Wednesday, October 31, 2012
In 1947, India and Pakistan embarked on separate constitutional journeys. While India adopted a constitution which it called ‘secular’, Islam was given a central role in Pakistan. Nevertheless, Indian state continued to be interventionist in religious affairs. Religious groups have continued to be governed by separate religious family laws, and ‘secular’ courts are asked upon to adjudicate on these religious laws. It has partly succeeded to reform Hindu law, but failed to touch minority Muslim law. Controversially, religion and politics are more intertwined than ever before, and in some cases courts have given this their stamp of approval. On the other hand, in Pakistan, religious and secular courts have remained separate, and codification and reform of sharia law has been undertaken.
Has the ‘secular’ Indian system succeeded to maintain an adequate separation of religion and state? Has the ‘religious’ system of Pakistan allowed for a more dynamic reform of religious law? Has the Indian model provided better protection of minority rights and preservation of the rule of law? How different or similar are the paths charted by the two countries, and are their fates diverging or converging?
Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for International Studies and Research, in Paris, France, the author of India's Silent Revolution: The Rise of the Lower Castes in North India and the editor ofPakistan: Nationalism Without A Nation.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Visiting Professor of Indian Constitutional Law (Fall 2012) and the author of Democracy and Constitutionalism in India.
Constitution Making in the Arab Spring: Have Islamists Stolen the Revolution?
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Visiting Professor of Law and Oscar M. Ruebhausen Distinguished Senior Fellow (Yale Law School)
Executive Director (Human Rights Watch)
Mass movements make good revolutions but do they also make ‘good’ constitutions? In our modern rule-of-law world, constitution-making has become a battleground for the unfolding of the revolution. As the euphoria of revolution in the Middle East and North Africa transitions into the painstaking work of constitution drafting, the political debate is rife with disagreements among people with varying views about the role of Islam in government.
As the most well organized oppositional group in the region, Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Ennahda party in Tunisia have been most able to step into the vacuum left by the old authoritarian regimes. Their political rise causes anxiety for non-Islamists as to whether the revolutionary space will be seized by Islamists to create governments with new injustices to replace the abusive rule of the old regimes. The disagreements about the role of Islam, and the derivative areas of disputes concerning gender equality, religious freedom, and minority rights, risk undermining the vision of many who launched the revolutionary movements. Have the Islamists stolen the revolution?
In March 2011, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Italian law requiring the display of crucifixes in classrooms of state schools did not violate the European Convention on Human Rights. In so doing, it overturned an earlier chamber decision that the law violated the ECHR's guarantee of religious freedom. The Grand Chamber decision was hailed by supporters as affirming Italy's history and tradition as a religious country. Detractors argued that the decision effectively eroded the right of citizens not to be coerced by the state, whether directly or indirectly, to affirm one or any religion. The two decisions reflect contrasting positions on the nature and content of religious liberty, as well as the content and requirements of secularism. These reflections are relevant not only to the specific context of Italy and Europe, but also the United States which continues to struggle with the appropriate boundaries of the constitution's non-establishment injunction and its religious history.
Justice Clarence Thomas ’74 and John C. Danforth ’63 participated in the Debating Law & Religion Series yesterday at Yale Law School. The event, “Religion in the Public Service: A Conversation,” was moderated by Guido Calabresi ’58.
Thursday, February 12, 2015, 4:30 p.m.
Yale Law School