U.S. – India Comparative Constitutional Law 2.0 : Workshop 2 at NUALS, Kochi (Session III and IV)

October 30, 2021

The Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) in collaboration with its partnered Indian and American universities organised a series of workshops on U.S.- India Comparative Constitutional law in October, November 2021 and January 2022. The partnered Indian and American law universities were paired for an interactive session.

On 30 and 31 October 2021, CLPR conducted the second virtual workshop of this series with students from the National University for Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi (NUALS). It comprised of 4 sessions. This video covers session III and IV. The U.S. law university partner for this workshop was Seattle University School of Law, Seattle. The workshop was attended by over 30 students from the two universities. 10 others were also in attendance—including faculty members, U.S. Consulate staff, and the CLPR team. The workshop was anchored around freedom of speech—particularly, hate speech. A list of reading materials was shared with the workshop participants in advance to facilitate an informed discussion.

The Agendas for session III and IV are provided below:

9.00 pm – 11.00 pm – Session III: Interactive Session with Seattle University School of Law Students on Hate Speech

Part I

The third session of the workshop brought together students from Seattle University School of Law and NUALS for a two-hour interactive session focusing on hate speech. The CLPR team encouraged students to collaboratively explore the legal architecture of hate speech in the two countries by carefully surveying relevant constitutional provisions and case law. A student discussion followed that compared how the Indian and U.S. Constitutions applied limitations on free speech.

Session Readings:

Presentation slides: Session III Part I

Part II

CLPR resource persons reviewed the approaches of U.S. and Indian Supreme Courts to hate speech through two important cases: Amish Devgan v Union of India (2020) and R.A.V v City of St. Paul 505 (1992). Students watched two video clips and were asked to determine if the clips would be considered hate speech in India and the U.S. This exercise allowed students to apply their learnings on the U.S and Indian Constitutions to a real-world scenario.

Session Readings:

Presentation slides: Session III Part II

Speaker Remarks

The invited speaker for this session was Nandita Narayan, Assistant Professor, NUALS. Professor Narayan provided a historical sweep of hate speech jurisprudence in the U.S and India. She highlighted the emerging difficulties in regulating speech in our increasingly digital world. Professor Monika Batra Kashyap, Affiliate Faculty, Seattle University of Law, ended the session by linking students’ discussions around hate speech with Critical Race Theory.


9.00 am – 11.00 am – Session IV: Reflections, Feedback, Going Forward and Essay Competition

The CLPR team and workshop participants took time to reflect on the learnings from the preceding sessions. For an hour, students wrote their essays for the essay competition that responded to the prompt: is studying U.S. constitutional history useful in understanding contemporary constitutional developments in India. The top 2 essayists from the competition will be invited to attend the closing ceremony of the workshop series. The 2-day workshop was brought to an end with remarks by Prof. Mini S., Professor and Ms. Nandita Narayan, Assistant Professor from NUALS.

Presentation slides: Session IV