'Is vagueness a virtue?: Reading the Indian Constitution' by Prof. Rowena Robinson, HSS, IITB
All written constitutions are general and abstract but the Indian constitution has an interesting aspect: ambiguity with respect to particular foundational issues combined with precision and detail on institutional and procedural matters. How should we understand this? The presentation enlarges on an argument different from the one normally espoused, regarding the revolutionary character of the moment of constitution-making in India. The talk develops Lerner's notion of the 'incrementalist' constitution wherein difficult decisions regardingcertain basic aspects of the state are deferred for later political institutions to take or left vague and opaque within the text of the constitution itself. The argument does not perceive this process as evasion or confusion but as a deliberate choice in favor of gradualism – that constitutional mechanisms once framed will soften possible rifts in the future.
About the Speaker:
Professor Robinson teaches and researches in the discipline of Sociology at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Institute and has also taught at various points of time in Delhi University, JNU and IITG.