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These lawyers and 32 law schools think India needs a homegrown citation system: Find out why and how

12 national law universities and at least 20 other Indian law schools, some practicing lawyers, and some academics in law schools abroad have registered for the Standard Indian Legal Citation (SILC) - a new citation format for India, that has codes for citing unique Indian legal sources for academic articles.

Nalsar Hyderabad 2013 graduate Rohit Pothukuchi, Shambo Nandy, a Supreme Court advocate and former executive editor of the Journal of Indian Law and Society, and Journal of Telecommunication and Broadcasting Law executive editor Debanshu Khettry have co-founded the initiative with a team of editors and advisory members.

Pothukuchi explained in an email to Legally India: “There isn't a single uniform citation system that is predominant across India. Some universities have their own systems of citation, some don’t have a system or methodology at all. It’s a problem especially for project submissions.”

He said that it wasn’t ideal to simply follow a foreign citation system uniformly across India because codes for Indian legal sources were absent from foreign citation systems and some of the foreign ones cost as much as Rs 1,200.

“An author should not be confused about how to cite an Indian legal source,” he said, adding: “I think some of the sources themselves are pretty unique to India. For example, Parliamentary Committee reports, reports by Ministries, RBI & SEBI notifications and circulars, Law Commission reports, etc. are very India specific.”

Dig Latin

The SILC also moves away from excessive usage of Latin signs and symbols, which is followed in most foreign systems, but has decided to retain some universal ones.

“For example, the symbol ‘§’ is used in some foreign jurisdictions when referring to a section of a statute. We have simply replaced this with ‘S’. […] We did debate removing Latin altogether. For example 'supra' simply means 'above' in Latin. And we thought about using the word 'above', but ultimately opted not to, as Supra and Ibid have become pretty much universally used in the broader international legal community, and most law students in India are comfortable using these terms,” he explained.

The SILC citation system will always be available free of cost to everyone who intends to use it at www.silcmanual.org, according to the introduction to its draft.

Pothukkuchi said: “We truly hope that students across the country will start using SILC and providing feedback. This is a system we have created for all of us to use, and we want as much input from as many faculty members and students as possible before releasing a version 1.”

Please leave comments, thoughts and ideas below on the draft and share with the creators at

SILC Working Draft


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