The aim of all law is to sustain life not support its destruction
Invisible law is a magazine we created to visualize the invisible. It is our belief, that a grievance does not become a legal claim until it is given a name by the law.
The ‘pavement dwellers’ did not exist as a category of persons in law, they were ‘a nuisance’ in the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, until the Supreme Court in Olga Tellis stated that they had a right to the due process of law. The self employed women of SEWA did not exist, they were “trespassers,” the Supreme Court said that vegetable vendors had a right to urban spaces and a right to get a license to hawk as a part of their fundamental right to trade and business. Domestic violence was not domestic violence, it was a “family matter” until women demanded and obtained a law preventing it. Sexual harassment was not harassment, it was “water cooler talk ” until Catharine MacKinnon said it was a violation of the right to non-discrimination based on sex. People living with HIV were isolated under the public health laws as a “public nuisance” until one person the late Dominic Desouza living with HIV demanded the right to live in the public domain with HIV. Today, we have the HIV/AIDS Bill pending in the parliament, which gives every person the right to be treated for HIV on State mandated funds and the right not to be discriminated in all spheres of life. The Supreme Court of India is alone in identifying the third gender as being self-identified, refusing to medicalize the issue. The High Court of Delhi struck done Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code on the ground that it violates the right to dignity.
I have often said, the law is not written in stone, the law is what you make of it, what you put into it, how you interpret the Constitution in a contemporary manner. The creativity of the law is what has kept me glued to the Courts for over 50 long years now. Every generation has the right to interpret the Constitution, to serve their aspirations and goals of a life well lived, It was Ronald Dorwkin who said we each have a duty to live our lives well and define for ourselves what success means for us.
The aim of all law is to sustain life and not support its destruction. We hope in this platform, to visualize the law of the future by bringing you the voices of the survivors, seeking to interpret the Constitution of India in their own fashion. We welcome your random thoughts, your day dreams, your creativity and your cartoons.
Featured picture credit: Sonia Jabbar