South Asia Seminar: Directive Principles and the Expressive Accommodation of Ideological Dissenters in the Indian Constitution

constitution of india

Convener: Dr Faisal Devji

Speaker: Tarunabh Khaitan

This presentation will argue, using India as a case study, that constitutional directives can be a useful tool for the expressive accommodation of ideological dissenters who would otherwise lose out in constitutional negotiations in deeply divided societies. The strategy of expressive accommodation was tempered in the Indian case through containment and constitutional incrementalism. A calibrated expressive accommodation of ideological dissenters can give them enough (and genuine) hope of future victories to keep them on board, without going so far that the majority rejects the accommodation or their ideological opponents in turn leave the constitutional negotiation table. By focussing on the accommodational needs of ideological dissenters, this paper adds to existing literature on constitutional consensus-building techniques, which has largely focussed on political insurance for ethnocultural minorities.

The paper on which this talk is based can be accessed at

Tarunabh Khaitan is an Associate Professor and the Hackney Fellow in Law at Wadham College. He is also an Associate of the Oxford Human Rights Hub. Tarun completed his undergraduate studies at the National Law School (Bangalore), came to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and was the Penningtons Student in Law at Christ Church. His monograph entitled A Theory of Discrimination Law was published by OUP in 2015.

Enquiries: or 01865-274559

Further Information

This seminar is jointly organised by the Public Law Discussion Group and the South Asia Seminar. The South Asia seminar series is organised with the support of the History Faculty.

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