| The Law and Politics

Course Information

  • 2020-21
  • 5-Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.), LL.M.
  • III, V
  • Mar 2021
  • Elective Course

The course will explore the relationship between law, constitutional structures, and politics. ‘Politics’ here refers to something specific – the kind that is performed by professional politicians. ‘Politics’ in this sense does not occur in institutional or legal vacuum. It is constrained, channeled, and enabled by the regulations under which it operates. The politics we get, then, may at least to some extent, be constructed by the institutional apparatus under which it operates. Similarly, the questions of institutional design are firmly rooted in political contexts.

To explore the relationship between law and politics, the key questions that we will ask in this course are: how would political actors such as politicians and parties be constrained or facilitated by constitutional structures? Is the existing regulation of our political process desirable? What should (can) we do to improve the regulation of political processes?

In search for answers to these questions, we will reverse the gaze and scratch the surface of historical, sociological, and philosophical insights on politics, but with an eye for some of the most pertinent ongoing debates in Indian and global politics – whether it be the regulation of online speech or the role of money and muscle in politics. While the course is primarily aimed at understanding the relationship between the Indian Constitution and Indian politics, it will draw substantially from relevant comparative examples to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the regulation of Indian politics. By incorporating learnings from other disciplines, the course will train students to take an interdisciplinary approach towards constitutional studies.

The course will be based on seminar style discussions. The students will be assessed on the basis of two response papers (responding to allotted modules/units of the course), which they will also be required to present/discuss in the class.