On 06 September 2018, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India delivered its verdict in Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India. The judgment partly struck down the archaic Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised carnal intercourse against the order of the nature with any man, woman or animal. Post the verdict, there was a lack of clarity over certain issues concerning types of sexual intercourse. For instance, whether the judgment allows individuals to engage in sodomy and other forms of sexual activities. This prompted me to study the judgment in depth, explain it and answer the above-mentioned questions through an article.
While I finished the article, I realised that there may be so many areas of constitutional law that the common public is unaware of. I was particularly moved by reading a news article in the Indian Express, wherein a poor vendor was charged for disrespecting the national flag. The vendor had used the flag as a roof shed for his house and later claimed that he was unaware that doing so was a punishable offence. The man was merely trying to ensure that his family slept in peace, without heat and the rains but the law did not see it that way.
I consider this news item as one of the many instigators that gave rise to the Basic Structure Blog. The mantra behind the blog is to ‘Summarize, Simplify and Explain’, the law that governs the citizens of India. I believe only an empowered citizen can bring about positive changes in a nation. Another inspiration behind the Blog was the life of Shri Nani Palkhivala, who was popular for his legendary Budget Speeches, wherein he simplified the Annual Budget presented by the Finance Minister and explained it to the masses. Nani had famously remarked,
“My speeches will be considered successful only when that unknown little man who is interested in it comes to know of it and is enabled to attend it. Who knows? One day he may become the Prime Minister of India.”
This inspired me to take up this initiative and explain the law to the masses.
Today, the Blog has completed two years since its first post and I wanted to thank all its readers, critics and its well-wishers. I owe a special thank you to the entire team of Live Law which inter alia includes Rashid Sir and Manu Sir, who have been extremely encouraging towards me and my writing. They have been generous to republish articles from my Blog, which has helped me further my cause.
I also wanted to share the Blog’s achievements, in the past two years. Since 2018, the Blog has published over fifty-two posts, covering topical issues like Renaming of Cities and States in India, Law on Election Speeches, Kesavananda Bharti’s case, Law governing Statues in India, Presidential Order concerning Article 370, Sabarimala Judgment, Akshay Kumar’s citizen row, Hindi as the National Language of India etc. I have also covered interesting chapters of India’s legal history.
I am also proud to share that the Blog’s readership has not just been limited to India but includes readers from other nations as well. The readers include people from all walks of life i.e. lawyers, civil servants, government employees, professors, teachers etc. I wish to extend a special gratitude to the talented law students of our country, who have found the Blog to be thought provoking and have always shared their positive feedback with me.
In the past few years, India has witnessed some major constitutional developments that have garnered polarizing responses, to say the least. A democracy thrives on debates over public issues and one must ensure that these debates are healthy and more importantly informed. Therefore, I believe the past few years have put an extra responsibility and onus on me to explain and discuss topical issues, so that our citizenry can have an informed debate over them.
With my writing, I have tried not taking political sides and have stuck to explaining the law. My conclusions have been solely limited to whether an action arguably violates the law or not, as the final arbiter on legal issues are the Hon’ble Courts of India.
I hope I can continue writing on topical issues which makes our citizens aware of their right and obligations, and more importantly generates an interest in the subject of Constitutional Law.