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The Right to Education and Technology

August 5, 2020 | Madhavi Gopalakrishnan

Online classes have been conducted since the beginning of lockdown and will continue for the foreseeable future. Low-income students without access to a steady internet connection and reliable computers face the prospect of being deprived of an entire year of education. This raises the question: what happens to the Right to Education under Article 21A during the pandemic?

Legal gender recognition in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka

July 31, 2020

The State legally documents the gender of an individual from birth. For trans persons, the ability to have their gender recognized in official documents is an integral part of their right to life and dignity. Recent developments in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka relating to the legal recognition of the trans community’s right to gender recognition have been hailed as progressive; but do they go far enough? On January 26 2014, the Bangladeshi cabinet formulated a policy creating a distinct third-gender category – ‘hijra’- for trans persons. While this indicates that the State views ‘hijra’ as an umbrella term for all trans people, the term is considered to exclude other communities

Limits on reservation?

July 24, 2020 | Jai Brunner

Last week, the Supreme Court resumed hearing the Maratha Reservation case. Justice Nageswara Rao’s three-judge Bench is deciding whether Maharashtra can extend reservations in education and public employment to the Maratha community. As Sr. Adv. Arvind Datar stressed in the last hearing, the central issue revolves around the 50% ceiling on reservations set by the Supreme Court back in 1992 in Indra Sawhney. Was Maharashtra justified in surpassing the ceiling by over 20%?

Non-Personal Data: The ‘Economic’ Case for Regulation

July 23, 2020 | Divij Joshi

In the previous post, we introduced the Draft Report of the Committee on Non-Personal Data Regulation and analyzed its conception of ‘Non-Personal Data’ (“NPD”) as a category for regulation. There, we wrote about how the contours of NPD (as defined under the Draft Report) will necessarily entail conflicts with the proposed personal data protection regime in India. In this post, we set out to examine and critique the Committee’s justifications for why ‘Non-Personal Data’ should be regulated, in particular, on the ‘economic value’ justification for regulation.

Regulating Non-Personal Data

July 16, 2020 | Divij Joshi

In September 2019, the Ministry of Information Technology, Government of India, formed a Committee of Experts (“Committee”) to deliberate on the issue of ‘Non-Personal Data’ and to suggest an appropriate regulatory framework for the subject. The Committee’s initial report, (“Draft Report”) was released for public comment on July 12, 2020. In the next few posts, we will summarise, reflect on and critically analyze the concepts presented in the Committee’s report. This post focuses on the concept of ‘non-personal data’ as a category for regulatory efforts under the Draft Report.

A Case of Universal Basic Income Support

July 14, 2020 | Ritambhara Singh

Amid this pandemic crisis and subsequent lockdown, we witnessed images of millions of migrants returning their homes walking hundreds of kilometres. As per data collected by Union Skill Development Ministry, around 67 lakh migrant workers returned to their homes. The predicament of these migrant workers during the crisis could have been significantly averted if they had a financial safety net to rely on – most had lost their jobs after the lock down had come into effect.

A ‘Public Law of Information’ for India

July 8, 2020 | Divij Joshi

Information or ‘data’ has often been the subject of disparate areas of law and regulation, with a history that can be traced back to the evolution of the printing press, and extending to contemporary debates around digital technologies.

Analysis of use of UAPA from NCRB data

July 1, 2020

The use of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 (“UAPA”) in the last few years needs critical analysis, especially in light of the increasing use of the UAPA. What is surprising is that while the UAPA was enacted in 1967, its constitutionality has never been challenged in any of the High Courts or the Supreme Court. The UAPA has had several amendments, and the most recent amendments being made in 2019 amending Section 35. This amendment allows the Government to even categorize individuals involved in terrorism and not just organizations. It is only the 2019 amendments that have been recently challenged in the Supreme Court in two recent petitions.

COVID-19, Caste and the City

June 22, 2020 | Almas Shaikh

On 27th May 2020, a tragic image of a child playing beside his dead mother made headlines. Unfortunately, this is only one of the many instances, which has brought to light India’s stark class inequalities during the migrant crisis.

The migrant crisis has certainly brought some attention to class inequality in India. However, we must resist the urge to view the crisis only through class. About 16% of the total intra-state migrants in India belong to the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 8% to the Scheduled Tribes (STs), almost equal to their share in the total population, as per data from Census 2011. It is then plausible that a significant fraction of migrants attempting to return to their homes during the lockdown are SC/STs. These communities are vulnerable on the account of their class and caste.

Provisions of the POA Act Diluted, This Time by the Courts

June 2, 2020 | C Prabhu

In the implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act 1989, the executive has in many cases not adhered to the text and spirit of the legislation. However, it appears that Courts are going in this direction as well – all in the name of COVID-19.

Alcohol and State Revenue: The Debate in the Constituent Assembly

May 30, 2020 | Vineeth Krishna

One of the first steps that many Indian States embarked on as part easing coronavirus related lockdown measures was to allow liquor shops to sell alcohol. Serpentine queues were a common sight at liquor shop across States in India. The restlessness of the State governments to open liquor shops was quite evident – bringing its dependence on alcohol-based revenue into sharp relief.

Should Government Employees Enjoy Less Free Speech Rights?

May 26, 2020 | Thulasi K. Raj

In late April, three officials of the Indian Revenue Service, out of their own volition, prepared and published a report titled ‘Fiscal Options and Response to COVID-19 Epidemic.’ The report proposed that the top marginal income tax rate for the super-rich who earn more than 1 crore annually be increased from 30 to 40%. It also proposed the introduction of a new wealth tax to fight the pandemic-caused economic crisis. The Union government initiated disciplinary proceedings against the officers and suspended them from service, alleging indiscipline.

Is Uttar Pradesh’s Suspension of the Industrial Disputes Act Constitutional?

May 16, 2020 | Madhavi Gopalakrishnan

On May 6th, the Uttar Pradesh government issued an ordinance suspending the operation of 35 out of 38 labour legislation for the next three years. While the ordinance will only come into effect if it receives Presidential assent, this is almost a given due to the constitutional requirement that the President acts on the advice of the Prime Minister’s cabinet, and that UP is a BJP-ruled state.

Call for Research Associate/Associate Editor |CAD India Website

May 15, 2020

CLPR is looking to engage an Research Associate for CLPR’s Constitutional and Civic Citizenship project. The Research Associate/Associate Editor will be engaged in research, writing and producing a range of content for on themes that include constitutional law, constitutional history and political history.

Announcing New Equality Fellow

May 12, 2020

We are excited to announce the joining of a new Equality Fellow: Thulasi K Raj
She will engage in litigation and advocacy in the State of Kerala to work with communities facing discrimination based on caste, gender, sexuality, gender identity, and minority status.

India needs an institutional framework for Pre-legislative Consultations

May 5, 2020 | Ritambhara Singh

Amid the coronavirus pandemic and countrywide lockdown, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had asked for comments from all stakeholders on the Draft Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules 2020 on April 18, 2020. Initially, the deadline to submit the comments was April 30, 2020. It meant that only 12 days were given to file the comments – which violated the Pre-Legislative Consultative Policy (PLCP hereafter) 2014. A range of civil society activists working in the fields of transgender persons’ rights cried foul and this appeared to have an effect. On April 30, 2020, the government extended the deadline till May 18th, 2020 which exactly met the PLCP guidelines.

Justice not accessible for victims of atrocity in Tamil Nadu during Covid19

April 30, 2020 | C Prabhu

Under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950, every citizen of this country has the right to constitutional remedies when their fundamental rights have been violated by the State. These remedies may be accessed by approaching the respective High Court. However, during the lockdown imposed due to the outbreak of COVID-19, these constitutional guarantees remained only on paper in Tamil Nadu. Both the Chennai and Madurai benches of the Madras High Court and their Subordinates Courts have shut their doors, of course with the primary intention of controlling the spread of COVID-19. However, the courts and the legal process have become completely inaccessible for the common man, especially the most vulnerable sections of the society like individuals from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities.

Mitigating against the Death Penalty

April 27, 2020 | Jai Brunner

In 2019, the Court developed important new guidelines for ensuring fair trials and sentencing in death penalty cases. In ‘Anokhilal’, the Court was grappling with whether the accused had adequate legal representation during his original trial. In ‘Accused X’, the Court was deciding whether to overturn a death sentence on the ground that the accused suffered from post-conviction mental illness.

Unemployment Protections in Indian Constitutional History

April 20, 2020 | Kruthika R

The COVID-19 outbreak has severely impacted labourers in India especially those working in the informal sector who constitute 90% of India’s workforce. The recent cases in Surat and Mumbai of the unemployed migrant labourers seeking to go back to their hometowns are worrisome. According to the International Labour Organization’s report, Indian informal economy is looking at a job loss for 400 million people.

Need for Recognition of Trans Rights in International Human Rights Law

April 9, 2020 | Aj Agrawal

A cursory look at the development of trans rights indicates that the world has made significant progress in addressing the recognition of gender identity rights. These regional and domestic developments do not, however, recompense the reality that transgender persons still suffer some of the most pervasive forms of violence and discrimination. In the absence of concrete universal standards, States are free to formulate laws that grant limited or arbitrary rights to transgender persons.

Need to introduce the concept of ‘vicarious liability’ for the Police

April 7, 2020

The mark of a democracy is to let people express their dissent without any reprehension or threat. Democracy itself can only work so long as the differences between groups do not impair a broad substrate of shared values.

The right to assemble peacefully has been enshrined in Article 19(1)(b) of the Indian Constitution. Amid the increasing police brutality against the anti-CAA protestors, the Allahabad High Court’s recent decision of directing the state to give compensation to the AMU students who were injured during lathi-charge and asking the authorities to take action against the erring police officials is nothing less than the silver lining in this saga of despair.

Content Moderation by Private Platforms: Can Fundamental Rights be Invoked?

April 3, 2020 | Balu Nair

As the Corona pandemic rages across the world, another scourge has gripped the internet ever so strongly – misinformation. The hard task of fighting misinformation has become even harder as the human content moderators are forced to sit at home due to the outbreak. Privacy-related restrictions mean that such moderators are unable to work from home and Artificial Intelligence has taken over the bulk of the work. This, in turn, is leading to arbitrary moderation of even content which is legitimate.

Is it possible to be Trans, Legal, and Free?

April 1, 2020 | Vikramaditya Sahai

The NALSA Judgment (2014) and the Navtej Johar Judgment (2018) both produced a subject of gender and sexuality in a present-in-history. Both judgments presumably did not announce the recognition of new identities but traced histories of identities built on sexual and gendered differences from ancient India onwards.

‘Reimagining Bail Decision Making: An Analysis of Bail Practice in Karnataka and Recommendations for Reform’

March 30, 2020 | Deekshitha Ganesan

India’s ballooning under-trial population is a serious challenge to the effectiveness and legitimacy of the criminal justice system. The most recent, yet dated Prison Statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in 2018 pegs India’s under-trial prison population at around 67 % or two-thirds of the total prison population. Academic and policy literature on prisons and under-trial detention have conventionally focused on a doctrinal analysis of provisions on bail or on the conditions of detention, relying primarily on data from prisons and police stations, compiled by the NCRB. However, the crucial point of entry of a person into the prison system at first production in the courts after arrest has received no research attention.

(IN)-EQUALITY in Private Actions

March 26, 2020 | Almas Shaikh

India has witnessed a rise in intolerance over the past few months. From intolerance towards dissent, housing decisions taken based on political leanings to violence towards minorities (religious or socio-economic), show a growing unease and divide in the citizens of India. These acts of violence, discrimination or unequal treatment can be divided into two categories.

Atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes: What has changed since 2016?

March 24, 2020 | Deekshitha Ganesan

Recently, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released the Crime in India Reports for 2017 and 2018 in quick succession, after drawing criticism for the inordinate delay in releasing these statistics. These reports are the primary source of data to track the incidence and reporting of crimes in India and the performance of the police and courts in investigating and adjudicating cases, including those related to crimes against Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).

Conversations on Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019

March 23, 2020 | Almas Shaikh

Transgender rights are at the forefront of gender inclusivity in India since the landmark decision of the Supreme Court in NALSA v. Union of India. These dialogues gained significant momentum when the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 was enacted. Taking into consideration the vehement opposition to the legislation, CLPR held a community meeting “Conversations on Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019” to discuss the legal issues and challenges to the law. The meeting saw participation from the transgender community, lawyers, and human rights activists alike. Strong voices of Anindya Hajra, Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli, Grace Banu and Akkai Padmashali guided the conversation through the various issues that are constitutionally and procedurally problematic.

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill 2020

March 19, 2020 | Ritambhara Singh

The lower house of the Parliament passed the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill 2020 (hereafter Bill) in the current budget session on March 17, 2020. This bill amends the earlier Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971. Some key features of the new Bill include: Extension of the gestation period for termination of pregnancy from 20 weeks to 24 weeks, directions to constitute a Medical Board in every State and protecting the privacy of women whose pregnancy has been terminated.

The Women’s Indian Association and Indian Constitutional Thought: Part II

March 16, 2020 | Vineeth Krishna

In Part I, we looked at the Women’s Indian Association’s (WIA) involvement in constitutional negotiations with the British in the late 1910s. The WIA vociferously demanded equal voting rights for women – but the British did not budge. During this time, Indian leaders were also demanding measures for greater levels of self-government. These too, the British dismissed. Indian legislators across the country were becoming restless.

Call for Associate | Supreme Court Observer

March 9, 2020

CLPR is looking to engage an Associate for CLPR’s Supreme Court Observer (SCO) initiative in New Delhi. The Associate will among other things research and report on key Supreme Court cases.

Why India needs both more and less of Article 370

March 3, 2020

As of 2020, constitutional democracy in India has taken a less recounted journey, one towards a more imperial Centre and less autonomous states. Democratically elected state governments have been dismissed, States have been demoted to Union Territories, independent constitutional bodies have been subjugated and now the most existential test of all that faces the peoples of India is one of citizenship!

Tackling Caste Discrimination Through Law: Ernakulam Dialogues

March 3, 2020 | Almas Shaikh

On 28th February 2020, CLPR organized a workshop for civil society organisations on ‘Tackling Caste Discrimination through Law’ in Ernakulam in association with the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN). The day was divided into two sessions, – (i) An introduction to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (PoA Act) and the Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 (PCRA) and (ii) group activity.

Sex and gender stereotypes in the Armed Forces

March 2, 2020 | Jai Brunner

On 17 February, the Supreme Court guaranteed women in the Armed Forces (AF) the right to permanent commission (PC) in ‘The Secretary, Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya’. Upholding a 2010 Delhi High Court judgment, the Court held that the State should provide equal opportunities to both women and men for lifelong service in the Armed Forces. Does the judgment carry any significance beyond the sphere of the Armed Forces?

Status of implementation of POSH Act in Chennai’s Collectorate and its subordinate offices

February 24, 2020 | C Prabhu

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act) which is considered to be of the better piece of legislation protecting women’s rights and dignity, seems to be so only on paper in the Chennai, especially in the Collectorate and its subordinate offices. The executive authorities appear uninterested in implementing this progressive law and awareness about this law is lacking among employers, employees, and workplaces including companies, shops, households, and government organizations alike. This scenario does not only hold for rural areas but also to the metropolitan city like Chennai.

Freedom of the press: A Constitutional History

February 22, 2020 | Kruthika R

Last month the Supreme Court in Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India dealt with the issue of continued internet shut down in Kashmir. While the Court did not direct the restoration of internet services, it recognised the internet as a mode to exercise one’s fundamental rights. The judgment also addressed the freedom of press claim: even though it was not encoded in the Constitution, the judgment reiterated the fundamental right to freedom of the press within Article 19 (1) (a). While freedom of the press is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution of India, 1950, there were longstanding demands to make it a part of the constitutional text.

Tackling Caste Discrimination Through Law: Lawyer Learning Session at Ernakulam

February 18, 2020 | Deekshitha Ganesan

On 18 January 2020, CLPR organised a Learning Session for Lawyers on ‘Tackling Caste Discrimination Through Law’ in Ernakulam in association with the Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association. The workshop aimed at enabling and facilitating a better understanding of caste discrimination laws such as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, The Protection of Civil Rights Act, and 1955, Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (PEMSRA) as well as Equality Bill, 2020.

Tackling Caste Discrimination through Law: Hyderabad Conversations

January 31, 2020 | Ritambhara Singh

On 27th January 2020, CLPR organized a workshop titled ‘Tackling caste discrimination through Law’, for activists, NGO representatives, and CSO representatives. The workshop aimed at enabling and facilitating a better understanding of caste discrimination laws such as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 and The Andhra Pradesh Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act, 1982.

Introducing Intersectionality | Course

January 9, 2020 | Vikramaditya Sahai

The course uses academic writing, legal texts, commentaries, personal narratives, fiction and cultural texts to understand how intersectionality affects our study of the law, advocacy, and activism; how the law, legal studies and legal practice is transformed by intersectionality; and how intersectionality challenges, resists, and reimagines legal normativity.

Tackling Caste Discrimination through law – Lawyer’s learning session for better Law

December 26, 2019

On 30 November, 2019, we hosted ‘Tackling caste discrimination through law’, a lawyers’ learning session in collaboration with the Advocates Association, Bangalore at the Karnataka High Court (see the full agenda here) The workshop aimed at enabling and facilitating learning of caste discrimination laws such as the Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, The Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 and the Karnataka Devadasis (Prohibition of Dedication) Act, 1982.

RTI Judgment: Confusions about Public Interest

November 29, 2019 | Jai Brunner

Last week, the Supreme Court opened up the Office of the Chief Justice of India to the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. In a unanimous judgment authored by Justice Sanjiv Khanna, the Court held that the need for judicial independence does not place an absolute bar on information disclosure. Can we expect this to usher in a new era of transparency and accountability?

Rajya Sabha Debates on the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019

November 24, 2019 |

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019 was strategically introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 20th November 2019, being the Transgender Day of Remembrance, by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thawarchand Gehlot. The Bill had previously lapsed after the dissolution of the Lok Sabha on account of the general elections and was reintroduced and duly passed by the Lok Sabha on 5th August 2019. This post captures the key debates held in the Rajya Sabha on the Bill.

Fact Finding Mission: Gundlupet Dalit Atrocity

October 14, 2019 |

On 21.06.2019, Pratap, a Dalit man in Gudlupete, Karnataka who went to fetch water from a temple, was tied to a tree inside the temple, brutally assaulted and paraded naked on the highway by the villagers, including a policeman. This incident yet again throws the issue of caste discrimination into sharp focus. It is a testimony to the pervasiveness of caste discrimination in India and the prevalence of the practice of untouchability.

Dialogues on the Right to Life and Personal Liberty at Ananya Trust

September 27, 2019 | Kruthika R

On 25th September 2019, Kruthika R from the Centre for Law and Policy Research along with Gunjan Rathore and Zoaib from NCS Bangalore Chapter put together a session on the right to life for the children – aged 10-16 – at Ananya Trust. The sessions focused on the death penalty and right to housing – two concepts inextricably linked to the right to life.

Call for Court Reporter | Supreme Court Observer

August 13, 2019

We are looking to engage a Consultant for CLPR’s Supreme Court Observer initiative. The Supreme Court Observer is a living archive of the Supreme Court of India and brings alive and makes accessible the work of the Supreme Court.

CLPR releases report of study on Intersectional Discrimination

August 8, 2019 | Deekshitha Ganesan

As part of its work on equality and non-discrimination, CLPR conducted a study on experiences of intersectional discrimination in South India between May – November, 2018. The objective of the study was to understand the relationship between different intersecting identities and various sites of discrimination such as educational institutions, workplaces, police stations, and public transport.

Call for Associate Editor | Supreme Court Observer

August 5, 2019

We are looking to engage a Consultant for CLPR’s Supreme Court Observer initiative.

The Supreme Court Observer is a living archive of the Supreme Court of India and brings alive and makes accessible the work of the Supreme Court. The Observer aims to build an enduring constitutional culture in India by enhancing the popular understanding of the Supreme Court’s contribution to our everyday lives.

Forging the Union Executive: Ensuring a Representative Cabinet

July 15, 2019 | Vineeth Krishna

Mahboob Ali Baig moved an amendment proposing that the prime minister and his ministers be selected by members of parliament ‘in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote’. Baig’s amendment was rejected. The Historical Constitution and the Constituent Assembly debates reveal that the constitutional choice regarding the executive was not straightforward – it was preceded by rigorous debate and conflict over alternative systems. While India settled on Article 75, the problems of representativeness of the executive remain in 2019.

To Learn In The Language Of One’s Own

July 12, 2019 | Kruthika R

The NEP’s proposal of the ‘three-language formula’ has dominated public attention while its other recommendations have received scant attention. One such recommendation was to educate primary students in their ‘home language/mother tongue’ – to facilitate efficient learning.

The Draft National Education Policy, 2019 : Rights and Inclusion

June 28, 2019 |

The Draft National Education Policy, 2019 (DNEP) released by the government on May 31, 2019 has been described as a much needed attempt to overhaul the prevailing education system in India. Despite the initial uproar about the alleged imposition of Hindi in the curriculum, the policy appears to have found a good balance between retaining the old and ushering in new changes. In this post, we only respond to two crucial issues.

Bail Decision Making: Are the conditions of bail imposed by courts restrictive?

June 27, 2019 | Deekshitha Ganesan

In the previous posts on bail decision making in India, we noted the relationship between decision making in lower courts and the under-trial prison population. We suggested that substantive law should separately recognise pre-trial and under-trial detention as considerations while granting bail should be different at each stage. An extension of this is that conditions of bail should also vary depending on the severity of the offence and the stage of the criminal justice process. In this post, we explore the different kinds of conditions that courts regularly imposed in Bengaluru, Tumakuru and Dharwad.

Review of Data on Survey and Identification of Manual Scavengers

June 26, 2019 |

The practice of manual scavenging was first criminalised in 1993. Since then, it has been replaced by a new act in 2013, which is wider in scope as it provides for rehabilitation and compensation, and imposes stricter penalties. Rehabilitation measures under Sec. 13 of the Act are applicable to a person identified as a manual scavenger under Sec. 12 of the Act. Since identification is the first step towards rehabilitating them, state agencies are required to collect reliable data on the total number of dry latrines (that require manual cleaning) and the number of people engaged in manual scavenging within their jurisdiction. However, it has been 6 years since the introduction of the Act, and the survey and identification of manual scavengers is still not carried out well in many Indian states and there is a mismatch between the number of insanitary latrines and manual scavengers identified.

Five Years Since NALSA: How Have the High Courts Fared?

June 25, 2019 |

Five years after the NALSA judgement, how have courts and government bodies fared in complying with the right to self-identify? This piece presents an analysis of cases in the High Courts which have dealt with self-identification of gender in employment, inclusion in the police force, and identification changes in educational certificates.

Breaking New Ground: Transgender Persons’ Fundamental Right to Marry

June 24, 2019 |

The fundamental right of transgender persons to marry individuals of their choice was recently affirmed by the Madras High Court in Arunkumar and Another. v The Inspector General of Registration and Ors. The High Court upheld a Hindu marriage between Arunkumar and Sreeja (a transwoman) which the Registrar of Marriages, Tuticorin had previously refused to register.… The Court looked beyond the facts of the case to address issues of self-determination, personal autonomy and freedom of self-expression, culminating in the recognition of transgender persons’ right to marry.

Equality Bill 2019 | May 15th Consultation

June 11, 2019 |

On 15th May, we organised a consultation on our Equality Bill 2019 (“Bill”) in Hyderabad. The CLPR team presented the provisions of the Bill and sought suggestions, inputs and feedback from the participants, which included various academics and members of civil society organisations working with marginalised groups. This blog post presents the key points of the consultation.

Sexual and Reproductive Rights in India: Social Movements and Legal Battles – DAY 2

May 2, 2019

On April 14th and 15th, we hosted the ‘Sexual and Reproductive Rights: Social Movements and Legal Battles’ conference, in collaboration with the University of Bergen, Norway and the University of Sussex at the Bangalore International Centre (see the full agenda here). The conference aimed to bring together prominent activists, academics and lawyers to discuss important issues and approaches that have developed in sexual and reproductive rights (SRR) advocacy in India. One of the key objectives of the conference was to shed light on issues and marginalised communities that are at the margins of SRR discourse and action.This blog post presents the key points raised on day 2 of the conference.

Sexual and Reproductive Rights in India: Social Movements and Legal Battles – DAY 1

May 2, 2019

On April 14th and 15th, we hosted the ‘Sexual and Reproductive Rights: Social Movements and Legal Battles’ conference, in collaboration with the University of Bergen, Norway and the University of Sussex at the Bangalore International Centre (see the full agenda here). The conference aimed to bring together prominent activists, academics and lawyers to discuss important issues and approaches that have developed in sexual and reproductive rights (SRR) advocacy in India. One of the key objectives of the conference was to shed light on issues and marginalised communities that are at the margins of SRR discourse and action.This blog post presents the key points raised on day 1 of the conference.

Indian General Elections 2019: Election Manifestos and Deprived Electorates

April 18, 2019 |

In the run up to the 17th Lok Sabha Elections 2019, India’s major political parties have released their manifestos to woo the Indian electorates. In this blog post, Avinash Shahi critically explores the pledges committed by national political parties for the upliftment of marginalized groups, which routinely confronts deprivations and indignities.

Legal Capacity of People with Disabilities: A Way Forward

March 29, 2019

On 26th March 2019, the Association of People with Disabilities (Disability Legislation Unit-South) in collaboration with the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (supported by Mphasis) conducted a regional seminar on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 at the Indian Social Institute Bangalore.

Judge with 70% Blindness denied Reserved Post

February 28, 2019

In V Surendra Mohan vs. State of Tamil Nadu (2019), the Supreme Court upheld the State’s policy of restricting the eligibility of blind and deaf candidates for the reserved posts of civil judge to those with 40-50% of their respective disabilities.

South Asian Translaw Database | Beta version is now live!

February 15, 2019 |

The South Asian Translaw Database is a database to collate and present case laws, legislation, policies, and reports pertaining to transgender rights in the South Asian region. The beta version of our database is ready and we are very keen to receive comments and feedback!

Comments on the Karnataka Budget: Urban Development and Infrastructure

February 13, 2019 | Mathew Idiculla

On February 8, 2018, Chief Minster H.D. Kumaraswamy presented the Karnataka state budget for the financial year 2019-20. In this short comment in Prajavani, Mathew Idiculla analyses the urban development and infrastructure components of the state budget. He argues that though there are no trailblazing ideas on urban development in this budget, an overall emphasis on sustainability and public transportation is positive. The proposals for a “Bengaluru Mobility Scheme” and a “Parking Rules and Implementation Policy” are particularly noteworthy.

The Abidjan Principles | Adoption Conference | Ensuring the Right to Education

February 13, 2019 | Jai Brunner

On 12-13 February 2019, human rights and education experts from around the world will meet in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire at the Adoption Conference of the Abidjan Principles. They will review the final text of the Principles, following which, the Principles will be adopted. The Abidjan Principles are a set of guiding principles aimed at ensuring that States guarantee the right to education, during a time where private actors are increasingly more involved in the delivery of education.

Abortion jurisprudence in the Supreme Court of India: Is it the woman’s choice at all?

February 8, 2019

In the last few years, the Supreme Court has passed several decisions on reproductive rights. This post specifically analyses the abortion jurisprudence of the Supreme Court over the last few years. The law governing abortions is the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (“MTP Act”). Section 5 allows the termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks if it is immediately necessary to save the woman’s life. In all cases of abortion after 20 weeks that have come before the Court, the Court constitutes a Medical Board, an expert committee of medical professionals that produces a Report.

APU Colloquium Series | Surrogacy in India | Lecture by Dr. M Rao

January 23, 2019 |

Dr. Mohan Rao’s lecture on Surrogacy & Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) traced the history of surrogacy in India, within the context of an international “bio-economy.” He critiques reproductive rights arguments which centre on “women’s choice”, warning that they potentially obscure the exploitation of women’s reproductive labour. He highlights how caste, poverty, and rural status inflect women’s reproductive choices and agency.

CLPR Equality Fellowship | Selected Fellows

January 23, 2019

CLPR has selected the following five Equality Fellows: Krithika Balu, Itla Ragiri Jayalakshmi, Anima Muyarath, C Prabhu.

Equality Fellows will will dedicate the next 2 years to the better implementation of equality and non-discrimination law in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

One Step Forward and Two Steps Back on Transgender Rights

January 10, 2019 | Deekshitha Ganesan

The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 [“2014 Bill”] was passed as the first private member Bill in four decades in April 2015. Subsequently, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018 [“2018 Bill”] was passed on 17 December 2018 despite fervent objections from the transgender community regarding its problematic provisions. The 2018 Bill, which is currently before the Rajya Sabha, is a volte face on the rights that were guaranteed in the 2014 Bill.

CLPR Equality Fellowship | Selection Weekend

January 9, 2019 |

On 12th and 13th January 2019 we will conduct interviews to select up to 6 Equality Fellows who will dedicate the next 2 years to the better implementation of equality and non-discrimination law in India. 13 talented candidates will appear before a 4 member panel of prominent activists and human rights advocates: Mihir Desai, Martin Macwan, Anindya Hajra and Jayna Kothari.

Constitution Day Lecture on the ‘Construction of Exclusion under the Indian Constitution’

December 1, 2018 | Deekshitha Ganesan

In her Constitution Day Lecture on 26 November 2018, to an intimate group of lawyers and members of civil society, Dr Amita Dhanda, professor of law at NALSAR University, spoke on the ‘Construction of Exclusion under the Indian Constitution’. She argued that legal education and training must inculcate a sense of injustice and pay greater attention to groups and communities that are excluded by constitutional text.

Call for Applications: The CLPR Equality Fellowship

November 2, 2018 |

We invite applications for The CLPR Equality Fellowship. The CLPR Equality Fellowship is a paid, two-year opportunity which will be awarded to 6 young lawyers keen to pursue the practice of public interest law on a full-time basis. Application Deadline: December 30, 2018, 5PM IST

Caste Discrimination in India: A study of NCRB data (Part IV)

November 2, 2018 | Deekshitha Ganesan

The recent gruesome report of the beheading of a minor SC girl in Tamil Nadu for rejecting the advances of an upper caste male once again throws the issue of caste discrimination into sharp focus. Women from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are particularly vulnerable to discrimination and violence due to the intersection caste and gender. Despite this, we note that crimes against SC and ST women are viewed as either caste based crimes or sex based crimes. Further, while data on caste based crimes is readily available in the NCRB reports, which we have analysed in our previous posts I, II and III, disaggregated data on crimes against women is not presented.

The Constitutional and Civic Citizenship Project

October 4, 2018 | Vineeth Krishna

CADIndia website: a digital archive and database of Indian constitutional history with human-tagged original documents that explains and illuminates the contemporary relevance of this history to our contemporary lives [cadindia.clpr.org.in]. Supreme Court Observer website: a living archive of the Supreme Court of India that compiles original materials and daily reports of selected ongoing cases to make apparent the Court’s role as the final interpreter of the Constitution to resolve contemporary problems [scobserver.clpr.org.in].

National Constitution Society 2018

October 4, 2018 | Vineeth Krishna

The Convention will be an opportunity to critically engage with the Indian constitution and develop a plan to preserve, protect and promote constitutional values in the 21st century. The Convention will facilitate collaboration and engagement between student members of the NCS along with eminent lawyers, civil society leaders and retired Judges who will be patrons and will be the first step towards the establishing the NCS as an independent Society.

Orientation program at St. Joseph’s College of Law

July 28, 2018 | Vineeth Krishna

CLPR conducted a day-long orientation program at St. Joseph’s College of Law on 25th July 2018 for the newly admitted first-year students. The program consisting of four sessions aimed to introduce students to the origins and implementation of India’s constitutional values and how the law could be used as a tool for social transformation.

Movie Review: “Njan Marykutty”

July 13, 2018 |

The media rarely portrays a transgender woman accurately. In fact, they are consistently shown in a negative light. However, “Njan Marykutty” released in June 2018 is a Malayalam movie which delivered a pleasant surprise during Pride month.

Caste Discrimination in South India: A study of NCRB data (Part II)

July 10, 2018 | Deekshitha Ganesan

Having noted that the number of reported crimes against SCs and STs is high, the next stage of the criminal justice process that demands study is the response of the investigating agencies. While a few independent reports have surveyed the response of the police to crimes against SCs and STs, NCRB reports remain the only comprehensive source of such data at the national and state level.

Caste Discrimination in South India: A study of NCRB data

June 14, 2018 | Deekshitha Ganesan

On 21 May 2018, The Wire reported the death of a Dalit man in Gujarat who was allegedly beaten to death when he protested the fact that his wife was asked to clean filth, free of charge. This reporting comes only two months after the decision of Subhash Kashinath Mahajan, where the Supreme Court diluted some of the protections under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (‘Act’). The incident is a striking example of the pervasiveness of caste bias and the prevalence of atrocities in India.

Pakistan’s Historic Transgender Rights Act: A step towards Trans Equality

June 8, 2018 |

The Parliament of Pakistan passed The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act on May 8th 2018 marking a historic victory for the trans community in Pakistan. The Act, which protects the rights of gender non-conforming persons and outlaws discrimination both by the State as well as private entities and persons, grants an individual the right to self identity their gender.

Forthcoming empirical study on Reducing Under Trial Detention in India

May 30, 2018

The ballooning under-trial population in India is widely acknowledged to be a serious challenge to the effectiveness and legitimacy of India’s criminal justice system. So far academic, policy and civil society work on this problem has focused on analysing the under-trial prison population after they are detained. In this study we engage with the problem at an earlier stage in the criminal justice process, i.e., the bail decision in the law courts.

Last week at CLPR – 30th April to 5th May 2018

May 9, 2018 | Kruthika R

In association with Alternative Law Forum, Amnesty India, CIEDS Collective, Enfold India, Hidden Pockets, PUCL, Prochild Coalition, Campaign Against Death Penalty for Child Rape and SICHREM, CLPR organised a town hall meeting on 5th May 2018 at the Jain University Auditorium to discuss the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2018.

Will death penalty stop child sexual abuse?

May 8, 2018 | Kruthika R

A town hall meeting was organized by CLPR, Alternative Law Forum, Amnesty India, CIEDS Collective, Enfold India, Hidden Pockets, PUCL, Prochild Coalition, Campaign Against Death Penalty for Child Rape and SICHREM on 5.5.2018 at the Jain University Auditorium.

Last week at CLPR – 22nd to 23rd April 2018

May 2, 2018 | Kruthika R

CLPR participates in the Strategic Multi-Actor Round Table 2018 in Chennai On 23rd April 2018 to discuss issues related to strengthening the implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (“Act”) and Rules in Tamil Nadu.

CLPR participates in the Strategic Multi-Actor Round Table 2018 in Chennai

April 28, 2018 | Deekshitha Ganesan

On 23rd April 2018, the Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation (“HRF”) held a Strategic Multi-Actor Round Table (SMART) 2018 to discuss issues related to strengthening the implementation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (“Act”) and Rules in Tamil Nadu and release of the Status Report on the implementation of the Act in Tamil Nadu, in 2015 and 2016.

Transform

April 15, 2018 | Kruthika R

Expanding on TransForm 2016, we hosted TransForm 2018 on 14th and 15th of April 2018, at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bangalore. It marked the fourth anniversary of the National Legal Services Authority v Union of India judgment, as well as the 127th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. At a time when transgender rights had been gaining attention globally, this conference involved international speakers such as Prof. Stephen Whittle (United Kingdom), Prof. Carlos Zelada (Peru), Busisiwe Deyi (South Africa), and Audrey Mbugua (Kenya). Together, they broadened our understanding on the trans-law movements in other parts of the world.

Announcement: Selected Student Journalists for Transform– 2nd International Conference on Transgender Rights and the Law

April 9, 2018 | Kruthika R

On 14th and 15th April 2018, Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) is organizing Transform – 2nd International Conference on Transgender Rights and the Law. On 4th April 2018, CLPR had called for Student Journalists for the Conference.
In a short span of 2 days the CLPR team received over 30 applications from students across the nation. We carefully assessed the applications and are happy to announce the following students who we have selected to as Student Journalists for the upcoming Conference.

A Wrong Turn in the Road to Equality

April 6, 2018 | Jayna Kothari

Ironically, on the 91st anniversary of the revolutionary Mahad Satyagraha, (a Dalit march led by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to access water in a tank), on 20th March 2018, in Dr. Subhash Kashinath Mahajan vs. The State of Maharashtra and Anr., the Supreme Court opined that the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (Act) was being misused and laid down guidelines, substantially diluting the provisions of the Act.

Strategies CSOs Use To Advance Sexual and Reproductive Rights (SRR): An Introduction

April 2, 2018

Today, what is particularly pertinent is the growing judicialization of Sexual Reproductive Rights (SRR) around the world. At the domestic and international level, courts have emerged as central arenas in these political-moral battles; and not only to further rights but also to limit them. In this context, Centre on Law and Social Transformation in partnership with the Centre for Law and Policy Research will engage in a project that examines various strategies civil society organisations (CSOs) use to advance SRR. The aim of the project is to understand the nature, causes and, particularly, the consequences of such diverse and intentional strategies adopted by civil society actors that seek to engage legal institutions in order to further or halt policy reform and social change.

The role of the Supreme Court in protecting and sustaining secularism

March 16, 2018

Ashwini and Satya posited that the decision in the Abhiram Singh v Commachen case, in which Hindutva was declared a “way of life”, emboldened this type of action. The view of the RSS seems to have been that action rooted in the Hindu faith, which was a “way of life”, did not violate secularism (Section 123). This gave rise to the question – is the Supreme Court responsible for ensuring that the verdicts it delivers are not misinterpreted by the government?

Rights in Review | Overview

March 15, 2018 | Kruthika R

“Rights in Review″ is our annual review of key Supreme Court judgements. We critically analyse judgements relating to fundamental rights. We assess whether these decisions advance our constitutional mandate for a robust protection of key civil, political and socio-economic life and highlight their relevance and impact on our collective public life.

Last Week at CLPR: 4th – 10th March 2018

March 12, 2018

Assembly Member of the Week: Prof. K. T. Shah was a prominent economist, advocate, and socialist. He passed away 55 years ago, in March, 1953. He was an active member of the Assembly and made several interventions on key issues. Shah argued for “secular, federal and socialist” to be inserted in Article 1 of the Constitution.

Release of Policy Brief: ‘Ending Impunity for Child Marriage in India’

February 13, 2018

On 10th February 2018, Centre for Law and Policy Research, Bangalore and Center for Reproductive Rights released the Policy Brief “Ending Impunity for Child Marriage in India: A Review of Normative and Implementation Gaps” at the Karnataka Judicial Academy. The Brief was released by Justice Ashok B. Hinchigeri (retd.) of Karnataka High Court, in the presence of District Judges, Magistrates and judicial officers, lawyers, representatives of Child Welfare Committees, and civil society groups. Nina Nayak, the former Chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and a Child rights activist, and officials of the Department of Women and Child Development, Karnataka were also present.

Celebrating Republic Day with Mallya Aditi International School

January 26, 2018 | Kruthika R

The CLPR team celebrated Republic Day on 26th January 2018 with the students and staff of Mallya Aditi International School, Bengaluru. We created an immersive experience for students from the 1st to the 12th grade, educating them on the Indian Constitutition and the significance of Republic Day through quizzes, debates and puzzles.

Last Week at CLPR – 14th Jan – 20th Jan 2018

January 22, 2018

Last week at CLPR, we published in the Deccan Herald, Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Champaka Rajagopalan and Matthew Idiculla wrote about the RMP-2031 and the propagation of development that would result in urban sprawl. In the 2nd article on the subject they wrote in The Hindu about the gap between strategy and implementation and the disconnect between the BDA and the local communities.

Last Week at CLPR: 7th Jan – 13th Jan 2018

January 16, 2018

Last Week at CLPR (7th-13th Jan 2018), Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Champaka and Matthew Idiculla wrote in the Deccan Herald about the impact of the draft Revised Master Plan (RMP) 2013 published by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA). This plan contains regulations and zoning rules that will manage and shape growth of the 1,219 sqkm area under the BDA jurisdiction for the next 15 years and accommodates a projected population 24.7 million.

Last Fortnight at CLPR: 17th Dec – 30th Dec

January 2, 2018

In the last fortnight of 2017 at CLPR we published an article on Subba Rao, a freedom fighter from the Rayalseema region and Constituent Assembly member from the Madras province, received formal education only till the 10th standard but went on to teach himself English, Kannada, Sanskrit, and Telugu.

Last Week at CLPR: 10th Dec – 16th Dec

December 18, 2017

Last week CLPR continued its efforts to create awareness of the Constitution – by introducing summaries that trace the evolution of the Articles in the Indian Constitution. Efforts to track the present-day interpretation of the Constitution continued with the publishing of the hearings in the Aadhar Act and Parsi Woman Excommunication [Parsi Identity] cases, heard by the Supreme Court in the last week of the 2017 Winter Session.

Last Week at CLPR: 3rd Dec – 9th Dec

December 11, 2017

Last Week at CLPR we continued with our daily reporting on the constitutionally relevant cases being heard by the Supreme Court (SCObserver). We also highlighted the relevance of a Constituent Assembly Debate that took place in the 1st week of December, and the far-reaching influence of a Constituent Assembly Member who participated in that debate (CADIndia).

Last Week at CLPR: 26th Nov – 02nd Dec 2017

December 4, 2017

In the last week at CLPR the CADIndia team, who curate and maintain the Constituent Assembly Debates website (http://cadindia.clpr.org.in) focused on Nov 26th: India’s National Law Day/Constitution Day.

Last Week at CLPR: 12th November– 18th November, 2017

November 20, 2017

Weekly roundup of the last week at CLPR. The Supreme Court verdict in the Child Marriage and Marital Rape case, Karnataka State Policy for Transgender Persons, Children’s Day and hearings in the Special Status for Delhi case were discussed this past week.

CLPR’s 4-part PODCAST series on the Uniform Civil Code in India

November 15, 2017 |

The first part of the 4-part podcast series examines the constitutional history of the UCC drawing from the Constituent Assembly Debates, which have been curated and annotated in CLPR’s CADindia website. The second part traces the judicial trajectory of the UCC by analyzing multiple landmark verdicts from the Supreme Court. The third part outlines the 3 phases when the political debates on this topic were at their most intense.

Public Hearing on 26th Oct on Aadhaar related denial of Social Security

October 30, 2017

In 2013, the Supreme Court passed an order categorically stating that no person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card and warned that only persons entitled to the card under the law should have it. In 2015, the Supreme Court passed a judgment which, among other things, directed the government to ‘give wide publicity in electronic and print media that it is not mandatory for a citizen to obtain an Aadhaar card.’ Despite these orders, Aadhaar has been linked to every aspect of people’s lives. While there has been much opposition to the invasion of privacy by the Aadhaar scheme, the systemic denial of basic entitlements to the most vulnerable citizens has not been highlighted with the same vigour.

Panel on “UCC in India: An Endeavor towards seeking Gender Justice” at IFIM Law College

October 30, 2017 |

IFIM Law College hosted panel discussions on Uniform Civil Code in India. Satya Prasoon, an associate at CLPR was a panelist at the IFIM law school where he presented a paper titled ‘Of Constitutional Mythos and Nervous Nationalism: The Pathologies of UCC.’ The discussion was spilt into two panels, the first discussing the topic: “Constitutional Perspectives of the Uniform Civil Code” and the second, “The conflict of the UCC and personal laws in India”.

Reading the Constitution – Workshop at Mallya Aditi International School

October 25, 2017

A pre-requisite for citizens to critically engage with contemporary political, legal and social issues is an understanding and appreciation of India’s rich constitutional tradition. In this regard, civic education in India at various levels has failed. The Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) bridges this gap through carefully conceptualized workshops that communicate India’s rich constitutional tradition to different audiences: schools, colleges, professionals and the general public.

Last Week at Centre for Law and Policy Research: 8th-14th Oct 2017

October 16, 2017

The Centre for Law and Policy Research encourages and facilitates civic engagement with India’s Constitution through the CADIndia project and Supreme Court Observer. CADIndia promotes an understanding of the Indian Constitution by enabling easy and intelligent access to the Constituent Assembly Debates and the Indian Constitution at the centre of discussions on contemporary political and economic issues. The SCObserver website endeavors to make the workings of the Supreme Court accessible and understandable to the citizenry by translating the hearings and judgments of a few constitutionally relevant cases into everyday language.

Supreme Court Holds Marital Exception Will Not Apply where Wife Below 18

October 11, 2017 |

In 2013, Independent Thought, a voluntary organisation involved with the issue of child rights approached the Supreme Court seeking a declaration that Exception 2 to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code violates Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution to the extent that fixes a lower age of consent and permits forced sexual intercourse by the husband with a girl who is between the ages of 15 to 18. Consequently, on 28.08.2017, an application for Intervention was filed on behalf of the Child Rights Trust, a non-governmental organisation working to secure Every Right for Every Child. Advocate Jayna Kothari, Executive Director of the Centre for Law & Policy Research appeared and argued on behalf of the Child Rights Trust.

Rohingyas Deportation Issue: UNHCR reaction and Supreme Court history on refugee crises

September 12, 2017 |

Back in 1996 in the Chakma Refugee matter the Indian Supreme Court, despite the government’s anti-immigrant stand, stood up for the rights of Chamka Refugees and ordered against their forcible eviction in the case of Arunachal Pradesh v NHRC.

The apex court in a matter decided by Chief Justice, A.M. Ahmadi and Justice S.C. Sen had held that immigrants, even those termed illegal, were entitled to equal protection of the law and various rights that flow from Article 21. The judgment stressed that the State could not permit any groups or anybody to threaten Chakmas and force them to leave the State.

Podcast on Whatsapp – Privacy Case (Karmanya Singh Sareen v. UOI)

September 7, 2017

The Petitioners, Karmanya Singh and Shreya Sethi, two Whatsapp Users, claim that the new policy seeks to collect all information relating to every WhatsApp account, such as phone numbers, names, messages, device information, as well as third party information, which would be used to support operations, analyse user profiles and actions, and market their services. The new Privacy Policy claims worldwide Intellectual Property Rights to user generated data including uploads, messages etc. which are sent, stored or received through WhatsApp.

Podcast – Cow Vigilantism Case (Tehseen Poonawalla v UOI)

September 6, 2017 |

Today, Indira Jaising, representing Tushar Gandhi, one of the petitioners brought to the notice of the Court that despite the court asking all States to file Compliance Report only 5 States have done so. With only 5 States, submitting Compliance Report, The Chief Justice asked all States to file their compliance report before 13th October.

NALSA Judgement Orientation by Swatantra and CLPR on 1st Aug 2017

August 16, 2017

hile the NALSA judgment recognises the ancillary rights to vote, marriage, adoption, hold property etc., transphobia and the limited perceptions of society prevents equal access to education and employment. Prejudiced societal norms that manifest in biased behaviours have forced the transgender community to take up begging and enter the sex trade to make a livelihood. While the judgment is progressive and promising, there is much work pending at the ground level.

PIL- creating wider access to courts or creating “ad-hoc-ism”? Summary of the panel discussion hosted at BIC.

August 8, 2017

Ms.Kothari posited that the expansion of locus standi gave marginalised groups wider access to courts. She agreed with Mr. Bhuwania that with the enlargement of the role of amicus curiae, the procedural norms of fair hearing were put at risk. Thus the expanded powers of the Supreme Court were a product of “ad-hoc-ism” under Articles 32 and 226. While acknowledging the informal nature of the PIL process Ms. Kothari was positive that the courts could play a role in social transformation through Social Action Litigation (SAL). Mr.Bhuwania in response declared that the citizenry had a “schizophrenic view” of the judiciary, wherein the Supreme Court and High Courts in India were viewed as the ultimate solvers of issues while the lower courts were only expected to solve petty issues. He stressed the fact that the blurred division between representative standing and citizen standing led to PILs being filed on inconsequential grounds.

The Transgender Welfare Development Board, West Bengal – A Wasted Potential

April 13, 2017

Three years down the line however, the Board seems to be languishing in bureaucratic lethargy. This is not because of the lack of initiative on the part of its members. The Board comprises of well-known and respected members of the trans community. Rather, the disenchantment with the Board stems from the lack of transparency in its creation, non-inclusiveness, internal divisions within the community and lack of a steady funding supply

Day 12: Arguments before the Karnataka HC on validity of Health Warnings for Tobacco Product Packaging

November 30, 2016

The Counsel began by explaining that, as on 28th September 2015, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW) had stated that the impugned 2014 Amendment Rules would come into force on the 1st of April 2016. After the Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation (PCSL) gave its Final Report against the implementation of the impugned 85% health warnings, the Counsel submitted that the MHFW should have rescinded its notification.

Violence that is Not Gender Neutral

November 18, 2016

With utmost respect to the Supreme Court, it is absolutely incorrect to state that domestic violence is gender-neutral. It is not. The world over, a vast majority of domestic violence is experienced by women at the hands of men. It is not a random event of violence but is a consequence and a cause of women’s inequality and is linked to the discrimination and devaluing of women. As per the National Crime Records Bureau, reported cases of domestic violence in India went up from 50,703 in 2003 to 1,18,866 in 2013. These are all cases of domestic violence against men. The U.K. Violent Crime and Sexual Offences study of 2011-2012 reported that 80 per cent of offenders in domestic or sexual violence were male.

Constituent Assembly Debates Website (CADIndia)

November 15, 2016 | Vineeth Krishna

The Constituent Assembly Debates (CADs) are a record of the debates and proceedings in the Constituent Assembly of India which sat for 165 days from December 9, 1946 to January 24, 1950. These debates which are organised in 12 volumes are an essential guide to the process of drafting and creating the Constitution of India, 1950. CADINDIA.CLPR.ORG.IN is a website designed to make these debates instantly accessible in a user-friendly manner in three ways:

Supreme Court Website

November 14, 2016

In 2016, CLPR is setting up a website to track the working of the Supreme Court of India. This website will be a non-partisan journalistic effort to make the work of the Court intelligible to any person interested in Indian public affairs.

ConQuest Quiz

November 14, 2016 | Vineeth Krishna

One of the objectives of the Constitutional and Civic Citizenship Project has been to create a robust civic citizenship. In furtherance to this aim, we will organise an annual Quiz on the Indian constitution and its history aimed at university students to engage with the Constitution in an interactive way.

CLPR’s Monthly Talk: Professor Adam Feibelman

November 10, 2016

As part of its Monthly Talk Series, CLPR hosted Professor Adam Feibelman where he spoke about ‘The Promises And Perils Of India’s New Personal Insolvency And Bankruptcy Law’ where he discussed India’s new insolvency and bankruptcy regime.

Day 6: Arguments before the Karnataka HC on validity of Health Warnings for Tobacco Product Packaging

September 1, 2016

The Counsel for the Tobacco Institute of India continued with his arguments on Day 6 of the hearing before the Karnataka High Court. The Counsel began by referring to a constitutional challenge to pictorial health warnings that were imposed on tobacco products, in the United States in the case of R.J. Reynolds v. FDA. The petitioners, in this case before the Trial Court (No. 11–1482, 2012 WL 653828) and consequently, the Court of Appeal [No. 11-5332 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 24, 2012)], sought to have this mandatory imposition declared as constituting “compelled speech”.

Day 5: Arguments before the Karnataka HC on validity of Health Warnings for Tobacco Product Packaging

August 31, 2016

The hearing before the Hon’ble Karnataka High Court continued on Day 5 as the counsel for the Tobacco Institute of India cited decisions of the Indian and the US Supreme Courts, in support of the existence of a right to commercial speech within the ambit of Article 19(1)(a). The arguments on this day, focused mainly on proving that the petitioner’s right to commercial speech is being curtailed by the impugned rules notified by the Government which excessively restrict the ability to advertise on the packaging of tobacco products.

Day 3: Arguments Before the Karnataka High Court on Validity of Health Warnings for Tobacco Product Packaging

August 29, 2016

One of the other arguments made today by the Petitioners was alleging lack of legislative competence of the Central Government to enact the COTPA and promote it as a public health measure since the same is a state subject. It also argued that the Supreme Court held in Ghodavat Pan Masala case that COTPA is not a legislation for the furtherance of public health. This argument will be explored in subsequent proceedings before the High Court.

Day 1- Arguments Before the Karnataka High Court on Validity of Health Warnings for Tobacco Product Packaging

August 26, 2016

CLPR is representing the Consortium for Tobacco Free Karnataka as an Intervenor on the grounds of public health. Starting today, we are reporting the summary of arguments taking place every day in court in these matters. A report of the court proceedings would not only serve as information for the public health community in the country to be aware and upto date with these proceedings, but also to document the arguments made in these petitions as these proceedings are one of the most important ones in the field of tobacco and public health in the country today.

Day 2: Arguments before the Karnataka HC on validity of Health Warnings for Tobacco Product Packaging

August 26, 2016

The thrust of Day 2’s arguments by the Petitioners was on highlighting how the 2014 amendment to the 2008 Packaging and Labelling rules was an act of excessive delegated legislation. He referred to Tobacco Board Act, 1975 and, the now repealed Cigarettes (Regulation of Production, Supply, and Distribution) Act, 1975. The counsel made a submission that they were mainly aggrieved by the rules and therefore, they would focus mostly on pointing out the lack of constitutionality of the rules and the fact that it was an act of delegated legislation rather than focusing on the constitutionality of the act per se.’

ConQuest 2016: National Finals

August 23, 2016

Participants of the National Finals included the winners and runners-up of the four Regional Rounds that were held across the country. Over 200 hundred teams, from varied disciplines – political science, history, engineering, law, Buddhist studies etc. – participated in the Regional Rounds.

ConQuest Quiz 2016: North Regional Round

August 22, 2016

Around 45 student teams participated in the Preliminary Rounds from colleges Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in teams from leading law schools including NLU Delhi, Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA, Campus Law Centre, Army Law Institute Mohali, RGNUL, Patiala; and teams from other prominent institutes like St Stephen’s College, JNU, Department of Buddhist Studies, Hindu College.

CLPR Comments on the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016

August 20, 2016

hile endorsing these criticisms of the draft bill, CLPR has in its comments to the Ministry, highlighted some additional points of concern and has suggested measures which could possibly strengthen the law. For instance, with regard to the enforcement mechanism, CLPR has suggested that it is imperative that there be an identification of nodal authorities such as the National Commission for Women, the Juvenile justice authorities as well as the Labour Department, which are crucial to the smooth and coordinated enforcement of the provisions of the bill. These nodal authorities can receive complaints and take the assistance of support services provided by stakeholders and non-governmental organizations, such as Childline.

ConQuest Quiz 2016: East Regional Round

August 6, 2016 | Vineeth Krishna

Around 50 student teams participated in the Preliminary Rounds from colleges in Orissa, Kolkata, Assam, and other states. Teams from leading law schools NUJS, KIIT Law School, and NLU, Odisha competed with teams from other prominent non-law Universities like College of Engineering and Technology, Bhubaneshwar.

ConQuest Quiz 2016 West Round

August 6, 2016

The Preliminary Round saw intense competition. The Preliminary Round needed a sudden death elimination to decide the 6 teams which would qualify to the Final Round. In the end, two teams from Symbiosis Law College, and one team each from V.M. Salgaocar College of Law, SVKM Pravin Gandhi College of Law, ILS and New Law College Pune qualified for the Finals.

ConQuest Quiz 2016: South Regional Round

August 1, 2016

Over 50 student teams participated in the Preliminary Rounds from colleges in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Kerala. Teams from leading law schools SCLU, NLSIU, TNNLS, and NUALS competed with teams from other prominent Universities like IIT-M, St Josephs College, RVCE, APU and BITS-Hyderabad.

ConQuest 2016: India’s First Quiz on the Indian Constitution, History and Politics

June 30, 2016

The Centre for Law and Policy Research will conduct India’s First National Level Quiz on the Indian Constitution, History and Politics in 2016, called ‘ConQuest’. The quiz is open for undergraduate and postgraduate University students and will explore how contemporary political, legal and governance issues are informed by India’s constitutional history. The quiz will draw on multiple disciplines including politics, history, law and international affairs.

Debates around Surrogacy Law – CLPR Monthly Talks

June 27, 2016

As part of its Monthly Talk Series the Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR), Bangalore on the 24th of June, hosted Ms. Sonali Kusum, a Ph.D. scholar at National Law School of India University, Bangalore for a talk on the legal and ethical issues concerning surrogacy law in India.

Report on the 9th Annual NLSIR Symposium

June 1, 2016

The theme of the first session was ‘Constitutional Challenges and Concerns’. The speakers for this session were Mr. N. Venkataraman (Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India), Prof. (Dr). Sudhir Krishnaswamy (Professor, Azim Premji University) and Mr. Alok Prasanna Kumar (Senior Fellow, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy).

Special Leave Petitions and the Constituent Assembly Debates

May 9, 2016

The broad-reaching powers granted to the Supreme Court under Article136 had sparked a large amount of debate within the Constituent Assembly. It is interesting to note that Article 136 (Article 112 in the draft constitution) was always to be considered a residuary power; an option of last resort when the High Court refused to grant a certificate to appeal under Articles 132-134.

CLPR’s National Level Quiz On the Indian Constitution

May 7, 2016

The Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) is excited to conduct India’s first national-level quiz on the Indian Constitution and its history. The quiz will be held in July-August 2016 for undergraduate and postgraduate students and will touch upon the most challenging political, legal and governance issues of contemporary India and how these are informed by India’s constitutional history. The quiz will also draw from multiple disciplines including politics, history, law and international affairs.

Akrama-Sakrama: Regularisation of Illegal Constructions

April 18, 2016

A rapid growth in urban populations has led to a growing and increasingly unsustainable demand for housing in cities. In several cases, governments have resorted to regularisation of illegal constructions. The Karnataka government re-introduced such a scheme by making statutory amendments in 2015 whereby owners of illegal constructions could get them regularised on payment of a fee. This scheme will have disastrous consequences for town-planning and development across the state.

Republic Day Celebration 2016: Launch of CLPR’s CADIndia website

January 31, 2016 | Vineeth Krishna

On the 26th of January 2016, the Centre for Law and Policy Research(CLPR), launched its CADIndia website and also organised a discussion around the theme – ‘Constituent Assembly Debates In Contemporary Times’ at the Karnataka Judicial Academy, Bangalore. The discussion was moderated by Prof. Arun Thiruvengadam, Azim Premji University.

The Foreign and the Indigenous in the Indian Constitution: Constitution Day talk by Arun Thiruvengadam

December 2, 2015

The Indian constitution used devices of liberal constitutional thought but rejected the liberal idea that constitutions had to perform the sole function of limiting state power. The Indian constitution had to empower the state to enter into the realm of Indian society and transform it by eradicating deeply embedded economic, political and social hierarchies. Whether the project of social transformation has succeeded or failed is another question. But the fact that the framers of the Indian Constitution attempted to use it as a means of revolutionizing Indian society – which no country at that time had done – is something to be proud of.

Defending the Right to Defend: Pressures on the Jadgalpur Legal Aid Group

October 19, 2015

On October 5, 2015, the Bastar Bar Association in its General Body Meeting passed a resolution prohibiting any lawyer who is not enrolled in the State Bar Council or enrolled in the local bar from practicing in the local Court. The Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group which was established in 2013 and has ever since been working for the cause of the Adivasis in Chhattisgarh has been greatly affected by this resolution.

Courts and Women’s Rights in India in 2015

September 9, 2015

The Supreme Court has been predominantly lauded in 2015 for its far-reaching judgment in Shreya Singhal v. Union of India that expansively interpreted the freedom of speech. But we must not forget that the Supreme Court and some of the High Courts have rendered a few prominent judgments that have upheld women’s rights significantly in 2015.

Nuclear Suppliers’ Liability and the Attempt to Dilute Section 46

February 15, 2015

On February 8, nearly two weeks after Prime Minister Modi and President Obama announced that their two countries had achieved a “breakthrough” in their partnership on civil nuclear energy cooperation, the Ministry of External Affairs (“MEA”) finally broke its silence on the details of the deal reached by issuing responses to a list of Frequently Asked Questions. The MEA’s answer to one group of questions is particularly disturbing: that Section 46 of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (the “CLND Act”) does not permit victims of a nuclear accident to bring tort law claims against suppliers.

CLPR’s Comments to Draft National IPR Policy

February 3, 2015

In its comments to the Draft National IPR Policy prepared by the IPR Think Tank, CLPR argues that the Think Tank needs to rethink its approach of trying to formulate an omnibus IPR policy and treating stronger IPR protection as being synonymous with innovation and economic development. Instead, any IPR policy needs to find the optimal balance between IPR protection and promoting the democratic diffusion of knowledge and cultural goods, based on empirical evidence and taking into account the domestic political economy context of a country. In particular, CLPR makes three arguments:

Packing a Punch: How the Ban on Sale of Loose Cigarettes Was Shelved in a Week

December 7, 2014

Discussion and debate on regulation of tobacco sale must highlight that it is not the concern of the Government to safeguard tobacco company shares. It is, however, unquestionably the duty of the Government to ensure that every sale of cigarette is accompanied by a statutory warning and that regulations do not make it easier for children to afford and access cigarettes.

Two Finger Test in Rape Cases: Adding Insult to Injury

November 17, 2014 | Kruthika R

While conducting a study of the Fast Track Courts that have been instituted in Bangalore to try cases of rape and sexual assault, it was startling to discover that out of the 12 cases that have been disposed of by the FTCs since their establishment, 11 resulted in acquittals. The only case which resulted in the conviction of the accused was for the offence of “attempt to rape” and not rape. In this case, the court heavily relied on the medical reports which stated that the victim was “used to having sexual intercourse.”1 This conclusion was drawn by the Medical Officer upon conducting the two-finger test”.

Fast Track only in Name

September 23, 2014

The gruesome gang rape in Delhi in December 2012 re-ignited popular demands for fast-track courts to be established to conduct speedy trials in cases of sexual violence against women and on August 13, 2013, the Government of Karnataka passed an order (G.O. No.74 LCE 2013, dated 13.08. 2013) directing 10 fast track courts to be set up in Karnataka solely to try cases of rape and sexual assault against women. CLPR conducted a detailed study of the setup and working of these fast track courts.

Repeal and Re-enactment of Juvenile Justice Act – CLPR’s Comments on proposed Juvenile Justice Bill, 2014

July 10, 2014

The Union Ministry for Women and Child Development has proposed a repeal and re-enactment of the existing Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (the JJ Act 2000), the primary law in the country dealing with children in conflict with the law and children in need of care and protection. CLPR provided its comments to the Ministry on two aspects of the proposed draft Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children), Bill 2014 – the treatment of children between the ages of 16 and 18 who are alleged to be in conflict with the law and the provisions relating to foster care.

Prof. Bhullar’s death penalty: Executing the mentally ill

September 18, 2013

While there were serious procedural and evidential errors in the trial that support a re-examination of his case, a pressing concern is Professor Bhullar’s mental health, which has deteriorated steadily over the last 18 years that he has been awaiting his fate.

Bangalore’s Dying Lakes: Where is the Apex Committee?

August 3, 2013

This is a guest post by Praatika Prasad, an intern at CLPR from Smith College. In her post, she analyzes the Karnataka High Court’s directions to form an Apex Committee to oversee the lakes in Bangalore and she finds that there has been a lack of implementation, even though a year has passed since the order.

Constitutional Principles in US v Windsor in the Indian Context

July 23, 2013

The US Supreme Court’s decision last month in US v Windsor has been celebrated around the world as a progressive step in gay rights and legalizing same-sex marriages. Even in India, it is anticipated that this judgment will be able to leave an impact on the pending Naz appeal decision in the Supreme Court. Although Naz and Windsor deal with different issues (decriminalization of homosexual acts in Naz and, recognition of same-sex marriages in Windsor), the fundamental concern is to stop discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

“A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women” – IWD, 2013

March 8, 2013 | Jayna Kothari

The 2013 United Nations theme for International Women’s Day fits into the theme of the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women being held at the United Nations Headquarters, New York. Making the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls its major theme, the session seeks to focus on two key areas – (1) the prevention of violence and (2) the provision of support systems and rehabilitative measures to victims of violence.

Factors of the Lack of Empowerment of Women in the Justice Verma Committee Report

March 7, 2013 | Jayna Kothari

he violation of human rights pertains to ‘rape cases’ including distorting investigation in rape, pre-conceived notions of ‘honour’, certain regressive court judgments (in some cases, we are told, that the rapist made a magnanimous offer to marry the girl). Thus, complaints of rape become mere matters of formality – low on priority because there is no understanding of the acuteness of the violation of the human rights of a woman and the psychological trauma she undergoes. This is compounded by vulnerabilities emanating from class/caste/community disadvantages and also that of poverty. This has led to a subculture of oppression.

Justice Verma Commitee Report: A manifesto of change

March 7, 2013 | Jayna Kothari

On 23rd, January 2013 the Justice Verma Committee on amendments to Criminal Law, was constituted to look into possible amendments of the Criminal Law to provide for quicker trial and enhanced punishment for criminals committing sexual assault of extreme nature against women. It was constituted a few days after the brutal gang rape in Dehli on December 16, 2012. The urgency of the matter impelled the Committee to undertake the performance of the assigned task within the short span of 30 days, so the Committee has been facilitated in the task by an overwhelming response to the Public Notice, an oral consultation with the women’s social action groups and experts in the field.

CII Confluence 2013 – Creating Social Value

March 5, 2013 | Jayna Kothari

The definition of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) continues to evolve over time. While ideas like diversity, inclusion and affirmative action have evolved in the West, they are at a relatively nascent stage in India. On the other hand, India is charting fairly unexplored territory with the proposal to make CSR spending mandatory. This summit brought together leaders in CSR, Disability and Affirmative Action from diverse organizations on a platform and help attendees gain actionable insights on how their organizations can weave CSR initiatives in the very fabric of business and nurture holistic and sustainable social development.

The Mental Health Care Bill 2012: An Overview

November 5, 2012 | Jayna Kothari

After India ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which came into force in 2008, there was a clear need to overhaul the existing disability laws in India to bring them in compliance with the UNCRPD. It is in pursuance of this that the Mental Health Act 1987 (“MHA”) is sought to be replaced the new Mental Health Care Bill 2012 (“2012 Bill”). This is a brief overview of the 2012 Bill.

Lok Sabha passes the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill

September 12, 2012 | Jayna Kothari

A law on sexual harassment at workplace has been one of the most awaited and anticipated laws since the landmark ruling of Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan, (1997) 6 SCC 241 where the Supreme Court observed that sexual harassment at workplace constituted a violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution. Making the above observation, the Court in an unprecedented move, proceeded to lay down guidelines that were to be followed in all workplaces until a suitable domestic law is provided for by the legislature. Another remarkable and novel feature of the judgment was its inclusion of the private sector apart from the public sector in its direction for employers to establish sufficient preventive and remedial systems in the workplace for female employees.

Copyright, Culture, Media and Identity

June 10, 2012

CLPR’s Sudhir Krishnaswamy presented a paper in the panel on ‘Copyright: Introduction to the Bill, its background, its provisions and implications for media.’ The other presenters in the panel were Lawrence Liang from Alternate Law Forum and Rakesh Prabhu from ALMT.

Post – CRPD development of the principle of “Reasonable Accommodation”

January 6, 2012 | Jayna Kothari

India’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (“CRPD”) marks a significant step in the development of Indian disability law. The Convention provides a rights-based approach through a social model of defining disability as contrasted with the medical model as prescribed under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995.

Karnataka High Court Supports Employment Rights of the Visually Challenged

October 15, 2011 | Jayna Kothari

Once again, the High Court of Karnataka stood up for and protected the employment rights of the blind and persons with low vision. A Division Bench consisting of Chief Justice Kehar and Justice Ashok B. Hinchgiri recently heard several petitions filed by Akhila Karnataka Andha Shikshakarugala Sangha AKAS and National Federation of the Blind (NFB) challenging Karnataka Government Notifications which excluded the blind and low vision persons from being selected for the post of primary school teachers. The series of petitions were allowed in terms of the previous Order of the High Court on 29 June 2007. This requires the Government to immediately select and appoint the blind and persons with low vision for teaching posts under the notifications.

Voting in the BBMP Council

October 13, 2011 | Jayna Kothari

The Mayor of the BBMP Council Mrs. Sharadamma has routinely not referred matters in the Municipal Council to a vote in the House. This has become controversial as members of the opposition and others allege that her actions are illegal as they violate the provisions of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976.