U.S. – India Comparative Constitutional Law 2.0 : Workshop 4 at NLSIU, Bangalore (Session I)

January 18, 2022

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.

CLPR conducted the final workshop of the U.S.-India Comparative Constitutional Law 2.0 series between January 18th and 21st, 2022 with the students of National Law School of India University, Bengaluru. An absorbing interactive session with the students of Tulane University School of Law, our U.S. based partner university, was part of the final day of the workshop. Over 30 students from both universities participated in the workshop. They were joined by faculty members from the two universities, U.S. Consulate staff, and members of the CLPR team.

The CLPR team built the workshop around three sessions that explored the federal distribution of power within a U.S.-India comparative constitutional framework. It gave the students an opportunity to think about critical Constitutional Law issues and engage in a vibrant discussion from the U.S. and Indian contexts. This video covers session I of the workshop.

The Agenda for session I is provided below:

2.45 pm – 4.45 pm – Session I: Constitutional Founding

Part I

The first session focused on ‘Constitutional Founding’. The CLPR team took the students through the constitution-making process in the U.S. and India. A CLPR-produced video on the making of the Constitution of India gave the students an overview of constitution-making in India. This smoothly transitioned into a student dialogue on whether constitutions must be made democratically. The students then discussed if the American and Indian constitution-making processes were democratic enough.

Session Readings:

Presentation slides: Session I Part I

Part II

The CLPR team introduced the students to the twin doctrines of ‘due process’ and ‘procedure established by law’, providing students with a brief overview of how the U.S. and Indian Constitution-framers discussed them at the time of constitution-making.

The team then presented the students with a hypothetical situation: they were to gauge the possible responses of U.S constitution framer Alexander Hamilton and Indian constitution framer Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar.

Session Readings:

Presentation Slides: Session I Part II

Speaker Remarks

Dr. Nicholas Cole, Senior Research Fellow, Pembroke College, University of Oxford, guided the students to reflect critically on why it was worth our time to think about our founding constitutional moments. He helped examine this question with an engaging focus on the and its making. He emphasised the novelty of the U.S. constitutional experiment – it was the first time that members of a political community put pen to paper and wrote down imagined their political future.