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This Friday, 18th May, it’s Lawyer’s Night at TC Cafe with a very special line-up for all lawyers who are fans of heavy metal.

This Friday, 4th May, it’s Lawyer’s Night and Legally Social again at TC Cafe.

It’s time to be legal and social again. In association with the brand-new and amazing TC Cafe, we are hosting Legally Social in Delhi again.

The Indian Legal Aid And Awareness Network (ILAAN), a group of more than 20 law school legal aid clinics set up by NLSIU Bangalore in collaboration with NLU Delhi, has released a statement “condemning the repression of Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group”, which fights for the rights of tribals in the area and has continued to face harassment by the authorities as first reported in October of last year.

How two psychologists teamed up with the CIA to devise a torture programme and experiment on human beings.

The government is seeking to amend the Whistleblower Protection Act passed during the Congress-led UPA regime by introducing 10 categories of exemptions. The amendment Bill has already been passed by Lok Sabha in the Budget session and faced the ire of opposition parties for introducing exemptions, reported the Economic Times and others.

The new proposals exempted matters related to sovereignty, strategic, scientific or economic interests of India or the incitement of an offence. Also excluded are deliberatiosn of the council of ministers, things that are "forbidden to be published by a court", information received from foreign governments and information that would "impede a probe".

The bill is currently under consideration of the Rajya Sabha where it was listed for passing on Tuesday and has caused concerns with activists.

RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak had under the RTI Act accessed the cabinet note with the proposal, which justifies the changes by stating: "In the absence of any restrictions... the provision confers an absolute right on the whistleblower to make disclosures..."

Nayak told the ET: "The government has taken all the categories exempted from disclosure under RTI Act lock stock and barrel into the Whistleblowers Protection Bill. Now it becomes almost impossible for a whistleblower to disclose anything which has not been accessed under RTI Act."

Legally India reported on May 6, 2015 that the cabinet approved the amendments in the Whistleblowers Protection Act.

All central ministries and departments will mandatorily upload on their website their replies to Right to Information (RTI) requests from 31 October, to comply with yesterday’s directive issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DPT), reported the Economic Times and others.

Currently the government replies to individual RTI applicants by post, either providing them the requested information in paper or in electronic form, or asking the applicant to inspect relevant documents at the government department’s premises, or rejecting the request.

Applicants often publish their RTI replies anonymously through various media channels, after redacting their own particulars. When the DPT’s directive is implemented, the particulars of the applicants may also be disclosed transparently on the ministry or departments’ websites.

RTI activists have often faced threats and reprisals.

@bhanupriyarao: Here is the circular Worth writing to DoPT + NIC contacts given there

Last year the UPA government launched an online portal to file RTIs with 82 ministries and departments.

NGO workers attacked by a violent mob, saved by police, then arrested by them.

SLAPP LeagueSLAPP LeagueA project aims to build a network of lawyers interested in fighting so-called SLAPP suits against activists and publishers, and to lobby for changes in freedom of speech laws.

Shamnad BasheerShamnad Basheer The Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) initiative, which seeks to encourage law students from non-traditional backgrounds to join national law schools, is looking to move into a next growth phase.

Madhurima MukherjeeMadhurima Mukherjee Former Luthra & Luthra capital markets head Madhurima Mukherjee has been assisting the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) legal education NGO in formalising and scaling up operations, since she quit the law firm five months ago.

Fascinating read by Max Bearak in the New York Times' India Ink blog, which describes a new law passed a month ago banning unhygienic “dry toilets”, which require manual cleaning mostly by poor Dalit women who are often forced to do the demeaning work by societal pressure and face significant discrimination.

While sponsoring politicians are quick to claim the success of the new law, which requires destruction of dry toilets and entitles workers to compensation, activists claim that the rules lack teeth by not specifying how those women can be rehabilitated and how much they are entitled to [India Ink]

Perhaps unsurprisingly The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, dealing as it does with the unglamorous issue of human waste, seems to have received no other English language media coverage whatsoever since having been passed, as far as Legally India could tell [Read the Act (PDF 135KB)]

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