A Government without power? The aberrations of federalism in India

The Delhi state government has limited powers. Since 2015, the Indian government has impeded its functioning by denuding it of the power to prosecute corrupt officials. It vested administrative powers in the Lieutenant-Governor (LG), an appointee of the Center. In litigation, the Supreme Court ruled against usurping the powers of the state government in service matters. It held that the LG is bound by the advice of the cabinet.
I offer three arguments about federalism in India. First, the status of Delhi needs to re-examined to ensure that popular mandate is not thwarted. It has a strong case for full statehood. Ignoring this demand would be a perversion of federalism. Second, an elected government must have autonomy in service matters without which it will be hamstrung. A popular government bereft of police powers is largely ineffective. Third, circumventing federalism sends the ominous message that attempts to change governance will be frustrated.

Investigating authority in constitutional systems

This paper considers the question in the call for papers as to whether public law has the resources to adapt and respond to the challenges posed by authoritarian threats and rising public distrust? The paper argues that public law’s current difficulties are in part related to its tendency in recent decades to rely on narrowly law-oriented conceptions of institutional power. This neglects other potential pathologies of power in a way that inhibits the capacity of public law to deliver on its promise. The lesson from this, it is argued, is that there is a need to adjust our constitutional models to take better account of the sociological and political dimensions of power. In particular, there is a need to move beyond legal-rational notions of authority and investigate the socio-political dynamics through which authority is established – and lost. The paper concludes with a discussion of potential investigative strategies for a forthcoming European Research Council project.

Legal Education in the Context of Autocratic Legalism

Law is not as static as it appears to be at first sight, it is made or remade in the capillaries of legal profession. This makes legal education an important target for regimes in which autocratic legalism is present. As these regimes try to keep their democratic façade, how law is practiced in the  capillaries of society becomes more important. Control over legal education gives the regime an opportunity to influence legal practice more subtly. Therefore, rather than focusing solely on instruments of public law, it may be useful to turn our attention to legal education. In this perspective, I will examine how these regimes target legal education and Turkey will be my main example. I will explain how centralized type of governance for universities blocks the possibility of critical approaches to legal education while allowing the government to have more control on legal education. I will also focus on the tensions between bar associations and government in Turkey and the impact this has on legal training, and eventually, on “law as it is lived” in society.

EU law against the emerging social contract of democratic backsliding

Democratic backsliding in the EU poses questions about how to understand and how to remedy it. This paper explains this phenomenon as a search for a specific social contract between the illiberal forces and the societies they seek to govern. Potential and actual responses by European institutions to this very challenge, with the particular emphasis on the ground-breaking potential of infringement procedures for supporting the division of powers in the Member States, are discussed next.

Presidential Terms, Electoral Contests and Protests against Dictatorial Regimes in in Africa

In spite of constitutional democracy installed in paper, African nations and people are suffering relentlessly by dictatorial regimes and the tendency to to rule over people against their free will. An oasis of comport may be gathered from a few countries like Mauritius,, Botswana, Tanzania and South Africa. Most other African countries suffer from trust deficit in the system. African constitutions are mostly designed in Presidential form of government making the term limit a constitutional necessity. However, constitutional term limit in many African countries are being changed in order to extend the lease of life to the class of elected dictatorship.These unhealthy trends are serving as retrograde steps reversing the gear of democratisation process in Africa.The examples of Zimbabwe, Burundi,Togo and election scene in Gambia and emerging scene in Algeria show a Kingly attitude to stay in power. The paper addresses the attendant issues and explores new paths to progress of democracy.

What does militant democracy look like?

I explore the concept of militant democracy in the context of what appear to be persistent threats to the democratic order. I begin with reconstruction of militant democracy, intended to distinguish and identify historical manifestations of the concept. I then trace and document a core element of the concept — party regulation — across historical constitutions. I then turn to a particularly acute threat to democracy in developing societies — executive term-limit evasion. Term-limit evasion accelerates a pernicious negative cycle in which constitutional non-compliance begets constitutional weakness, which in turn begets subsequent non-compliance. Such a negative feedback loop is a core problem in law. Militant democracy, the logic of which implies the entrenchment and protection of term limits, would potentially disrupt such negative cycles.