Proportionality in South Asia

South Asian judiciaries have adopted – or have claimed to adopt – proportionality in ad hoc, unstructured fashion. In practice, the higher courts of India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka have blurred the distinction between constitutional and administrative law, applying less searching standards such as Wednesbury under the guise of proportionality. In Bangladesh, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has adopted a more fleshed-out “reasonableness” test. But this approach, too, defers to reasonable legislation without the scrutiny of structured proportionality. This Presentation will explore these developments within the peculiar political and institutional context of South Asia in which courts, echoing their British roots, remain ostensibly deferential to lawmakers, but nonetheless exercise (often) untrammeled powers of judicial review.