Seminar: “Why Do Our Constitutional Debates Matter?” by Mr. Vikram Raghavan, World Bank, Washington DC, USA
Abstract:In this talk it is argued that Indians must take their Constitutional debates seriously. Using rare archival material and photographs, the talk explores the initial neglect of the Constituent Assembly's work in the 1950s. The turning point came with the use of the Debates in the 1960s and 1970s as a tool to interpret key provisions of the Constitution by judgesand lawyers. The talk then discusses the need to read Constituent Assembly Debates, and how such engagement can assist in the resolution of the various constitutional predicaments and anxieties of our times.About the speaker:Vikram Raghavan is Lead Counsel and Senior Legal Advisor at the World Bank in Washington, DC. As a member of the East Asia and South Asia group, he is country lawyer for the World Bank’s operations in India, Myanmar, and Korea. In that capacity, he provides legal and transactional advice on a variety of Constitutional, operational, and local law issues that arise inWorld Bank-financed projects in those areas. He advises on conflict, fragility, refugees, and macroeconomics. He serves on the World Bank’s Post Conflict Fund Committee. He also provides legal advice regarding development policy operations (formerly called structural adjustment operations) and breach-of-governmental-contract questions. Among otherthings, he provides legal advice about military coups; United Nations sanctions; debt relief; and loan conditionality. Previously, he worked as country lawyer for World Bank portfolios in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Most recently, he focused on Iraq, Iran, the West Bank, and Gaza.Before joining the World Bank in 2001, Vikram Raghavan was an associate in the New York office of O’Melveny & Myers. There, he worked on several transactional, litigation, and international-arbitration matters. He graduated from NLSIU, Bangalore with eight gold medals in diverse fields of law and earned his Masters in international law from NYU Law School. He is active with the American Society of International Law and served on its Executive Council.Among a range of other writings, he is the author of Communications Law in India (LexisNexis, 2006) and is co-editor of Comparative Constitutionalism in South Asia (Oxford University Press, 2013). Presently, he is writing an Oxford Shorter Introduction to India's legal system. Also planned is a book about India’s founding as a Republic. He is also presently workingwith Vasujith Ram on editing George Gadbois' PHD thesis on the foundations of our Supreme Court for publication.Vikram Raghavan lectures frequently about the World Bank's history, law, and policy. He delivers a widely appreciated TED-style talk, War and Peace at the World Bank. The talk narrates the Bank's evolution from its Bretton Woods' founding to the 2011 World Development Report on conflict and development (which he helped produce).