On 23rd November 2018, the Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR) organised the National Constitution Society (NCS) Convention 2018. The one-day Convention took place at the Indian Institute of Human Settlements, Bangalore.
In January 2018, the present Public Interest Litigation was brought under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (“RPD Act”) challenging the actions of the Respondent No. 1 in the appointment of LPG distributors vide Notification dated 17.08.2018. In its call for the selection of 238 LPG distributors in various districts of Karnataka, the Respondent No. 1 failed to reserve 5% of the distributorships, amounting to 11 spots, for persons with disabilities as mandated under section 37 of the RPD Act. Instead, only 6 positions were reserved which was less than even 3% of 238 distributorships.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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CLPR represented Azim Premji Foundation as an intervenor in the proceedings before the Supreme Court.