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21 June 2010
News and current affairs

If ever you happen to be embroiled in an unsavoury critical situation,

 Telling upon your reputation (whatever that be) and seeking your resignation,

Experts who have always stubbornly remained unmoved, unfazed or unshaken,

Even in gravest hour of crisis have set an ideal example for emulation.

Do not ever be goaded by vintage things like ethics, morality or compunction,

That is why they find no place in curriculum of our present day education.

So, never ever hurry up to own up your responsibility and tender resignation,

You would do well for your dearest KITH & KINS and your well founded position,

To lookout for some alibi that could create in people’s mind some distraction or confusion,

For this, act of foreign hand, previous government, opposition are some handy props for consideration,

If it works well you surely sail through easily with grand distinction,

Earning encomiums to boot as one TACTFUL and gifted with rare acumen of administration,

Even if it doesn’t work there is no cause of worry, tension or dejection,

You still have to practically do nothing but simply seem to be in mode of action,

If it is a case of Rail accident, Drought or floods immediately rush up for site inspection,

In other sundry cases order and enquiry and set up some high powered commission,

Make a flurry of anodyne statements and announce payment of ex-gratia compensation,

Always remember whether victims get compensation or not ,should not be your botheration,

You should not brood over ONE situation as such situations occur in quick succession,

Also remember that there would be no dearth of people in whose opinion,

You would nevertheless be adored as a smart person of great VISION,

Whose contribution to the society would never be forgotten by this NATION.


19 June 2010
News and current affairs

Every disaster (Natural or otherwise) brings in its wake untold miseries to the affected victims and arouses anger and anguish against the establishment. It sends us in a deep contemplative mood to probe what went wrong, how & why? This public resentment & outcry then wakes up the government of the day from deep slumber and galvanizes it into action. Most often, in such cases authorities in power are made the target of public fury and anger whether they are truly responsible for such mishap or not. In such cases public passions are so virulent that their faculty of reason and rationale is often overtaken by emotions, and they start indulging in unsavory violent activities in a wanton & irrational manner – Though not justifiable.

It is widely perceived that action taking exercise undertaken by the government is also not undertaken with requisite promptness nor the proposed measures seem adequately in proportion to the enormity of the misery befallen on people. It appears to be a mere sham exercise undertaken mainly to subdue emergent upheaval rather to address the main issue to curb the recurrence of such mishap in future in genuine manner. The measures, it is believed are taken keeping in view how high and stridently the embers of raging fury and ire of the people would reach to singe the conscience of the government and to what extent. Thus the whole exercise which ought to be purely a humanitarian exercise gets pulverized into a political game plan where unscrupulous vested interests don’t shy from deriving mileage out of such situations.

It is not that this virus of politics affects only the establishment of the day. Public at large is also not spared from its rabidity. The public fury is generally divided on political lines ranging from stoic reticence to strong indignation via muted response. This prevarication allows a lee way to the government to play the nefarious blame game simply to somehow bide time to mellow down the public anger in due course. As a result the public welfare gets subsumed in the welter of confusion that ensues owing to such shifty indulgence of the government.

But, significantly the Bhopal Gas Disaster is perhaps a singular exception that has raised the hackles of one and all regardless of one’s political affiliations. It has aptly aroused the conscience of the whole nation in a unified manner and discomfited the government to see this remarkable change.

The verdict of the local court at Bhopal (7th June) in this case has worked as a catalyst to bring about this change. It has revealed that public anger by and large veers round two distinct strands of grievances. Firstly the inadequacy of the compensation given (Reportedly not at all given in certain cases) to the victims and secondly and more importantly inadequacy of the punishment meted out (Rather not at all meted out to some who still are at large) to the authors of this worst human tragedy.

It is also true that having witnessed a spate of tragedies and disasters, we have virtually become immured to the sort of cynicism that permeates our society. The denouncement of this great human tragedy has highlighted how inherent public amnesia often abets such cynicism and allows our irresponsible political establishments to play political chicanery in an unabashed manner even in such grave situations.

The sordid aftermath of this disaster especially the verdict of Bhopal Court has brought into sharp focus the rank failure of our governing ( neigh non governing) TRINITY – Legislature, Executive and Judiciary in equal measure for their respective acts of omission and commission. But this certainly is not the time to indulge in mutual bickering or baying for one upmanship. Larger public interest would be better served only when they get their acts together in all sagacity with honesty and diligence not only to secure requisite adequate punishment to the real culprits of this great crime against humanity expeditiously as this is the root cause of public clamour and also to spruce up / revamp the whole system in such a way that we never happen to witness such tragedy ever again in future.

It is a popular belief that the situation can improve only if we have an Effective legislature, Active executive, and Pro- active & assertive judiciary in our country. The present setup doesn’t make any sense and is a meaningless dispensation which hardly caters to the public cause.

It is high time that we learnt some lessons from this disaster – though belatedly and do something plausible and concrete to shape a really viable functional and reliable dispensation which is genuinely responsive to the hopes and aspirations of our people and competent to secure a safe and peaceful life to them. May be we may have to revisit our constitution afresh to do away with certain provisions as appear to be impediments rather than facilitators to achieve our ideals and objectives. It is also high time to ponder seriously about desirability of having entities whom we adore as constitutional icons, amidst us who apart from proliferating a culture of sycophancy and false vanity and stand in our FAST TRACKING procedures as stubborn blocks only. Do we need such white elephants in this fast age? Is however a moot question begging an answer from our intelligentsia.  So let us give a thought to this proposition in larger national interests.

19 June 2010
News and current affairs

The UnCivil Service…..a legacy of the people who loved tea "with a spot of milk"


The Indian Uncivil Service…is a career option seen by many law students as the ultimate goal and clearing this exam is considered to be nothing but the pinnacle of success…..the acme of achievement…by many

I just wish to tender my own humble opinion and voice my personal views…

IAS is NOT the only service..there’s IPS IFS IRS IAAS IRTS IRPS IRAS IDCS ISS etc..among the Group A uncivil services…

You crack the exam and you re herded off to Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie (excpet IPS who re trained at Sardar Vallabbhai Patel National Police Academy) wherein it is drilled into your head that you are the crème de la crème and you are the “Steel Frame” of the Indian administration….You are also told that you are A class…top drawer etc…

You come out with a bloated ego and are posted as a probationery officer as SDM/SDO ,designation varying from state to state…

Your office is a government building typically of which the paramount difficulty lies in identifying the colour of it ..is it pink? Or was it yellow? But then wat about the patches of green??

You get “a sprawling bungalow” with snakes and frogs abound in the bathrooms…the Old Victorian ones are scary though architecturally excellent except for the fact that your servant thinks its proper etiquette to dig his nose looking for a goldmine in front of the “sahib” and your gardener farts loudly as you pass by…shielded by the Welfare State’s white ambassador and a red beacon glaring out at the undeserving menions who crouch down low and salute you as you pass by…..

Slowly over the years you rise in rank and the bungalow is reduced to a flat in a government appartment block in the city ,ie, the state headquarters…servants are non existent now and there’s but only one official car which of course “as per tradition” should be waiting outside your home (whilst you are in office) to take your wife for her daily shopping and kitty parties…and ferry your kids to the club to play tennis

Your office:

A nice chamber ..wherein you ll be invisible behind the piles of files….(era of e governance) as you ring the bell for your orderlie a man in khadi( once brown) will enter your office giving you the look of deepest disdain for interrupting his midday siesta and ask his sahib for instructions…..

AS the feeling of utter frustration and despondency envelopes you..you curse yourself for having a mind of your own…and for having entered this service….

Your phone rings and your PA says “Sir…CMO Secy on line 1”…you pick up and “Sir”him…

CMO Secy-“ you sent the proposal?”

You    -“sir”

CMO Secy “ Have you taken into account the MLA’s wishes?”

You   -“Yes sir”

CMO Secy-“ Accha btw listen the new irrigation minister’s wife runs an NGO…your department shall sponsor the AGM”

You “Right Sir”

CMO Secy Slams the phone down


The rigid seniority demands your absolute psycophancy and one toe out of line and you will fall out of grace and be shunted as the next Commisioner Bicyle Licensing and Officer on Special Duty to evaluate the Milk tax to be levied on the more productive of Indian cows where your job shall be to submit a report that must argue which department should be incharge of the mating between Indian and Australian cows….and then the Ministry of External Affairs shall sit on your proposal thinking about the recent spate of racial attacks in the said country and Finance shall obviously turn it down(that's why they are there) siting "paucity of funds in the budgetary allocation for current year...ministry may seek transallocation of funds by resubmitting the case in question to the undersigned hereafter henceforth whereunder"....... and the rest of those similar sounding words....


You shall speak in Uncivil Service tongue which has different meanings from the ordinary language as people know it:

You: “We are looking into the matter”

Meaning: “my clumsy clerks have lost the file and I don’t give a damn about it”


You:”The matter is under consideration”

Meaning:”ok fine…I ll send the clerks to look for the file”


You:”the matter is under active consideration”

Meaning:”I m in the line of fire from the CMO…I myself m searching for the file”


You shall not be a part of the bureaucracy but the “ambassadocracy” and mind you only "white" in colour….

The colour of all official paper shall be however off white and your official stamp an illegible mess of blue/black….

You ll assiduosly write IAS after your name…even if it goes to a level of ridicule….even after retirement you shall write IAS(retd.) after your name…pardon me but how about IAS(departed) after you death???


You shall be paid a meagre salary by which the welfare state expects you to honestly raise your kids and have two decent meals….


You shall revel in the glory of your lal batti and render “public unservice”…being the” public servant” that you are…..

You ll look at your friends’ Mercs and property and tell others about the pride honour glory of your service…the chance it offers to serve the nation and attain self actualisation but in your heart you shall be green with jealousy and curse yourself for choosing this proffesion…


Your colleagues…especially some who hail from the cow belt shall quote the present rate of IAS grooms…(the last I heard was 1.2 crores and a decent sedan)…and you shall be appalled at the level of corruption all around you (presuming you have scruples yourself and thats not the reason why you youself are there first)…

Life will drudge on and you shall only crib and wait for the next pay commission and the pay rise you receive and the once in a blue moon foreign trip shall give you ecstatic pleasure….and your Performance Appraisal Report shall be the sword hanging above you…..


This might seem to be a very cynical perspective but since I had the opportunity to observe some civil servants ...........
 I shall give you the other side of the story too…in my next blog…comments are welcome and I would love to give some more “inside” stories…..and cynical takes…on the Uncivil service...if people seem interested...


To end with a uncivil service joke  :


An young IAS is posted as Collector of a district…….he gets an order from the Secy Agriculture to count the total number of cattle in his district and send a report…he is flabbergasted and cannot comprehend the sheer riduculousness and futility of the work  and the immensity and complexity of the entire procedure…….he calls a subordinate and asks him what to do…..who says “not to worry sir…..this is regular work…comes evry year….we have the figures…we do an annual increment of 7.5%  and send the new figures”…so the collector says how did u arrive at the exact 7.5pc …how do you know the growth rate of  cattle population?.....he says oh sir its simple….i got it from the data published by the agriculture department who compile all the data sent by the different districts like ours and arrive at a final”….collector says ohk….”just add two to this year’s figures….1 .ie you for doing this intellectually "stimulating" work over the years and I m the other one..the 2nd…for ever having joined the UNCIVIL SERVICE”………..


More to come….    Satyameva Jayate...!!!!!!!!!!



19 June 2010
News and current affairs

This post is about the fees that some NLUs charge. 

This table contains the amount of fees that the respective college is going to charge for this year's batch. Last retrieved on 18th June 2010 from the respective college's website. 

Sr. No.

Name of University

Fees (Rs)








NLSIU- Banglore




NALSAR- Hyderabad




NUJS- Kolkata




NLIU- Bhopal


Exemption for ST/SC of MP only.


GNLU- Gandhinagar




RMLNLU- Lucknow




There are a lot of things that come to mind when we look at the above table. Just by looking at it for a minute. The 6 randomly chosen colleges have been arranged in the descending order of their fees. The fees for General category and ST/SC's is different.  None of my concerns are related to any particular college. They are all general in nature. I have voiced these concerns to a lot of people and I was not satisfied by the answers they gave. I thought this might be a good place to ask.

My concerns

1)      Exorbitant fees


I mean c’mon. How can common people afford such high fees. It is not something that a middle class citizen of India can afford. This would make the colleges elitist. Only rich people can study here. I don’t think that was the motive behind the creation of NLUs.


Add to the fees, the pocket money and other such expenses that are to be taken care of. Hostel and food are covered in some colleges. Books are a very big expense too. You cannot always depend on the library, especially not during the exams. There are at the most 5 copies of a book generally and around 100 students fighting for it. If it’s not issued then someone might be using it. Laptops are quickly becoming a necessity. College computers are not the best substitutes. Students who don’t have a laptop struggle to keep pace with the others. Scholarship is only for the lucky few.


Add to this the fact that government and UGC usually gives these colleges a lot of money by way of grants. Government also gives subsidies like free land for the campus, no property tax, easy permissions etc. So if almost everything is paid by the government then what are they charging us this much for?


Faculties on the other hand always cry for more salary. Their salary is decided by the government and is completely manageable even if the college reduces the fees to half.

Imagine this, a college has 120 students and the fee paid by them is 1.2 lahks per student. It means that the college gets Rs. 14,40,00,000 or fourteen crores forty lakhs as salary. If each faculty is given 30,000 per month (that’s the average salary of a NLU faculty) and the total number of faculties is taken as 30 (including the part timers) then the total expense on faculties salary is 30*30,000*12= 1,44,00,000. Now do the remaining math yourself. Add administrative cost, moot and other events sponsorship (if applicable to your college).

Final figure will tell you how much your college rakes in every year. Plus, the fees keep on increasing due to inflation.


Will the middle class student stand up?


2)      SC/ST

I would like to clarify in the beginning that I am not against reservation (the concept), I do not like how it is being implemented.

Consider the above fees. Now imagine how much should the salary of a person be to pay such a huge amount at once. If not at once then even EMI’s of loans would be very high. If a person can afford to pay it, is he/she not a part of the creamy layer? If you can pay 1.2 lakhs per year, it means that you earn around 4-5 lakhs minimum (not always but generally). So how can you not be a part of the creamy layer? You are paying taxes on your income. Not like SC/ST’s get a lot of subsidy on the fees or anything. It just helps the creamy layer an easy admission. Think about it. I am not clear on this point so I have put it up as a concern.


My understanding on the topic at hand is still very primary. These are more like questions rather than conclusions. No offence is meant to anyone. I do not wish to accuse people of anything so do not comment on the post saying “ You are discriminatory dog.” Or something like that. ( I have been called that once by someone who did not understand my argument in a debate. Its quite embarrassing when that happens in public. True story. ) 


Thank You !

Phoenix. :)  


P.S. I have a lot of incomplete blogs with me. Now I am completing them and posting them back to back.

P.S.S. Constructive suggestions and requests for any specific kind of posts is always welcome 

18 June 2010
News and current affairs




1) You get the hot seat in making any decision whether in a court room or with the vegetable             vendor.

2) You get the right to slam your siblings (youngsters in general) about their lawlessness (read as  monkey antics) and not get beaten into a pulp for it.

3) You get to work in a air conditioned office which at least lets you to watch as much tv as you       want (whether you will get your favorite channel or not .. is a different story).

4) You get a fat pay cheque at the end of the day that at least pays your house rent.

5)  You get to travel the world.



1) You have no time to enjoy that fat pay cheque.

2) The time that you can spare goes to the doctor or any spa to manage your stress level.

3)    You get to see only the airports and the offices around the world without even knowing          about the beauty of the place.

4) No one really trusts you...you see  lawyers are even compared to  vultures (scavengers)            in some cultures.

5)You have a limited social value..even the cable guy gets more respect in the community..




18 June 2010
News and current affairs

Note: -  I admit to only a passing acquaintance with serious literature, political theory, Indian history and philosophy and I welcome constructive criticism and comment. All conclusions drawn are as a result of my own conjecture, and I could be wrong.

Lata Mangeshkar confidently whines the national anthem in the background as I hurriedly suppress a sneeze. It is a weekend evening and the theatre is full of families complete with snotty five year olds who are guaranteed to drown the more interesting parts of the movie in a shower of comments, largely involving - 1. the shortage of popcorn
2. papa, baathrooooom! (and)
3. mummy, what is Hrithik uncle doing to Barbara aunty? Pappiiiiiiiiiiii hawwwwwww!

This time, as I hunt desperately for a hanky or a tissue to drown my sneeze in, I watch a kindergartener being roughly pulled to his feet by his mother, who tells him off, This is the national anthem! Don't you know you have to stand up! What do they teach you in school!

What do they teach us, indeed. It sets off an interesting series of thoughts. Ever since I was three feet tall and in a pinafore, I have been dutifully standing up for the anthem and singing along, because it was the patriotic thing to do, and patriotic, my teachers told me, is always the right thing to be. Swayed by greed for obedience medals, I complied without question.

Middle school and high school went by in a blur of obsessing over skin, hair, stomach fat, the opposite sex, some rather violent music and some fashionably depressing literature (Kafka, anyone? Nietzche?), and not a lot of thought went to things like patriotism.

Yet I find that it is becoming increasingly important to know exactly why we value the things we value, and as the world grows smaller every day, I find myself questioning the utility of patriotism.

Who even knows what patriotism is? Nationalism? Not necessarily. 'Patriotism',as suggested by its root patria, points to a vaguer, wider attachment to a location and a lifestyle, says the Stanford Encyclopedia on Philosophy. For us Indians that means that patriotism is the pride in an identity and not in a nation. Nations are communities of people sharing a commonality of culture, and this commonality may be of religion or of culture, or of language, or of something else. It follows, then,  that your average Indian belongs simultaneously to several 'nations', and two Indians will rarely possess exactly the same origins or belong to exactly the same nations. Which brings us to identity.

Identity, Amartya Sen argues in his excellent essay on history as an 'enterprise of knowledge', is a question of choice based on informed consent, and not an involuntary social construct. The question is not settled, but what we do know for certain is that militantly Hindu political elements are afraid of exactly what Sen suggests; the Saffronisation of history textbooks in school has many consequences, the most immediate of which is the low horizon of knowledge, which is saddening in itself. However the most pernicious consequence is one that will have the most lasting effect; saffronisation - or any manipulation of history, limits our knowledge of our own richly heterodoxical past and consequentially limits our ability to gainfully claim our respective identities from them; to choose what to take pride in, as Sen says, based on an objective evaluation of all available facts.

 Saffronisation can be as subtle as referring to all Muslim rulers as 'invaders', or simply those parts of history which do not fit with the political requirement of a 'Hindu' past. And why is it troubling to refer to all Muslim kings as invaders? Because India was never a nation; today, it is still only a nation-state by convenience. Much of 1947 was spent in head-scratching across continents, as men across the world struggled with the demarcation of an 'Indian nation', where none seemed to exist; as Churchill famously said - "India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the equator."

But we are, today, a nation state. We of different nations come together under the same flag in consequence of what may be argued to be a social contract, where we have limited our rights (to speech, for example) as individuals to gain some freedoms as a people, including the shared use of resources. A nation-state thus appears to arise not from a spontaneous love in our hearts for our human brothers, but a primitive desire of preservation. If this is so, our 'contractual' consideration for gaining the position of 'citizens' in such a state, is the voluntary limitation of our rights. Where does 'patriotic' love figure in this? Why are we required to 'love' our country? Our borders are an accident of history; they are not an accurate demarcation of a particular nation or of its people; they are at most a relic of the Partition of India.

The Partition is universally acknowledged as having been politically ill-advised and a humanitarian disaster; if our identity is a function of our choice, the Partition is not something we would proudly pick, which begs the question -  what significance does our nation-state of India have to our understanding of where we come from? And why must we take pride in it?

In its inception during the French Renaissance, the concept of patriotism was limited largely to the rule of law, common good and humanism. Over the years, political convenience and organised religion have colluded to redefine patriotism as the confrontational love of a nation-state to the exclusion of all others. It is a negative, parochial outlook.

It is my argument that such a sentiment can only be damaging in the long term to both the intelligence and the growth of a people and a nation-state. As the world grows smaller and borders grow increasingly irrelevant, traditions need to be questioned. I have my own questions, and these questions remain unanswered.

So I watch the flag wave on the Inox screen, and I stand up obediently as the anthem plays.

But mired in my doubts, I stand in silence.

18 June 2010
News and current affairs


[ I have used names of well known character because I felt like it. I mean no offence to any of the characters or their fans.]

(A group of friends are sitting in a typical law school hostel.)

Characters involved are:

Calvin- Of Calvin and Hobbes fame

Green Lantern- The guy with the ring

Gohan- Kame-hame-ha

Batman- Your not so friendly neighbourhood super hero

Hagar- The Horrible

Gandalf- Enough said. 


Scene 1:

Calvin: (thinking loudly) I don’t know what I will do after law school. Its been (x) number of years and I don't know jack about anything. (Sigh!)

Green Lantern: Join a law firm. Isn’t that like the only option?

Calvin: The fact is that in law school and even during recruitment, intelligence and competence are measured in terms of CGPA. I barely get enough marks to get me into the ‘average’ category from the ‘good for nothing’ category.

Green Lantern: This is precisely the reason why I asked you to study like you life depended on it, right from the first semester itself. (gets back to completing his notes for the day)

Gohan: My dad is a lawyer. I will join the ‘family business’. (grins at everyone)

Calvin: Okay okay you son of a lawyer. We get it. No need to rub it in.

Batman: How about MBA after this law?

Calvin: (Sarcastically) Yes sure. Mix Naan with Noodles.

Hagar: I just got the most brilliant idea. Why don’t we all start a law firm ourselves?

(Everyone in the room turns towards him and stares in surprise)

Hagar: How about it, huh? We all have interests in different fields. We can all..

Gohan: But My dad is a lawyer and he will....

Batman: Oh shut up Gohan! 

Hagar: (continues) We can all intern at places which work in our areas of interest. After our 5 years of law school are over, we work as juniors with good lawyers here in the High Court and the Lower court. After working for them for around 2 years, we would have learnt the basic and would be ready to start  on our own. We then leave our ‘jobs’ and start a firm ourselves. We will be able to get the capital together and start. We have heard that Jugaad is always successful, imagine how successful will group Jugaad be. All our contacts combined. It will be legendary!

(Everyone was laughing but was also seriously thinking over it. Until Gandalf enters and enquires what everyone is laughing at)

Gandalf: Aye ! Instead of starting a law firm why don’t you guys start a law school? Government will support you. Provide with capital and also give subsidies. You can rip off students in the name of tuition fees and infrastructure costs. It’s the most profitable business ever.

Anyways, does anyone of you have the new Lady Gaga album?

[This post has been written in an extreme state of sleep deficiency and nostalgia combined.]

Constructive suggestions are welcome. :)


17 June 2010
News and current affairs


We’re fast approaching the 2nd of July : the date of the Naz Foundation judgment. You know the one, the one with the operative paragraph that went something like this :

We declare that Section 377 IPC, insofar it criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults in private, is violative of Articles 21, 14 and 15 of the Constitution.

I look back at how a 105 page document has affected my life over the last year.

The Day of the Judgment

Class hour. I feel the buzz of a new message on my phone, but I can’t check it just yet. I know what it should be about, of course. Today is the day, and it’s 10.45 AM, Court’s open, and yes, I know what it’s about alright . And if I check it now, things change. As long as I don’t look, I can revel in this glorious uncertainty. I hold on to the moment. And then it buzzes again. Another message. And again. 4 more. Nerves get the better of me, and I excuse myself from the room, run out and check my phone. Half-crazed smile on my face as I walk in tells my friends what they need to know. I hear a whoop of joy from across the room, even as the professor stops writing. A call now, and I run back out to receive it. It’s a friend from Delhi, who’s just stepped out of the courtroom. 5 minutes later when I walk back into the class again, the news had been relayed all round. There is spontaneous applause, my manic grin continues unbroken, and the Professor enquires about the cause of commotion. “377 ‘s been struck down sir !” mis-answers someone : but I am not going to point out legal nuances at this moment. He gets the point. The Professor gives his congratulations to the “concerned parties” even as the applause gives way to excited chatter.

This moment is real. This moment is happening.


The Day After

24 hours have passed, and I’m sitting in the library. My head buzzes with emotion, thoughts, ideas. I have just sent mails to the people I know concerned with the case – furiously proud, gushing emails. I wear the shirt I wore at the Bangalore pride – “Closets are for Clothes” it VIBGYORs out. The channels are saturated with interviews, debates. I walk into the common room of the hostel at night to the sight of half my batch sitting around the screen caught up in one of these. Another familiar face flashes on screen.

This moment is real.


The Month After

We’re discussing the judgment. In class. AGAIN.

Someone groans from a corner, as, for the umpteenth time, the jurisprudential- soundness-of-the analogous-grounds-extension-point is discussed. I catch myself grinning. I think of reading about places, times, too many to start, where the mention of the subject is taboo. So many in this country, perhaps still in the overwhelming majority, where it continues to be. And yet here, in this classroom, generally vocal gay boy that I might be, I still feel Naz-discussion-fatigue. We’ve spoken so much about LGBT rights that we’ve finally placed them on the same pedestal as everything eventually gets to in law school – boring. This is progress !


6 Months After

The newly founded NALSAR Gender and Sexuality Forum has its inaugural meeting. The “jurisdiction of Delhi High Court judgment over the rest of the country” argument has long been forgotten; as the meeting starts, the unchallenged proclamation is made that homosexuality stands decriminalized in India. A large group of people has gathered for this first meet – too large, infact, to see the same numbers turn up for the next. Nevermind though, it remains a fact that we have this forum at all, and that’s going to be good enough for me.


8 Months After

The first signs of backlash are amusing. “Have you heard of AAG ?” asks a friend at breakfast. Turns out she didn’t mean the atrocious Ram Gopal Verma remake. “It stands for Abhorrently Anti-Gay”. That gets my attention. Almost. Turns out our Forum has riled up enough momentum to pluck at the heartstrings of the more homophobic at college : AAG comes as a rejoinder to the “pro-gay propaganda of the Gender and Sexuality Forum meetings”. Particularly amusing is the idea of the Forum as a recruiting ground for “more of them”. AAG eventually burns out - the founding members graduate, with no one taking up the mantle. Even as the smoke clears, the Forum prepares for its next meeting.


Is the 8th of June.

Soon, a year will have passed since the judgment. Voices of change within the walls of my college walk in tandem with whispers of change outside. At home, we deal with it by, well, not dealing with it. The walls of my bookshelf are stacked with gay literature, my mother looks at them wordlessly as I rearrange my books. Soon, we will have the conversation. I feel a surge of confidence with every new positive image that plays on the television when we’re both watching. I wonder if she has passed the stage of a passive onlooker, whether every news item for her carries a glimmer of something more, some personal stake which she has yet to fully acknowledge.

My father types away furiously at his laptop on the other end of the room. Do his ears occasionally prick up at the mention of some permutation of “LGBT” in the news too ? Its been more than a year since I received a forced-casual call from him, asking about this “academic piece on homosexuals you wrote which I just found online”. I registered his emphasis on the word “academic”; it was almost like a plea – let it just be academic interest.




16 June 2010
News and current affairs

So you thought you were rid of the high school hierarchy when you came to college? Think again!

Whoever said law school was hell, forgot to mention its demons. Looks like those just followed you straight from high school!

The Law School equivalent of the jock is undoubtedly the Moot Society member. They’re the cool kids who are revered. Often mistaken for the nerd, the mooters clearly have powers and privileges that the other kids do not. Right from free photocopies to the occasional formal leave, deadline extensions, and greater book issuing quota at the library- among others. Moreover, just the fact that a huge chunk of the members of each batch participate in the internal selections and fail, gives the ‘Chosen Ones’ the licence to wield power. Slowly yet surely, they turn into the school ‘elites’- they most definitely think that they are smarter and strongly believe that all other extra-curricular activities are a waste of time. In fact, they are the ones who probably started off with promising participation in debating, MUN’s etc. but the Law School Mooting experience brainwashes them into believing that NOTHING is more important than the upcoming moot. Yet they are the ones with the most practical knowledge and application prowess. These mooters are often lead by an authoritarian Moot Society President, who reinforces the idea of elitism amongst his subordinates and reflects the sheer passion and zeal that this society feels towards its activity. Mooters who fail to strike a balance with academics often mess up their academics- leading to fewer promising future prospective than received by fellow classmates. FAIL!

The Law School Nerds are just that- regular nerds. They are the ones who religiously adhere to rote learning. The nerds are the ones to turn to when you need those exhaustive notes right before the examinations. They have painstakingly noted every word that the professor has uttered- however, more often than not- missing the essence and the point of the subject. The professors often adore them. Their intelligence quotient is often under the scanner; however their absolute devotion to mugging can be easily vouched for. They always know everything about a case, right up to the citation. Their knowledge is limited to the next examination. Yet, who knows, they may end up with the best corporate jobs because of their excellent CGPA’s.

The Popular Bunch in the school consists of the musicians, actors, debators etc. However boring the law students are considered to be, you have to watch out for them during the weekends when they let their hair down. The constant restraint all week long is often converted into uninhibited wild behaviour in the weekends. The popular kids are known to do just that. Often the dopers join the bandwagon, but they’re considered to be vague and obscure. They are a friendly lot but tend to keep to themselves so as not to scandalize others too much. The other popular kids tend to mingle amongst themselves mostly, consciously or otherwise. On the academic front they can be anywhere from promising to hopeless. Yet, you can generally trust them to be able to apply their Bare Acts to their hypos.

The Cheerios from High School are substituted by the bimbos at Law School. Perhaps back in high school, they were the smarter ones, but here when they open their mouth, you wish you had a duct tape ready with you at all times. They may not essentially be the best looking girls, but they sure are the dumbest. You cannot imagine why anybody sane would have EVER admitted them into college. Their exam results often reflect the same-they have never heard of the ‘Neighbour Principle’ and possibly cannot differentiate between the holding and the facts. Then again, they still throw their weight around, get themselves on the favourite list of certain teachers and look down on every other girl not up to their standards of dressing with terrible disdain. For want of a better word, they’re simply-naika.

The Bullies at Law School are the ones who would probably go in for the ragging. They are the ones who wield power- physical or authoritative. Often the local kids form this group. Nobody dares to contradict them and they mostly have their way. They are the ones with contacts and you can count on them to sneak the booze in. They may or may not be sloppy students. But generally, you cannot rely on them to know their ratio from their obiter. They tend to gang up and form cronies, so you do not want to invoke their ire.

The Geeks at Law School are the weird ones who hero worship the mooters, populars and even *shudder*- the professors. They are the ones who are surprisingly mediocre at everything. They often go unnoticed and you do not want them to be in your tutorial groups for the threat of embarrassment- they are the quiet sort. They are also the ones with the consistently average CGPA’s. Yet, they crave for the limelight and you will see them trying out for everything- but failing miserably.

Unlike high school, there is a greater degree of intermingling amongst the law school cliques. The difference can only be noticed due to characteristic behaviour.


16 June 2010
News and current affairs

Everyone dreams.

In India, it's preferable if a student dreams to get into IIT or study medicine. Those who dream of studying law form a part of the distinct minority. As someone who has had the luck (or the lack of it) to have performed well in science, even thinking about switching streams was an uphill task. When you have friends who are studying for IIT entrance exams, teachers who tell you to aim for IIT, relatives who want to see you in IIT: 

1. You get sick and tired (pardon the cliché) of the abbreviation (IIT, I mean).

2. You have to work really hard to explain to these people why you choose to ignore all that they say.

So I finally did manage to make my point clear. Law is what I intend to study. Period. Paragraph.

One of my slightly deluded classmates then told me, "Dude! I wish engineering was as cheap as law." Does that get your blood boiling? It sure did get my ire on the rise. Here is an individual who doesn't know what the IPC stands for.  He believes that his choice of career isn't 'cheap' while mine is. Why? Because the intelligentsia doesn't opt for law. That's what I was told, albeit in slightly more crude manner: "Eh, very few proper people do law, da! You'll get in, no competition only."  I'll go to my grave disputing that statement. 

I'm told that society is finally opening up to inevitable change. If every beta/beti became an engineer, life would be boring as hell. I have nothing against the conventional careers  (Actually, law is more conventional a career than engineering, but *hush* they'll get angry if you tell them this!) , but WHY are we incapable of accepting those who choose NOT to do what most are doing? 

I know at least two people who'd make amazing lawyers. They think they'd do well in this profession too. Yet both are off to study engineering because it's safe and they are good at science. 

I don't think I'm alone in experiencing this alienating behaviour. You tell someone that you're doing law and they look at you as though you're below their dignity. Any rank in IIT-JEE is GREAT while this two digit rank that you got in CLAT seems to be of no value. Yet the best conversationalists I know, the best informed people I know are lawyers or journalists. 

Another new fad that has come up is "Law? Oh! You'll make a lot of money!" Yes, I know that corporate law is a big thing and it pays well, but that's not why most choose to study for a grueling five years. Not for just the money. There is so much more to law than crisp Rupee bills. 

Cracking CLAT was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. While I may not have been amongst that elite 55 who got into NLSIU (Yes, that is my dream school as it is for thousands of others.) I have managed to find myself a place in NALSAR and that's good enough for me. It's one among the top three law schools in the nation, yet I have to explain to people what NALSAR is and why I'm going there. And I'm expected to know what they are talking about when they say "I'm joining PESIT." 


Such is life.

15 June 2010
News and current affairs

The CLAT route…

The aspirant lawyer is in class 11 when he decides Engineering and Med school are things of the past….they do not attract him and his acumen beckons him to explore a new vista all together….a line of work that throws him a plethora of never before traversed roads…..

He googles “law”……and he is flooded with information. He is totally engulfed by this new avenue….He decides he wants to be a lawyer….Now with all the requisite information at this fingertips he sets out to join a coaching institute….the two premiere ones are called “LSD” and “I’m S”. He embarks on this journey. He is scared inside but his boiling enthusiasm and confidence spurs him on….

Uninformed people tell him that law as a career will entail him to a seat under the Banyan tree at Alipore Court in kolkata where he ll wear the lawyer’s robe and eke out a living by “soliciting” his trade through shouting “affidavit affidavit…….arre dada affidavit?.....come here”…

He chuckles at such people and to prove his point he works harder at achieving his goals….He parrots NLSIU NALSAR and NUJS to his parents who by now have heard the rankings and the fervent criticism and the rivalry that concerns the top law schools….His parents encourage him and he continues his tirade about Strawberryfields…The summons or Invicta….

But as our protagonist is in class 12 and his board exams exert a lot of pressure...coupled with the list of failures he sees amongst his immediate seniors he starts falterin.....He however has amazing teachers at LSD to “dope” him into believing in himself viz,Mr. Saurav Sutta who also smokes with him outside the classes and gives him snippets about law school life....These serve as our law school aspirant’s.....fantasy and subject for evanescent reveries... If law school student attended I’m S classes then there was Mr. Gajni-ish Singh, a man of mettle, sound calibre I ve heard though I have never met him personally.

Its january 2010 and he has started filling his forms.....CLAT NLUD NLUO Symbiosis Law School...he hopes to just make it somewhere..his fervent prayer before sleep every night is “God NLSIU NALSAR NUJS...NLSIU NALSAR NUJS.....top3  god pls...accha nahin toh top5 pls....NLSIU NAL.....” and he dozes off to sleep as Res ipsa loquitor and Ignorentia juris non excusat give him subjects of eventful dreams wherein......The National Commission for Backward classes and the Finance Comission have a battle in Mr PV Reddy’s backyard.......

The great performance by CLAT office 2010 stuns him into realising Law school is not perfect but as ‘close’ to the idea of being perfect as possible....

May 2010....he has his admit cards albeit late but he does....they seems like tickets to the elusive hallowed portals of legal education but he realises that the big hurdle is about to crush him down...

CLAT preparation has gone to maddening levels where the aspirant has to study Civil Service GSMs and he is expected to know the law before he enters law school....but thats our legal system....criticising it on LI wont change the hard bitter reality so our hero goes on and takes up his cudgels for himself and enters the arena....May 9th,. His fate his sealed....20 days don’t seem to pass and then lo and behold!!! Its the 29th morning..... butterflies perforn the salsa in his stomach as he is glued to his PC screen....clat.ac.in..every hour the number of hits increases by a lakh....he just realises that he has only 540 seats to himself...less priveleged that he is being born to a “general category” ....Kolkata houselhold having neither a caste reservation nor a domicile...to back him up....he is hopeless...able bodied that he is....he doesnt even qualify....as a PWD....he starts thinking can i claim to be dyslexic and be a PWD??..i mean taare zameen par?....but his frnds from LSD send him chat msges on FB where they say results shall not be declared at 2pm but at 5pm....he employs some of his choicest swear words and gets back at biting his nails.....CLAT office says no 7pm.....then they say...9pm..

AND FINALLY AT 8pm...he gets to know his results.....he has made it ...joy knows no bound.....it is the top 3....he has a double digit rank...and the number has a sexual innuendo....to itself....he chuckles...

Yes !!! He ‘s going to a law school....Mr Saurav Sutta congratulates him.....He immediately checks up on his friends’ ranks...1100 1400 5500 56000 and the like...he realises that none of his friends have made it....he is gloomy and sad...doesnt know whether to call his friends up in case they mistake his empathy to be glorious sadistic pleasure....BUT WAIT his best friend has made it to the DRY STATE college.....aah....he is so happy again....

He is a regular on LI and his seniors fight about law school rankings as LI publishes an analysis of CLAT 2010 results...he is saddened to see this bitter catfight....he ponders whether it really matters five years down the line which one of the tier one law schools you have passed out from ...anyway....he goes gaga over his own law school....its building....its ambience....he is just too happy...even the mindless bickerings on LI cant take away his happiness....

He salutes Legal Poet and Bihari babu.....he hopes to join their ranks one day and tilll then he reads about life in NLUS and danish sheikh’s take on NALSAR...and is all too eager to land up at his law school......he took the less traversed path but it paid off....now he wants to learn imbibe and assimilate from his law school, faculty and seniors....as he sets his right foot forward to foray into a life that was his dream....he seeks the blessings of all...advice and a bit of help from the ‘positive interaction’ as to how he can traverse the L School path and come out with flying colours...

To all Law Schoolites...he raises a toast....




15 June 2010
News and current affairs

Note: This is a very rambly account of my very first impressions interning at a large law firm. It is amateurish, shortsighted and somewhat one-sided, but I post it anyway because I know many of my friends and classmates experience the same first impressions and face the same difficult career choices. I have occasionally exaggerated for comic effect, and no offence is meant.

It's a beautiful day outside.

And by beautiful, I mean, of course, that it's pouring angry grey bullets of water outside. Because the monsoon is the nicest weather in Mumbai. (If you think something else, we can agree to disagree on this.) When it isn't raining, slate blue water sparkles in the sun with the faint silhouettes of ships bobbing in the distance. God's in his heaven and all's well with the world. Or something like that.

It's a beautiful day all right. So what do you do? You do what's obvious.

You take yet another sip of the craptastic office-machine coffee and bury your nose in yet another file. When you take your nose out, a few hours later, your eyes are pink with the strain and there are ink marks on your fingers from the cheaply printed documents the Tehsil office sent. You never want to hear the phrase 'Articles of Association' ever again, and you want to cause physical injury to the next Nominee Director' you see.  It doesn't take a doctor to know what you're suffering from, it simply takes a law student who has ever interned in the corporate department of a reasonably large firm. You, my friend, have been felled by the Due Diligence scourge.

The problem with students having aspirations toward corporate law is, they don't really know what the job involves. All they see in their ickle, romantic minds, is the vague image of a Dude with great hair, wearing something with a logo on it and striding importantly past the hoi polloi at airports, leaving them in a cloud of expensive perfume. It's a mix of all those car ads where men with good hair and great teeth are always sipping champagne inside their cars and driving on excellent roads with beautiful women next to them.

The funny thing I found out is that - it's true. There are some differences of course. Corporate lawyers tend to look more like Tiku Talsania than Christian Bale for example, and rather more tend to be balding than you'd expect. But a large part of the impression is true. They do have the cars, and they can get the women. They wear the suits and talk in that special lingo ("we'd like to leverage that equity so we can shift our paradigms") that no one else really gets, so you do come away suitably impressed.

Sold on that lifestyle, you push GPAs and pull strings, levers and your daddy's hands to get an internship at Awesome & Awesome LLP. You spit-polish your shoes, throw a tantrum until the presswalah creases your pants to perfection, part your hair so you look like Imran Khan and even shave. You land up at work, your arms outstretched, ready to take on the world.

Instead, you take on a three-foot high pile of files. Mr Bored McJaded (Associate) explains. "Diligence", he says. You are puzzled, but proceed to exercise your rather expensively earned legal acumen on spotting spelling errors, adding up figures and correcting numbering and formatting. You take it all back to Mr Bored, eager to find out what happens next. What happens next is diligence. And what happens after? Diligence. What about after that? I hate to kill the suspense, but diligence it is.

One week down and you're an old hand at this diligence stuff. You look at the new files presented to you every day, with a jaundiced eye. You can spot a spelling error at fifty paces. You deliberately make offhand comments like "Oh, that minutes book hasn't been initialled..it's a Section 291 violation" to impress the new interns, with an air suggestive of Soli Sorabjee casually pointing out a gamechanging flaw in Ram Jethmalani's argument in some high profile case. The highest point of your day is when you realise that Property X does not have the relevant Zone certificate. You quickly make a note on a colourful Post-It which comes as part of the endless supply of fancy stationery your office supplies you.

Whenever you zone out (once every ten minutes), you idly surf the internet and chat with your fellow sufferers in large legal sweatshops, who agree that most of the Important and Glamorous work they were expecting to see, seems to be the correcting of spelling errors with Staedtler pencils and the highlighting of arithmetic mistakes with expensive German-made highlighters. You decide to investigate the situation and approach Mr Bored McJaded. Without looking up, he says "Diligence". And you say "What happens after?" And he looks surprised at your question. "The making of a comprehensive report on every aspect." he says. And then? "We make a term sheet with a list of issues" he says. And then? "You use it to negotiate, and you draft your contract" he says. Ah, so THATS where all your work goes, then! And here you were thinking that all your diligence simply ends up at The Great File in the Sky. You are reassured... there IS more to corporate law than diligence! Relief.

So this negotiation, do you bang on tables and bargain actively? you ask. No, he says. We sit around a table and discuss files. What is all this nonsense, what are you imagining. We are not a fish market.

Duly chastened, you slink back to your seat and watch as your friends in Litigation departments of firms babble excitedly online about twisted arguments and hard-won adjournments and fights with Judges and cross examinations. They post photos of their grimy, sweaty selves shading their eyes from the cruel sun outside Courts. They tell stories of funnily drafted divorce plaints and property disputes dating from 1986 where the most bitterly fought-over asset is a Sumeet mixer-grinder. Every day it's a new case.

You read it all, sit back in your comfortably padded, ergonomically designed chair, shut your eyes as someone turns the airconditioning up, and, for the first time, really truly wonder about the career choice you've (almost) made.

12 June 2010
News and current affairs

At a time when Indian Judiciary is suffused of all round criticism for long pendency of cases and tardy and dilatory justice delivery system, it is indeed relieving to learn that at long last a solemn beginning has been made by the Apex Court in this regard by coming to the brass tacks in a realistic manner.


It is not that judiciary was oblivious to this gigantic problem and no efforts were ever made to address the issue, however, all those efforts made so far were basically of didactic nature directed to exhort lower judiciary only to take appropriate measures to expedite the disposal of cases.  The steps suggested included holding Lok Adalats, resorting to the merit of plea barging, assigning due priority to old cases by hearing cases in a time bound manner.  But never did it strike to Hon’ble Supreme Court where actually did lie the trouble and who is the actual culprit of this malaise?


It is for the first time that the Apex Court has caught the bull by the horns when it realized – though belatedly that by and large it is the High Courts, which are responsible for the enormity of pending cases in lower courts and their rank indifferences, callousness in expeditious disposal of cases.  The Apex Court has severely debunked the practice of High Courts in granting “STAYS” in criminal cases in a cavalier manner on a drop of hat which caused delay in disposal of cases and allowed criminals to gad about freely in the society as a freeman.  This adversely affects the psyche of the law abiding citizens and erodes their faith in the system of justice obtaining in our country.


But it s merely the tip of the colossal iceberg of judicial delinquency.  If a thorough analysis is made in a dispassionate and rational manner, many skeletons would come out of the cupboard to reveal the vast extent of hubris that has virtually immured our High Court judges.  Instances are not scarce when the High Court judges pay no heed ot the specific directions of the Supreme Court for early disposal of certain cases and disappoint the Petitioners by passing over the matter to the almighty altar of the REGISTRY to put them up in due course.  The poor Petitioners are left high and dry and cannot even affor4d to approach the Hon’ble Apex Court to highlight their plight and the ignominious fate meted out to directions passed by the Apex Court.  There is no mechanism for Hon’ble Apex Court to monitor the proceedings in such cases at least for the statistical purposes if not for judicial purposes.  The malaise is deep rooted and needs to be thoroughly probed then only the pious intention of Hon’ble Apex Court towards this noble cause would result into plausible action otherwise it would be yet another addition to the well known vanityof Indian Judiciary.



11 June 2010
News and current affairs


Health, education, law & order are some of the defining features of the status of a society. But existence of a dynamic, realistic, truly responsive Justice delivery system is the hallmark of any civilized society that distinguishes it from other conglomerates of human groups. A great emphasis is therefore laid in every civilized society to inculcate good values in its people and a modest beginning is made with a well known adage. As you sow, so you reap. No wonder then “Always respect the law”, “Don’t take law in your hands, law will take its own course”  are some of the much touted clichés commonly heard in every civilized society.

In fact every civilized society is indoctrinated on the maxim that respecting law and abiding law would ensure a safe & secured life for the people. People take this to be a gospel truth and this fancy notion results into generating a kind of subliminal confidence & assurance in their minds that the ‘STATE’ has endeavored to tailor laws to meet all their legitimate needs, aspirations to make their life safe & secured so it is in their own interest to follow law or else any breach or delinquency on their part would visit them harm and invite punishment in accordance with law. This sense of complaisance for law often leads to develop a sort of uncanny complacency in their minds of the people that more they obey law or don’t breach it, the more they would be crowned with respectability in the society and would ever fare well happily in life.

But have we ever wondered how true is this truism in actual practice? Instances are not rare when we come across people known to be law abiding citizens suffering for no fault of theirs and the delinquents who caused  them the grief & misery roaming about freely in society under the protective shield of law . Is it not a case where law failed to honour its mandate to protect & safeguard the interests /rights of its patrons for one reason or the other? When the culprits go scot free it adds insult to their injury and that exposes the very myth of civilized society that in effect it is no different from its uncivil cousin- barbaric society.

This makes it clear that though ‘law’ is necessary it is simply not sufficient in itself to help us on its own. After all it needs crutches of evidence to make it move to come to our aid, help & rescue. The stronger the clutches we provide to it in our favour, the faster it reaches us or else dumps us to our fate.

 Nothing could better illustrate or elucidate this stark reality than the recent verdict pronounced after an agonizing inordinate delay in world’s worst industrial disaster that took place about a century ago at Bhopal taking a huge toll of some 15,134 precious lives and crippling about 6 lakh people whose only fault was that they were mostly poor labourers working in the culprit UNION CARBIDE COMPANY at the time of the disaster or happened to reside near abouts in the city as a lot of peace loving abiding citizens & who were not known to have stood on the wrong side of law.

Now, as the verdict is out, it is obvious that law has taken its course and done what was within its competence. But has it given justice to the hapless people who desperately needed that? Has law granted them adequate compensation to their colossal losses, let alone assure them a safe & secured life? The verdict has not only failed to fully assuage their hurt feelings which they were nursing all this while in the vain hope of justice, nor has it caught hold of the real culprits of the crime- let alone punishing them adequately. The real culprits are still at large, beyond the pale of law and even those who happened to face the trial case were awarded lighter punishments not adequate or compatible to the culpability of their heinous crime.

It is not simpliciter a case where justice was denied due to sheer delay. But it is a compounded case where demise of justice was virtually presaged way back in the year 1996 (13th sept 1996 to be precise) when Hon’ble the supreme court didn’t permit the accused to be hauled up for severe offence u/s 304 II IPC- culpable homicide not amounting to murder – attracting a maximum punishment of 10 years. So, the real script of their miserable destiny was already written way back about 14 years ago by Hon’ble the Apex court and what has been delivered by the trial court at Bhopal on 7th June 2010 is merely a resurgence of apparition of that dead justice. So, no amount of railing or wailing would avail the victims of any semblance of relief or solace as long as we follow a system of weak, archaic, unrealistic law & justice that is too esoteric, oblivious & impervious to the ground realities falling too short to meet the challenges of the changing times & legitimate expectations of the law abiding, conscientious people.

One only hopes this verdict how so ever belated or unpalatable, may prove to be an eye opener for our so called custodians of law and guardians of public weal to avoid any such contretemps to occur in future.


09 June 2010
News and current affairs


Hello. Made it ? Decided to Come ? Right. Welcome.  

Or Not.

Newbie, THIS  is why you should RUN for your life  in the other direction  :


1) Heard about places in the middle of nowhere ?


Well, get to the middle of nowhere, then take a left, and go down a 2.8 km stretch. That’s Nalsar.  We’re 25 DAMN KM from Hyderabad.


See,  this isn’t really Nalsar, Hyderabad . It’s Nalsar, the hamlet of Shameerpet.  


2) The chief attraction within a 5 kilometre radius is a deer park. The chief attraction within a 10 kilometre radius is a café that smells of a curious mixture of phenol and animal fat, mixed with cheap perfume.  Eau di Toilet, really.


3) The teachers.  Many of them are often mediocre. When they’re not being terrible, that is. Within the walls of the NALSAR academic block, we’ve been accosted with lecturers who felt that teaching the law involved reading out the bare act as slowly as possible and nothing much more; where the idea of “application based questions” has often been re-imagined as testing the ability to guess what case the set of naggingly familiar facts belongs to;  and where a constructive academic review was met with anger and sarcasm as opposed to introspection.

The pursuit of knowledge never was such a struggle.


4)   Us. We’re often snotty, arrogant and phlegmatic.  


5)      5) The Curfew timings :  7 Pm. ‘nuff said.



… And this is why you’d be an idiot if you do  :

1)      1) So, we’re far away from the noise of the city. Think about it - haven’t you had enough constant , unceasing exposure to that most of your life ? Now this kind of remoteness - it forces you to interact with big chunks of the 400 –odd people around you. Even more importantly – it gives you chances, space, moments - to know yourself better. This is often rewarding … the best times I’ve had in law school weren’t the ones when I was out partying out in the city. It’s always been the quieter moments, the little rooftop conversations  in the dead of the night,  the daily mess coffee gathering at 4.30,  or the lakeside strolls at 6 pm.


2)      2) Hey, I like deer. You’ll probably like them too.   Plus, you get to feed the deer at the park ! Plus, this park is apparently one of the the top 10 biodiversity parks in India, atleast according to some winter 2008 issue of Jet Airways’ inflight magazine.  It also has a curious log cabin with a tree trunk growing through a hole in a bed. Now that  story I’d like to know.


And the café ? Well it does have an open air section, so the only time you really have to experience the stomach-turning aroma is when you go inside to haggle about the bill. Haggling bills with establishments in the vicinity of Shameerpet appears to be a stolid NALSAR tradition.


 3)  The teachers.  I walked into law school looking at the law as nothing more than an instrumentality, a ladder, to get me those big bucks at a firm. I walk out with a genuine sense of fascination for the law, about its myriad possibilities, about  its potential to destroy, and to rebuild.  I attribute this transformation almost completely to 2 professors on campus, who, through a mixture of intense discussions -  both within the classroom and outside, through challenging, pushing and prodding me, made me re-evaluate everything I thought I knew.


The exhilaration of your brain whizzing to make connections , even as you start recalling the verbose valentines to the law you’d read before joining law school and begin seeing some glimmer of truth in them  ?


Well, we have classes where you get to experience that. 


 4)    Us.  Firstly, every law student worth his salt is snotty, arrogant and phlegmatic. But there’s a more important secondly.  See, years of being far from the madding crowd and trapped together has caused us all to go  politely, but very very thoroughly, insane.  This makes for an often entertaining on-campus experience, combining influences from the best of absurdist theatre with more popular culture to interesting effect. This is the campus where a hostel curfew protest was led with a group of blues guitarists jamming outside the hostel gates at the “forbidden hour”.  Otherwise sane young adults  have chased each other with mops around the library the night before an exam.  Within the walls of this esteemed legal institution I have witnessed a play featuring what I believe were talking genitalia arguing about why they weren’t spoken about more prolifically.


Atleast I think that’s what it was about.  


  5)     Okay, the curfew timings are just WRONG.


There are other things of course. There is the constant uphill battle in obtaining a semblance of lucid reasoning/engagement with the administration. There are the mushrooming academic groups, that start strong, flare out, then are revived with even more resolve. There are the spur-of-the-moment on-campus dance parties. There is the Drama Club. There was a movie club - maybe you can come and revive it ?

Whatever, newbie. This is going to be a wild ride, but it never gets boring.

Except, well, the bit where you have to study the  CPC. Not fun.


P.S. thanks to legalpoet for giving me the idea by doing a similar post on NLU. Cheers !




06 June 2010
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Right, said Salmond, is any interest, respect for which is a duty, and the disregard of which is a wrong. Disregard means neglect or indifference and does not require an actual violation. Seen in this sense many of our rights have been wronged. If the state declares certain rights but does little to make it enforceable, does it not amount to a wrong? When certain rights are declared inalienable but there is absolute disregard for even letting people know of its existence, how is such a right helpful?

The point is that the exercise of declaring rights without a resolute attempt to make the right accessible defeats the right itself. It cannot be seen merely as the problem of implementation as the very existence of a right is based upon its enforceability. If an individual cannot access his/her right due to the state’s failure to either inform of its existence or ensure its enforcement, the right ceases to exist. Hence when little effort is made to make a right available to a person for whom it is made, the state has committed a wrong by the disregard of a right.

The question regarding the accessibility of the rights is an issue which has to be seriously contemplated in India today. We are a nation which has no dearth of rights. The Constitution of India ensures certain fundamental rights which the state cannot deny its citizens. The courts by creative interpretation have added other rights as necessary constituents of the fundamental rights to life, freedom and equality. Hence many of the human rights, social and economic rights and civil and political rights are sought to be protected by the Constitution.

Recently the government has also been seen to play a pro-active role in its efforts to legislate rights. The Right to Information, Right to Education, Right to Employment (NREGA) and Right to Food (Food Security Bill) are some of the initiatives. These legislations, perhaps due to its roots in popular movements, also have specific provisions for its enforcement with sanctions. Despite this, these rights are so frequently unattainable. 

One of the most important but ignored of the rights which has a constitutional basis is the Right to Free Legal Aid. The right to life under Article 21 has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to also include the right to free legal aid. As such a right is unknown to the vast majority, people still pay hefty fees to lawyers out of their meager incomes. In Khatri v. State of Bihar the Supreme Court held that the state cannot expect the poor and illiterate to know whether they had the right to free legal aid or not, and hence it was the duty of the state to provide legal aid, whether asked by the accused or not.

The Legal Services Authorities Act was passed in 1987 to provide legal aid to the people who are socially and economically backward by setting up centres at the district, state and national level. Most of the law schools of this country have a legal aid cell which seek to perform the same task- provide legal aid to weaker sections. While independent efforts have to be cheered, one wonders if this is the right way to enforce rights. 

How can we (lawyers/law students) ensure that everyone has access to the rights declared by the state- by providing piecemeal services to a few individuals ourselves or by pressurizing the authority responsible for ensuring rights to perform its duty? While the former may offer some temporary relief, to have a wider and long-standing impact, efforts must be made to ensure that the state fulfills its obligation. Increasing the awareness of rights, creating public pressure on the authorities for performing its responsibilities and filing cases for non-performance could be ways by which we can make any right a reality.