Facebook, Hate Speech & Corporate Criminal Liability: Business & Human Rights Obligations of Communication Technology-Based Platforms

February 12, 2021 | Almas Shaikh

With the recent event of the US Capitol Hill Siege, the question of corporate criminal liability has yet again come to the fore. Though the basic intent of the communication technology platforms remains communication, businesses and states are using it to evoke feelings of anger, hate and certain instances of violence. In this article, Ms Almas Shaikh, Research Associate at Centre for Law and Policy Research discusses the need for corporate criminal liability to stop human rights violations and ensure the development of technology in a responsible manner.


Commercial Courts In India: Three Puzzles For Legal System Reform

September 2, 2020 | Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy

In this paper published by the Journal of Indian Law and Society, Dr Sudhir Krishnaswamy & Varshan Mahadeva Aithala made an effort to answer the performance of the commercial courts set up under the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 using quantitative and qualitative methods, nearly four years after the 2015 Act was introduced. As per the research findings, the authors have reached to a conclusion that the objective of speedy and effective justice for commercial matters has not been achieved.


Re-Imagining Bail Decision Making: An analysis of Bail Practice in Karnataka & Recommendations for Reform

March 30, 2020

The study titled ‘Reimaging Bail Decision Making’ looks at bail decision making in trial courts in three districts in Karnataka – Bengaluru, Dharwad and Tumakuru. The research focuses on the courts, which are the primary site at which decisions on granting bail are made, to understand what guides the grant or non-grant of bail and what are the factors which decide whether bail is likely to be granted or not. These include the statutory basis for the offence, the nature of offence, its classification as bailable or non-bailable, the punishment prescribed and effective legal representation by lawyers.


The primacy of the elected

July 10, 2019 | Mathew Idiculla

CLPR associate Mathew Idiculla writes for the Hindu about argues that the rights of a legislative assembly of a Union Territory should be seen as an integral element of federalism and that the Supreme Court should affirm the primacy of the elected government.


Castles in the air

October 16, 2018 | Mathew Idiculla

Last week, Paul Romer (along with William Nordhaus) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on “endogenous growth theory”. Interestingly, Romer has also been championing the creation of Charter Cities – new cities with distinct laws that seek to attract investment and economic growth. In this op-ed, Mathew Idiculla critically examine the motivations and the realities of such an idea in the Indian context.


Inside the glittering façade

August 17, 2018 | Mathew Idiculla

In this article published in the Hindu Business Line, Mathew Idiculla, Research Consultant at CLPR reviews James Crabtree’s book: The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age.

Perceptive and detailed, James Crabtree’s book advances a familiar argument about the story of India’s uneven growth.


Manufacturing electoral choice

May 16, 2018 | Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy

Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Managing Trustee at CLPR, writes LiveMint on the Karnataka Elections 2018. He analyzes two elements of the campaign strategy. Firstly, he argues that Congress’s choice of Kannada linguistic nationalism as a campaign frame did not fare well against the cultural and religious national sentiment. Secondly the double-layered campaign structure of the BJP helped them secure the highest seats – leaders from centre and state and the grassroots political workers carried out a well designed campaign strategy.


Karnataka elections: Severe anti-incumbency against Siddaramaiah or Modi-Shah-Yeddyurappa dominance?

May 15, 2018

Mathew Idiculla, Research Consultant at CLPR, provides his opinion on the Karnataka Elections 2018. He argues that there was no visible anti-incumbency against the Siddaramaiah government. However anti-incumbency operated against specific Congress MLA’s. This compounded with the efforts of Modi-Shah-Yedurappa could explain BJP securing highest number of seats.


Federalism and Fairness

April 2, 2018 | Mathew Idiculla

Mathew Idiculla’s op-ed titled ‘Federalism and fariness’ appeared in The Hindu on 3rd April 2018. In this article, in the context of South Indian States’ demand to rethink federalism, Mathew analyses these demands by making constitutional and historical arguments.


Can the Karnataka model of development do for Siddaramaiah what such slogans did for Modi?

March 13, 2018 | Mathew Idiculla

Karnataka State elections are scheduled for the 2nd week of May 2018. Matthew Idiculla of CLPR writes in The Print, that since 2017 Mr.Siddaramaiah has started fashioning a campaign based on the “Karnataka Model of Development”. This model leverages the halo effect created by putting forward development policies and employs the communication power of Twitter to promote “#NavaKarnataka2025”.


Briefing Note – Who should plan the city? Master Plan for Bengaluru

February 27, 2018 | Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy

As the High Court of Karnataka adjudicates whether the BDA or the MPC should have the power to make the Master Plan, this CLPR Briefing Note authored by Sudhir Krishnaswamy and Mathew Idiculla examines the constitutional and legal framework for urban planning and clarifies the roles of the MPC, the BDA and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in planning for Bengaluru. It argues that as per the 74th Constitutional Amendment, it is the elected urban local body like the BBMP which is primarily vested with the task of urban planning while the MPC is tasked with responsibility to prepare a metropolitan-level development plan which integrates the plans prepared by the various elected local bodies in the metropolitan area.


A path to executive power

January 30, 2018 | Mathew Idiculla

On Jan 21st the President Ram Nath Kovind approved the recommendation of the Election Commission to disqualify 20 MLAs of AAP, as it was deemed that they were holding offices of profit. Matthew Idiculla details out the actions that led to this order. In this op-ed in The Hindu, he also looks at the history of and the reason for this practice and delves into why this practice has continued to flourish in the Indian legislative system.


Draft RMP-2031 for Bengaluru: Institutional gaps and flawed outcomes

January 10, 2018 | Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy

In the second article on the Draft Revised Master Plan 2031, published in The Hindu, Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Champaka Rajagopalan and Matthew Idiculla highlight the lack of ownership (of the Plan) felt at the local level. They attribute this lack of engagement to the outsourcing of the plan to a private entity (this was done for the previous plan as well) which might have brought in expertise lacking in the BDA, but also led to a disregard for the diversity and local history of Bengaluru. Further complicating the possibility of a successful outcome – the implementation of a plan that creates an economically, socially and environmentally friendly urban living space – is the estrangement of the BDA from the communities it is restructuring. They note that the proposal put forward by the BBMP Restructuring Committee 2017 has unfortunately not been evaluated in the context of moving away from the supply-based planning that is currently being followed.


BDA’s master plan goes from ‘compact’ to ‘urban sprawl’

January 4, 2018 | Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy

Can 21st century Bengaluru reject the principles of new urbanism with dense, mixed neighbourhoods that promote public transport and walkability to reduce environmental and resource costs and yet be a liveable, affordable and ecologically smart city? The question that Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Mathew Idiculla and Champaka Rajagopal have about Bangalore Development Authority’s (BDA) draft Revised Master Plan 2031 (RMP 2031).

The Vision Plan, 1 of the 6 documents that make up the draft RMP 2031, outlines a strategy to accommodate a projected population of 24.7 million that, the authors posit, is bound to encourage urban sprawl. The restriction of development in the city core combined with intensive development at the periphery is the antithetic to creating an urban environment that is economically, socially and ecologically progressive.


Judicial Appointments: A Breakthrough?

February 11, 2017 | Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy

On February 6 the Supreme Court collegium recommended 9 High Court judges be appointed as Chief Justices of various High Courts. It appears that this recommendation follows an earlier collegium recommendation to appoint 5 High Court judges to the Supreme Court made the previous week. Taken together, these moves have been hailed as a breakthrough in the ongoing impasse between the judiciary and the executive. Arguably till the Executive confirms these appointments, the only breakthrough is that the collegium has recommended names to the Supreme Court for the first time since December 2015!


Mr. Modi, Don’t Patent Cow Urine

June 16, 2016 | Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is famously obsessed with the cow, which is venerated in Hindu cosmology. Most Indian states have now banned cow slaughter. The government of Punjab wants to tax alcohol to pay for shelters for stray cattle. Last year, after a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh was lynched by a mob for eating beef, a cabinet minister from the B.J.P. demanded to know who else was “involved in the crime” — meaning the beef eating, not the man’s killing.


Submissions to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill 2016

June 16, 2016 | Jayna Kothari

On June 16th 2016, CLPR was invited to appear before a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) formed to discuss the Enforcement of Security Interest and Recovery of Debts Laws and Miscellaneous Provisions (Amendment) Bill 2016. This bill sought to amend four laws: (i) Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI), (ii) Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 (RDDBFI), (iii) Indian Stamp Act, 1899 and (iv) Depositories Act, 1996. The primary aim of the bill was to simplify the procedure involved in the recovery of debt owed to banks and other financial institutions. CLPR limited itself to the proposed amendments to the RDDBFI in its submissions before the JPC.

Jayna Kothari presented CLPR’s submissions before the JPC.


Patently, a missed opportunity

May 25, 2016 | Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy

India’s National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy, released in mid-May, is a bewildering document. There are two ways to read this policy. The first is as a gigantic exercise in dissimulation, with a terse declaration — India is not changing its IPR laws — tucked inside a mountain of hot air to keep the U.S. and the European Union warm and happy. The other way to read it is as a serious attempt to make policy of tremendous national significance. A serious reading, however, reveals critical problems.

The National IPR Policy is keenly concerned with generating “awareness” of intellectual property (IP) in the country. (So much so that the word “awareness” appears at least 20 times in the policy.) The policy calls for nothing less than a new gold rush towards IP — roping in everyone from university professors to people in “rural and remote areas”.


Probe is Crucial, Who Investigates is not.

July 1, 2015 | Jayna Kothari

Jayna Kothari examines the procedure to investigate, try and impeach the apex anti-corruption body of the state, the Lokayukta, for corruption. The article is a narration of the provisions of law, relevant authorities and designated police personnel competent to try and investigate such matters.


Redressing Teacher Grievances

June 20, 2015

This article addresses teachers’ grievances, analysing the role of courts in redressing grievances of teachers in government and government aided schools. The authors have also explored the possibility of alternative grievance redressal forums that could serve as more efficient and accessible alternatives to high courts.


Apply Human Rights Approach to Our Public Bodies

March 16, 2015 | Jayna Kothari

Jayna Kothari examines whether public bodies like Municipal Corporations can be held liable for accidents and deaths of individuals due to their negligence in the maintenance of roads, open drains, and other such hazards. She also delves into using human rights principles to instill a sense of duty of care that public authorities should owe to the public and those who are affected by this negligence in care.


Loopholes in police oversight body

March 15, 2014

This article analyses the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2012 which established the State and District Police Complaints Authority (“PCA”). It notes that the PCA is incapable of curbing police misconduct.


Aam Aadmi Party: Making the citizen politician? – A debate

February 24, 2014

In the light of the recent 49 day tenure of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi, the panelists, Sarah Joseph (winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award, founder of Manushi and member of AAP) and Rajgopal Saikumar (Research Associate at CLPR) debate the impact that the AAP has had on the dynamics of Indian politics and its relevance in the upcoming elections.


The Unique Identification Number and the National Population Register

August 6, 2013 | Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy

This essay (published in the book “In the Wake of Aadhaar: The Digital Ecosystem of Governance in India”) investigates the present legal status of both the UIDAI and the National Population Register in terms of their constitutional status. Often presented in opposition to each other, the author argues that, constitutionally speaking, they have to be viewed together, not only because of the similarities that the two posses despite their alleged differences, but because both – along with other initiatives – pose significant challenges to concerns about citizen privacy and the special conditions under which States can waive privacy concerns in the national interest.

CTLR: “Regulation of consumer protection in Indian telecommunications sector: two steps forward?”

November 12, 2012

Dharmendra Chatur published a review in the Computer and Telecommunications Law Review (C.T.L.R. 2012, 18(8), 240-245, available on Westlaw) of two sets of regulations on telecom consumer protection issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in 2012. The review titled ‘Regulation of consumer protection in Indian telecommunications sector: two steps forward?’ assesses if these regulation effectively served their statutory purpose in securing effective protection given the pace at which telecom technology and access is growing in India.


Access to Knowledge in India: New Research on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Development in India‘

October 15, 2011 | Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy

CLPR’s Sudhir Krishnaswamy contributed a chapter to the book ‘Access to Knowledge in India: New Research on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Development in India‘ published by Bloomsbury. The book explores the issue of access to knowledge in different fields such as human rights, development, agriculture, health, etc.

A variety of authors from different sectors have contributed to the book. Sudhir Krishnaswamy authored the chapter on “Access to Knowledge and Traditional Knowledge Protection: The Indian Experience”. The chapter discusses the issue of access with respect to traditional knowledge. It also discusses the possibility of a legislation to deal with the protection and use of traditional knowledge.


Access to Knowledge and Traditional Knowledge Protection: The Indian Experience in ‘Access to Knowledge in India: New Research on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Development in India’, Bloomsbury (2011)

October 11, 2011

This volume on Access to Knowledge and Traditional Protection features articles by four contributors on contemporary issues in the domain of intellectual property, development policy and associated innovation in India. The authors adopt an interdisciplinary approach and closely examine Intellectual Property policy and its impact on access to knowledge.

In the volume, Sudhir looks at issues through the prism of knowledge management. He traces the emergence of traditional knowledge policy and the scope for implementing related legislation. He invokes and elaborates on the ‘Offensive’ and ‘Defensive’ approaches to protect traditional knowledge.

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Thangjam Santa Singh v. State of Manipur & Ors

September 7, 2021

Santa Khurai, a well-known transgender activist from the State of Manipur has filed this Public Interest Litigation in the High Court of Manipur. The petition seeks various reliefs in matters associated with the Manipur State government’s management of COVID-19 pandemic.

Radha M & Ors. v. State of Karnataka & Ors.

April 12, 2021

This is a Public interest litigation filed on behalf of parents of children studying in government schools in Karnataka, challenging the continued closure of schools in the State due to the COVID pandemic, when many other economic activities have opened, for being unscientific, harmful and harming the education rights of learners.

Citizens Action Group v. State of Karnataka

July 22, 2018

The Citizens Action Group has filed the present petition by way of Public Interest Litigation in order to draw attention to the deteriorating conditions of the water bodies in the city. Due to unchecked discharge of sewage, encroachment and consequent clogging, the drains are in dismal condition and are a serious health hazard for the citizens of Bangalore, depriving them of the right to a clean and healthy environment guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Bar and Bench

[Cattle Slaughter Ordinance] No coercive action for transporting cattle until Rules are brought into force: State to Karnataka High Court

January 25, 2021

Bar and Bench reported on the State government of Karnataka’s submission to the Karnataka High Court that it will not take any coercive action against any person under Section 5 (Restriction on the transport of cattle) of the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Ordinance, 2020 (ordinance) till Rules framed under Section 5 are brought into force.

The Hindu

Bail protocol, standardisation needed to ease undertrial burden in prisons

June 2, 2020

The Hindu carried a story mentioning CLPR’s study, “Re-imagining bail decision making: An analysis of bail practice in Karnataka and recommendations for reform”. The study emphasizes that bail protocol needs to be standardized and the classification of offenses must be revisited for easing the burden of under-trial prisoners in India.


[Book Review] The stories of our roots

June 20, 2019

In a recent interview about their book, Harini Nagendra and Seema Mundoli speak of joined efforts with colleagues from CLPR to “change the narrative of urban ecology by looking at economic growth and development through environment protection.”

The Hindu

Multiple Solutions for a Better Bengaluru

May 18, 2019

The Hindu quotes Sudhir Krishnaswamy on retired bureaucrat V. Balasubramanian’s proposal for a separate Bengaluru Metropolitan Council at the Bengaluru Metropolitan Region level.

Tracing the Progress of Government Schemes Towards Eradication of Manual Scavenging

April 1, 2022

Manual scavenging has been banned in India since 1993 and is currently prohibited under the ‘The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013’ (the ‘Act’). The Act mandates the provision of safety equipment and gear for workers engaged in hazardous cleaning, and also a shift towards mechanization of cleaning septic tanks, sewers, and other spaces. This blog post delves into the lack of provision of safety equipment and traces the progress of complete mechanization while focusing on certain schemes of the Government, to enable the eradication of manual scavenging.

Should the National Green Tribunal have Suo Moto Powers?

September 17, 2021

The Supreme Court (SC) and High Courts (HC) often take up cases on their own volition, without any party approaching the Court. This is an exercise of their suo moto powers. The SC generally invokes its suo moto powers for cases related to human rights. Environmental issues, such as air pollution in Delhi and the remediation of polluted rivers have been taken up through this route.

Artificial Intelligence and Judicial Bias

August 28, 2021

On April 6th 2021, then Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde introduced the Supreme Court Portal for Assistance in Court’s Efficiency (SUPACE). As an artificial intelligence portal, SUPACE is designed to make relevant facts and laws available to a judge depending on the matter currently being heard.