Book Review: ‘Unsealed Covers’ by Gautam Bhatia

A Decade of Legal Insights into India's Constitutional Evolution


Book Title: Unsealed Covers: A Decade of The Constitution, The Courts And The State
Author: Gautam Bhatia
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Number of Pages: 496
ISBN: 978-9356993631
Date Published: Aug. 10, 2023
Price: INR 487

Unsealed Covers by Gautam Bhatia Book Cover

Book Review

Unsealed Covers: A Decade of The Constitution, The Courts and The State” by Gautam Bhatia is a comprehensive collection of essays that delves deep into the complex world of Indian constitutionalism and the functioning of the judiciary. With a wealth of experience as a legal commentator and a noted critic of the Indian court system, Bhatia explores the evolving landscape of constitutional rights and the judiciary’s role during significant transformation.

The book is thoughtfully organized into three parts, each carefully examining various aspects of constitutional rights, federalism, anti-defection laws, and the powers wielded by the Chief Justices of India. Bhatia’s prose stands out for its ability to make intricate legal concepts accessible to a broad readership, ensuring that his arguments are clear and understandable.

The collection begins with a rigorous analysis of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar’s influence on human rights and liberty, illustrating the profound implications of specific legal interpretations through real cases. Bhatia’s unapologetic critique of judicial decisions adds an element of transparency to the book, underscoring his dedication to impartiality and rigorous scrutiny.

One of the book’s notable features is its scrutiny of the Chief Justices of India, commencing with a candid assessment of their impact on the direction of the judiciary. Bhatia thoroughly evaluates the records of the last six Chief Justices, shedding light on their roles in shaping India’s legal landscape. This section is particularly enlightening for readers seeking to understand the judiciary’s evolution from an anti-majoritarian institution to a body some perceive as favoring the executive.

Unsealed Covers” delivers a deeper comprehension of India’s constitutional cases and their implications. It is essential reading for legal practitioners and any citizen interested in understanding the profound constitutional developments that impact daily life. Gautam Bhatia’s courage in critically evaluating legal decisions is commendable, and his work serves as a guiding light in these complex times.

Bhatia openly acknowledges his political stance and biases, offering a transparent perspective. He voices skepticism toward power structures, homogenization, and centralization while opposing constitutional interpretations prioritizing national security and public interest. The book aims to reach a broad audience by weaving together diverse ideas and breaking down legal judgments ideologically soundly. Bhatia’s political stance is unapologetic and doesn’t claim to be impartial. He strives to engage in a larger discourse surrounding judicial developments by presenting varied ideas in a reader-friendly fashion.

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In summary, “Unsealed Covers” is a compelling read that seamlessly combines intricate legal concepts with societal contexts, offering essential insights into Indian constitutionalism and the functioning of the judiciary. This book is highly relevant to the current legal landscape, providing a critical qualitative archive of significant legal judgments during the present regime. It is an invaluable resource for scholars and readers interested in comprehending complex legal matters. “Unsealed Covers” is a beacon of illumination, making intricate legal topics accessible and relevant to many readers.

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