Friday, February 19, 2021

Tan, Hoque and friends on constitutional foundings in South Asia

Kevin Y. L. Tan (National University of Singapore/Nanyang Technological University) and Ridwanul Hoque (University of Dhaka/Charles Darwin University, Australia) have co-edited Constitutional Foundings in South Asia, just out with Hart. From the publisher: 

This volume addresses the idea of origins, how things are formed, and how they relate to their present and future in terms of 'constitution-making' which is a continuous process in South Asian states. It examines the drafting, nature, core values and roles of the first modern constitutions during the founding of the eight modern nation-states in South Asia.

The book looks at the constitutions of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It provides an explanatory description of the process and substantive inputs in the making of the first constitutions of these nations; it sets out to analyse the internal and external (including intra-regional) forces surrounding the making of these constitutions; and it sets out theoretical constructions of models to conceptualise the nature and role of the first constitutions (including constituent documents) in the founding of the modern nation-states and their subsequent impact on state-building in the region.

Table of Contents after the break:

1. South Asian Constitutional Foundings: Beyond History

Kevin YL Tan, National University of Singapore and Ridwanul Hoque, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh


I. Why this Book?

II. Constitutional History Matters

A. Constitutional Foundings

B. Conditions and Functions of Constitutional Foundings

III. Factors Impacting Constitutional Foundings

A. Internal Factors

B. Local Politics

C. Socio-Economic Conditions

D. External Factors

IV. The Legacies of Constitutional Foundings

V. A Note of Acknowledgement

2. India's Constitutional Founding: An Enduring but Mixed Legacy

Arun K Thiruvengadam, Azim Premji University, Bangalore, India


I. Constitutional Developments in Pre-Modern India and During the Colonial Period (1550–1947)

A. The Mughals and the East India Company (1550–1857)

B. The British Raj and Colonial Forms of Constitutional Government (1858–1947): A Bird's Eye View

C. The Nationalist Movement and the Build-up of Attempts at Constitution-Making (1885–1947): A Worm's Eye View

II. Crafting a Constitution for Independent India: The Work of the Constituent Assembly (1946–1949)

A. Background and Origin of the Constituent Assembly

B. The Ambient Atmosphere of Constitution-Making

C. Processes, Modes of Functioning, and Stages of Constitution-Making in the Constituent Assembly

D. A Survey of Important Provisions and Themes in the Text

III. Brief Analysis of Evolution of the Post-Independence Constitutional Order (1947–2019)

3. From Nation to State: Constitutional Founding in Pakistan

Sadaf Aziz, Shaikh Ahmad Hassan School of Law, Pakistan and Moeen Cheema, ANU College of Law, Australia


I. Constituent Assemblies as the Site of Constitutional Drafting

II. Inchoate Visions of Nationhood

III. Competing Visions of Statehood

IV. Compromise(d) Constitutionalism

V. Conclusion

4. The Founding and Making of Bangladesh's Constitution

Ridwanul Hoque, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh


I. The Emergence of Bangladesh

A. Bangladesh and the 1947 Partition of British India

B. Bangladesh as Part of Pakistan (1947 to 1971): The Pre-independence Years of Constitution-making

II. The Proclamation of Independence and the Provisional Constitution: The First Foundings

A. The Proclamation of Independence: The First Interim Constitution

B. The Provisional Constitution Order: The Second Interim Constitution

III. The Making of Bangladesh's Founding Constitution: The Drafting Process

A. The Constituent Assembly and the Wider Political Policy for Foundings

B. The Constitution Drafting Committee

C. Adopting the Founding Constitution

IV. The Constitution's Four Identity Principles and the Political Founding

A. Nationalism

B. Socialism

C. Democracy

D. Secularism

V. The Foundings and the Problem of Inclusive Constitutionalism

VI. External Influences on the Founding Constitution

VII. Post-1972 Developments and the Impact of Constitutional Foundings

VIII. Conclusion

5. Dominion Status and Compromised Foundations: The Soulbury Constitution and Sinhalese Buddhist Nationalist Responses to the Founding of the Ceylonese State, 1931–1956

Roshan de Silva-Wijeyeratne, Griffith University, Australia


I. The Colebrooke-Cameron Commission

II. The Donoughmore Reforms

III. The Soulbury Commission and the Dominion Constitution

IV. Wither Elitism

V. Conclusion

6. Constitutional Foundings in Nepal: Experience with Changing Parameters

Bipin Adhikari, Kathmandu University, Nepal


I. The 1950–1951 Revolution and the Founding Constitution of 1951

II. The 1951 Interim Constitution and Constitutional Foundings: The Point of Departure

III. Promulgation of the Foundational 1959 Constitution

IV. The Panchayat Constitution of 1962: Undoing the Founding?

V. The 1990 Constitution: Restoring the 1959 Foundings?

VI. The Maoist Armed Rebellion

VII. Constitution-Making By the People At Last?

A. The Interim Constitution 2007

B. Constituent Assembly I

C. Constituent Assembly II

VIII. The 2015 Constitution

IX. Conclusion

7. Making Bhutan's Constitution: Institutionalising a 'Traditional' Monarchy

Winnie Bothe is an independent scholar


I. Historical Trajectories of the Bhutanese Constitution

II. The Constitutional Committee

III. Consulting the People

A. Distributing the First Draft: Ceremony and Symbolism

B. The Construction of Citizens as 'Participants'

IV. The Constitutional Debates

V. Discussions between the King and the People

VI. Adoption and Content of the Constitution

VII. The Traditionalisation of the Constitution

VIII. Conclusion

8. Towards a Maldivian Nation-State: The Constitutions of 1932 and 1968

Shamsul Falaah is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of the Maldives


I. Historical Backdrop

A. Maldives: Origins and a Brief History

B. An Historical Overview of the Legal System

II. The First Maldives Constitution (1932)

A. The Quest for a Written Constitution and Driving Forces

B. The Constitution Drafting Process

C. Ratification of the First Constitution

III. Main Features of the First Constitution

A. Structure of the State and Separation of Powers

B. The Life and Death of the First Constitution

C. A Founding Constitution?

IV. Constitutional Developments 1934–1968

A. From Monarchy to Republic

B. Main Features of the 1953 Constitution

V. The Second Republican Constitution: 1968–1998

A. Resurgence of Republicanism

B. Main Features of the Constitution of 1968

VI. Legacy of the Constitutions of 1932 and 1968

VII. Conclusion

9. Afghanistan: An Aborted Beginning

Ebrahim Afsah, University of Vienna, Austria


I. A Contextual Prolegomenon

II. Introduction: Where to Begin?

III. Constitutionalism and Nation-Building

IV. Locating the 1964 Constitution

V. Tortuous Transplants and Religious Resistance

VI. Constitutions as Tools for Consolidation and Coordination

VII. Contestation and Constitutional Compromise

VIII. Process and Substance

IX. Conclusion

Further information is available here.

--Mitra Sharafi