The State and Citizenship
Mona Das
CHALLENGES TO CIVIL RIGHTS GUARANTEE IN INDIA by A.G. Noorani Oxford University Press, 2012, 283 pp., 695
October 2012, volume 36, No 10

Rights delineate relationship between the State and the individual hence; they are some sort of parameters to determine the nature of any State. Individual and group rights, including a gamut of second generation rights called civil and political rights, when guaranteed by a State serve as milestones to mark democratization of society.

Advocacy for protection of Civil Rights, in the present era of hegemonic discourses on cross-border terrorism, insurgency, everyday commonplace security threats, is more complex than ever before. Rights are the smallest price that a Nation State is more than willing to pay in return for security and peace.In this context the book under review is an attempt to empower citizens of India through dissemination of information and educating them on civil rights, as admitted in the preface to the book which quotes Francis Bacon’s aphorism ‘Foreknowledge itself is power’.

Neatly divided into nine exhaustive chapters covering various aspects of civil rights the book has an interesting mix of old and new issues as well as issues which in the commonsensical understanding of civil rights may have been neglected. It covers a whole range of themes starting from the most obvious violations like those relating to preventive detention acts, extrajudicial killings, counter-terrorism and human rights, AFSPA, moving on to issues like narcoanalysis, death penalty, video-conferencing, anti-conversion laws which may not appear as violations of civil rights at all.

Continue reading this review