Recent additions to the blog pages include:
(i) The introduction of “Multiculturalism” under the Theorising Rights page, with eight classic pieces. The idea of multiculturalism is important for justifying as well as interpreting minority and other group rights, which form a crucial part of the Indian Constitution. The first three pices – by Charles Taylor, Will Kymlicka and Brian Barry – lay out the groundwork of a liberal theory of multicultural rights in a democracy, and introduce some of the key concepts, such as “recognition”. The next five encapsulate critiques from various perspectives. Nancy Fraser’s essay questions the very idea of “recognition”, while Iris Marion Young and Susan Muller Okin mount two famous feminist criticisms. Coleman’s piece looks at multiculturalism through the lens of justice, and Sachar rounds it off by examining multiculturalism as it plays out through differential treatment in law.
(ii) Press freedoms in the context of libel and other SLAPP-tactics under the Civil Liberties Database: added two landmark American cases – Curtis Publishing v. Butts and Gertz v. Welsh, both of which addressed the vexing questions of libel suits, punitive damages and the need to reconcile privacy and reputational claims with free flow of information that is of public importance, and the essential breathing space needed by a free press.
(iii) Under offensive speech: added Cohen v. California (the “Fuck the Draft” case), and Texas v. Johnson (the flag-burning case).
(iv) The freedom of religion category has been introduced under the Civil Liberties Database, with landmark American cases on defining “religion”, and exemptions for religions conduct.
(v) The Reliance SLAPP attempt upon “Gas Wars” is the latest free speech controversy brewing in India. “Free Speech Watch” has begun – and will continue to – track it.
As always, contributions to the Civil Liberties Database, and the Theorising Rights Page, are most welcome.