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

January 20, 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 III of the workshop.

The Agenda for session III is provided below:

7.30 pm – 9.30 pm – Session III: Federal Distribution of Executive Powers

Part I

The final session of the workshop focused on the federal distribution of Executive powers in the U.S. and India. The Indian law students were joined by students and faculty from the Tulane Law School, New Orleans. The CLPR presentation gave the both sets of students an overview of the constitutional provisions pertaining to Executive structure in the U.S. and India. The student discussion that followed revolved around the differences and similarities in the distribution of Executive powers between the Union and the States in the U.S. and India.

Session Readings:

Presentation Slides: Session III Part I

Part II

The CLPR team took the students through the ‘Net Neutrality’ debate in the U.S. and the issue of the expanding jurisdiction of the Border Security Force in India and the federal controversies that arose in these cases. With this background, students participated in an activity where they had to design the Indian and U.S. Supreme Courts’ response to a hypothetical conflict between the State and the Union Executives.

Session Readings:

Presentation Slides: Session III Part II

Speaker Remarks

Scott Hartmann, Cultural Affairs Officer, United States Consulate General Chennai, introduced the speaker for the session Professor Mark Tushnet, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law, Emeritus, Harvard Law School.

In his remarks, Professor Tushnet argued against the conventional view that the U.S. did not have a ‘President’s Rule’ type constitutional provision like India does. He then compared U.S. and Indian constitutional law and history to show how the grounds to dismiss a State government varied in the two jurisdictions. Students had a chance to interact with Prof Tushnet and ask questions. With this, the session came to a close.

Following the talk, the students were invited to an hour-long essay competition on January 23rd, 2022, on the topic, ‘how should legislative and executive power be distributed between the Centre and the States to respond to a virulent pandemic?’. The top two essayists were invited to the closing ceremony of the workshop series. The CLPR team took feedback from the students and brought the workshop to an end.