31 March 2008

Special Issue on 'India' - German Law Journal

The latest issue (No. 3 of 2008) of the German Law Journal is a Special devoted to India. The issue's contributors cover a wide range of topics related to law in India. The two first articles in the volume are:

Werner Menski (SOAS) on Recent Developments in Uniform Civil Code Debates. From the Introduction:

".... I present here the recent developments in India’s law relating to the much-debated Uniform Civil Code agenda to illustrate that Indian law today increasingly turns its back on supposedly European or “Western” models, and has been developing its own country-specific and situation-sensitive methods of handling complex socio-legal issues. This may contain some important lessons for European lawyers, specifically in terms of managing cultural diversity through plurality-conscious legal intervention, rather than the traditional insistence on state-centric legal uniformity. The key lesson from this evidence is that personal status laws may well endure and survive the much-desired uniformity of legal reforms all over Asia and Africa, and probably elsewhere, too. The future of the world lies evidently not in simplistic legal uniformity, but in considered, carefully weighed respect for diversity".

and Hiram E. Chodosh (U of Utah, Quinney College of Law) on Mediating Mediation Reform in India. From this article's Introduction:

".... [T]his essay seeks to draw lessons from my observations and experiences as an intermediary in the encounter between mediation and the Indian legal culture. Section B. summarizes the history of mediation reform in India, including a summary of the assessment upon which mediation reform proposals were initially based, a brief history of the legislation, and the Supreme Court’s framework for exploring questions of implementation. Section C. explores the value of specific mediation negotiation and communication tools, draws attention to a daunting set of reform obstacles, and suggests some strategies for overcoming them. Section D. advances two critiques of foreign (primarily American) involvement in Indian mediation reform. The first critique focuses on a set of American conceptual assumptions about mediation that frustrate the adaptation of mediation tools to the Indian legal context. The second critique isolates special problems encountered by outsiders in the advancement of local reforms. Finally, Section E. illuminates an unforeseen application of mediation in India: tools that may assist in resolving conflict over the mediation reform itself".

The Volume's other contributions are:

-Piyel Haldar, on: The Sublime Codes of Manu; Law and Eighteenth Century Orientalism ("examines the work of Sir William Jones, a high court judge of the puisne courts in Calcutta during the latter decades of the eighteenth century, whose translations of the Hindu codes of law were both an attempt to understand those laws as they cohered the relevant section of Indian society and an attempt to infuse the common law with the same spirit of the sublime he discerned in the writings and reception of Hindu law").

-Donald R. Davis, Jr., on: Law and 'Law Books' in the Hindu Tradition (compares "the role of sacred Hindu texts in the realm of Indian jurisprudence by contrasting two "periods" of Indian legal history, the classical and the colonial/postcolonial. These "periods" are too simplistic for other purposes, but they are employed here heuristically. The contrast highlights a perhaps surprising difference in the legal appropriation of sacred Hindu texts, namely that traditional legal systems of India rarely used sacred texts directly in the administration of law, while British colonial courts and modern courts in India regularly made a direct, but superficial use of sacred texts as sources of law").

-Deepa Badrinarayana, on: Karma or Dharma: India's Climate Catch 22 and the Future of the Kyoto Protocol (analyzes "the case of India—the economic and climate challenges of the sub-continent, and the scope of its laws—to provide an understanding of the multiple national policy challenges that will directly influence the efficacy of the future global climate regime").

-Subatra K. Mitra, on: Level Playing fields: The Post-Colonial State, Democracy, Courts and Citizenship in India (analyzes "the legal, political and moral basis of citizenship in the contemporary world. India is analyzed here as a case in point of a general category of ‘changing societies’ emerging from colonial or communist rule. Citizenship, which used to be considered a part of the general problem of nation-building, has increasingly acquired the character of a salient problem in its own right. This change in perspective has come about as a consequence of globalization and the world-wide diffusion of basic norms of human rights".)

-Malcolm MacLaren, on: 'Thank you India' - Reflections on the 4th International Conference on Federalism (New Delhi, 5-7 November 2007) (analyzing "the claim that India's political system should be considered a model for other countries.").

All articles can be found here.

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