Constituent Assembly, the history of past reforms, the writings of previous thinkers, the Constitutions and jurisprudence of other countries, and the evolution of Constitutional jurisprudence in India.
The book is an effective tool for understanding the reasons why the Constitution is the way it is, its potential for advancing human principles, and how our legal system works.
Perhaps lawyers know most of this anyway, through their education and practice. Even for a lay person though it is a great read.
Since knowledge of civics and Law are in short supply amongst citizenry, and since the hard work of explaining these 9 cases has already been done, perhaps an attempt should be made to present the basics of each of the 9 cases in separate 5 minute videos in various languages, and circulate them on social media. This would help in having a better informed citizenry, which would surely be an asset to India.
The analytical framework used by the author is beautiful and invites you to consider depth and richness of those "dry" Supreme Court cases.
The outline and arrangement of chapters is perfect.
Moreover, the narrative and logic as to how Constitution is a radical document and how the Supreme Court ended up interpreting it makes you appreciate the intellect of framers of Constitution.
Chapter 4 'Civil Rights: Indian Medical Association and Horizontal Discrimination' and Chapter 6 'The Freedom to Work: Peoples Union for Democratic Rights and Forced Labour' are par excellence. Meaning of 'shops' and 'begar' will never be the same for you after reading both these chapters.
It changed my perception and helped me widen my horizons.