Equality and Diversity in Indian and European Constitutional Discourse

A common and fundamental challenge that democratic constitutions face today arises from the tension between the promise of democratic equality and the respect for diverse identities. This paper compares the constitutional approach to equality and diversity in the law of democracy of India and the European Union. We argue that the meaning and function of equality in a democratic but heterogenous polity is shaped by at least three distinct registers of political discourse: liberal universalism, pluralism and cultural nationalism. The paper uses these frames to hightlight the different approaches in the two polities.

Political parties and social movements in Indian and EU law of democracy

This talk provides an overview of some key mechanisms, in which law structures two important sites of contestation, organization and political representation in India and in the EU, social movements and political parties. Two key insights emerge: First, legal rules are in many ways similar in both systems, seeking to enforce a certain degree of ideological homogeneity with regard to political parties but remaining ultimately largely symbolic. In both systems, we see civil society organizations as one driver of political and social reform through strategic litigation. Secondly, the underlying narratives are nevertheless different. European party regulation works largely by offering financial incentives, thus mirroring ultimately the functionalism of European constitutionalism it was meant to help overcome. In contrast, the revolutionary character of India’s founding continues to shape the grammar of Indian politics and law.

Comment on project

This comment will critically engage with the book – bringing in especially the perspective of a scholar of EU and comparative law.

Comment on project

This comment will critically engage with the book, bringing in the perspective of a scholar engaging in Indian, South African and more generally commonwealth constitutional law.