Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Article Title

Book Review


Frank S. Bloch

First Page



Competing Equalities is a book that can be read and appreciated at several different levels, as well as for several different purposes, and which demonstrates both the richness of the subject--laws affording preferential treatment to backward classes in India--and the depth of the author's understanding of the material. At the heart of this very impressive book, Professor Galanter examines India's constitutional policy of affirmative action for selected backward classes of citizens, or "compensatory discrimination"--its historical and constitutional origins; its implementation, with particular emphasis on the role of courts in establishing a doctrinal framework for this policy; and its value to Indian society. In setting the stage for his analysis of compensatory discrimination policy and in the course of the detailed discussion of relevant laws, cases, and policies, Galanter includes highly informative general material on related topics of Indian law and culture that range from the role of "caste politics" in the development of social policy to the nature of the study of law and legal scholarship.