Book Review: Mahendra Pal Singh, The Indian Yearbook of Comparative Law 2016

Date01 December 2018
Published date01 December 2018
Subject MatterBook Reviews
756 Book Reviews
sions and debates, as ‘a black-box’ (p. 312) will be too dismissive and pessimistic
about the role of parliament and at the same time exaggerating the role of external
factors. There are works, such as that of Meg Russell and Daniel Gover (2017),
showing the constructive and determining role of legislature in lawmaking in
Westminster systems like Britain. These need to be replicated in India.
The authors are not very enthusiastic about the role of the government as
such, if not undermining at all. However, if parliament as a whole is taken into
consideration, can the authors justifiably underplay the role of parliament as a
whole because it is after all parliament that makes laws and policies? Or do the
authors start with two assumptions: first, it is government, not parliament, which
makes, discusses and decides lawmaking, and second, parliament does not play a
significant role in law and policymaking except for mechanical voting.
Nonetheless, this is a valuable work to study and understand the basics of
Indian policymaking. The book opens up a vast window of opportunities for
budding scholars like me to grab research problems from it. This watershed work
reminds us to safeguard and reform political institutions and their processes in
political ways.
Russell, M., & Grover, D. (2017). Legislation at Westminister. Oxford: Oxford University
Rupak Kumar
Doctoral Student
Centre for Study of Law and Governance
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Mahendra Pal Singh, The Indian Yearbook of Comparative Law 2016.
New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2017, 526 pp., `1,002.
The Indian Yearbook of Comparative Law 2016 edited by Professor Mahendra
Pal Singh, a veritable name in the Indian legal landscape, is the first of its kind.
Skimming through the bibliographical sources, we encounter that there are no more
than a dozen comparative law yearbooks of repute and often they are included along
with ‘international’ and not just comparative law and they are mostly of French
and German vintage starting in the second half of the 19th century (the period of
the rise of colonialism and international law coinciding, according to Professor
Martti Koskenniemi with the Comparative Law of International Business (French);
Annuaire (the French yearbook of foreign legislation—since 1872); German
Yearbook of Public Law; Annuaire international de justice constitutionnelle, to

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