Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Laws


The Constitution of India recognizes a wide variety of fundamental rights: civil and political, socio-economic, and group rights. A conflict between these rights is a common occurrence. The Supreme Court of India’s method of resolving conflicts has been ad-hoc, nebulous, and vague. The Court rarely locates the conflict at a granular level and, on the rare occasion that it does, the decision lacks comprehensive reasoning. This paper attempts to demonstrate the doctrinal, structural, and reasoning gap in the Court’s jurisprudence. The paper does so by analyzing a subset of cases where the Court has adjudicated on conflicts between the right to life and dignity and the right to speech and assembly.

The paper starts by briefly describing two contrasting normative models of rights-adjudication: the ‘specification’ model and the ‘balancing’ model to set a benchmark for rights-conflict adjudication (Part II). Then, the paper explains the framework of fundamental rights in India and how these rights conflict (Part III). It points out the doctrinal inconsistency in the Court’s approach while adjudicating rights conflict and discusses the problems in the Court’s reasoning (Part IV). Thereafter, the paper examines the urgent need to resolve these issues (Part IV and Part V). Finally, in Part VI, the paper suggests a comprehensive analytical framework to narrowly locate the conflict of rights in the facts of the case and structure the rights-balancing exercise.


Constitutional Law | International Law | Law

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