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Jerome Merchant + Partners

Jerome Merchant + Partners, formerly known as P&C Legal, was started by Vishnu Jerome.
21 May 2010


A few days ago, the Prime Minister of India delivered a candid speech on legal education in India. There wasn't much about it in the news. I'm guessing it was because he didn't really nice things about the state of affairs in law schools across the country. 


I must say the speech was surprisingly candid. No lies about how great legal education in India is. It wasn't sales pitch for an election or an upcoming unappealing policy change. By far the most honest speech about the situation we're currently facing.


1. Teachers

WHAT HE SAID: "There is also the serious problem of law teachers – a vexed problem of numbers, quality and diversity. We need good law teachers to shape and nurture young legal minds. The sad reality is that when we look for experts to head new law schools and the new faculties, we have precious few to choose from. There is an obvious need to provide more uniform but calibrated and better salaries, accompanied by considerably improved terms of service for our teachers."


WHAT HE SHOULD HAVE ALSO SAID: "I've instructed the Law Minister to review the salary of faculty members across law schools. Apart from that I have requested him prepare a report on how we can attract young minds to be teachers. From what I understand teaching assistants who are the future faculty of such law schools do not have attractive pay packages forcing many not to take up such positions.

                 We are also looking into inviting professors from Universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and other renowned Universities to conduct seminars for teachers in all law schools on how to teach as well as inspire students. Currently, there is excessive focus on rote learning which is dampening the true understanding of law. I expect this program to be compulsory and free for all law teachers across India. My Government aims to provide all law students an equal opportunity to be inspired irrespective of where they are studying."



WHAT HE SAID: "Our law libraries are too few and woefully stocked. We must provide the latest tools of research to our students, scholars and practitioners. Law schools should be linked with the best sources of knowledge globally."


WHAT HE SHOULD HAVE ALSO SAID: " In order to help our law students, my Government has sanctioned money for building a library and computer center in the capital of each State. Every law student will have free access to these libraries which will be stocked with the scholarly books on all topics along with journals and magazine. Along with this, NIC will co-ordinate with corporates and law firms to establish a computer centers adjoining each library. Each center will have at least 100 computers and broadband internet. Students will be able to access national and international legal databases. "




WHAT HE SAID: "Internship and post degree placements must also be regulated to match applicants and recipients appropriately. Today, some fortunate students who have the right contacts have the luxury of plenty in terms of options while several of their talented but less resourceful colleagues go a begging for placements."


WHAT HE SHOULD HAVE ALSO SAID: " I have asked the law Minister to consult top law firms and lawyers across the country to prepare an independent legal internship agency which will help students find internships. This will be a transparent process which will allow students to apply for their internships on a website and firms and lawyers must pick interns from those who apply. The credentials of those who are accepted must be published. We want our corporate and legal culture to be merit based rather than one based on influence."




WHAT HE SAID: "We must dream if we want to make progress of having a world class educational system. Law universities should be a part of our national ambition. I have a vision that the new South Asian University soon to be established by this Government with other South Asian countries would ultimately expand to include an outstanding law faculty with an eminent global faculty." 


WHAT HE SHOULD HAVE ALSO SAID: " To begin this process, we are consulting law schools, established under various State legislations, to build an integrated course structure. In order to improve the quality of faculty members and opportunities for law students, we must allow mobility for faculty members and students within such law schools. This will also lead to more exposure for all those concerned. Further, it will allow us to identify quality faculty and future leaders for the education sector."




WHAT HE SAID: "Our legal education system should be particularly sensitive to the needs of the marginalized sections of our society like women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the poor. Not only should these sections of society be adequately represented among law students, the legal education we impart should inculcate sensitivity towards the special needs of the under-privileged sections of our community."


WHAT HE SHOULD HAVE ALSO SAID: " The new law schools are becoming elitist due to the lack of representation of all sections of society. Law students need to be in touch with society from the beginning. I have personally instructed the Bar Council of India to ask all Universities to introduce full need-based scholarships. This will ensure that all students whose parents earn less than a particular amount will have an education free of cost. Universities must ensure that those coming through the various quotas are genuine cases. It has come to light that educational institutes admit quota applicants even if their parents earn more than the prescribed income."




WHAT HE SAID: "One expects even experienced and established legal luminaries, judges and other law professionals to submit to periodic and continuing legal education programmes without standing on pomp or seniority."


WHAT HE SHOULD HAVE: " My Government will soon table a Bill to introduce specialized benches in each Court. India is a land of more than five thousand laws and it is important that Judges are well versed with these laws. It is impossible for one person to understand all these laws. I am sure this will also ensure the quick disposal of cases along with greater accountability and transparency within the judiciary. I appeal to the Hon'ble Judges in the Supreme Court and various High Courts to support the upcoming Bill."


Read the full speech on http://www.pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=61265&kwd=


See John2010's other blogs:

8 disturbing signs that our elected representatives have forgotten us.

My Facebook Feed

How comrade whistle blower lost his ethical virginity

The PM on legal education: What he said and did not say.

Dear Prudence: ....... Litigation is really interesting but ........?

The 26/11 Judgement fails the maturity test and how we can still salvage justice.

Confessions of a chronic cheater.....

How not to be inspired.

When things go wrong.....

20 May 2010


An unfortunate Incident:-

Yesterday, my friend narrated a real life story which left me dumbstruck. The said incident happened a few days a go. A 23 year old girl who was studying in one of the premier fashion institutes decided to shift her place of residence. She was in her final year and was expecting a placement in a multinational. The apartment she had selected was in one of the posh localities of the city.

On the eventful day when the girl was shifting in her new apartment, a man approached her and inquired about some random flat. She answered “I’m new to this place and therefore I wont be able to help you, sir.” A couple of minutes later the man came again. She was standing on the door and before she could realize anything suspicious, the man tried to push her in the flat. She started screaming but no one came out. She resisted and gave him a tough fight. Unfortunately he injected her with some needle and ran away.

Although the girl was taken immediately to the hospital, it is not yet certain what was exactly administered to her. The girl and her family have to wait for another 90 days to discover, if the needle was HIV infected.

HIV terrorism: Overview:

This is certainly not the only case reported so far. The pin prick attacks in cinema halls have become very popular. In these attacks the victim is usually poked with needles which are hidden in the seats. The syringes are attached with notes which convey messages like ‘ WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD’, ‘NOW YOUR ARE ONE OF US; HIV POSITIVE’ and ‘WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF AIDS’.  These attacks have been experienced  all through out the world. In Britain some alleged  gangs have been found sticking HIV-infected needles into people and then handing them a card mentioning ‘Welcome To The World of HIV’. Similar incidents were also reported in USA. Robbers have also used this technique of threatening the victims and getting their demands fulfilled. In some cases the warnings were found false where as in some they needles were actually HIV infected.

The myth

Most of the people believe that these are gimmick attacks carried out by the perpetrators to inflict fear in the minds of their victims. They contend that a virus is unable to survive outside the hosts body and therefore no such virus can be injected into the victim’s body. Although the above contentions are valid, they ignore a pertinent point. Most of the viruses are capable of surviving if preserved with some blood. The blood keeps these viruses alive and hence they can be easily transmitted to the victims body. However the length of time the HIV can survive outside the body depends upon the conditions under which the fluid is kept and the amount of virus contained in the body fluid.

HIV is a fragile virus that dies slowly in the room temperature. It is dried by the air eventually. However, HIV can survive for several days even in minute amount of blood as the blood is trapped in a syringe and the air cannot dry it out.


If caught, the offender may be prosecuted under Section 307(Attempt to Murder),  Section 299 (Culpable Homicide) or Section 300 (Murder) of the Indian Penal Code depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case. The Section 357-A which was added in the Cr.PC by the recent amendment may be evoked for the benefit of these victims. The victims may therefore avail certain benefits. They may not only demand adequate compensation but would also be reimbursed for their medical expenses.


There a two contrary views that emerge while we discuss the pin-prick attacks. One suggests that the chances of HIV transmission through such needles is negligible on the other hand the other belief contends that such attacks must not be ignored. The government along with the cinema hall and club owners must be vigilant. The individuals must also take all necessary precautions. The critical issue to be considered in these cases is the psychological condition of the victim. The feeling of being an HIV patient or the plight of being punished for no fault, shatters the victim completely. The anxiety and terror that conquers his mind prevents him from leading a perfectly normal life. The victim and his family have to wait for period of at least 3 months to figure out if he is HIV infected.

It is true that “The person who does it acquires nothing but the victim on whom it is done loses everything”.

The post is a duplication of already published article on www.legaldrift.com

20 May 2010

The courtrooms, deserted generally during the summer break, give a great chance to walk around courts in Mumbai, some of which have great architecture.
But a couple of courtrooms function for urgent matters and entering the courtroom gurantees toes being stepped upon. There is urgency for matters to be heard by the judges  and as there is limited staff while there are too many petitions most times, the scene is quite chaotic.

Last Monday, I was standing in one such courtroom, where I couldn't hear a word of what was being said. But there was one lawyer, who approached the court  in a case, which was connected to another similar issue in which directions had been given. He wasn't ready to understand that a bench of the court cannot review its own order. Before regular court, such a case would have been dismissed immediately but the vacation court is presided by junior judges, who may not be rude but are definitely more patient compared to some seniors. The judge explained to the lawyer that such a matter could not be entertained by them but the lawyer, in a case which was not even urgent, kept pressing for relief.

the judge told him finally that the court would either dismiss the case or he could withdraw the application and approach the appropriate forum.

not every a vacation judge may be as patient as this, giving the advocate an opportunity to speak, even when the lawyer doesnt make too much sense!

but what lawyers sometimes try taking advantage of, may not always work in their favour!
the judge later said that any petition pressed for relief and found not to be as urgent as prayed, the applications will be dismissed with costs of Rs 50,000!

19 May 2010




I was shattered after reading this news article couple of day’s back, in some village in Ranchi, three men chopped parents of 14 year old kid in front of her eyes on the charges of practicing witchcraft. The same news instigated me to dug up and read more on the subject. I came across some more horrified cases which confirmed disgraceful occults prevalent in most of the villages in Jharkhand, Assam, Bihar and West Bengal.


 45 year old Sukhmani Barla of Arhara village of Kamdara block near Ranchi was chopped by her neighbour Bagda Munda alleging her of being a witch. Bagda Munda’s daughter Saniya Munda had been suffering from illness for last three years and finally she died on January 2. When Bagda Munda approached the Ojha (spirit healer) to know the reason of death, the Ojha informed him that his neighbour Sukhmani Munda has killed his daughter with her black magic. Finally, Bagda Munda chopped her with an axe and was thrown behind the bars for committing a heinous crime but he is not ashamed of his act.

Sushila Devi, 45 year old , described how she and four other village women, mostly widows suspected of being witches, were beaten, paraded naked and forced to eat excreta in Patharghatia village in Deoghar district, Jharkhand on October 17, 2009.  


In all the above cases, the women were suspected of being witches!(“dayans” is what they call it). It is the backwardness and illiteracy of such villages which provides a fertile ground for breeding such idiotic superstitions.


It was astonishing to read “test of witchhood” rampant in most of this villages; A woman suspicious of practicing Wicca will be asked to take out a coin dipped in a vessel filled with boiling oil. If her hands are burnt, her witchhood is confirmed, otherwise she is declared innocent.


Branding woman a witch is a common ploy to grab a land, settle scores or also to punish her for turning down the sexual advances. Most of the women falls for such trap are widows, so called unwanted member of the family. They are humiliated, harassed, beaten up and (in some cases) killed not only in front of their families, but in front of thousand other villager, who witness the show like numbskulls.


In most of the cases help from police or judicial/administrative system is out of the reach of such illiterate and helpless woman.


It is my privilege to state; Union woman and child development minister Krishna Tirath saying recently that there would soon be a law against witch-hunting, however how far will it be implemented and enforced successfully is question in itself.

19 May 2010

Luthra-luthra-sudipta-routhLuthra & Luthra has hired its first full-time M&A corporate partner in Mumbai, taking former Clifford Chance senior associate and Trilegal partner Sudipta Routh to diversify the office from its current finance focus.

18 May 2010

I am not a story teller. The art of story writing is a highly complicated one and is best left to accomplished masters of the craft, Rasipuram Krishnaswami Narayan, Guy De Maupassant and the likes.

Reservation(in the Indian context;I am not talking about Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav's tatkal quota here)will remain a contentious issue as long as democracy survives(the founding fathers of our constitution surely hadn't anticipated this)i.e in a country like ours, forever(unless one is overtly pessimistic).

18 May 2010

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has agreed to postpone the planned bar exam to December, we are informed.


Kian has insinuated here that another possible angle in introduction of the proposed Bar Admission examination may perhaps be to meet the 'reciprocity' criterion in the municipal law (e.g.: "You can practice here if you pass our exam.")


Thus, the first argument that introduction of such a Bar Admission examination as a measure of Quality control belies a certain logic.Admittedly, there are about 740 law colleges and 11 national law universities under the control of BCI.The alarming silence of the stand of these 740 law colleges qua the proposed Bar Admission examination makes us wonder as to what and /how the students in these law colleges may be having in their minds. Rs 4 lakhs for 8 months is not the average net loss of students across these 740 law colleges. It maynotbe so for a even  in the 11 national law universities.

Since BCI is accountable for the standard of legal education in these 740 law colleges across the country as well as the 11 national law universities, we are all in agreement that there cannot be any comparison at all between the standard of law education imparted in these 740 law colleges qua the 11 national law universities. Therefore, the proposed Bar Admission examination should be conducted in a manner keeping in view the said disparity which is almost akin to the difference between a standard meal in Lunsa , a naxal affected area in the State of Jharkhand and the meal in an average home in Jamshedpur, 2 and half hours away.


The poverty of the nation can be very well compared with the poverty of education and the telling nature of the infrastructure (or the lack of it) in most of these 740 law colleges across the country.


On an average, the cost of education in these 11 national law universities is around 1 lakh a year whereas the total cost of a 5 year law degree in Calcutta University (as a mere example) is around Rupees 20, 000/- only.

The infrastructure, facilities and exposure made available in Rs. 5 lakhs and a mere Rs. 20, 000 needs no further discussion. The fact remains that the standard in both these universities are maintained by the same authority, BCI. How is it possible to maintain the same standard? Is there a paradigm of legal education prevalent in India? Can the students who belong to these two paradigms be subject to the same examination?


In a super specialty hospital in Delhi, the same injection which is worth Rs 10 when injected into a patient admitted to the dormitory becomes chargeable at Rs. 1000 when injected in a patient admitted in a suite costing Rs. 1 lakh a day. Similarly, is the standard of legal education, which is maintained by a single organization across the country have different benchmarks and yardsticks depending on the cost of the tuition fees? If there are different standards, there should be different exams.


Admittedly, the standards are different. Mostly, there in no discernible standard at all. Thus, in the absence of quality control when it came to establishing and maintaining a general acceptable standard of legal education across all law colleges and universities, it is perhaps not correct to introduce quality control at the stage of completion of the said courses run and controlled by the BCI, not having been able to establish and maintain an uniform standard across the 740 law colleges and 11 national universities. The said Bar Admission exam does not act as a bar to higher education but the right to livelihood.


For a moment, it is not suggested that the examination is not a great idea. It is just that it is an idea which completely fails to address the issues pertaining to the majority of the potential examinees. The standard of legal education as well as the standard of the Bar when administered by the same authority, one cannot look at both of these in an isolated fashion. BCI is attempting to create an unnecessary class divide guised in an attempt to project pioneering thought but essentially to cover up years of colossal ineptitude. The proposal, if intended to quality check the standard of the bar, appears to be half baked, ill thought, intellectually weak and belies common sense. .


Further, the number of law graduates from these 11 national law universities who have habitually taken to transactional lawyering, which the BCI Chairman ‘thinks’ does not require one to be a ‘practising Advocate’ in India and can be done by law graduates, the brunt of the said proposal would be borne by the student of the 740 law colleges across India, the standard of law education being non existent in most of these places and especially because the BCI has failed in its commitment and purpose.


Further, the creation of a new distinction between "enrolment" and "practice" is perhaps not well founded. In the USA, a person having failed to clear the bar examination cannot practise even in the transaction side of the profession. His status is equivalent to that of a para legal. He cannot be hauled up by the Client for negligence or misconduct. The law firms are under a legal requirement to disclose how many lawyers who are working on such non litigious matters have not cleared the bar exam and the particular bar exam cleared by the lawyers who have indeed cleared. The same contention finds support in the words of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar (as he then was) and Justice J P Devadhar in the case of Lawyers Collective wherein the Bench stated as under:

Section 33 of the 1961 Act is a prohibitory section in the sense that it debars any person from appearing before any Court or authority unless he is enrolled as an advocate under the 1961 Act. The bar contained in Section 33 of the 1961 Act has nothing to do with the persons entitled to be enrolled as advocates under Section 29 of the 1961 Act. A person enrolled as an advocate under Section 29 of the 1961 Act, may or may not be desirous of appearing before the Courts. He may be interested in practising only in non litigious matters. Therefore, the bar under Section 33 from appearing in any Court (except when permitted by Court under Section 32 of the 1961 Act or any other Act) unless enrolled as an advocate does not bar a person from being enrolled as an advocate under Section 29 of the 1961 Act for practising the profession of law in non litigious matters. The Apex Court in the case of Ex-Capt. Harish Uppal (supra) has held that the right to practise is the genus of which the right to appear and conduct cases in the Court may be a specie. Therefore, the fact that Section 33 of the 1961 Act provides that advocates alone are entitled to practise before any Court / authority it cannot be inferred that the 1961 Act applies only to persons practising in litigious matters and would not apply to person practising in non litigious matters.

 It was contended that the 1961 Act does not contain any penal provisions for breaches committed by a person practicing in non-litigious matter and, therefore, the 1961 Act cannot apply to persons practising in non-litigious matters. There is no merit in this contention, because, Section 35 of the 1961 Act provides punishment to an advocate who is found to be guilty of professional or other misconduct. The fact that Section 45 of the 1961 Act provides imprisonment for persons illegally practising in Courts and before other authorities, it cannot be said that the 1961 Act does not contain provisions to deal with the persons found guilty of misconduct while practising in non litigious matters. Once it is held that the persons entitled to practise the profession of law under the 1961 Act covers the persons practising the profession of law in litigious matters as well as non-litigious matters, then, the penal provisions contained in Section 35 of the 1961 Act would apply not only to persons practising in litigious matter, but would also apply to persons practising the profession of law in non-litigious matters. The very object of the 1961 Act and the Rules framed by the Bar Council of India are to ensure that the persons practising the profession of law whether in litigious matters or in non litigious matters, maintain high standards in professional conduct and etiquette and, therefore, it cannot be said that the persons practising in non litigious matters are not governed by the 1961 Act.

In view of the aforesaid extracted portion of the Bombay High Court judgment, which is an interpretation of the scope of Section 33 and other sections of the Advocates Act, 1961 as mentioned above and more so in view of the words "There is no reason to hold that in India the practise in non litigious matters is unregulated," it is difficult to lend support to the thought that the Bombay High Court judgment does not concern domestic lawyers but is limited in application to foreign lawyers.


Further, if such an examination is for the purpose of meeting the ‘reciprocity’ criterion in the Act, then the threshold of these examinations would be required to be fashioned in view of the standards prevalent in such reciprocating territories.


The intention of the BCI is noble but the BCI should start with the standardization of law education across the country first and having met that objective, introduce the proposed bar admission exam. A holistic approach is the only solution. Nothing short of that would do. A colleague at the Bar went as far to suggest that such an exam does not guarantee the quality of the Bar since the legal education system in India, be it one of the 740 colleges or a National university, does not does not have a curriculum focusing on litigation and the students across the vast paradigm start learning only on the job. The ability to learn on the job depends of individual ability and aptitude and not on the educational institution one went to. Thus, the proposed Bar exam attempts to alter and/or eliminate the level playing ground as it exists today.


On a lighter note, an enrolled colleague at the Bar, hailing originally from the Chota Nagpur region and an alumnus of the same College where retired Justice of the Supreme Court studied law, said that these 740 law colleges are much more confident about clearing the proposed Bar admission examinations and thus have not asked for any postponement unlike a particular National Law university which is unsure and thus has sought postponement of the same.


The absurdity of such a proposition made us have a great laugh but then again, the alarming silence!!!!!




18 May 2010

The short point which arose for consideration (in 9 complaints and one appeal) before the Central Information Commission was whether the Bar Council of India and the State Bar Councils are ‘Public Authorities’ within the meaning of Section 2(h) (b) of the RTI Act, 2005.


The Bar Council of India, in all its wisdom, had passed a Resolution dated June 27, 2009 stating thereby that since they are not funded either directly or indirectly by the Central or State Government, they are not covered under the RTI Act and thus they were not privy to disclose any information sought by citizens under the RTI Act.

By virtue of such resolution, the State Bar Councils were bound as well.


In the proceedings before the CIC, disposed of vide the aforesaid common order dated January 11, 2010, the BCI contended that even though they admitted that were a statutory body created under an Act of Parliament, viz. Advocates Act, 1961, since they did not meet all the elements of Section 2(h), they could not be considered a ‘public authority’ under the RTI Act.


Section 2(h) states defined ‘public authority’ which means any authority or body or institution of self- government established or constituted—

(a) by or under the Constitution;

(b) by any other law made by Parliament;

(c) by any other law made by State Legislature;

(d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any—

(i)  body owned, controlled or substantially financed;


(ii) Non-Government Organization (NGO) substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government;


The aforesaid argument was advanced by the BCI which is the one and only body representing the Indian Bar, having its statutory basis and the backing of democratic statutory elections from the primary level onwards for its constitution. The Bar Council of India boasts of the Attorney General of India, the Chief Law officer of the Government of India the Solicitor General of India , both being Honorary Members of the Bar council of India and that of the accredited seniors in the Indian Bar, many of whom are internationally accepted legal and jurists.


The absurdity of such an argument, especially when the same is advanced by BCI, if analyzed would cast serious aspersions on the legal competence, ethical standards and motive/agenda of the persons who are office bearers of the BCI and / or the State Bar Councils. Another curious aspect of this argument is that apart from finding favour within the BCI, it also found support with the competent authority under the RTI(SPIO) which heard the grievance at the first round (since the CIC was also dealing with an appeal).


The Central Information Commission expressed surprise at such an argument , especially when it came from BCI in its order dated January 11,2010 and went on to hold that the Bar Council of India and the State Bar Councils are indeed ‘Public Authorities’ within the meaning of Section 2(h) (b) of the RTI Act, 2005.


Further , vide the said order, the Bar Councils were directed to take all necessary steps top carry out their duties and responsibilities assigned by the RTI Act.


The author is not aware of whether the aforesaid order has been carried in further Appeal and whether it stands stayed by a superior court.

However, the BCI website


It is interesting to note that the millennium pledge of BCI, as boldly stated on its website, is to rededicate itself to maintenance of highest standards of professional ethics, advancement of legal profession and service to humanity. Yet, the same statutory body took such a stand (Resolution dated June 27, 2009) simply to avoid public scrutiny and one wonders why.

Further, even after five months after passing of the aforesaid order, the BCI continues to default in performance of its obligations under the RTI Act, 2005.Its website does not even disclose the name of its PIO and a lot of other information which they are duty bound to provide under the RTI Act.


17 May 2010

Here I am, writing my first post  after being on LI since ages, knowing about the blogging competition since ages, being goaded to enter it since ages....all courtesy my friend Legal Poet. 

The guy is a gem. Anyway, the post is not about him (Sorry LLP :p). I have read more than a few posts. Some good, some bad; some serious, some hilarious. Thought I could also write, even if not as well as the others. Had entered the blogging scene a few years ago and then met the dreaded writers' block. I guess, here is my chance to start afresh :)






17 May 2010

An arrogant professor, with a sole ambition in life --- TORTURE! Many a Law Student has faced this, and many more shall don the robes of the ‘Sacrificial Lamb’. Here’s to all those Legal Raavan’s who have made an otherwise heavenly Law School Experience hell for the students!

PS – The sole inspiration for this post has been one of the entries under the Facebook Group ‘You know you are in Law School When’, which refers to “Professors who just didn’t get enough hugs as children.”

PS2 – (Disclaimer, not the PlayStation Series) – This post is in all probability Fictitious. Any similarity with any Professor, dead or alive, killing or survived, is completely unintentional, and deeply (as deep as LegalPoet’s Thoughts) regretted.

Legal Raavan: Every Law Student’s Nightmare!!!


He entered the classroom,

With long, arrogant strides.

With a no non-sense hair-cut,

Where from stemmed such pride?!?!


I’m Professor Bond, James Bond, said he.

007 without a good cause is a twat, ain’t he???

He behaved like the Devil! The Apocalypse was here!

We thought of him as Raavan, in the Legal sphere.


With Condescension as his weapon,

And a devilish smile to match.

He had earned himself a scholarship,

Through a boundary and a catch.


He returned with his scholarship,

Glowing with conceit.

His own bad grades and failures

Seemed to take a back seat.


He now made it his life’s aim,

To denigrate and demoralize;

His students worked day and night,

Alas! There was no prize!


As toil and sweat went in vain,

They took a valiant stand.

Like the Titans of Alexander,

They wanted to bajaao band!


Many protests followed,

But the Devil wouldn’t leave his den.

Arrogance made his head swell up,

Till he sprouted ten!


Grades Plummeted, Administration Crumbled,

As the foolish devil growled and grumbled.

Students cried, some even died.

This just reminded me of the ‘3 Idiots’ suicide.


How on earth could one conquer;

A Force that was so strong.

That had engulfed all power in its wake

All this seemed so wrong.


Then the Ramayan started to show its truth.

It wasn’t just a myth.

The Constitution of the College

Found its Substance and Pith.


Legal Raavan was relieved.

Relieved of all his duties!

With 9 of his 10 bloated heads punctured;

He was sent away with stones and jooties.


Thus Legal Raavan was conquered.

There is proof that Ram Exists.

Please do not lose hope while you face yours,

He shall soon be kicked into the abyss!


17 May 2010




Our politicians hailed it as a strong message to Pakistan, the Maharashtra Chief  Minister called for an early execution, Special Public Prosecutor Ujwal Nikam gave it the two thumbs up. There were fire crackers in the streets of South Bombay and sweets distrusted in its offices. Hang men are now coming out of retirement, with the hope of getting the ‘opportunity’ to hang Kasab and ofcourse we are now hearing claims from the Government that he will be hanged within the year.


The run up to the judgment was a story in itself, the family of the survivors were calling for the death as soon as he was pronounced guilty, while the BJP was busy burning an effigy with a noose around his neck, the Times of India was whipping up excitement with its scrolling updates on its website. And then it finally came, death for the one who brought death.  And with it, the joy, the celebration of many was widely reported. I began to wonder,  is putting someone to death is societies greatest act of retribution. There is a passage in the February 2010 decision of the Supreme Court in Mulla v. State of UP which runs:


“When ingratitude is shown instead of gratitude by "killing" a member of the community which protects the murderer himself from being killed, or when the community feels that for the sake of self-preservation the killer has to be killed, the community may well withdraw the protection by sanctioning the death penalty. But the community will not do so in every case. It may do so "in rarest of rare cases" when its collective conscience is so shocked that it will expect the holders of the judicial power centre to inflict death penalty irrespective of their personal opinion as regards desirability or otherwise of retaining death penalty”



Though this is a part of a longer, reasoned judgment which may form a part of the jurisprudence which may eventually lead to the abolishment of the death penalty, it is something which sticks out, especially in the light of the reaction portrayed by the media to the news that Kasab was awarded the death sentence. One of the criticisms, of the retributive theory of justice, of which this passage above seems to be referring to, is that its promotes a society which is bloody thirsty and lives on rules of the  a an eye for an eye. And regardless of the other justifications of capital punishment, this seems exactly what is happening. The sheer way in which people of the nation were clamoring for someone’s death was shocking.


So where are we then, is law reflecting the sentiment of society or fuelling it? Recent decisions of the Supreme Court indicate that it the rule of law and Constitutionalism may run contrary to public opinion and regardless of public outcry, judges must be insulated and continue to uphold constitutional values. [See: Santosh Kumar Satishbhushan Bariyar Vs. State of Maharashtra, (2009)6SCC498, Anuj Garg v. Hotel Association of India and Naz Foundation]


In Bariar the Supreme Court stated that it was all too aware that death sentencing can become a media spectacle in the country. An understatement in the least considering the spectacle surrounding the Kasab trial. One wonders how one stops attitudes of revenge and thirst for blood from passing from generation to generation.


As Michael Moore said, “I refuse to live in a country like this, and I’m not leaving”


15 May 2010




Tagore firmly believed that independence from the British, in itself, would be meaningless and merely lead to replacing a foreign oppressor with home-grown ones as long as Indians stayed mired in superstition, ritualism, caste ism and such other ims. This belief made him strongly oppose Gandhi’s philosophy of   “Education can wait, Swaraj cannot” at the cost of being maligned as ‘unpatriotic’. In time, we have come to learn about the basic truth behind Tagore’s fear.

In the year 2001, PUCL moved a writ petition (a PIL) before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India to address the issues pertaining to effective implementations of ICDS and midday meals in the country.

On 28 November 2001, the Hon’ble Supreme Court passed, anong others  the following directives with regard to the Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDMS).

·     We direct the State Governments/ Union Territories to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme by providing every child in every Government and Government assisted Primary Schools with a prepared mid day meal with a minimum content of 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein each day of school for a minimum of 200 days. Those Governments providing dry rations instead of cooked meals must within three months [February 28, 2002] start providing cooked meals in all Govt. and Govt. aided Primary Schools in all half the Districts of the State ( in order of poverty ) and must within a further period of three months [May 28, 2002] extend the provision of cooked meals to the remaining parts of the State

·     We direct the Union of India and the FCI to ensure provision of fair average quality grain for the Scheme on time.

·     The States/ Union Territories and the FCI are directed to do joint inspection of food grains. If the food grain is found, on joint inspection, not to be of fair average quality, it will be replaced by the FCI prior to lifting.”

On 2nd May 2003, the Apex Court noted that ‘some States in implementation of the said direction [of 28 November 2001] are supplying cooked mid day meal to the students. We are, however, told that despite the fact that 11/2 years has passed, some of the States have not even made a beginning. Particular reference has been made to States of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.



On 20 April 2004, the same Court observed that by an order dated 29th October, 2002, it was made clear that in case of persistent default in compliance of the orders of this Court, the concerned Chief Secretaries/Administrators of the States/Union Territories shall be held responsible.


It is a matter of anguish that despite lapse of nearly three and half years, the order dated 28th November, 2001 has not been fully implemented by all the States and Union Territories. As already stated earlier, many of the States have given only half-baked information and figures. Further, we wish to make it clear that the fact that some of the States were permitted to at least make a start in some of the districts in terms of the order dated 2nd May, 2003 does not mean that this Court has modified or varied the earlier order dated 28th November, 2001. It is a constitutional duty of every State and Union Territory to implement in letter and spirit the directions contained in the order dated 28th November, 2001.  


Among others , the following directions are noteworthy:

·     The conversion costs for a cooked meal, under no circumstances, shall be recovered from the children or their parents.

·     In appointment of cooks and helpers, preference shall be given to Dalits, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

·     In drought affected areas, mid-day meal shall be supplied even during summer vacations.



On 27th April, 2004, the court noted that “from the facts and figures that have been furnished to us, it seems evident that there is a large number of mal-nourished children between the age group of 0 to 6 years…The position is quite alarming.  These young children are the future of the nation.  Further, it appears that except Kerala and Tamil Nadu where the benefit under the scheme is said to be reaching to about 50 per cent of the children, in the rest of the country the average seems to be below 25 per cent.  The position in the States of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal seems to be quite alarming.  


Then again on 7th October, 2004, the court noted


The scheme intends to cover all the children under age group of 0-6 years. The food is supplied to the children through Anganwadi Centres  (For short, `AWCS').  The norms of Government of India provide for one Centre for a population of one thousand (700 in case of tribal area)…according to norms, there should be approxomately 14 lakhs ACWS.  Admittedly, nearly 6 lakh Centres have been sanctioned. Many of the sanctioned Centres are also not operational as is evident from the Report under consideration.  The problem seems to be more acute in States like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand….The result was that a large number of children between the age group of 0-6 years were malnourished.  That Order also noticed that the position was alarming in the aforesaid three States as well as the State of Uttaranchal.  


It is most unfortunate that instead of three months, nearly six months have expired, the Government of India has still not filed the affidavit and instead an oral application has been made by learned Additional Solicitor General for grant of further time to file an affidavit in terms of the Order dated 29.4.2004.We are shocked at the attitude of the Central Government which is in respect of giving nutritious food to all children though in practice it concerns those unfortunate section of the society who can ill-afford to provide nutritious food to the children of the aforesaid age group.  In absence of the affidavit, we could have straightway issued directions for the sanction of the remaining AWCS and for increase of norm of rupee one to rupees two but having regard to the totality of the circumstances, we grant one final opportunity to the Central Government to file affidavit within a period of two weeks whereafter we would consider these two aspects, namely, (i) sanction of 14 lakh AWCS; (ii) increase of norm of rupee one to rupees two.


Further, the Court observed as on that day that the Report presents a glooming picture both in regard to the operation of the sanctioned AWCS in some of the States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand and the position in those which are operational….

According to the Report, on an average, 42 paisa as against the norm of rupee one was being allocated per beneficiary per day by the State of Jharkhand.  The position in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh is also no better.  


On 13th December, 2006, the Apex Court passed a judgment, reported in 2007(1) SCC 719, wherein it observed that “it is matter of concern that 15 States and Union Territories have not submitted any affidavit in compliance with the order dated 7.10.2004. They are the State of Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Goa, Punjab Manipur, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram, Haryana, Bihar and the National Capital of Delhi and the Union Terrioty of Lakshadweep. Within four weeks reply shall be filed through the concerned Chief Secretary as to why action for contempt shall not be initiated for the lapse.”



On 9th July, 2007, the Apex court passed another judgment wherein it observed that “It is a matter of concern that even the sanctioned centres (the number of which is much less than the targeted one) have not been made operational. The backlog has to be cleared immediately and the  centres which have been sanctioned upto September 2006  shall be made operational and functional by 15th July, 2007 in  the case of all States except the State of U.P. where the last  date is fixed to be 31st July, 2007. Those centres which have been sanctioned upto January 2007 shall be made functional by 30.9.2007….



It is made clear that if there is any non observance of the time period fixed would be seriously viewed.”



20th November 2007. Another judgment passed. Reported in AIR 2008 SC 495. The Court notes  that considering the submissions and the material

data placed on record we direct as follows:-     


(a)       The Union of India and all the State Governments and the Union Territories shall (i) continue with the NMBS and (ii) ensure that all BPL pregnant women get cash assistance 8- 12 weeks prior to the delivery.   

(b)       The amount shall be Rs.500/- per birth irrespective of number of children and the age of the woman.   

(c)        The Union of India, State Governments and the Union Territories shall file affidavits within 8 weeks from today indicating the total number of births in the State, number of  eligible BPL women who have received the  benefits, number of BPL women who had  home/non-institutional deliveries and have  received the benefit, number of BPL women  who had institutional deliveries and have  received the benefit.

(d)       The total number of resources allocated and utilized for the period 2000-2006.     

(e)        All concerned Governments are directed to regularly advertise the revised scheme so that the intended beneficiaries can become aware of the scheme.

(f)        The Central Government shall ensure that the money earmarked for the scheme is not utilized for any other purpose.  The mere insistence on utilization certificate may not yield the expected result.        

(g)       It shall be the duty of all the concerned to ensure that the benefits of the scheme reach  the intended beneficiaries.  In case it is noticed that there is any diversion of the funds allocated for the scheme, such stringent action as is called for shall be taken against the erring officials responsible for diversion of the funds.


On 22nd April, 2009, The Supreme Court pointed out that several States like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Nagaland have not met the requisite norms. These States are directed to take steps as required to be taken.


The schemes mentioned above have turned out to be scams of such a grave proportion that presumably, it has gone much beyond the best intentions of the Apex Court. Despite direction of the Supreme Court, 1.63 crore children of drought affected areas were not provided nutritional support by the State during summer vacations of 2005 and 2007. 121.98 crores of food grains, meant for mal nourished children, remained with transporting agencies and/or food grain shops.


A reference maybe made to the article of Mr. Himanshu Upadhay which u may read here



While the Supreme Court is yet to decide whether the doctrine of ‘separation of power’ is loosely or strictly  followed in India , while the State of UP, refuses to implement the Right to Education Act citing lack of funds when even when crores continue to spent from the State exchequer at the behest of the Chief Minister to construct symbols of Dalit pride and awakening, a very large part of the genuflecting spine-less purchased helpless tongue wagging scotch connoisseur Intelligentsia genuinely feels but again such expenditure being in the exclusive domain of the government, the Judiciary perhaps may have no authority to interfere.


The bright young legal minds of this country have perhaps watched the cool funk ‘butterfly effect’ and are presumably aware of the grave repercussions of policies (or the lack of it) and how these lead to internal disturbances like the ones we are facing presently.


Obsessed with internships , PROs and a lame fight as to which is the best law school, the opinion of these well fed young people on legal and constitutional questions/issues is almost non existent, on this website atleast.

Can we know what people might think can abate this cancer or do we have no choice whatsoever at all? 




15 May 2010

Those were the ‘catastrophic’ words which were uttered by the naïve Maulana Noor-ul-Huda on the phone just a few minutes before the take off aboard his Emirates flight on Wednesday which promoted the Delhi Police not only to offload him from the aircraft at the IGI Airport but also book him under
Section 505 I B (making statements likely to cause fear among the public) and Section 341 (wrongfully restraining passengers by the scare).


Every rational human being who has even little knowledge of the urdu language knows that that the straight forward connotation of the term is ‘The plane will take off, we will fly’ and not the corrupt understanding of the expression as proposed by the Delhi Police. If this the level of security measure undertaken by the authorities then tomorrow a person uttering the words ‘Goodbye’ on the phone to his near ones before a take off should also be scuffled out of the aircraft because it may be construed to mean that those are his or her ‘last words’ and the plane may contain a bomb which would go off within seconds.

It is really baffling to see that the Maulana being harassed on the pretext of a lady passenger on board who misunderstood what he said and raised an alarm. Ever since then the incubus began for the him as he was deplaned, charged with a crime he never committed and then had to seek bail for it.

It is rather more disheartening than vexing to come across such tidings for people who are deeply rooted in their faith yet never see a hatchway in the implantation of treatments bestowed upon the ‘beaded’ and the ‘beardless’. These are the very incidents which lead to estrangement of a particular faith.

When the very essence of our Constitution itself guarantees that there shall not be any differential treatment with regard to a person’s caste, creed or religion, then why this stigma attached to one particular faith which has to prove again and again that every member of its clan is not an ‘OSAMA’ or ‘KASAB’.

Its high time that the Justice Mechanism (in case it existents) in the country should agnise that incidents like this would shake the ingrained belief of the Indian Muslims and they may even start questioning their loyalty towards their very own ‘ Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic’.

For the news coverage of the the incident refer to-




15 May 2010

[WARNING: This is a longish, dull-ish entry because the weekend has started and I have not many more interesting things to do.]

[There you go again, reading this blog entry in the hope of somehow getting through the next five minutes.]

It’s been a difficult week for the UK, what with a change in government and all that. I can hardly keep myself from smirking. Karma has hit them hard and ironically reverse-inheritance has left them holding a coalition baby.

Personally, too, today has been difficult for me. While being a lawyer at Colby, Hewitt and Richards LLP is great and occasionally challenging, the recession has sprung its own surprise on me today.

You see, for the first time in my career, I haven’t done a single hour’s worth of billable work today. 

[Pause for last statement to sink in.]

Having been overworked even at the height of the recession, I initially find this sudden lack of work slightly disturbing since my bonus is dependent on me not only meeting, but exceeding, the target hours. It then occurs to me that this rare opportunity may be worth exploring. Never one to question the prevailing state of affairs, I stride fearlessly into unfamiliar territory.

So first I decide to catch up on my social networking. I install half a dozen pointless applications, take a few ridiculous quizzes, write gibberish on my friends’ walls and check out photos of the hot girls they are friends with. While online stalking is a fun activity, it loses its charm after a couple of hours or so when you realise your friends are really happy with their lives. Also, you realise that you have several “friends” on Facebook to whom you have never spoken in person. They write funny things all day but most of them are real-life dweebs who couldn't spot a joke if it hit them in the face. Unfortunately, there’s no need to think on your feet when you’re exercising your wit sitting behind a computer.

My next stop is Cricinfo. After going through a wide array of statistics, articles and M.S. Dhoni’s insightful comments on India’s secretly excellent performance at the World Cup, I think there is a definite case to be made in favour of the ICC abandoning international cricket and recognising the IPL as cricket's highest and truest form. The IPL has it all- money, sleazy politics, glitz and an all-conquering Indian champion at the end. Also, I foresee the ICC World Cup being scrapped/boycotted since India isn't winning it anymore. [And its just plain rude, you know, letting the South African Second XI waltz all the way into the final. How they gloat...Bah!]

I smoke a couple of cigarettes with Rob. Its lunch time. I email my co-workers James and Alex and we head out for a leisurely Friday lunch since they too are afflicted by this sudden mysterious downturn illness. We decide on Mexican and a few unpronounceables later my gastric needs are satisfied. I am reluctant to go back to my desk, so I linger over another cigarette and sip on a Coke while I listen (and contribute, whenever possible) to the latest office gossip.

We finally go back up to the office. I check my email. Nothing. I decide to plan my next holiday. So I spend the next hour looking up exotic holiday destinations (eg. Ibiza, Guatemala). I check my bank balance. Negligible. Looks like Ibiza is going to have to wait. [I wonder where the money goes? Note to self: keep detailed accounts and quit buying bogus golf sets on the internet.] 

This is when waves of sleep begin to hit me. It’s a Friday afternoon. I must wake up. So, I go back downstairs and spend five pounds on two lattes at the Starbucks below the office. I sit there for three-quarters of an hour, flipping through the latest edition of The Lawyer. Pretty powerful stuff that. I would definitely recommend it- plenty of gossip with a sprinkling of important legal happenings too.

I go back upstairs, enjoying a mild caffeine buzz. Time for rollonfriday.com (ROF) and legallyindia.com (LI). ROF is pure gossip but I read a couple of decent articles, spot important Indian deals and peruse the latest efforts of my esteemed co-bloggers on LI. But what I love the most about the LI site are the comments people leave behind. There’s something particularly liberating about being anonymous and nasty. Ask me.

Its five o’clock now. I’m particularly bored so I take a stroll around the office. Everyone is busy looking busy. The drinks trolley is due in another half an hour, so I play a game of poker on my BlackBerry to pass time. I give an over-enthusiastic trainee two hundred pages of proofreading to do over the weekend. The deal isn't going to go through but she doesn't know that, does she? Also, I just felt like making someone miserable.

Its five-thirty now. Also, there is no sign of the drinks trolley. An email from Jack Richards pops up on my screen. In my experience, this is usually about the time a deal comes in. My heart beats wildly while I open it. However, this one just explains that the weekly drinks trolley is now going to be a semi-annual affair. Austerity measures he says- the argument being that if Greece can do it, why not Colby, Hewitt and Richards?

I give up. I have to get out or I will be robbed of my sanity.

I make it out of the doors, intact. The weekend is here. Bliss….until 9 a.m. Monday.

Over and Out.

[I’ve just returned from a screening of Badmaash Company at Shaftesbury Avenue and am in particularly good spirits.]

[I have lost my firm £2800 today.]

[Statistics reliably inform me that I have received 65,976,830,331 hits on my blog to date. Okay, I’m lying. Really makes me wonder though how much work you guys actually do in office.]

15 May 2010


Final year Students Unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

We are under attack from the repressive tyrannical Bar Council.

All of us who have worked so hard over five years of law sweating it out at internships, writing papers, winning moots, doing summer courses and what not, to land ourselves our dream jobs will now have to be faced with the prospect of losing it all!

The Bar Council and the esteemed members of the bar have no care or interest for our plight. Sh. Subhramniam seems to be hell bent on not letting us practice till we give the bar exam even if it is a decade from now!

The fact of the matter is the incompetent Bar Council does not have its own house in order and it now wants to make us the scape goats. First they wanted to conduct the bar exam in July- almost like a surprise assignment and now they say they are not well prepared and so the exam will be in December. (To top it all they still haven't given an assurance that it will happen in December, but they are sure they won't let us practice till then!). The minimal implication of this is we lose eight months pay and this whole disruption may threaten some of our jobs.

Is there any logic in denying us the right to practice because they cannot conduct the exam?

The quintessence of a civilized community is freedom from terror. However, unfortunately in our country whimsical administrators  have always had their sway over the life's of people, destablising their plans and bring their hard work to naught.

Today, our future is threatened and time for sitting on the ropes is past. We must enter the battlefield with all weapons at our disposal. Our single point demand should be - conduct the bar exam in July or allow us to practice without it. 

The fact is that today there is nobody who is interested in our future, those on the bar are happy to do give us meritocratic moral preachings while they gain eight months free labour at our expense. The Hon'ble Supreme Court, as yet not apprised of our plight, is more focused on uplifting the standard of legal education. Whilst behind the shadows those in favour of foreign law firms in India are strongly backing the bar exam. (Of course we do not oppose foreign firms). At this stage to sit back and think that someone else will do something about it will be fatal. The macro scenario is against - in the forward march of the legal community, we are going to be the road kill.

Each of us must fight against this oppression. The following steps are suggested:


  • Signature Campaigns and Open Letters addressed to Bar Council, Hon'ble Chief Justice of India, and the Minister for Law and Justice.
  • Meetings & Discussions in all Colleges
  • All-India Level Co-ordination
  • Approach teachers sympathetic to our cause
  • Approach sympathetic bar members
  • Approach prospective employers esp. law firms against the entry of foreign law firms to flex their muscles.
  • File Writ Petitions, get our selves impleaded in the Bonni Case (perhaps some one can draft a writ and post it here)
  • If need arise Delhi Chalo! to protest in front of the Bar Council Office.


More Suggestions are welcome. 


14 May 2010


Dear Prudence,

                  I’m a law student in my fourth year and I’m thoroughly confused about what I want to do. Litigation is really interesting but I’m not sure how to go about it. People tell me that one doesn’t have a future in litigation unless one has a godfather. Should I give up my dreams and just join a firm?


Without a map


Dear without a map,

            I spoke to a few reputed litigators and it seems there truly is no map to litigation. Everyone has their own way of going about being a litigator. While some people suggest one starts practicing at the lower Courts and then proceed to the Supreme Court, another set of people just start practicing at the High Court or the Supreme Court depending on their preference. However, it is important to have a fair idea about the procedures in all these Courts.

         Most of the litigators suggest you begin by joining an advocate either in the High Court or the Supreme Court. One school of litigators suggest you join a Senior advocate while the other suggest you join an upcoming advocate. Both these methods have advantages and disadvantages. By joining a senior lawyer, you’re chances of learning much reduce if the lawyer only uses you to brief him about issues. You are mostly never likely to get a chance to argue or handle a file. However, people tend to see you with him/her and this will be helpful in getting cases in the future. On the other hand, joining an upcoming lawyer will help you learn how to get your hands dirty since you’ll be allowed to handle matters.

    When I asked them about payment, most of them told me that many junior advocates start out with Rs.3000 and some pay about twenty thousand in the beginning. So be ready for a pay cheque as small as the cheque itself. One lawyer told me that in the beginning a lawyer is paid peanuts for his work. After a few years, one is paid exactly for the work one does and with age you’re paid a lot more than you’re supposed to be. So be ready for three to six years of waiting before you can start your own practice.

    Last, I asked them about whether its important to specialize in a particular subject of law. Most of them told me that while it was a plus point, no one is at liberty to choose their clients in the beginning. So while you should do an LLM, don’t expect it to come in handy at the very beginning and in every matter. The Indian litigation scene hasn’t advanced to the stage where clients approach advocates depending on their specialization but their rapport before the Judges. 

With warm regards,



Warning: Use this advice with caution. This is the scenario for the average litigator. Results may vary from person to person. 

See John2010's other blogs:

8 disturbing signs that our elected representatives have forgotten us.

My Facebook Feed

How comrade whistle blower lost his ethical virginity

The PM on legal education: What he said and did not say.

Dear Prudence: ....... Litigation is really interesting but ........?

The 26/11 Judgement fails the maturity test and how we can still salvage justice.

Confessions of a chronic cheater.....

How not to be inspired.

When things go wrong.....

13 May 2010

Male Rapes – Some Myths, Statistics, True Incidents and Legal Insight

A True Story

Is Rape attempted only on females? I would request you to think again. Male rapes are not fiction created in novels and movies. What happened in Shawshank Redemption can happen to anyone at any place.

Shikhar (name changed) was popular at his college for being a philanderer. He had multiple girlfriends and at age of 22, he had everything a student could aspire for. He shared his room with two of his classmates. His relations with them were not cordial. He had some unresolved issues with them. One night when he was sleeping, he realized that his room mates were tying him to the bed. He was repeatedly raped (sodomised) by both of them that night.

The incident changed Shikhar’s life completely. Even after two years, he hasn’t dated any girl or talked about sex with his friends. The very talk of sex upsets him. He also tried attempting suicide once to get rid of miserable life. Only two of his friends were aware of what happened to him that night, but even they were unable to console him in this situation. Similar to other instances of male rapes, the matter went unreported.

Male Rapes: Some Shocking Statistics

  • About 10% of rape victims are men.
  • Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey, US points out that 71% of male victims were first raped before their 18th birthday; 16.6% were 18-24 years old, and 12.3% were 25 or older.
  • U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (1999) estimated that 91% of rape victims are female and 9% are male
  • Human Rights Watch Report suggests that 22% of male inmates have been raped at least once during their incarceration; i.e. around 420,000 prisoners each year.

History of Male Rapes

In some societies the victorious soldiers were given a right to rape the defeated enemy. The act demonstrated a total control over the defeated warrior. It was believed that whether consensual or forced a male who has carnal intercourse looses his manhood and is thus incapable of becoming a ruler or warrior. Gang Rapes of a male as a punishment was awarded for crimes like adultery in Rome and Violating the sanctity of Harems in Persia and Iran.

Who are the Victims?

Most of the people believe that males are victims of rapes only in jails, prisons and hostels but statistics reveal that these are not the only places where males get traumatized. A large number of males become victim of sexual assaults and forced sodomy in their own houses, pubs and armed forces.

The perpetrators avail the benefit of their victim’s vulnerable condition. A popular notion prevails that a male is supposed to protect himself and if he fails, he has lost his manhood. Like most of the rape victims, these victims also start holding themselves responsible to the injustice done to themselves. The thought that “they have lost their manhood” results in their continuous victimization. Most of them start doubting themselves and may even fail to have healthy sexual lives with their spouses. A very few cases of male rapes are actually reported. The offense is considered difficult to prove and the perpetrators are often acquitted. Out of 852 cases that were reported to police in the UK, only 44 perpetrators were prosecuted. Ironically, the victim who confesses that he had been raped or sexually assaulted is punished by the entire society. The feeling of guilt and shame makes him detest himself and his very existence. The rape is not only committed on his body but also on his mind, soul and spirit.

Indian Penal Code and Male Rape

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is the only section that criminalized all acts of carnal intercourse. The section penalizes both consensual and forced sodomy. The minimum punishment awarded of such crimes 10 years which may extend to life imprisonment. The Delhi HC in its leading judgment of Naz Foundation v. Government of NCT and Ors stated that the provisions of Section 377 I.P.C will continue to govern non-consensual penile, non-vaginal sex and penile non-vaginal sex involving minors. Even if the judgment is upheld by the honorable SC, the section can be evoked to punish sodomists, pedophiles and zoophiles.

The only laws that remotely address to the problems of child assault in  the country are sections 376, 377 of Indian Penal Code and some sections  of the Information Technology Act, 2000.  But there is no specific law that can punish pedophiles or can compensate the victims of such events.

The Section 375 of Indian Penal Code does not include males as rape victims. Recently the government decided to amend the definition of rape and replace it with sexual assault instead. They believe that the amendment would give the section a wider jurisdiction and scope. But it is criticized that the proposed amendment would further harm the interests of the rape victims.


It is unfortunate that till now people associate manhood with sexuality. Manhood is not lost by a victim who was sodomized but it is lost rather it does not exist in the perpetrator who committed this heinous act.  It is a myth that only gay men commit such crimes. The offender can be bisexual, straight or homosexual. India definitely needs separate laws to deal with male rape or forced sodomy and child assault. Majority of such crimes remain unreported and therefore awareness must be spread in this regard. The benefits availed by female rape victims under the Cr.Pc must be also extended the male victims. Helplines and Online-help can be provided which may prove helpful in providing psychiatric help to them.

Ignoring Male Rapes won’t change anything but accepting it would surely make a difference.

The post is a duplication of the article already published on www.legaldrift.com

13 May 2010

Its official now that we are going to have a caste based census this time after a gap of 80 years. Caste is an inescapable reality of Indian society. Supporters of caste enumeration argue that census categories merely reflect existing classifications, and that only the census can provide the figures necessary to map inequality by caste. For social justice, we are made to believe there is no alternative to reservation, and for reservation, no alternative to counting caste.

This caste-based census is nothing but an identity politics in our elections. The politicians who are interested in the caste census data are not as interested in advancing the living standards, as they are in organising them into vote banks. If they are so interested then what were they doing till now, waiting for this Census.

This Census will give rise to new problems. It has been asserted by the government that this data will not be subjected to analysis. Caste groups and their status differ from region to region. A certain caste in a particular state having the same name can be an upper caste, a backward caste in another state and the most backward in the third state.

 Further, caste data for the census should cover all religions and not be restricted to those calling themselves Hindus. Also, such legitimisation of casteism will strengthen the hands of reactionary and obscurantist like khap panchayats.

There is no doubt that stringent affirmative action policies are required to make formal institutions more socially inclusive, but to shackle the census to this agenda betrays a failure to learn from the past or to think imaginatively about the future.

However, the good news is that there is an opportunity for those who want to be a classless Indian progressive civil society. In the 21st century as the whole world is concerned more and more of development, there is no need for furthering casteism and caste-based vote banking.

Go India Go...

11 May 2010

Sati as a practice was not invented by Ancient Indian texts but by the greed of people. Most of the contemporary historians believe that the practice of Sati was encouraged to deprive the widows from the property of their deceased husbands. Family members (usually the surviving brothers of the deceased) cloaked their desires under the shadow of religion. Hinduism was used as a weapon to rightly ask for the lives of innocent widowed women. The women under societal pressure were made to self immolate themselves. This served twin purposes; the family was no longer entitled to maintain the widow and her sacrifice ensured that the share of her deceased husband would revert to the surviving members.

It is a privilege to state; the evil practice of Sati is no longer practiced in India. But at the same time it is a shame to admit that the condition of Hindu widows has turned worse with time. Even today most of the widows in the country are abounded from their houses. They have no place to go. They are unable to maintain themselves and thus are forced to take refuge under the Vidhwa ashrams.

Most of the ashrams in the country are situated in the holy cities of Vindravan and Mathura. It is estimated that Vrindavan has more than 4,000 temples and ashrams with about 2,957 widows living in them. The widows seek shelter in the ashrams for various reasons most of them being abounded or sexually abused by their family members believe that holy places like these would help them to attain salvation and would bring them nearer to god. Many regard Vrindavan as the only place where they can live and die peacefully with the protection of all mighty.

Unfortunately these ashrams do not have much to offer. Majority of the widows are seen begging on the streets or soliciting for earning their livelihood. Ashrams encourage practices of prostitution and sexual abuse to gauge funds and finance.  The young widows are often supplied to rich customers by the ashram itself in lieu of a heavy sum. The ashrams are scattered with diseases like tuberculosis, STD’s and dysentery. There is inadequate number of toilets in most of the places. There is lack of proper sewage system and non-availability of running water in these places. The widows are forced to live in an unhygienic and unhealthy environment. They are unaware of the widow pension and health schemes and hardly take benefit of it.

Recently issued report by National Commission for Women states that 80% of them are illiterate whereas 60% of them are above 60 years of age. Most of these old widows (even those who are unable to walk properly) have to climb stairs to reach their rooms. Some of them are too old to even cook for themselves. They are forced to sleep on pieces of jute sacks. They are neither supplied with blankets nor hot water in winters. Moreover there is no institutional support for cremation of the dead bodies. The necessities in today’s life are a luxury for these unfortunate ones.

The PIL filed by advocate Mr. Ravindra Bana in the Supreme Court in November 2008 had brought the grievances of this marginalized section in limelight. Supreme Court had issued directions to NCW for conducting a survey in this regard. After much delay NCW has finally released its report on the plight of these widows. It is disheartening that in spite of various initiatives by the government hardly any benefit is availed by these women. The report said “As per records of the district welfare office, 2,819 women received old age pension and 892 widow pensions. However, among the 225 randomly interviewed women 68 per cent were found without pensions and 58 per cent without ration cards.”

The Sevadasi system (service done to the rich and powerful pilgrims are seen as a form of piety) prevalent in these institutions, further encourage practices of trafficking and prostitution. Under this system, the widows are supposed to offer every service to please the owners of Dharamshalas and Bhajan Ashrams in which sex is also included. The Bhajan ashrams offer these widows to earn Rs 3 to 4 a day and some meagre ration, if they assemble in the bhajan ashrams to sing bhajans (devotional songs) in mornings and evenings. The food, shelter and clothing of these destitute women depend on the mercy of these ashrams and some courteous travellers.

Most of the widows who reach these Bhajan ashrams belong to West Bengal and Bangladesh.  The government of U.P. and W.B. have failed to take any collaborative steps to improve the situation of these widows. The widow pension granted by U.P. government is Rs.1, 800 a year, or Rs.150 a month. Although on records it seems that this meagre amount is serving its purpose, in reality it is not. The shelter homes built by the government have only provided limited relief to them. The government has turned a blind eye towards the illegal practices observed in these ashrams.

Deepa Mehta who directed ‘Water’, the film which through a fictional story depicted the miseries of the widows living in these ashrams had to face opposition from all sections of the society. The close nexus between politics and religious bigots has always proved dreadful. If the government actively opposes the practices in Vrindavan, it would face opposition from both public and religious leaders. Most of the widows being uneducated become vulnerable. The victims are scared to raise their voices against the Dharamshalas and Bhajan Ashrams as they know they have no other place to go.

It is very important that the widows are made aware of their legal and constitutional rights. The pensions must be increased and should duly reach the beneficiaries. Some part of the tourism revenue earned from Mathura and Vrindavan must be utilized for the upliftment of these widows. The welfare legislations like Hindu Succession (Amendment 2005) Act and Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 have definitely ensured that widows are not deprived of their husband’s property.

But unfortunately these widows are found unaffected by the legal developments around the country. They must be provided with vocational training. Psychological and medical help must be made available to them. Medical facilities and hygienic conditions must be ensured in these ashrams. The number of government shelter homes must be increased. Above all citizens must be made aware of the injustices done to this vulnerable section. A public pressure can indeed bring considerable changes in these places. I seriously think by selling the bodies of these pious women, the ashrams are killing their souls and somewhere I hold everyone of us responsible for this injustice.


The post is a dupication of authors post on her blog which can be viewed on http://www.legaldrift.com/selling-their-bodies-killing-their-souls-plight-of-widows-in-vrindavan-and-mathura/

08 May 2010


on the lines of "legalpoet" i thought to post something poetic.. so, at first an acknowledgment to  him..

Now here it goes ....

Capitalism ki duniya me hum profit aise kamate hain ,

Sahmat hokar apas me hum, khud ka kanoon banate hain. 


Koi contract banana ko jo sabse jyada jaruri hai,

Party do competent hi ho sabse pahli majburi hai.


Kuchh karane ya karane se bachane ki, Apani iksha ke bare me,

Dusari ki sahamati janane ko, jab usko kuchh batalata hai,

Person wah section 2(d) me proposal karate kahalata hai


proposal jis byakti ko ho mila, aur wah bin koi sikwa- gila (counter- offer etc.) ,

swikar use kar jata hai,

Proposal wah section 2(e) me, accepted mana jata hai.


Ban to jata hai agreement  par, ab bhi kuchh baki rah jata hai,

Kanoon ka bal jab isko mile, tab hi contract kahalata hai……