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The Transformative Constitution: A Radical Biography in Nine Acts

4.61  ·  Rating details ·  105 ratings  ·  17 reviews
We think of the Indian Constitution as a founding document, embodying a moment of profound transformation from being ruled to becoming a nation of free and equal citizenship. Yet the working of the Constitution over the last seven decades has often failed to fulfill that transformative promise.

Not only have successive Parliaments failed to repeal colonial-era laws that ar
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published March 10th 2019 by HarperCollins India (first published February 28th 2019)
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Ruchi Patel
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-owned

For introduction of the book, I can briefly summarise that, there are nine cases discussed in the book, and the author is practising as a Lawyer so he was professionally involved with four of the cases discussed in the book. I am really confused while writing the reviews as the book is written so perfectly considering minor details and descriptions, I feared that I might not give proper justice.

The book is divided into three parts. Part one is equality. In that three chapters are included. The
Akhilesh Godi
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Happened to be my first book of 2020 - "The Transformative Constitution" is a brilliant book by Gautam Bhatia (an expert in Constitutional Law) which touches upon the Part III of the Constitution of India - majorly the fundamental rights chapters. However, this book is very different in its approach in how it introduces Law and the Constitution of India to even a novice or someone who has no expertise or exposure to law.

Bhatia divides his book into majorly three sections - equality, liberty and
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
An important piece of scholarship, at a crucial juncture in Indian constitutional jurisprudence.

The Supreme Court has been in the news with several controversial judgments - dealing with adultery, LGBT rights, Aadhaar, Sabarimala Temple Entry - among various other determinations of rights. In determining the bounds of constitutional rights, there are several approaches - of which transformative constitutionalism is but one approach, and the one that the author advocates for in this book.

Mohit Dhanjani
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an inspiring journey this was! Absolutely brilliant book.
The analytical framework used by the author is beautiful and invites you to consider depth and richness of those "dry" Supreme Court cases.

The outline and arrangement of chapters is perfect.
Moreover, the narrative and logic as to how Constitution is a radical document and how the Supreme Court ended up interpreting it makes you appreciate the intellect of framers of Constitution.

Chapter 4 'Civil Rights: Indian Medical Association and
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An important book that deals with some of the most critical constitutional issues of our times like LGBTQ rights, religious freedom, preventive laws, etc. This book reignited my interest in constitutional law after having graduated from law school where I primarily focussed on commercial laws. It reinforces the belief that the Indian Constitution was always meant to improve the lives of its marginalized citizens and has a unique mix of presenting perspectives from the past, foreign jurisdictions ...more
Vimal Kumar
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have picked this book from New Delhi Airport with a simple quest to know about making and transformative nature of our constitution. I found it a good book connecting the dots in its making. Find it pleasing to read.

Nevertheless, I found it heavy for the reader who has no or little background of law or similar topics. To understand some of the words, It took me some time to understand, however, again it is a learning opportunity. Is not it!
Ribhav Pande
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An extremely well written and researched book, this is a must read for lawyers as well as judges. The author traverses through lesser known judgments (of High Courts) and dissents (of Supreme Court as well as High Courts), brilliant judgments lost in the pages of history and analyses legal and surrounding circumstances to make a beautiful thread of arguments which challenge the currently existing positions in legal regimes. His idea of our Constitution is that of transformation- the act of givin ...more
Arun Pandiyan
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
"I feel that the Constitution is workable; it is flexible and it is strong enough to hold the country together both in peace time and in war time. Indeed, if I may say so, if things go wrong under the new Constitution the reason will not be that we had a bad Constitution. What we will have to say is that Man was vile."

These were the conclusion remarks of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar when he submitted the draft constitution with 315 articles and 8 schedules to the constituent assembly in 1948. The constitu
Saurabh Mathur
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book argues that the Indian constitution has a transformative character. Not only does it transform the relationship between the individual and the State (like the American constitution), but it also seeks to restructure society itself. The members of the Constituent assembly acknowledged that the State was not the only institution that held concentrated power.

The author makes this argument by articulating the meaning of the principles of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity through judgments
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The contemporary story of the Supreme Court read against the grain, the alternative canon reassuring us that, in the waiting-room of history, to ‘set alight the sparks if hope in the past’ is always a possible dream. Perhaps the history of transformative constitutionalism in India tells us that it has ever been thus.

The book gives a lucid vision of the Transformative Constitutionalism in India. Since Transformative Constitutionalism can only be understood from the point of view of making the wro
Sneha Divakaran
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The book is a crisp compendium of a million points of view condensed to help understand the significance of 9 judgements that have redefined and remoulded the Indian Constitution. The book has inputs from Constitutional Assembly Debates, cross referencing other judgements, even from other countries. It's an excellent piece of accessible scholarship. Read it if Constitutionalism and Constitutional Philosophy, specifically of the Indian Constitution, is your cuppa.
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you for writing this book, Gautam. Learnt a lot about our Constitution. Best wishes always.
Akash Salve
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book gives us a new perspective to interpret constitution. Along with that it contains principles of constitutional morality, which is interesting read.
Prashanth Nuggehalli Srinivas
Fascinating read. I have compiled several interesting quotations, sources as well as a few reflections from the book here. ...more
Ayush Kumar
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gautam Bhatia is probably one of the sharpest brains in the country, and this tome is truly one of the most well-researched, well-thought out pieces of analysis of the Indian Constitution. Bhatia goes into immense detail about various provisions, and doesn't attempt to dumb down anything, while simultaneously making it simple enough for the (relatively) lay reader. I wouldn't recommend this book to a complete layman, but it's a must-read for anyone with an established base of knowledge on the In ...more
Sridip N
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gautam Bhatia argues that the Constitution of India is transformative in character. The book can be placed within his broader work on constitutional philosophy as expressed in his popular blog and other writings. If you are generally interested in law, read it for fun. If you are a student of law, READ IT.
Sandeep Dash
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think I learned more through this book than I have learned through formal legal education of 2 years..
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Gautam Bhatia is a reviewer an editor with the award-winning Strange Horizons magazine. The Wall is his first SF novel.

In another world, he is a lawyer.

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“Fraternity was the bridge that would make liberty and equality become ‘the natural course of things’.” 0 likes
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