Latest blog entries - Legally India http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/latest Mon, 01 Sep 2014 16:42:53 +0530 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Violence against Dalit Women http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/violence-against-dalit-women http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/violence-against-dalit-women By Yashi Mishra, Author

and Nishith Pandit Advocate

 

Introduction

Dalit is a designation for a group of people traditionally regarded as untouchable. The highest population of this class of people have been recorded in India. Dalits are those classes of people who are not only considered as untouchable but also deprived of their basic right to life. According to Ancient Indian System, Dalits, basically are those people which does not belong to any of the four castes i.e. Brahmin, Vaishya, Kshayatriya, Sudhras. They are outcasted or does not belong to any of the four castes and tend to do such impure works such as sweeping roads, cleaning toilets, removal of rubbish etc. They are not a particular caste or class of people but are divided into many small groups. Due to their nature of work, they have been, on many occasions, deprived of their basic necessities and rights.

Although, in modern times, their rights and necessities are seriously being considered by the government of India and many rules and regulations have been made to protect people who are called Dalits. Dalits does not have, in particular, any religion especially in modern times but the origin of the word 'Dalit' and these class of people where originally named and considered in Hinduism1. In ancient India, the upper class of people have always neglected and prejudiced Dalits.

But Dalit women are more burdened and discriminated on the basis of caste, class and gender. Dalits were considered to be lower class people and therefore Dalit women are even further deprived not only by upper class but also by Dalit males. They had been discriminated many times on the basis of gender and were used by almost all class of people including Dalits itself.

Caste System in India

The caste system in India had been formed ages ago and traces of this caste system have been observed in various religious and literary works of ancient Indian society. According to this caste system, people were divided into mainly four castes i.e. Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra. But apart from these four castes, there was another class of people known as Dalits which was considered to be lowest caste in all. These people were those who are neglected and outcasted by all the class of people and also they tend to do impure works.

Since ancient times, this system is followed in Hinduism by all and therefore it has become an integral part of the religion not only in India but also in other countries and religions such as Christianity, Sikhism, etc.

Dalits Women and their dilemma

Since ancient times, there had been many instance recorded where women were discriminated on the basis of caste, race and gender. The ancient male dominant society is still influential in today's casted divided culture in many parts of India. Although many steps have been take to prevent discrimination against women. Earlier, through history, women have been victim of many offences such as prostitution, murder, rape, human trafficking etc. And till date, many of such offences are repeatedly committed in many parts of India. This region mostly covers rural areas where discrimination on basis of caste has been highest.

Perhaps, it is the quandary nature of women that made them suffer more as neither the higher caste including the officials in judiciary in ancient India helped them nor the public at large accepted them which made women more vulnerable and hence the present state.

But the situation of Dalit women, which earlier referred to 'untouchables', made the case worst as they were mostly neglected by the society and forced to work as prostitutes. The scenario in modern world did not made any difference to Dalit women and they are still being discriminated and forced to work as prostitutes, also involved in human trafficking etc. According to 2010 survey, every 18 minutes, Dalit women are becoming victim of forced prostitution, murder, rape etc2.

Also, not only they are abused and discriminated by upper caste of the society but also they are being abused by Dalit men also. The triangular combination, (being women, lower caste and Dalit), have made the scenario worst for Dalit women. As Dalit men are becoming victim of various crimes and socio-economic conditions, they release all their frustrations and tension on Dalit female, generally their wife, and therefore the condition is becoming more and more serious.

As Dalits are often denied entry to religious places, access to sources of water, governance and education, the scenarios is catastrophic for Dalit women as they are sufferers of injustice and oppression. National Crime records Bureau data records that more than four Dalit women are being raped every day3.

There have been many cases where Dalit women are tortured or murdered or raped just because of they belong to a caste or a class of people called Dalit. In Bihar, a woman had received money from government as part of yojna and a policeman borrowed that money for short period. When woman went to get her money back, she was raped in front of her family and burnt alive4. These types of acts in societies show the level of cruelty and arrogance in the society that just because a woman belongs to Dalit class, she becomes victim of crimes no normal prudent person can imagine.

Another case of Haryana, where the victim is just a school girl. Here, when the victim was going to school, some men came in car and forced her to get into car with them. There, she was gang raped by those man, and they threatened girl not to tell anyone otherwise accuse will kill her parents. This went along for 10-15 days when she was again gang raped as and when those men called so. After some days the victim told her mother about incidents, and so those accuse took her mother, raped her too and then killed her. When the father filled the suit, he was forced to take Rs. 70,000 and take the case back. The victim belongs to Dalit class of people5.

Another shocking case of Orissa, where a 13 year old Dalit Christian girl was gang raped and murdered by accuses. All the accuse are juvenile and are now arrested for gang rape and murder of the girl6. These type of incident rises to the question whether the person who can rape or murder or even sexually abused can be considered Juvenile or whether any person who can attempt or commit such grievous acts which a reasonable man cannot imagine of doing such acts.

In Rajasthan, when a Dalit girl was working with her mother on field, she was dragged and then raped by a nearby villager. Though the victim's brother was nearby and he tried to save her, the accused manage to escape on bike. The disturbing part is, when the family went to police for filing complaint, police beat the girl and recorded the statement that the accuse did not raped her and she had sexual relationship with her brother.7 These acts of police constantly raise questions in mind whether the law enforcement mechanism can be trusted.

According to 2010 statistics, in every week, 21 Dalit women are being raped and 13 Dalits are murdered. The crime against Dalits are increasing since 20008. According to survey, in 2003, there were 1089 cases of Dalit women being raped by Dalit men while it increased to 1346 in 20099. The conviction rate in case of Dalit atrocity is just 5.3% in 200610.

Legal regime and Dalit women

The Constitution of India is considered to be the lengthiest Constitution in the world and it contains legal base of everything from fundamental rights and duties to directives of states and powers and functions of Executive and Judiciary. Under Constitution of India, 1950, Right to Equality has been guaranteed under article 14 to article 18 of the Constitution. Article 14 states that 'the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law and equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.' Therefore by the virtue of article 14, it has been specified stated that every person is entitled for protection of law irrespective of caste, religion, race, sex etc.

Article 15(2) of the Constitution of India, 1950 declares no citizen shall be restricted or disabled from access to any public place or places of public resort etc on the ground of race, caste, sex, place of birth or religion. Also, Article 17 of Constitution states that 'untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden'. The enforcement of untouchability shall be punishable offence in accordance with the law. Article 17 specifically protects 'Dalits' from being discriminated and also forbids the practice of untouchability.

Initially, Untouchability (offences) act, 1955 had been passed. But in 1978 old legislation was amended and also its name was changed to Protection of Civil Rights, 1955. As, cases of atrocities on Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe were not covered under the old legislation, parliament passed a new act called Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribe (prevention of atrocities), act, 1989.

In Asiad Project Worker’s case11, the Supreme Court held that the fundamental right under Article 17 are available against private individuals and it is the constitutional duty of the State to take necessary steps to see that these fundamental rights are not violated.

In State of Karnataka v. Appa Balu Ingale12, the Court held that the object of Article 17 and the Protection of Civil Rights, 1955 is to liberate the society from blind and ritualistic adherence and traditional belief which has lost all legal or normal bases. It seeks to establish new ideas for society-equality to the Dalits at par with general public, absence of disabilities, restrictions, or prohibitions on grounds of caste or religion.

Article 21 of Constitution of India, 1950 guarantees every person right to life and personal liberty. According to article 21, every person has right to live his/her life without any disturbance and it shall not be deprived except the procedure established by the law. It is available to the entire person living in India including minorities and Dalits but on looking at the cases, it can be said that people, whether upper cast or Dalit males, are in continuous violation of basic rights of Dalit women and despite of making law enforcement mechanisms, people still violates lawful rights and liberties of Dalit women.

International Scenario

Internationally, there have been many covenants and treaties made in order to protect women rights. Mostly covenants enacted by United Nations and resolutions passed by United Nations are been accepted by most countries including India. Initially, the United Nations have passed Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)13 which consists of basic rights of people all over the world and it has binding effect on all the nations. According to UDHR, right to life has been granted to all the individuals of the world and it is considered to be the basic and most important right of every human being for survival. Except from right to life, many other freedoms and rights such as right to movement, right to speech, right to personal liberty, right to equality, etc. Have also granted under UDHR. It has accepted that such rights and freedoms are necessary for all the human being to live life with liberty and prosperity.

After UDHR, came International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)14, came into force on March 23, 1976 consist of civil and political rights of all the individuals in human family. It includes right to life, freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment, right of detenu to be treated with humanity, freedom of movement, freedom of opinion and expression, right to take part in public affairs, etc. It has been accepted universally that, these right are given to all the human being including Dalit women. Although the enforcement of such rights are still in question. India, being a signatory, have ratified in its domestic laws and accepted almost every right as fundamental right of every citizen, as codified in Constitution of India, 1950, but the abuse and inhuman treatment to Dalit women are still continued to be in practise.

Along with ICCPR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) have also been accepted as one of the instrument of Bill of Rights and it has been widely accepted by nations who also accepted and ratified ICCPR. ICESCR includes right to work, right to social security, right to physical and mental health, right to adequate food, clothing, housing and standard of living and freedom from hunger etc. Like ICCPR, Constitution of India, 1950 have also accepted many of the provisions of ICESCR and accordingly implementation procedures have been made. But they are still not enforced properly and Dalit women are becoming victim of vigorous crimes such as rape, murder, etc.

Both covenants lacks on specifying individual complaint system and it have become impossible to enforce such rights in certain conditions. In order to fill this gap, the United Nations have accepted optional protocol to the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women15 which will enable women victims to file individual complaints against any types of discrimination. This is also applicable to Dalit women in India but despite of such mechanism, Dalit women are still discriminated and abused due to lack of awareness.

Proposal: Solving burning issues

Perhaps this is not quandary of Dalit women, that they can get protection from law enforcement nor can any help from other caste or class of the society as they are not aware of their rights and they are constantly abused by other sections of society. In order to help Dalit women, there are many steps which have to be taken in order to protect them such as:-

  1. Effective implementation of government policies made specifically for the protection of Dalits: In number of debates that had been held, it was agreed though there has been policies made by the government, dalits are not getting benefit of all of them and therefore proper implementation mechanism is necessarty.

  2. Government should take effective policies to remove caste based conflicts and discriminations: there is necessicity to make such policies which removes caste based conflicts. Although some of them are present in current legislation, but it is necessary to enact strict rules.

  3. Mass campaign programme which will spread knowledge about rights and freedoms of Dalit women: Apart from government, mass campaign programmes by media and NGOs will add to the efforts of government to remove caste based violence.

  4. Limited use or prohibition on alcoholic drinks as they work as catalyst in increasing violence: more strict rules should be made for consumption and use of alcoholic drinks are they tend to make people more violent.

  5. Making effectiveness policies to increase literacy rate in Dalit women: Although rules have been made for free education to children in India, special rules should be made in order to spread literacy in dalit women.

  6. Witness protection programme: In many cases, witnesses are murdered in order to drop cases against other class of people, in such cases it is necessary to introduce witness protection programme.

  7. Implementing fast track case disposal system for cases relating to caste based violence: many caste based discrimination cases are delayed for years and due to delayed judgment by the court, dalits women are not getting justice therefore fast tract disposal of such cases should bbe made necessary.

  8. Availability of psycho-socio counsellor in Dalit settlement cases: as caste based violence and crime against dalit women are very sensitive in nature, it is necessary to employ psycho-socio counsellor for dealing with such issues.

  9. Co-ordination between Non-governmental Organisations and Government: there should be co-operation and co-ordination between governmental departments and non-governmental organisations.

  10. Coordination among law enforcement agencies: Due to clash of jurisdictions among law enforcement agencies, many times, justice had been delayed therefore coordination among them is very important.

  11. Government should ensure rehabilitation of the victims or survivors of the crime: Rehabilitation of victims of crime is very important as the psychological after-effects of crimes on dalit women are very dangerous and therefore government should ensure rehabilitation of victims of crime..

Conclusion

The situation of Dalit women in India is becoming worse day by day and it needs immediate attention of Government of India so that to form and implement such policies specifically dealing with problems of Dalit women. Since ancient times, the violence against Dalits especially Dalit women are carried and after many ages, the eco of pains and problems can be heard in modern times also. These ancient practices needs to be stopped or banned immediately which force Dalit women to indulge in prostitution or other immoral acts.

There are many policies being made for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe people but there is no such policy among at solving problems of Dalit women and therefore it has become necessary to enact such policies. According to convents and other international treaties, the government is at obligation to make such policies which will ensure the protection of women in the country and accordingly the rules are being made in Constitution of India, 1950 and other enactments. But perhaps it is the implementation procedures which are not as effectiveness as they should. In future, it has been expected that India may become superpower, therefore it is necessary to protect all its citizens in order to succeed.

 

-----

1 Information available on http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalit

2 . 2010 Lenten Study compiled by the World Council of Churches, World Student Christian Federation and World YWCA, http://www.overcomingviolence.org/fileadmin/dov/images/women_campain/Dalit%2520Fact%2520Sheet.pdf

3 . Thenmozhi Soundararajan, 'India's caste culture is rape culture', June 9, 2014, article on http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2014/06/09/india-s-caste-culture-is-a-rape-culture.html

4 Report of First day at National Tribunal- Violance against Dalit women in India, October 13, 2013, information on http://www.Dalitweb.org/?p=2277

5 Ibid

6 Ibid

7 Ibid

8 Ibid 2

9 All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Munch (AIDMAM), 'Violence against Dalit Women', article available on http://idsn.org/fileadmin/user_folder/pdf/New_files/Key_Issues/Dalit_Women/NCDHRSubmission2012_VAW_Dalitwomen_India.pdf

10 Ibid 2

11 People's Union for Democratic Rights v. Union of India, AIR 1982 SC 1473

12 AIR 1993 SC 1126

13 Universal Declaration of Human Rights available on http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

14 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights available on http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx


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pn82893@gmail.com (nishith.pandit) News and current affairs Mon, 25 Aug 2014 22:31:28 +0530
Dare I protest the ban? - A short (law school science fiction) story http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/dare-i-protest-the-ban-a-short-story http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/dare-i-protest-the-ban-a-short-story

This is a work of fiction and all events as well as characters are purely figments of imagination. Any resemblance (if at all) to any event or person alive or dead is merely coincidental. This is a sci-fi short story set in 2022 and you are free to stop reading it at any point if you hate sci fi or are annoyed with the poor quality of this writing. 

"Yes Sirr!" I blurted out loudly as I was jolted awake from my slumber by Lahsiv's elbow crashing into my ribs.

It was a signal for me to wake up and answer my roll call.

With the West India National Law University (WINLU) having implemented a compulsory 70% attendance policy, the roll call was the single most important reason why most of the students attended classes. I was pleased with myself for having been marked present though I had not been awake for a single minute of the 'Interpretation of Statues' class.

I hadn't missed much, because in WINLU just as 'world class university' meant classrooms without paint, 'Interpretation of Statues' meant a case-memorising-endeavour. The final exam paper pattern ironically did not involve the interpretation of a single section but required students to merely reproduce from memory, some landmark decisions.

Having secured my attendance due to him, I gave Lahsiv a smile and glanced at the time table on my phone to see what lecture I would have to endure next. Constitutional law; I sighed and opened my notebook simultaneously looking around to see who looked like a sincere soul who would be carrying an extra pen.

Constitutional law and Administrative law lectures meant that you had to scribble everything that the teacher said as fast as you could. The professor goes through almost a million cases in a month and you have to have the notes for every single one if you want to have a chance to secure decent marks. Just as the prospect of an aching hand after an hour was going to dissuade me from taking notes, "at least the subject is interesting." I encouraged myself. 

"It's the last class, want to ride to the IT city and have good lunch there?" Lahsiv asked.  The thought of riding my latest 2014 edition Electric Cattle series robot brought a smile to my face. Up until 2012 most people thought that the solution to the depleting petroleum reserves world wide was electric motor vehicles but the unlikely partnership of Bajaj motors and Blackberry had brought forth their innovative product line - Electric Cattle. Not only was it a voice activated robot through which you could access the internet (critics claim Blackberry copied it off Apple's Siri) and play with like a pet but you could also ride on the electric powered bull and go up to 100kms in a single charge. The fastest model, which I had purchased a few months prior, was called Bullsar. It was Bajaj's play on the similarly named range of motorcycles which the Electric Cattle robots had rendered obsolete. 

"Of course" I replied with a grin but my enthusiasm waned when I remembered and added "but we will have to wait for 20-30 mins for it to charge." With the food at WINLU being bad more often than not, most students had bought various Electric Cattle series versions so that they could easily ride to nearby fast food joints.

"You can ride Lalit's. He has to study for his retest today, he won't come." Lahsiv replied just as the professor entered. 

For the next 55 mins words like "reasonable classification" and "nexus" filled the air and my notebook as I scribbled at maximum possible pace not bothering to think whether I was writing legibly enough to be able to read it later. Just as I thought that my borrowed pen was about to embarrassingly run out of ink, the bell rang to my great relief.

"Get Lalit's Bullsar too, I will see you in ten minutes at the gate.", I told Lahsiv as he headed to his room (which he shared with Lalit) while I went back to mine. After unceremoniously dumping my notebook (that's all I carried to class) on my bed, "Hello beefy boy!" I shouted. 

On hearing my personalised voice activation command, the Bullsar woke up from its sleep mode and greeted me. "Hello Almighty!" One of the greatest joys of having a robot you can personalise is that you can train it to give you self esteem boosts!

It followed up with, "You have one new email message." And then in a more ominous tone, "Battery Alert! Battery is less than 5 percent. Please plug me to a power source." 

I cursed under my breath and started looking for the power cord which I soon found under the bed. "Read email aloud." I commanded while plugging in the Bullsar.

From : Professor Alphus
Subject : Use of appliances within the Halls of Residence

Dear Students,
This is to inform you that as per the decision of the Hostel Committee, possession and use of Electric Cattle is hence forth prohibited within the campus. Use of Air Coolers rated above 20W is also prohibited. If any person is found in possession of any such electronic device, it shall be confiscated.

Regards,
Professor Alphus

My blood began to boil the minute I heard the message.

"Injustice, this is injustice isn't it? Not long ago, that bearded boy had got marks-for-discipline system scrapped by filing a PIL, hadn't he? PIL, I am going to file a PIL.", I decided.

But then, shouldn't I write to the authorities first. Give them a notice or something? I rationalised and I began drafting a letter in my head...

""Dear sir,
The university not only charges us a hefty hostel fee but also makes us pay for the electricity that we use as recorded by the electricity meters installed in each room. When this is so, why in the world do you now want to restrict our electricity usage? We are already paying for the electricity being consumed by our devices including the Electric Cattle and coolers whether big or small...""

I could recall that ironically enough, it was Prof. Alphus who had taught us in his history lecture about how Indians protested against the unfair and irrational Rowallat Act which was enacted without taking them into confidence. "Either it was that act or it was Monty-Mirlo reforms, I must check up and compare this stupid rule made without consulting us to that thing which he had taught."

'But there aren't any of those fancy article 14 words in it yet.' I thought. "The authorities are acting very arbitrarily." I should perhaps add.

'In a letter, do I need to tell them how they are State under article 12 first before invoking 14?'  I wondered. However, that chapter had been taught long ago. That there was some airport restaurant tender case was all that I could remember. 

'Nexus' & 'reasonableness', these words should feature prominently I decided because I remembered them having been uttered frequently in class, just a few minutes earlier.

"The university action had no reasonable nexus with logic." I decided to write. Didn't sound very legalese like but reflected my thoughts rather accurately. 

"Your actions are blatantly unconstitutional." I thought would be a good conclusion to the letter in my head.

"Some famous jurist's quote regarding justice would make it even better. They will wonder if Denning wrote the letter. Even god won't be able to produce a better draft," I thought with the full confidence of a second year law student who only intermittently pays attention in class. 

Just for good measure I decided to open up the bare act and see if there was anything else that I could add. It was rather shocking to see that the bare text of article 14 just talked about equality in two awkward terms.

"The jurists love such crap. They will have written two hundred pages (of some textbook's summary) on 'equality before law' and 'equal protection of laws'," I thought.

"God knows where all this nexus business came from. I should be including some inequality allegations." I was suddenly not as confident as before about my draft. "Could I say it discriminates based on gender because girls use a lot of other electric stuff like hair dryers and irons which weren't banned under this policy..."

While I was wondering about this angle, my cellphone rang. It was Lahsiv asking me to hurry to the hostel gate. I went there. Hopping on to the Bullsar, I ordered it into gear and sped off. Feeling the cool wind blowing in my face as we accelerated towards IT city, I asked him "Read Prof. Alphus' email? Bloody fascists these administration people are! They have no right to teach us law and justice." 

"Nope, I didn't read but Lalit told me about the crazy Electric Cattle ban," he replied.

"This could be our last ride if they actually..." I began.

"Don't worry, they won't implement it. This isn't the last ride, don't worry...  By the way, I'll tell you something interesting! I was chatting with Mosho just now, and you know what, they have increased salaries at BNTT again! Now it is almost two lakhs a month!" Lahsiv paused at that, letting the enormity of that amount sink in. 

It was really difficult to believe that Mosho, our senior who spent most of his law school time playing NFS racing games was now being paid enough by a law firm to actually buy a small Tata Nano car or two or three Electric Cattle models every single month!

"And that's without including the bonus," Lahsiv added but before he could continue, his Bullsar interrupted, "You have a new voice note." 

"Woooohooo, I am going to Cambridge," Esha's voice note played.

"No surprises there, she was bound to be accepted there. She had a superb recommendation from the dean to add to her perfect CGPA. What else do you need..." I commented, wondering if my dream of pursuing a Masters degree from the UK shall also one day come true or if it was destined to remain a dream...

"It was only superb because she herself had drafted the LoR. The dean merely signed it." Lahsiv pointed out. "She was his favourite student!"

Perfect CGPA and favourite student, these things mattered at WINLU. CGPA was the holy grail but this one easier to find than the one Langdon chases. All you have to do is mug, mug and mug, one solid week before the exams and a night before each test to make sure that Sasho's notes (photocopied sets of which are conveniently made available in the photocopy shop) are ingrained in your mind. Then all that remains is regurgitating it on paper. Understanding the concepts which those notes purport to encompass is purely optional.

However, you still need the college to forward that CGPA laden CV to WINLU. 'It is important to ensure that the holy grail lands in the right hands.' I thought. "Will they still help me if I challenge their stupid rules?" I wondered... "Surely no one will bother to give me a Letter of Recommendation. Nobody likes a troublemaker, do they?" 

"They may perhaps even write to other universities telling them I am anti-establishment, or will they not go so far?"

"The safe option is surely to remain quiet. Another semester of persevering on with mugging Shasho's notes, could give me a fair shot at the two lakhs per month pay package or possibly even a UK Masters degree if my luck holds too."

"Who are you thinking about for so long? Say something," Lahsiv interrupted my chain of thoughts.

"Beyoncé. She's hot. Also, out of my reach. Let's have the burgers today." I replied and got a weird look for being so very random. I spoke of Beyoncé but it was the blind lady of justice that I was thinking about. Definitely out of reach if I wanted to have a shot at a UK university. Perhaps I may seek her there but later. Not now, definitely not now. 

What's injustice when compared to 2 lakhs month? How can principles and reasoning ever be more important than going to UK? Why be drafting letters to point out the teachers' hypocracies when you could be planning how to spend a couple of lakhs in a month?

I silently deleted the draft letter from my mind. West India National Law University may or may not impart good education of the law but Western India can teach you far greater lessons. - Focus on what's on everyone's mind and you can trample over the rest.

You can rule your educational fiefdoms with an iron fist, just so long as you have a good Recruitment Committee. 

Who needs Gobbels when you inspire self censorship.  -  A modern West India proverb.


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lawschoolleaks@outlook.com (lawschoolleaks) Legal fictions, poems et c. Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:35:00 +0530
A primer to mooting for the uninitiated... http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/a-primer-to-mooting-for-the-uninitiated http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/a-primer-to-mooting-for-the-uninitiated Studying at Law School gives me some insight how the Mooting (Moot Courts) work. Hence I share the same.

A moot is a co-curricular activity at majority of the law schools in which the participants take part in mock trails which usually consist of extensive research, drafting of memorandum (AKA Memorials/written submissions) and oral arguments, and such an activity is called mooting.

Overview:

The topic of the moot Court shall be anything ranging from the municipal law to the international law. The Court for the same is likewise or as decided by the hosts of the competition. A moot is team activity which generally consists of a researcher and two oralists' (mooters). There are at least two judges and may differ as per the norms of the competition. The judges of various Courts or advocates are called upon to be the judges in such competitions. A researcher is the person who does not present the case in front of the judges but may pass chits (if permitted) to help the oralists’ when he/she is presenting the case. Some competitions may conduct researchers’ interview. All the three members undertake extensive research not only on the topic of the moot problem but also on the topics related to the moot problem. For instance, if the moot problem talks about transfer of property through sale, then it is expected that the team is aware about the Court fees paid in such cases.

How it Works?

After the participant has taken part in the moot, a hypothetical situation known as moot problem (AKA Fact Sheet) is given to the participants. Usually, the participants are supposed to prepare memorials and argue from both the sides, that is to say, preparing written submission and arguments from the applicant’s/plaintiff’s/petitioner’s/appellant’s side and from the respondent’s/defendant’s side.

The moot Court revolves around the question of law rather than question of fact. For instance, the moot problem is about rape (Section 375, 376 of Indian Penal Code, 1860), then the act of the persons or situation of the moot problem will NOT be questioned but whether that act or situation constitutes as a rape shall be the issue of the case i.e. question of law will be discussed.

In moot Courts, there is no presentation of evidences and statements of witnesses. It can be said that moot Courts are like the final arguments or summary arguments of real Court. The participants need to present their case which is in the best interest of their side of representation. For this the participant shall take help of provisions of law, books, journals, national and foreign case laws (precedents), obiter dicta from various case laws, opinions of eminent jurists, authentic statistical and other reports, published articles, web sources and so on.

After the research work is complete the participants draft the written submission. It generally includes the following:

  •          Cover Page
  •          Table of Contents
  •          Index of Authorities
  •          Statement of Facts
  •          Questions Presented
  •          Summary of Pleadings
  •          Arguments Advanced
  •          Prayer

Generally, the judges awards marks on the basis of interpretation of facts, understanding of law and procedure, reasoning, use of authorities, presentation and articulation etc. The oral arguments are time bound to be distributed among the mooters. The judges may screw the mooters and they should be prepared to answer very farfetched questions which may not be related to the moot problem. Some competitions may also have rebuttal rounds.

HAPPY LEARNING...!


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sankul1994@gmail.com (Sankul Kabra) Student life Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:22:00 +0530
Death Penalty: An Unacceptable Proposition http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/death-penalty-an-unacceptable-proposition http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/death-penalty-an-unacceptable-proposition Ironically, the philosophy that India relies upon for not abolishing death penalty is completely foundation less and tenuous. India believes that the punishment should be according to the severity of the crime committed. This philosophy completely holds true for itself but in case of death penalty is it really so? Capital punishment is inhumane and barbaric. It is ridiculous argument that by killing a criminal with less pains sufferings in humanitarian thing. The lions in the zoo are not at all dangerous to men, they do not harm anyone, similarly, the hardened criminals, who are kept in prisons for years together, lose their temper, anger, cruelty, sadism, etc. the person’s life changes to cause repentance in his mind.[1]

The convicts after conviction have the right to file a mercy petition to the president. Sadly, this process takes so long that the convicts who have been awarded death penalty are put in a situation where they feel there is a knife on their neck and any moment it will scratch through. For example, Devender Pal Singh Bhullar who was convicted for terrorist activities[2] had been waiting for 12 years to get the response for his mercy petition. This means everyday you get up in the morning and think that today is my last day and I may not see the new tomorrow and this continues for 12 long years; after such a thing no person is in a normal state of mind to be hanged. Justice K.T. Thomas, who headed the three member bench in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has said that “executing Perarivalan, Murugan and Santhan, convicted and sentenced to death in the case, would amount to punishing them twice for the same offence, as they had already spent 22 years in jail, the equivalent of life imprisonment.”In a nutshell, the anticipatory suffering of the criminal, who may be kept on death row for many years, makes the punishment more severe than just depriving the criminal of life. In State of Bihar v. Pashupati Singh[3], the Supreme Court held that “if there has been a long interval between the date of the offence and the consideration of the appeal by the Supreme Court, the capital sentence for the commission of an offence under section 302, IPC for which the accused has undergone a long period of mental agony, may not be executed.”

The delay factor in execution of death sentence is violative of Article 21 of the Constitution of India[4]. The Supreme Court further said that undue delay in execution of death sentence due to delay in disposal of mercy petition by the President would certainly cause mental torture to the condemned prisoner and therefore would be violative of Article 21. The Court at times considers the delay factor in the light of the circumstances of the case and in appropriate cases commute death sentence to life imprisonment.

Capital punishment reinforces the idea of retributive justice a medieval concept that must be have no place in the civilized society. It is argued that a person who has committed a heinous crime, such as murder must be likewise deprived of life. Does this mean that a rapist must be raped or that a torturer must be tortured?

India believes that death penalty acts as a deterrence effect to would-be criminals. But, Evidence from around the world has shown that the death penalty has no unique deterrent effect on crime. Many people have argued that abolishing the death penalty leads to higher crime rates, but studies in the USA and Canada, for instance, do not back this up. In 2003 in Canada, 27 years after the country abolished the death penalty the murder rate had fallen by 44 per cent since 1975, when capital punishment was still enforced.[5] Data shows that states that do not practice death penalty have lower murder rates compared to states having death penalty.[6]

On the other hand, though no execution had been carried out since the execution of DhananjoyChatterjee on 14 August 2004, the number of murder cases have been reducing. According to the National Crimes Record Bureau, in 2001 a total of 36,202 murder cases were registered in India. Though the population of India increased from 1.028 billion in 2001 to 1.21 billion in 2011, the murder cases indeed reduced to 34,305 in 2011.

Thousands of murders are committed each year and to check murders, national interest demands that the guilty persons should not escape justice. The best deterrent sentence would be one of life imprisonments,[7] and that should mean imprisonment practically for life, and not just 14 or 20 years as at present.[8] Perhaps the knowledge that a murder would make one spend their whole life in prison would act as a sufficient deterrent.

Taking the recent example of 26/11 Mumbai attacks terrorist Ajmal Kasab, he said in his confession[9] to the police that he had carried this mass killing so that his family could get money after his death and he wanted to die in the name of Allah and be epitome of sacrifice to his fellow terrorists. Now by awarding death penalty we are actually serving his incomplete task and cultivating more Ajmal kasabs. This example also shows that the main purpose of death penalty has not only lost its importance but is now giving birth to more terrorists so that they can set examples and become famous and India certainly does not want this!

According to the National Crimes Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, a total of 1,455 convicts or an average of 132.27 convicts per year were given death penalty during 2001 to 2011. This also implies that on average on less than every third day, one convict is awarded death penalty in India. Death penalty therefore is not awarded in the rarest of rare cases but in most cases. During the same period, sentences for 4,060 convicts were commuted from death penalty to life imprisonment. This indicates that thousands of convicts remain on death row at any given point of time.

India also gambles upon the testament that Individuals are less likely to commit violent crimes, including murder, if they know they will face punishment by execution. But certainly this is not the true picture.This argument supposes that criminals study and anticipate the consequencesof getting caught, and decide that a long term of imprisonment is acceptable, whereas execution is not. Many crimes are committed on the spur-of-themoment. Taking the same example of Ajmal Kasab, he mentioned in his confession that he did this for money and would do the same for Indian Government, where ever they wished if they paid him the moneyand gave him regular meals.[10]Hencethere is no stopping for people like these and no punishment, known to man could ever stop these misanthropic people.

It is often argued that the death penalty provides closure for victims' families. This is a rather flimsy argument, because every family reacts differently. As some families do not feel that another death will provide closure, the argument doesn't provide a justification for capital punishment as a whole.Also there is a notion that executions provide the most cost-effective solution to violent crime. A society cannot condone violence and sacrifice human rights as a cost-cutting measure. The decision to take a human life should not rest on financial motives. Using the death penalty to reduce prison populations is futile. Study after study has found that the death penalty is much more expensive than life in prison.[11] The high costs of the death penalty are for the complicated legal process, with the largest costs at the pre-trial and trial stages. The execution process is to be done as per the jail manuals which is different for every state. Research shows that there are number of formalities to be taken care of and there is a great need of monetary as well as human resources. The simple argument is whether we are ready for killing a person based on a myth that it will lead to fewer expenses to the state and is money above justice and good conscience?

“Justice is meant for reform. Death penalty denies the opportunity to reform.”


[1]MALIK, Supra 12 at p.4.

[2]Bhullar was prosecuted for the 1993 New Delhi car bombing.

[3] (1974) 1 SCR 742

[4]Triveniben Vs. State of Gujarat, AIR 1989 SC 467

[5]Amnesty International, Death Penalty the ultimate punishment.

[7]State of Madhya Pradesh Vs. Ratan Singh, AIR 1976 SC 1552

[8]K.NKatju, Life imprisonment should replace death penalty, Northern India Patrika, 10 February, 1963

[9]Mumbai Terrorist Wanted to Kill and Die and Become Famous, ABC News, 3 December 2008. Also available at http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/Story?id=6385015&page=2. (Accessed on 9 May 2014)

[10]ibid

[11]Information available at http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/costs-death-penalty (Accessed on 11 May 2014)


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sankul1994@gmail.com (Sankul Kabra) Legal argument Fri, 04 Jul 2014 12:21:37 +0530
How dropping a year to re-take CLAT was the right and ultimately happiest choice! http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/how-dropping-a-year-to-re-take-clat-was-the-right-and-ultimately-happiest-choice http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/how-dropping-a-year-to-re-take-clat-was-the-right-and-ultimately-happiest-choice As I sit next to the same window of my room, I remember how I sat here last year too, fingers crossed, in a life-changing dilemma. Makes me smile right now. I remember how tears emerged from my eyes, and how I wished to yell at the sky, I dont want to do this. I don't want to take a drop. I wanted to have a one-on-one conversation with God, rebuke him, for why he couldn't let me take up the law school I had been selected in ! But alas, all I heard was the thundering of th clouds, pattering of water on my window. 

I come back from the nostalgic moment and as I hear my mother scream over the phone, "oh yes, She is selected. yes!! Yes!! NLIU Bhopal, it is."

I hadn't seen my mother so happy since long. Seeing her so enthralled, I felt bliss. :)

A drop year is something, every student is afraid of, be it anyone. Nobody knows what the future beholds, and everybody is afraid of the negative repurcussions that heshe could face thereafter. I was scared too. But you know something ? the best lines I ever heard were TAKE RISKS. No matter what, no matter how tough it seems, take a chance. Who knows ? Miracles happen. Don't go to that bed without realising how important it is that you know what are you doing with your life. Half of the time, we follow the same old schedule and never even try to remember who we really are. We forget that we have brains, and we are intellectual. We can create history, write epics, revolutionize a whole damn society ! All it takes is one thought.

Life is changing, and we can never know what happens next, all you have is choices, and the rest, leave it on God. Let him do a little work too ;)

(( sorry I couldn't write much, as it is my first blog. Anyways, have a happier day than ever :) ))


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kriti29.b@gmail.com (kriti.29) Fun, laughs and timepass Fri, 04 Jul 2014 10:47:00 +0530
Do you think you know MS Office? How to use it like a true wizard lawyer: Hardcore Tabs in Word, Beautiful PPTs, Magic Automated Proofreading and much more http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/do-you-think-you-know-ms-office-how-to-use-it-like-a-true-wizard-lawyer-hardcore-tabs-in-word-beautiful-ppts-magic-automated-proofreading-and-much-more http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/do-you-think-you-know-ms-office-how-to-use-it-like-a-true-wizard-lawyer-hardcore-tabs-in-word-beautiful-ppts-magic-automated-proofreading-and-much-more It’s a product which we use everywhere and we will tell you the tricks to take the experience a notch higher!
MS Office has become indispensable part of many of our lives (Open Source just died a silent death somewhere?)  Though office on its own is pretty complete in itself I would tell you here of some add-ons which will take your Office experience to the next level. I would be mainly focusing on Word and PowerPoint in this article as these two software are what mainly used by legal fraternity.
 
Yet to get that law firm job, Outlook will come after that ;)
 
Automated Proofreading – Remember that time when your supervisor at your internship took your case because of that missed comma/bad formatting/ misspelling etc. We all hate Grammar Nazis, don’t we?  At least I hate them for sure.  (Pro tip – When confronting a Grammar Nazi, softly say to them, “There, their, they’re”) So now to avoid this not so welcome situation, I offer you Ginger. Yeah sounds funny name for a proof-reader but believe me it’s a life saver. Ginger has many medicinal benefits, the first one being that it saves you from headache.
But do remember that Ginger at the end of the day is a software prone to err, use your brain before accepting the recommended changes by the software. Add Consistency Checker to Word and your formatting is also taken care of.
 
ginger proofreading app for ms word
 
 

 

Tabs in Office – We all love Tabs, don’t we? One of the most horrid aspects of MS Office and especially word is that each document opens in a different window making use multiple windows simultaneously a PITA. Well we have a solution here all you need is Office Tab and you are good to go.
 
office tab

 

 
Better Presentation – I suck at making presentations. I am pretty sure there are many of you who fail miserably when it comes to making an attractive PowerPoint presentation.
Yes, we all dream of that powerful and beautiful board-room presentation, even though it’s going to be presented in class.
 
I have a way out! Add Visual Bee to PowerPoint make a simple PPT and click on enhance PPT. Select a nice theme and you are good to go. Alternatively you could also use import PowerPoint in Prezi and come up with an attractive flash based presentation in a single click.
 
Flowcharts – Remember that Property or Family case law which had more parties to the case than characters in the Lord of the Rings? The only way to remember who was who was by making a flowchart. Lucidchart and Gliffy Diagrams are two great free add-ons which let you make complex flowcharts in MS Word. Yes, absolutely free!
 
Citation Management – One bane that legal writing suffers from is citation. Often I found easier to write a legal paper than correctly cite it. These guidelines are so stringent that it takes forever to cite only. The details are too many, italicize the author’s name, and write this in upper case, that in lower case and so on. Zotero is the solution. Just feed the basic info to Zotero and it will generate the correct citation for you.  (I personally prefer CiteThisforMe for one or two citations). Zotero’s integration with MS Word is quite handy and makes life a bit easier. Mind you, just a little bit J

 

zotero at work



Dictionary – How about Merriam Webster Dictionary, integrated in MS Word itself? You know what the best part about it is, it’s completely free and yes, it’s authoritative too.
 
Drafting – Ever heard of legalzoom the legal documentation website? Well, you have now.  They have created a free nifty addon for MS Word which provides common templates used for drafting. (You could also check out kagzaat, a simple legal documentation site).
 
Note – Some of the suggested apps above may not be compatible with your version of MS Office.
 
The author blogs regularly about technology for lawyers over here.
 

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mohityadavx@gmail.com (neo) Student life Fri, 04 Jul 2014 08:02:00 +0530
Modernity or Obscenity? A need for evaluation over media's abuse of power and freedom. http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/modernity-or-obscenity-a-need-for-evaluation-over-media-s-abuse-of-power-and-freedom http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/modernity-or-obscenity-a-need-for-evaluation-over-media-s-abuse-of-power-and-freedom Modernity or Obscenity? A need for evaluation over media's abuse of power and freedom.

Media brings the world on our doorstep by keeping us updated over current affairs, history, and science and about each and everything that adds to our knowledge but however the limitation is that we cannot differentiate information from misinformation and disinformation. Due to cut throat competition between every branch of media and to get the most viewers, readers, TRP'S, etc, there is a need for speed for getting stories, lucrative and captivating stories for which there is often a dereliction of duty at the end of media people. Our Indian Constitution has guaranteed a fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression under Article.19 (1) (a), which is repeatedly exploited by these men to justify obscene or indecent news published or broadcasted by them. It is undeniable that freedom of expression needs adequate "breathing space" but having space by compromising morality and justifying obscenity on grounds of contemporary social norms and values is indefensible. Accompanying the provision of Article 19 (1) (a), Constitution has also made provision imposing reasonable restrictions in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, public decency, morality, etc under Article 19 (2), which is comfortably overlooked by media people before publication of any such salacious content.

Sec.292 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 has made a general provision in respect to obscenity and has not defined the word "obscenity" anywhere. Sub- sec. (1) of sec.292 generally speaks about sale, hire, distribution, public exhibition or circulation of any book, pamphlet, paper, drawing, painting, etc having any lascivious content, effect of which it tends to deprave and corrupt people who read, see or hear the matter contained in it to be an offence. Further clause (a) of sub- sec. (2) of sec.292 brings under its purview even those who are under possession of such material. But the lacuna in this section or any other sections of IPC is that it has nowhere defined the term "obscenity", providing this to be the lope hole for such publications to escape in the name of changing modern lifestyle or elevation from conservative social thinking. The term "obscenity" for a layman means something which is indecent, lewd, and offensive in behavior, expression or appearance and which creates a situation of sudden shock for the recipient and having this in mind, the publications should be scaled to the majority of recipients' comprehension. Obscenity is a subjective term, which might differ from individual to individual for their personal feelings and opinions concerning indecency related to a particular thing. What might be indecent for one, might not be for the other but considering this fact, it is incumbent on the legislature to interpret the term "obscenity", to avoid further assassination of morality. There needs to be a yardstick indicating a line of demarcation adequate enough to distinguish between that which is obscene and that which is not.

In a case of Aveek Sarkar & another Versus State of West Bengal, Supreme Court recently passed a judgment stating, "Nude picture of women is not obscene if it carries social message", that is a picture of a nude/semi-nude women, as such, cannot per se be called obscene unless it has the tendency to arouse feeling or revealing an overt sexual desire. The judgment passed is indisputable but many advertisements published in newspapers, magazine related to contraceptives involve picture of semi-nude women models posing in seductive gestures, soliciting and luring people to try their products. The pictures depicted in such advertisements are undeniably vulgar and designed to excite sexual passion in persons who are likely to see it and the defense taken by the media for publishing such contents is that it's an effort to spread social awareness. Such advertisements are meant only for a particular group of audience and certainly not meant for children and adolescent and by publishing such content in newspapers or magazines it is bound to create a sudden shock or feeling of lustful thoughts in the audience's mind. Particularly for newspapers which are pursued by almost every age group, there has to be certain restrictions on publication of such content to maintain public decency.

In a case of 2004, a complaint was filed by a retired BSF officer against the editor of a leading newspaper publishing house in India before the Inquiry committee at New Delhi for publication of allegedly obscene material six times in one of its magazine supplement edition. The counsel for the respondent defended the respondent in the written statement filled by him stating, "That these articles/pictures are life stones of new styles of life challenging traditional social norms and values. What they have stated has to be tested by the current standards of ordinary decent people, the newspaper being in English and likely to be read only by well-educated persons". Neither of the publication houses asks for anyone's qualification nor tests their intellectual maturity before granting subscriptions for their editions or issues, rather they are in constant need to covet the audience preferring other publication house editions. If we consider the defense of the editor, then there arises a situation where there is a need of a statutory warning, to be printed on each of its edition demanding only for such audience which is well- qualified to perceive the printed content according to the editor's understanding.

In Ranjit D. Udeshi, 1965 case, the test of obscenity & community standards was considered and was stated that the concept of obscenity would change with passage of time but if we evaluate this fact then sooner we will be in such an age, where watching pornography or filthy images, videos, etc in public would not be considered a matter of concern as our righteousness would be buried deep. As of today, majorities forming our society have yet not progressed or are incapacitated to draw the exact interpretation of what they are presented with so a need for check over "obscenity" and laws attached to it needs a through scan.


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dandavateprachi@yahoo.co.in (prax12) Legal argument Tue, 24 Jun 2014 10:32:05 +0530
How I ended up with the a chance at the NLU dream (I crammed a lot & hard) http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/how-i-ended-up-with-the-a-chance-at-the-nlu-dream-i-crammed-a-lot-hard http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/how-i-ended-up-with-the-a-chance-at-the-nlu-dream-i-crammed-a-lot-hard After dealing with numerous tuition classes and solving dozens of questions, I finally got the chance and got alotted with an NLU.

Even though I didn't belong to a legal background and Law never being my option, some unforseen, some unfortunate and some fortunate circumstances led me to change my field from medical to Law.

It was like a place of no-where for me. I didn't know anything about this field. All I knew was, that too from some fatuous elements, that Law is where you spend hours in court rooms, sweating your ass off to earn your living and people are afraid of approaching you.

BUT my dad was clear about everything. He knew what I needed to do in order to getting into the top law universities of India. He had a blueprint ready for me to follow. Okay, so he asked me to join a crash course as there was not much time left in the entrance ( CLAT 2014 ) and I didn't know a word. So, what I did was, I started reading all the material I got from the institute the other day and completed most of the part before the commencement of the crash course. You know, self-study, as my dad is a doctor and what doctors do best is " SELF-STUDY ". And as I belong to a medical background and had a routine where I used to study for hours straight, it wasn't that tough for me to complete the said amount of syllabus in a week. 

The crash course started and it was pretty easy for me because I had already gone through the syllabus once and it was like a revision for me. Who knew dad's plan would work so well :P Anyway, I gave 6 mocks and that made me familiar with the exam pattern and the sheer shortage of time that never has anyone been able to complete the whole exam. But after solving a pretty good number of questions, I honed my logical and inferential skills.

So, the day came. The day when I was about to shit my pants amid 40 students and me being seated at the centre of the class as the invigilator ditributed the exam papers to the students. So, I prayed to god before opening the exam paper. As soon as I opened the paper, a smile came on my face as I was familiar with most of the questions asked in the exam. I started solving the questions as soon as the bell rang with so much enthusiasm just like when a monkey jumps on a banana thrown at him by the tourists.

Anyway, I completed the exam just seconds before the final bell rang. It was such an experience! An ordeal too, though. The fear of flunking the exam was so powerfull that I forgot that my dad drove me to the exam centre and instead of waiting for him at the main gate, I took the bus and went back home.  

My exam went good but still, there's always this fear that you just can't suppress and you always succumb to the overwhelming feeling of flunking the exam. 

So, I reached home, switched on my laptop and played Call Of Duty for hours. For those who don't know what Call of Duty is, it's a video game, a good one.  All there was left to do was just wait for the result to come out. I had this feeling that I might get a golden chance.

So, the result came out. As soon as I opened my ID that was given to us by the CLAT conducting committee as there's online counselling and all this year, I saw this:  You have been selected in the first exercise list of counselling. Please fill the payment to continue with the admission process. 

I was dumbstruck for 2 mins. I shouted MOMMYYY! I got selected in the first counselling list. Every one was so happy. I was so happy! It was like a dream. I could finally see myself studying in one of the top Law universities of India. AND I thanked my dad for believing in me and giving me all the great suggestions on how I should study for my exam. 

So, after completing all the basic formalities I got alloted with an NLU. It felt so relieving! I finally got into one of the best law universities. After all the hardships and hours of question solving, the dream finally came true. I proudly tell people that the success that I am enjoying is all because of my dad. It's all because of him that I am able to look forward in my life. All thanks to my dad.

I'll end this by saying that  Always listen to your parents, they always know what's best for us. But that doesn't mean that you just stop making your own decisions but always think about your parents before making any big ones.

Good Day, people :)


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puneets957@gmail.com (puneets957) Student life Wed, 18 Jun 2014 23:44:46 +0530
Nandii Reywal on the Liberalisation of the Indian Legal Market http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/nandii-reywal-on-the-liberalisation-of-the-indian-legal-market http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/nandii-reywal-on-the-liberalisation-of-the-indian-legal-market Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post are of the fictional Indian lawyer in London, Nandii Reywal.  The author has no political or other agenda and may or may not agree with Nandii.

Disclaimer 2: Let me make it clear at the outset that I think Indian lawyers (like me) are absolutely top-class and Indian law firms are doing a fantastic job. These are simply ramblings of an idle mind.

Been a while since my last post.

I met up with a friend from law school yesterday. He made salaried partner at one of big law firms in India a few years ago. We gossiped like old ladies about old classmates (looks like divorces are the flavor of the day at our age), complained about our bosses (even partners have big bosses) and generally exchanged notes on life in Mumbai and London.

As nostalgia and drink began to set in, I asked about chances of the Indian legal market being liberalised to let foreign firms in. No way in hell, he said. Got me thinking. Having never worked in an Indian law firm, the more I thought about it the more confused I got.

Naturally there are valid concerns of reciprocity and how liberalisation will be implemented (if at all) but to my mind, the debate has significant knock–on effects on two categories of people - young Indian lawyers starting their careers and clients in India.

For now, this post only explores whether there is any possible benefit liberalisation could bring these two groups.

Specialisation: I was recruited by Colby, Hewitt and Richards and trained for two years across four departments before choosing to qualify into the corporate department of the firm to become an M&A lawyer.  Most of my peers in India were randomly distributed across departments depending on a whim – some left in six months, some enjoyed it so much that they remain chained to their desks to this day. Would liberalisation allow young lawyers more flexibility to become the kind of lawyers they want to be or would the international firms see them as highly replaceable billing machines from day 1? Would Indian clients accept the higher level of specialisation that the international law firms offer or do they prefer their lawyers to be generalists with one person advising on everything from real estate to tax to competition law?

Cross-border work: Working across borders can be rewarding by way of experiencing different jurisdictions and working practices. While the scale of the deals in India is often similar to the deals abroad, is young talent at Indian firms getting the opportunity to stretch itself beyond Indian boundaries and take the lead on international deals? I don’t know. For those who do wish to work internationally, the only route seems to be through a foreign LLM. Except for the lucky few that can bag a job, this can be a costly job-hunting exercise often leading to disappointment as the job market is tight and there are immigration issues. Would liberalisation be a more cost-effective way of providing our young talent with the international experience? Might it even prevent the drain of some of India’s legal brains?

Training : It isn’t easy to keep pace with the latest legal developments when you’re working all the hours god made. Luckily, the firms I’ve worked at have placed quite a high premium on legal training programmes.  So every few days everyone from partner to lowly trainee is shunted into a classroom and made to listen tothe latest legal upates. Some of it even finds its way into our heads. Would liberalisation bring in a culture of formalized ongoing training or would this be seen in India as time spent not working? Do Indian lawyers already spend a lot of time keeping themselves current with law (researching for client memos doesn't count!) ? If the answer is no, do Indian clients require that their lawyers have at least a vague idea of the latest legal happenings or are they simply happy to pay for advice?

Accountability: Firms have reputations which they spend a lot of time (and money) protecting. I don’t know if a firm in India has ever being sued for negligence/ malpractice by a client but negligence claims against law firms are common in other jurisdictions (and one of the reasons why lawyers stress so much about the quality of their work). Similarly, I don’t know if a firm in India has ever been sued by one of its employees/consultants. Policies on harassment/promotion/equality/diversity which actually work for the employees and promote meaningful dialogue when issues arise are a must for every organisation. Would liberalisation help hold law firms accountable to their clients/employees or is this something that isn’t seen as an issue in the Indian market?

War for talent: Crucially, would liberalisation worry Indian law firms enough to make them do more to retain their top talent? Given that India produces several thousand lawyers every year, would it create more jobs for Indian students if local staffing is made a pre-condition to the entry of international firms? Would it mean better salaries?

Liberalisation is certainly not the panacea for all ills and this post doesn’t offer any answers – just more questions.

Your thoughts are welcome in the comments section. Keep it nice.

Until next time,

Nandii Reywal


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kinaravarf@gmail.com (nandiireywal) Life as a qualified lawyer Fri, 06 Jun 2014 06:12:14 +0530
[Opinion] Vox Populi, Vox Dei: What this election & our delicate democracy means to one SC lawyer http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/opinion-vox-populi-vox-dei-what-this-election-our-delicate-democracy-means-to-one-sc-lawyer http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/opinion-vox-populi-vox-dei-what-this-election-our-delicate-democracy-means-to-one-sc-lawyer Guest blogger and Supreme Court advocate Shinam A Seth writes about what has made this election special.

The last vote has been cast. The last franchise exercised. The exit polls play havoc with the mind and the market alike.

As the curtains on the largest democratic, electoral exercise known to humanity, come to a final close, India and the world wait in anticipation. Some would even say, in trepidation.

Not so much, for who is going to be the leader of the world’s largest democracy- the exit polls in the last few days seem to be giving us, a fair glimpse of that.

But, for the hopes and aspirations of a billion plus people waiting earnestly to seize their destiny. Waiting, with bated breath, to watch India take its true place on the world stage.

What sets this Indian national election apart from any others in the past? It isn’t the first exercise of its people’s precious franchise. Nor, the first exploration of India’s democratic polity.

In fact, the Indian Constituent Assembly, drafted the Indian Constitution with Universal Adult Franchise as its most cherished right, as a cornerstone of our freedom and democracy. Universal suffrage was the way, immediately upon the founding of India, as a republic, much unlike and much before many of its western counterparts.

I ask myself, then, what is so remarkable about election and verdict 2014?

Elections 2014 have been a visible celebration of the diversity of India and her democracy. This nine phase electoral process for the 16th Lok Sabha has been extraordinary, to say the least.

Described by US President Barack Obama, as an “example for the world”, this Indian election has been watched with awe and with a sense of festivity for one of the many things, that India does get right.

The largest ever voter turnout in India at an average of 66.4%, across all regions, past caste and class barriers, is second only to the general elections in 1984, which took place in an unusually sensitive environment, after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination, and led to the sympathetic vote in favour of her son, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

This marvellous display of voter gusto makes this election historic, for the larger role it will play in reflecting our ‘evolving’ political discourse. Perhaps it is the power of social media- the much celebrated voter ‘selfie’ all over Facebook, the Twitter hash tag desperate to converse, not to forget the constant political chatter on all media. Or perhaps it is merely the access to information that makes it impossible to remain uninformed and apolitical, anymore.

But most importantly, it is the rise of a nation. An uninhibited resolve of the people. An unhindered fervour, to exhibit the power of the ballot.

This enthusiastic voter turnout across various States and communities, the fabulous CSR initiatives reflective of an evolved corporate culture, the ‘Power of 49’ translating in the large number of women voters outnumbering men in many constituencies and the engaging TV advertisements reflective of the real issues plaguing the country, is only reflective of fact that the Indian voter is informed, involved and is ready to seize the moment.

The political apathy and previous apolitical-ness, no more acceptable. A unified zeal, to defeat, all sense of disillusionment. Election 2014 has harboured a political engagement and passion in India, akin (I dare say) to an India-Pakistan Cricket World Cup Final. Everyone has an opinion, everyone is passionate and everyone is watching. And more so, aiming for a singular goal- a win for India.

And this festive zest limited itself not just to the ‘masses’. This election has had the ‘classes’ sitting up and participating with pride. From the average auto-wallah to your drawing room intellectual. From school children in Andhra Pradesh who encouraged their parents to sign an election pledge to poll officers in Meghalaya who flew kites with the slogan “Your vote counts”. Their enthusiasm, all encompassing.

This exceptional turnout is largely attributable to increased participation of younger and first-time voters, as well as women. And more so to the mammoth and laudable effort of the Election Commission of India (EC) in reaching out to the 551 million voters who cast their ballot, more than the combined population of the US, Germany, Canada and the UK.

Government spending on this election is up 131% from the last time around, making this the costliest election ever. This due to the many initiatives of the EC, including one known as Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation programme (SVEEP). From flash mobs and human chains to witty skits, catchy jingles on the radio to hoardings yelling “Say yes to vote, no to note”, the EC has left no stone unturned, to rope in virtually every section of society.

This renewed recognition and celebration of the sanctity of every vote, of the true vision behind the Constituent Assembly’s objective for one (wo)man, one vote is what this diverse nation has responded to. And what we must cherish and embrace.

Much has been said about this personality driven, ‘presidential style’ election and even more disturbingly, about the (perceived) threat to the secular fabric of our country.

Only the voter, the electorate- We the People of India - can protect, guard and ensure that these treasured morals weaved into our constitutional framework and inherent to our culture, remain intact, no matter who comes to power. Let us, the Indian people, remain a feared entity, capable and determined to continue to play our part in this dance of democracy. Our role has only just begun.

One can only hope and wish that this political engagement doesn’t fade and that We the People, learn by heart, that we truly are the lead protagonists of our own lives, and masters of the destiny of this gifted polity. As Maistre famously said: In a democracy people only get the leaders they deserve.

And more than that, one can only dare to dream and trust that the next government, our chosen representatives, consciously realise and recognise this precious faith and voice of a billion, hope-filled people.

Vox Populi, Vox Dei! The voice of the people is truly the voice of God.

Shinam A Seth is an advocate of the Supreme Court of India


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kian.ganz@legallyindia.com (kianganz) News and current affairs Fri, 16 May 2014 12:32:59 +0530
Law School: Made it through first year! http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/law-school-made-it-through-first-year http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/law-school-made-it-through-first-year

LAW SCHOOL! The two words that become the mantra of every CLAT aspirant. You just have to get into one. All that hard work, those sleepless nights, the endless chase…it will all pay off when you get into ‘that law school!’, or so you think. You read up on every article about student life, take every word written in those pages to be the gospel, start envisioning yourself  walking the corridors, high-fiving your buddies, laughing your lungs out….life couldn’t get any better!  WRONG! Trust me, I’ve been there...done all of that. At the end of my first year at one of the country’s top universities, I think I am capable of saying that law school is everything and so much more than that reverie you cherish.

There is no clear cut guide to get through law school (if there was I would be the first one to grab it) and this article does not intend to provide one. All that I can do is share my experiences and clear out some of the myths or maybe just end up adding to your fond hope.

At the end of my first day, I began to question if I had made the right career choice. Was I cut out for law? Was this what I wanted to do for the rest of my life? I began fretting out and to add to all of that, the ‘home-sickness’. You may pride yourself on the fact that you are the strongest person out there and stupid emotions like these do not affect you, but be ready to be disappointed. There will be times when you will miss your home and will just want run back to your safe haven. I know of seniors who being in the fifth year still get pangs of this ‘stupid emotion’.

In times like these, you learn to let time work its magic. I did, and at the end of that first week I was more than convinced that law was made for me. I enjoyed every subject (well, almost!) and there were few classes that I especially looked forward to in the entire week (philosophy!). Not all your professors will be enthralling and not all will be the worst you have ever seen. It’s impossible and rather illogical to think in such extremes. But you can be sure about this; there will be those few for whom you will willingly, I repeat, willingly, put off that snooze and drag yourself for an eight o’clock lecture (sounds unreal!).

Law school is like a pitching machine. It hits opportunities at you every seven seconds! You either hit for the home run or you miss it. Every hit will not be a home run but it’s important that you hit the ball; you grab that opportunity and make a go at it. What matters is the attempt because if you don’t there are 200 others all set to take it. This may sound intimidating but it is true nonetheless. It is the outside-the-classroom lessons that will last the longest and be of most help in the long run. Do not restrict yourself to your comfort zone because that is the worst mistake you can make. Expose yourself to everything, have all the fun and make all the silly blunders that reassure your seniors that you are just a first year (they have all done it before!).

So what do I take away from my first year…a bagful of memories, each of which has taught me something important. The only way that I think it is possible to ‘survive’ is by keeping an open mind. Being judgmental will only make you sulk and crib and no one likes a lamenter. Open up to people from all over the country and get to know each one of them because cliques don’t work here. If you think sticking with people from your city and giving the cold shoulder to the rest is cool…think again! Each one has something to offer which is why you all are at the same place.

My experience so far has been of a wonderful journey. I’ve met some of the most intelligent minds, people I aspire to be like; people who inspire you and you know will go on to do great things. I’ve had the most fun I’ve ever had, I’ve been under the most stress that it’s made me want to collapse (and I used to think that I work best under pressure!), I’ve been embarrassed, yelled at and the next moment applauded for my work and now I can’t wait to get back for more. Lastly, when you get here do not have any expectations from this institute of justice because either way you will be taken by surprise.


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aashna.john@symlaw.ac.in (aashnajohn) Student life Thu, 08 May 2014 11:14:37 +0530
Connecting Legal field to the fourth estate. http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/connecting-legal-field-to-the-fourth-estate http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/connecting-legal-field-to-the-fourth-estate Law and journalism are two fields which demand up-to-date knowledge in this proliferating world. Neither of them is stagnant and obsolete. As a first year law student,I used to think that legal profession only meant to argue in courts. It was later that it dawned upon me that legal field has no periphery. It is as vast as any field could possibly be.Legal Journalism is one of the possibility. Legal Journalism is worth a try for those media freaks who breathe law and never give news a miss. It does not only include court room reportings.

It is a vast arena where legal issues are talked about, reported criticized and appraised. With the increase in the audience of television channels and in the readership of newspapers and magazines, people have found it extremely dificult to keep themselves away from the fourth estate, the media. People have become media hungry and to feed them is the job of a journalist.

There are reasons to which a law student with a media craving is the apt person to be a legal journalist. When students enroll themselves in a law college, they are taught how to write extensively and are tried to be made proficient in the legal skills. legal research and knowledge. Such a person when turns himself to legal journalism will know the exact way of potraying the news to the people. Legal field is technical and it is the job of a legal journalist to point out the important points and simplify them to put it out in front of the public. Plus its full of fun and excitement. You never know what is going to happen the very next day.I don't think any legal job will provide such a ride of adventure.

If you think you are good at legal research, best in legal writing and the greatest in covering and reporting stories, this is the job to look out for.Yes, pay scales for now would not be as high as litigating lawyer or a firm lawyer but eventually, I don't think that this comparison will even be considered. For a smooth transition from a law school to the field of journalism, social networking is very important. It is the very platform where information spreads like wildfire. Read anything and everything from Gandhi to Gaiman. It makes the vocabulary fathom into you. Volunteer as reporters in legal websites. It will give a practical view of how this field works. Legal Journalism in India is in a nascent stage but with the increasing exposure, it might just turn out to be one of the mainstream professions later. Who knows, one might just land up as an Editor in some leading legal publishing house.( Actually right now, thats too much to ask for).


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nikhil12693@gmail.com (nikhil12693) Career in Law Wed, 07 May 2014 18:15:57 +0530
NLU is not all about getting placed! http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/nlu-is-not-all-about-getting-placed http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/nlu-is-not-all-about-getting-placed NLU is not all about getting placed!!

I cant understand why students from National Law Schools(NLU) have an inclination(strong one) towards law firms!! Not opposing the view that it has a fixed defined career(which has very little hopes for self improvement), a big fat cheque at the end of the month and a wealthy lifestyle. But is it all that matters to us as an individual? Is it what we are living for? Is it just about money always?

Aspiring law students write CLAT not keeping in mind the education and exposure they will receive at a law school but choice is made based on the placement records.

Typical NLU student will work all 5 years of his college life religiously to secure a good rank, to stay in top few of his/her batch, to not go home during breaks so that he/she can intern at a good law firm and improve his CV, to let go his social life so that he can have publications. It is seen that the intelligent students of the batch who have the capacity to be a really good advocates or  judges or inspiring teachers, will also choose the path of a law firm confining his/her intellect to the glass wall of law firm. Reasons are nothing but MONEY is all that they work for.

It is next to impossible for me to understand why such an inclination towards these jobs! In the end, it is a JOB, you are employed under someone who will want you to work your ass off so that there is an improvement in his business. A big question arises what is it that you have in store for you? Even if you spend all your life working, you will be working under someone, obliged to follow his orders and have no freedom to make your own choices, you are wasting your energy and resources so that someone can improvise his business, so that someone can earn and grow and only incentive you have is mere 1/20th of his income as your annual salary?

I don’t want to change anyone nor do I say these jobs are not good. But, when you are in such a nobel profession then why not work for something that will make a difference to society, that will benefit the society, that will give you satisfaction in the end, that will make you use your resources for your benefit, that will make your efforts help in your improvement instead of someone else! Above all, that will make you GROW.

There is a pool of opportunities waiting for you if you remove the veil and see that money is not that defines your career, it is your choice, it is your personal satisfaction, your improvement that makes all the difference in your life. Why not choose a path that will actually make a difference like litigation or teaching or legal consultant instead of being a just another associate in a huge law firm where your worth is not more then just another person whose presence or absence will not lead to any change in the firm’s working.

It is high time that we stop this legacy of giving all our talent to the law firms so that they can make more money! NLU is not about getting placed at the end of your five years. It is about learning and deciding what you want from yourself, what is it that interests you. Money is not everything my friend! For a short term it might attract you but consider choosing a path where your creativity will be alive, where you will be satisfied at the end of the day, where you will have freedom to make your own choices and decisions, where it is not all about competitiveness but about peaceful work, where you don’t work to impress your senior but to make a difference, where your resources are used for the right thing instead of a place where money makes things right.

You are talented, don’t waste it for someone else!


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surbhik11@gnlu.ac.in (law_student) Student life Wed, 07 May 2014 12:50:54 +0530
8 years a lawyer: 15 True Stories & Observations from the trenches of corporate law http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/8-years-a-lawyer-15-true-stories-observations-from-the-trenches-of-corporate-law http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/8-years-a-lawyer-15-true-stories-observations-from-the-trenches-of-corporate-law

I just saw this on a corporate lawyer's Facebook page and thought it'd be fun to share here, with permission. Do please share your corporate law war stories in the comments.

8 years a lawyer by Anonymous

1. An administrator over a call kept saying “in due course” repeatedly and my mentee* worriedly asked “what she’s going on about intercourse for”

2. *Lawyers make up horrible words. Like mentee and secret santee. I'm sure a lawyer invented 'prepone'.

3. Some lawyers talk exactly the way they would draft a formal email or agreement. For example, if you’re out having a drink he would say ‘kindly expedite the order’ to the bartender.

4. Many feel that an email is incomplete without reference to ‘revert back’ or ‘revert’. I do not correct them because then I will have to stand corrected that it’s not pronounced ‘bail puri’ and that Car Station is not after Banruh Station.

5. Lawyers without creativity can’t survive for long. Timeslips will make sure of that.

6. When reviewing documents, someone came across a most south Indian looking male employee whose name was ‘Suzie Won Dong’. There was a serious discussion on whether the DD report should highlight this as an issue.

7. There is a Supreme Court ruling that it is illegal to penetrate a bull’s nose. That is one brazen (amongst other things) defendant.

8. Once while in New York feeling all too important at a breakfast meeting, I subtly tried to reach for some biscuits on the table. As my fingers slipped right through them, I realize it was some fancy butter and not at all the biscuits I imagined them to be. I would have been better off if I had shouted “bearer, some idli-vada please”.

9. Many women lawyers are attracted to bald men (not balding – those are too common. Fully bald). ‘Oh no, this is how he looks? I thought he’ll be bald and hot’. Or ‘Hey, I have some goss – I have a hot bald client.’

10. Anything will pass for goss.

11. The men have all the goss. They no longer even pretend to be disinterested.

12. One lawyer who repeatedly got into trouble for not shaving gave it one last shot with “A robber broke into my house and stole my shaving cream”. Though all men complain about having to shave on the grounds that if women are allowed to get away with this, so should they.

13. Many have read Game of Thrones in PDF format at work.

14. Some lawyers lose their hair Reading randomly Capitalized words in Agreements Or the absence of punctuation

15. Many still say they went to ‘law school’ when you ask them where they studied or volunteer this piece of information in every conversation. Myself – laa kalij and proud of it.

Photo by US Army


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kian.ganz@legallyindia.com (kianganz) Life as a qualified lawyer Wed, 30 Apr 2014 15:23:07 +0530
The Indispensable A-Z Advocates' Dictionary by Court Witness http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/the-indispensable-a-z-advocates-dictionary-by-court-witness http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/the-indispensable-a-z-advocates-dictionary-by-court-witness

Inspired by Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary, Court Witness provides advocates with the indispensable A-Z to the advocates' profession.

Affidavit: A collection of lies that gain the veneer of truth because of the notary's signature.

Bureaucracy: Any sufficiently large body organised with the sole aim of impeding action and promoting litigation.

Counter-Affidavit: Any notarized document denouncing another as a bunch of lies while spreading some of its own.

Dasti: (Persian for "by hand") An order where the Court washes its hands of the problem of service of notice to other parties.

English: Popular term used to describe court language in India. A misnomer for "Incomprehensible Legalese"

Fees: The pound of flesh Portia extracted from Antonio as the price of preventing Shylock from doing the same to Antonio.

Government pleader: A gentleman or lady paid a pittance to lie in court and receive abuse aimed at the Government.

Hard case: A case where neither the facts nor the law are on your side, and the client's not paying you enough to commit gross professional misconduct in court.

Injustice: What happens when one loses a client's case.

Justice: What happens when one wins a case for the client.

Known Dacoit (often shortened to KD): A designation used by policemen in colonial India to keep track of troublemakers, now repurposed to describe the average Bar Council/Bar Association Executive Member.

Law school/college: any institution one pays money for the privilege of being ill equipped to practice the law.

Miscellaneous Day: The Supreme Court of India's long standing Guinness Book of World Records attempt to find out how many people can fit into one courtroom at any time.

Notice, Legal: A civilized way of issuing death threats and terrorizing the weak and defenceless.

Opinion: A legal form of copywriting without the latent honesty and fairness of an advertising campaign.

Pass over: A daily ritual where a court's time and a junior's dignity are sacrificed for a senior counsel's convenience

Qua: Sound heard from a strangled duck or a pompous lawyer meaning to say "with relation to".

Registry: The institution which treats Dante's warning, "Abandon Hope, all ye who enter here" as an organisational motto.

Suit: A term used in media reports to describe petitions, applications, complaints, and just about everything else but an actual suit.

Tribunal: A court with all the trappings of civil procedure with none of the fairness.

Undertrial: A person involuntarily enjoying the Government's free housing and free food programme for the underprivileged.

Vakalatnama: A legal document binding you to a lawyer, for better or worse, but mostly for the worse.

Writ Petition: The cause of, and solution to, all the problems of governance in India.

Xenophobia: The default response of an Indian advocate when faced with a foreign lawyer or an Indian judge when faced with a foreign judgment.

Yuga: A period of 24000 years that completes one cosmological cycle in Hindu mythology which is best used to describe the amount time it takes for a family dispute to move through the court system to completion.

Zamindar: The ideal litigant the Indian legal system was designed to cater to: Someone with lots of money, property, enemies and heirs.

Court Witness is an advocate of the Supreme Court of India and tweets at @CourtWitness1


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supremecourtwitness@gmail.com (courtwitness1) Life as a qualified lawyer Mon, 21 Apr 2014 13:27:11 +0530