Pages

There was an error in this gadget

August 11, 2008

LEGAL AID

Legal Aid: An Over View
An act to constitute legal services authorities to provide free and competent legal service to the weaker sections of the society to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizens by reason of economic or other disabilities, and to organize Lok Adalats to secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity.
India is a developing country. The development in the industrial sector is very much appreciable, but still this progress in the field of industrialization, marketing, finance, etc. cannot hide the indispensable drawbacks of our society like population explosion and illiteracy. These drawbacks, coupled with environmental and social hinges results in increase in poverty and lack of food for people.
It is true that the country is going through the phase of development but all the fruits of this tree are being en- cashed by those who stay in the upper half of the society. The poor resides in their own world of DARKNESS.
But those who are still neglected are the main foundation of the society that is to be remembered. So misusing their ignorance and encashing the fruits for the benefit of the upper half of our society is not at all good for the future of the country.
The society is divided into two parts, according to financial standard, namely HAVES and the HAVE NOTS. In our country with 100 million people, only a little part of the population comes within the purview of the HAVES, whereas, the Lion’s share is the HAVE NOTS.
The HAVE NOTS as well as the HAVES both looks for earning their livelihood, looking for the benefit of their family, giving a good future to the next generation, some are successful to it, some are not.
In this ways both categories of people spend most of their lives overlooking a lot of facts, intentionally or unintentionally, that a lot of wrongs are being done against them. Other people, or the Government or whoever may be is infringing their rights. But the wronged ones are not very eager to protest against the wrong doer. Even some times they are not knowledgeable enough that a wrong is being done against them.
If they do not know that a wrong is being done, it is a different scenario. But if they know about the fact, they are still not standing against it. As because, it may cause a lot of problem in their field of profession and might have to face a bigger loss. In this way they are actually ABATING THE WRONG. So, for both the categories of people it is necessary to make them understand what sort of wrongs they actually are facing and the abatement is also causing a greater harm to the society and it can hamper the well being of their own next generation.
Keeping this fact in the mind the Government has taken up policies to spread awareness to the common mass through organizing different programmes held by different authorities, governmental or non-governmental. As the people of this country becomes aware about their legal rights, duties and liabilities they, themselves will understand how much better their lives can become.
Spreading the awareness about the rights of the people and how they are or can be infringed is the primary target of these authorities. So that the one who is wronged can himself realize that he has been wronged.
Once he has realized, that he has been wronged the question of redress arises. These authorities, governmental or non-governmental also provide the assistance, which is required by these wronged ones. These authorities provide HELP, in the legal field. This HELP is turned as LEGAL AID. These authorities and different other organizations hold such LEGAL AID CLINICS through the nation with the motto to help the VICTIMS.
Central Government has developed a plan and has also started to apply it by the help of the Legal Services Authorities, for this purpose. This authority spreads Legal Awareness amongst the citizens of our country, provides Legal Assistance like appointing advocates and giving advices to the people and also to suggest the Government different other plans relating this noble cause. These are the functions carried out by these organizations and authorities.
What Is Legal Aid?Under Section 2(1)(c) of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the said Act’), “Legal Service” includes the rendering of any service in the conduct of any case or other legal proceeding before any court or other authority or tribunal and the giving of advice on any legal matter; To provide free and competent legal services to the weaker section of the society was the basic object of enacting the aforesaid Act. Justice - social, economic and political, is our constitutional pledge enshrined in the preamble of our Constitution. The incorporation of Article 39-A in the Directive Principles of State Policy in the year 1976, enjoined upon the State to ensure justice on the basis of equal opportunity by providing free legal aid.
The assumption of our legal system is that all citizens have equal access to means of legal redress. Access to inexpensive and expeditious justice is a basic human right. But, in practice, legal services of all kinds have gone to the highest bidders. Wealthy persons and large corporations receive the highest quality advice. There should be a system of administration of justice of which the poorest are able to take advantage. Equal access to the law for the rich and the poor alike is essential for the maintenance of the rule of law. It is, therefore, essential to provide adequate legal advice and representation to all those, threatened as to their life, liberty, property or reputation, who are not able to pay for it.

Legal aid is required in many forms and at various stages, for obtaining guidance, for resolving disputes in Courts, tribunals or other authorities. It has manifold facets. The explosion in population, the vast changes brought about by scientific, technological and other developments, and the all round enlarged field of human activity reflected in modern society, and the consequent increase in litigation in Courts and other forums demand that the service of competent persons with expertise in law is required in many stages and at different forums or levels and should be made available.
Free legal aid undoubtedly is beneficial to poor people and has been instituted with the noble purpose. Yet it has become a good ground for breeding corruption. Free legal aid for a fee is common practice. Once a lawyer is engaged through legal aid, obviously the party or his men would come to the lawyer for consultation and it is then that they are asked to fish out some money, which they naturally cannot refuse. One factor that largely contributes to this is that the meager remuneration (less than Rs. 200/-) paid to the lawyers by Legal Aid Committee is a paltry and sometimes even does not meet the incidental expenses, what to speak of compensating the labour put in by the lawyer. Beyond that, the greed to pocket some easy money out of the helplessness of the victims is always there. But what speaks worst about the system is the fact that entrustment of cases under the scheme has become a case of distribution of largess amongst the favorites just as our Governments are notorious for distribution of licenses. The distribution is guided by many factors but largely other than by reason and the capacity to deliver the goods. In the circumstances, expectedly, the quality of aid is compromised to the determent of the beneficiary and, of course, Justice. The whole purpose is, thus, defeated.

Concept Of Legal AidLegislative History - The right to assignment of counsel at Government expenses was emphasized in the 14th Law Commission Report. Thereafter, in 1969, the Law Commission again strongly recommended that the right of the accused to representation at the cost of Government should be placed on statutory footing in relation to trials for serious offences and as a first step in this direction, the Commission proposed that such a right should be available in all trials before the Court of Session.
In order to achieve the objective enshrined in Article 39-A of the Constitution, Government had, with the object of providing free legal aid, by a Resolution appointed a Committee for implementing Legal Aid Scheme to monitor and implement Legal Aid Programmes on a uniform basis in all States and Union Territories. The said Committee evolved a model scheme which was accordingly implemented by the Government. But on review, certain deficiencies were found and it was considered desirable to constitute statutory legal authorities at National, State and district levels so as to provide effective monitoring of Legal Aid Programmes.
For the disposal of large number of cases expeditiously and without much cost Lok Adalats have been constituted and they have been functioning as a voluntary and conciliatory agency without any statutory backing for its decisions. In order to provide for the composition of statutory legal authorities and to provide statutory backing to Lok Adalats and its awards the Legal Services Authorities Bill, 1987, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 24th August 1987.
Article 39-A of the Constitution provides that the State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities. With the object of providing free legal aid, Government had, by Resolution, appointed the “Committee for Implementing Legal Aid Schemes” (CILAS) under the Chairmanship of Mr. Justice P.N. Bhagwati (as he then was) to monitor and implement Legal Aid Programmes on a uniform basis in all the States and Union territories CILAS evolved a model scheme for Legal Aid Programme applicable throughout the country by which several Legal Aid and Advice Boards have been set up in the States and Union territories, cilas in funded wholly by grants from the central Government.

Object of the enactment of the said Act - In our democratic set-up, all laws are made for all men - common or uncommon. By common man, in common parlance, we understand a man on the street. A man who may not have any status, office, post or rank in society. He is only a human being, an ordinary citizen with expectations of a just and human order. He may be a Tom, Dick or Harry, Ram, Rahim or Shyam. The Expression includes a cobbler, sweeper, baker, butcher, a priest, or a soldier. A person of whatever name and nomenclature known in the society. A legal system and its effectiveness has to be gauged or measured by the extent of its usefulness to the common man. The failure of law for common man is due to no change of hear or outlook of other fellow beings who are privileged and have a better status in the society. There has been no emotional integration between haves in the society and have nots. The society cannot be improved by laws. Social reforms are done not by laws but by leaders in the society who are virtuous, wise and of high moral character. Before making the laws or along with them, no attempts have to be made on behalf of the State of their agencies to spread moral education to encourage science with spirituality. The spirituality and science alone can rule the world including the government based on democracy in the absence of any effort in proper direction, the common man is deprived of the benefit of the laws enacted for him which do not reach him due to inefficient bureaucracy and mal-administration.

Persons Who Are Entitled To Get Free Legal Aid Under The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 Criteria for giving legal service are prescribed under the Section 12 of the said Act. Every person who has to file or defend a case shall be entitled to legal services under this Act if that person is –a. a member of a Scheduled Caste of Scheduled Tribe; b. a victim of trafficking in human beings or beggar as referred to in Article 23 of the Constitution; c. a women or a child; d. a person with disability as defined in Clause (i) of Section 2 of the person with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation)’ Act, 1995e. a person under circumstances to the underserved want such as beinga victim of mass disaster, ethnic violence, caste atrocity, flood, drought, earthquake or industrial disaster; or an industrial workman; or in custody, including custody in a protective home within the meaning of clause (g) of Section 2 of the Immoral Traffic (prevention) Act, 1956 (104 of 1956), or in a juvenile home within the meaning of clause (j) of Section 2 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 (53 of 1986), or in a psychiatric hospital or psychiatric nursing home within the meaning of clause (g) of Section 2 of the Mental Health Act, 1987 (14 of 1987); or in receipt of annual income less than rupees nine thousand or such other higher amount as may be prescribed by the State Government, if the case is before a court other than the supreme Court, and less than rupees twelve thousand or such other higher amount as may be [prescribed by the Central Government, if the case is before the Supreme Court.
Also, there are factors for disentitlement from getting legal aid - As per rules, the following persons are not entitled to the legal aid unless the Chairman of the Committee approves it as a special case-(1) Proceedings wholly or partly in respect of defamation or malicious prosecution or any incidental proceedings thereto; (2) A person charged with contempt of court proceeding or any incidental proceedings thereto; (3) A person charged with perjury; (4) Proceedings relating to any election. (5) Proceedings in respect of offences where the fine imposed is not more than Rs. 50/- (6) Proceedings in respect of economic offences and offences against social laws, such as, the protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, and the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 unless in shc cases the aid is sought by the victim : The legal aid is also denied where the person seeking the legal services - (1) is concerned with the proceedings only in a representative or official capacity; or (2) if a formal party to the proceedings, not materially concerned in the outcome of the proceedings and his interests are not likely to be prejudiced on account of the absence of proper representation.
In the above two circumstances even Chairman cannot sanction legal aid as a special case.
Constitutional Provisions Relating To Legal AidLegal aid a constitutional right - Articles 21 and 39-A of the Constitution are as under:- “21. Protection of life and personal liberty – No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. “39A. Equal justice and free legal aid - The state shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes Justice on a basis, of equal opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal, aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing Justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities”.
Article 21 is a fundamental right conferred under Part III of the Constitution. Whereas Article 39-A is one of the directive principles of the State Policy under Part IV of the Constitution. It has been held by the Constitution Bench of Supreme Court in Chandra Bhawan Boarding and Lodging, Bangalore V. –State of Mysore, AIR 1970 SC 2042 at 2050, para 13 that “While rights conferred under Part III are fundamental, the directives given under part IV are fundamental in the governance of the country. There is no conflict on the whole between the provisions contained in Part III and Part IV. They are complementary and supplementary to each other.
Working Of The Legal Services Authorities In India – Frame Works, Functions Under The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 At Different LevelsFunctions of the Central Authority – According to Section 4 of the said Act, the Central Authority shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely :-• lay down policies and principles for making legal services available under the provisions, of this Act; • frame the most effective and economical schemes for the purpose of making legal services available under the provisions of this Act; • utilize the funds at its disposal and make appropriate allocations of funds to the State Authorities and District Authorities; • take necessary steps by way of social justice litigation with regard to consumer protection, environmental protection or any other matter of special concern to the weaker sections, of the society and for this purpose, give training to socials workers in legal skills; • organize legal aid camps, especially in rural areas, slums or labour colonies with the dual purpose of educating the weaker sections of the society as to their rights as well as encouraging the settlement of disputes though Lok Adalats; • encourage the settlement of disputes by way of negotiation, arbitration and conciliation; • undertake and promote research in the field of legal services with the special reference to the need for such services among the poor; • to do all things necessary for the purpose of ensuring commitment to the fundamental duties of citizens under Part IVA of the Constitution; • monitor and evaluate implementation of the legal aid programmes at periodic intervals and provide for independent evaluation of programmes and schemes implemented in whole or in part by funds provided under this Act; • provide grants-in-aid for specific schemes to various voluntary social service institutions and the State and District Authorities, from out of the amounts placed at its disposal for the implementation of legal services schemes under the provisions of this Act’) • develop, in consultation with the Bar Council of India, programmes for clinical legal educations and promote guidance and supervise the establishment and working of legal services clinics in universities, law colleges and other institutions; • take appropriate measures for spreading legal literacy and legal awareness amongst the people and, in particular, to educate weaker sections of the society about the rights, benefits and privileges guaranteed by social welfare legislations and other enactments as well as administrative programmes and measures; • make special efforts to enlist the support of the voluntary social welfare institution, working at the grass-root level, particularly among the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, women and rural and urban labour; and • co-ordinate and monitor the functioning of (State Authorities, District Authorities, Supreme Court Legal Services Committee, High court Legal Services Committees, Tuluk Legal Servives Committees and voluntary social service institutions) and other legal services organizations and give general directions for the proper implementations of the legal services programmes.
Under Section 5 of the said Act, the Central Authority is required to work in co-ordination with other agencies. In the discharge of its functions under this Act, the Central Authority shall, wherever appropriate, act in coordination with other governmental and non-governmental agencies, universities and other engaged in the work of promoting the cause of legal services to the poor.

Under Section 7 of the said Act, the Functions of the State Authority are prescribed which are as follows -(1) It shall be the duty of the State Authority to give effect to the policy and directions of the Central Authority.(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the functions referred to in sub-section (1), the State Authority shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely:
• give legal services to persons who satisfy the criterial laid down under this Act;• conduct (Lok Adalats including Lok Adalats for High Court cases)undertake preventive and strategic legal aid programmes; and perform such other Under Section 8 of the said Act, the State Authority is required to act in co-ordination with other agencies etc., and be subject to directions given by the Central Authority - In the discharge of its functions the State Authority shall appropriately act in co-ordination with other governmental agencies, non-governmental voluntary social service institutions, universities and other bodies engaged in the work of promoting the cause of legal services to the poor and shall also be guided by such directions as the Central Authority may give to it in writing)


Under Section 10 of the said Act, Functions of the District Authority are –1. It shall be the duty of every District Authority to perform such of the functions of the State Authority in the District as may be delegated to it from time to time by the State Authority. 2. Without prejudice to the generality of the functions referred to in sub-section (1), the District Authority may perform all or any of the following functions, namely: • co-ordinate the activities of the Taluk Legal Services Committee and other Legal Services in the District); • organize Lok Adalats within the District; and • perform such other functions as the State Authority may (***) fix by regulations. Under Section 11 of the said Act, the District Authority is required to act in coordination with other agencies and be subject to directions given by the Central Authority, etc.- In the discharge of its functions under this Act, the District Authority shall, wherever, appropriate, act in coordination with other governmental and non-governmental institutions, universities and other engaged in the work of promoting the cause of legal service to the poor and shall also be guides by such directions as the Central Authority or the State authority may give to it in writing.
Judicial DecisionsA. The Supreme Court in Hussainara Kathoon V. Home Secretary, State of Bihar, AIR 1979 SC 1369: 1980 [1] SC 98: 1979 [3] SCR 532: 1979 Cri LJ 1045 : 1980 SCC [Cr] 40, had called upon the Government to frame appropriate scheme for providing legal aid to the poor. The following observations were made by the Supreme Court:
“We may also take this opportunity of impressing upon the Government of India as also the State Governments, the urgent necessity of introducing a dynamic and comprehensive legal service programme with a view to reaching justice to the common man. Today, unfortunately, in our country the poor are priced out of the judicial system with the result that they are losing faith in the capacity of our legal system to being about changes in their life conditions and to deliver justice to them. The poor in their contact with legal system have always been on the wring side of the law. They have always come across ‘law for the poor’ rather than ‘law of the poor’. The law is regarded by them as something mysterious and forbidding-always taking something away from them and not as a positive and constructive social device for changing the socio-economic order and improving their life conditions by conferring rights and benefits on them. The result is that the legal system has lost its credibility for the weaker sections of the community. It is, therefore, necessary that we should inject equal justice into legality and that can be done only by dynamic and activist scheme of legal services.
We also recall what was said by Leeman Abbot years ago in relation to affluent Americas –“If every a time shall come when in this city only the rich can enjoy law as a doubtful luxury, when the poor who need it most cannot have it, when only a golden key will unlock the door to the court-room, the seeds of revolution will be sown’ the fire-brand of revolution will be lighted and put in to the hands of men and they will almost be justified in the revolution which will follow”.
We would strongly recommend to the Government of India and the State Governments that it is high time that a comprehensive legal service programme is introduced in the country. That is not only a mandate of equal justice implicit in Article 14 and right to life and liberty confirmed by Article 21, but also the compulsion of the Constitutional directive embodied in Article 39-A.
B. As pointed out by the Court in Rhem –Vs- Malclm [377 F. Supp. 1995] the State cannot be permitted to deny the constitutional right of speedy trial to the accused on the ground that the State has no adequate financial resources to incur the necessary expenditure needed for improving the administrative and judicial apparatus with a view to ensuring speedy trial. The State may have its financial constraints and its priorities in expenditure, but, the law does not permit any Government to deprive its citizens of constitutional rights on a plea of poverty.
C. In Abdul Hassan Vs. Delhi Vidyut Board [AIR 1999 Del 88: 1999 (77) DLT 640 : 1999 (2) AD (Del) 105 : : 1999 RLR 100 : 1999 (2) RCR (Civil) 291], the Delhi High Court observed that “it is emphasized in Article 39A that the legal system should be able to deliver justice expeditiously on the basis of equal opportunity and provide free legal aid to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reasons of economic or other disabilities. It was in this context that the parliament enacted Legal Services Authority Act, 1987. One of the aims of the Act is to organize Lok Adalat to secure that the operation of legal system promotes justice on the basis of an equal opportunity. The provisions of the Act, based on indigenous concept are meant to supplement the court system. They will go a long way in resolving the 0dispute at almost no cost to the litigants and with minimum delay. The Act is a legislative attempt to decongest the courts of heavy burden of cases.”
D. The Hon’ble Apex Court found and observed in the case of State of Haryana v. Smt. Darshana Devi [AIR 1979 SC 855 : 1979 [2] SCC 236: 1979 [3] SCR 184 : 81 Punj LR 472 : 1979 Ker LT 269 : 1979 UJ 389 : 1989 RLR : 1979 Rev LR 312 : 1979 ACJ 205 : 1979 Cur LJ [Civ] 343], no State, it seems, has , as yet, framed rules to give effect to the benignant provision of legal aid to the poor in Order XXXIII Rule 9-A, Civil Procedure Code, although several years have passed since the enactment. Parliament is stultified and the people are frustrated. Even after a law has been enacted for the benefit of the poor, the State does not bring into force by willful default in fulfilling the condition sine qua non. It is public duty of each great branch of Government to obey the rule of law and uphold the tryst with the Constitution by making rules to effectuate legislation meant to help the poor.
E. Also, as observed in Moni Mathai v. Federal Bank Ltd., [AIR 2003 Ker 164 at 170] by the Kerala High Court, the Lok Adalats are also bound to follow the principles of natural justice, equity, fair play and other legal principles. Had the Committee taken care to issue notice to the petitioners and obtain a written statement containing their version and placed the same before the Lok Adalat all these unfortunate disputes could have been avoided. The Lok Adalats shall also not forget that their duty is not to dispose of cases some how but settle cases amicably.

August 09, 2008

Honor killings

Indian Scenario“Honor-killings", which are widespread in some of the economically advanced States, is an example. Perpetrated under the garb of saving the "honor" of the community, caste or family, such incidents occur often as the State governments are not keen to take action. The acts of violence include public lynching of couples, murder of either the man or the woman concerned, murder made to appear as suicide, public beatings, humiliation, blackening of the face, forcing couples or their families to eat excreta or drink urine, forced incarceration, social boycotts and the levying of fines.
The largest number of cases was found to have occurred in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh - most of the incidents reported at the convention took place in these three States. One reason for the increased visibility of such crimes is the trend of more and more girls joining educational institutions, meeting others from different backgrounds and castes and establishing relationships beyond the confines of caste and community. Such individuals, both boys and girls, are being targeted so that none dares to breach the barriers of castes and communities. Significantly, in the majority of cases it is the economically and socially dominant castes that organize, instigate and abet such acts of retribution.
In Muzaffarnagar district in western Uttar Pradesh, at least 13 honor killings occurred within nine months in 2003. In 2002, while 10 such killings were reported, 35 couples were declared missing. It was estimates that Haryana and Punjab alone account for 10 per cent of all honor killings in the country. It is not surprising that no such category of crime exists in government records. In fact, there is refusal even to recognise this phenomenon. Data for such incidents are seldom available and they would mostly be classified under the category of general crimes. Moreover, most of such cases go unreported and, even when reported, often first information reports [2] are not filed and post-mortems are not conducted.
Caste panchayats have come to play an increasingly important role in Haryana and elsewhere, especially in situations where political patronage also exists. Central to the theme of honor and violence is the subordinate position of girls and women in all castes and communities. A woman's chastity is the "honor" of the community and she has no sovereign right over her body at any point of her life. The retribution is particularly swift and brutal if she crosses caste and class barriers to choose a lower-caste man as her partner.
Case StudyLocation: LudhianaDate: 12 January 2005Ø Four of the five accused, including a retired police Sub-Inspector, in the shocking honour killing of a couple case have confessed to hiring professional killers for the job. They stated that the main accused, Amrik Singh, who was in Australia, had hatched the entire conspiracy and knew the killers, the Sadar police claimed.

Ø The police has also initiated proceedings for deporting the main accused, Amrik Singh, father of one of the victims Amandeep Kaur, from Australia while hoping that he would return on his own and join investigations.

Ø The city police has claimed of taking the help of the Australian Embassy for the purpose even as a lot of loopholes exist in the police investigations conducted so far. The police has not been able to furnish any concrete evidence against the accused other than the complaint of the boy’s family that the relatives of Amandeep Kaur had been threatening the couple for the inter-caste marriage.

Ø The four accused are the killed woman’s maternal grandfather B. S. Randhawa (aged over 70), a retired Development Officer with the LIC, and three uncles (fufars) — one of them a former Punjab Police Sub-Inspector Kulwant Singh, serving Head Constable with Amritsar police Tejinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh.

Ø Addressing a press conference SHO Sadar Sandeep Sharma claimed that the four accused had confessed before the police that the couple — wood trader Harpreet Singh and his wife Amandeep Kaur, a BDS student — was ‘punished’ for marrying outside their castes.

Ø They said Amandeep Kaur had lowered their image in the community by marrying outside the caste. They stated to the police that it took them nearly a year to carry out murders as they had been waiting for an opportune time.

Ø The revelation that two cops, one retired and one serving, were involved in the case has again put the Punjab Police in bad light. Four years ago, the infamous Jassi murder case hatched on similar caste lines also had a serving cop in the list of the accused.

Ø The case now hinges on the return of Amrik Singh from Australia with the arrested persons putting all blame on him and the city police convinced with the statements of the accused as well as the complainants without securing any evidence.

Ø SHO Sandeep Sharma said Kulwant Singh and Sukhdev Singh were arrested from Amritsar while Tejinder Singh and B. S. Randhawa were arrested from the local railway station here when they were trying to flee the city.

Ø The SHO said that the accused had threatened the couple and the boy’s relatives during their ring ceremony in Amritsar and later again at their marriage ceremony in Mariot Hotel in Ludhiana. The couple had got married in a city court about 11 months ago.

Ø After that Amandeep Kaur’s relatives had invited them to their homes and claimed they had accepted the couple. They had then organized formal ring and marriage ceremonies.

Ø Interestingly, the relatives of the accused had been claiming that the police had raided their houses and picked them up and kept them in illegal custody.

Ø The prime accused, Amrik Singh, had pleaded innocence in the case and counter alleged that some relatives of Harpreet Singh were involved in the murder. When asked if the police would register a case against them too as Amrik Singh has also made a statement like the complainants, the SHO said the police would investigate the charges.

Ø Meanwhile, the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr G.C. Garg, remanded four accused of infamous couple murder case in one-day police remand.

Ø Amandeep Kaur and her husband. Hardeep Singh, was murdered mercilessly, allegedly by the family members of woman by hatching a conspiracy.
Ø The prosecution sought the police remand for further investigation. The judge remanded the accused.ConclusionFrom the above case it is very clear that not only Islamic society but, different societies in India are increasingly facing the problem of honor killing, to which the state authorities like panchayats and police are a party. Thus in such an ailing situation it is very important that such incidents are taken care of properly by the state and also the society. Such crimes can only be eradicated by:

1. Putting very serious penal sanctions.2. Active police and panchayat body; as these crimes are mainly confined to rural or village areas.3. Imparting education to the village people at large.4.Active participation of the NGO’s[3] relating to women empowerment.5. Judiciary must be positive on such cases.
Research from around the world point to the fact that violence against women can only be combated if there is a healthy partnership between women’s groups and the state apparatus. While women’s groups must protect their independence, on certain issues they have to work effectively with the criminal justice system, joining forces to protect the rights of women victims. Moreover, law is an important tool but it is one of the many strategies available to us. While fighting for justice through the legal system, we should also try and put in place education policies, health strategies and community level programmes that promote equality between men and women and teach non violent methods of resolving conflict. A multipronged approach to violence against women will result in far reaching changes, transforming attitudes and practices so that men and women can live in equality and dignity.

August 08, 2008

India must fight against the forces of extrimism

The bombs that went off this weekend in Ahmedabad and Bangalore, killing dozens of people who happened to be passing by the bicycles and tiffin boxes in which these devices were planted, are a worrying reminder of the ethnic and religious tensions tearing at the fabric of Asia's largest democracy. The choice of the targets appears ironic, for Ahmedabad was the birthplace of Gandhi, while Bangalore has become the shiny symbol of a new, high-tech India.
Ethnic, religious and social tensions have always been present in India. Partly they are a legacy of partition in 1947, which left behind a huge Muslim minority whose discontent seems to be growing. But while Indians today turn the spotlight on radical Muslims as the agents of this weekend outrages, talk of a "war being waged against India", coming from the chief minister of Gujarat, the state in which Ahmedabad lies, is unhelpful. India is not "at war", not yet by a long chalk. But there is no doubt that terrorists of various sorts, not only the Islamic variety, are becoming bolder and more violent and are moving from border states like Kashmir, Punjab and Nagaland towards the centre.
When India's commercial capital, Mumbai, suffered bloody bombing outrages in 1993, that event still had a freakish quality. No longer. A look of at the list of bombings since 2001 reveals two clear trends: the intervals between each blast are fast shrinking, while bombers are increasingly hitting "soft" targets in the heart of the country. The spring blasts in Jaipur, one of India's tourist jewels, were indicative.
While the threats to India are multifarious, and include a large and decades-old Maoist insurgency, concern is bound to centre on the growing trend towards Hindu-Muslim alienation. This is especially evident in tense states like Gujarat, where the twin factors of Hindu chauvinism, represented by the governing BJP, and Muslim radicalisation are combining to deadly effect. There is a dangerous legacy of religious hatred in Gujarat following the slaughter of about 2,000 Muslims in 2002 and the point blank refusal of the BJP state government to investigate this carnage.
But whether or not Gujarat erupts now in another bout of sectarian violence is not the whole point. The unfortunate fact is that secularism and tolerance face broad challenges in India, while the terrorists have demonstrated that no city is out of their reach. The task facing the authorities, therefore, is to meet that challenge without further alienating the country's worried, and in some cases, angry, Muslims. In difficult times, India must not give up its laudable struggle to hold a wide range of ethnic and religious communities within one national fold.

Legal Education in India

"….man is inwardly a soul and a conscious power of the Divine and that the evolution of this real man within is the right object of education and indeed of all human life."-Sri Aurobindo

The gurushishya parampara has existed ever since vedic era making education an integral part of human development. It is education which ultimately results in shaping or transforming the whole society into a human civilization.Spiritually, it is believed that the life on the earth is regulated by the laws of the Lord or the Divinity. It is 'rule of law', that draws the essential difference between human society and animal world. It is the legal education that plays a pompous role in promoting social justice. Education or awareness of laws, characterize the lawyers as 'Social engineers'. Imparting of legal education has always been considered as one to the most noble profession. Legal education which is part of general education cannot be viewed in isolation. Today, legal education derives its impetus from the economic, social and political set up of the society. Significance of Legal Education'Law is the cement of society and an essential medium of change'. The significance of legal education in a democratic society cannot be over-emphasized. A knowledge of law increases one's understanding of public affairs. Its study promotes accuracy of the expression, facility in arguments and skill in interpreting the written words, as well as some understanding of social values. It is pivotal duty of everyone to know the law. Ignorance of law is not innocence but a sin which cannot be excused . Thus, legal education is imperative not only to produce good lawyers but also to create cultured law abiding citizens, who are inculcated with concepts of human values and human rights. Legal profession is objectively in the position of producing Statesmen. This is due to two reasons (1) Lawyers belong to an independent profession. They are not subordinate to the government or to anyone else, and (2) They are directly in contact with society in its entirety as they have to deal with all kinds of problems of people from all sections of society, unlike say, doctors who are confined to technical problems. Hence lawyers are the people who are most conversant with the problems of society as a whole. A well administered and socially relevant legal education is a sine qua non for a proper dispensation of justice. Giving legal education a human face would create cultured law abiding citizens who are able to serve as professionals and not merely as business men. The quality and standard of legal education acquired at the law school is reflected through the standard of Bar and Bench and consequently affects the legal system. The primary focus of law schools should be to identify the various skills that define a lawyer and then train and equip its students with requirements of the field of law.History of Legal Education The concept of dharma, in the Vedic period, can be seen as the concept of the legal education in India. Although there is no record of formal training in law, the dispensation of justice was to be done by the king on the basis of a self-acquired training. Justice was also administered by the King through his appointees who in turn were persons of known integrity and reputation of being fair and impartial . The guiding force for the King or his appointee was the upholding of the dharma.The pattern of legal education which is in vogue in India, was transplanted by the English; after the establishment of their rule in India. Formal legal education in India came into existence in 1855 when the first professorship of law was established at the Government Ephistone College . As majority of the population was rural and illiterate, the need was felt to bridge the gap between the existing law and the uneducated masses crying for justice, by rendering importance to formal legal education. In the year, 1857 legal education was introduced as a subject for teaching in three universities in the presidency towns of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. Thus, a beginning of the formal legal education was made in the sub-continent. For almost a century from 1857 to 1957 a stereotyped system of teaching compulsory subjects under a straight lecture method and the two year course continued . The need for upgrading legal education has been felt for long. Numerous committees were set up periodically to consider and propose reforms in legal education. The University Education Commission, was set up in 1948-49, in the year 1949 the Bombay Legal Education Committee was set up to promote legal education. The All India Bar Committee made certain recommendations in 1951. In 1954, XIVth Report the Law Commission (Setalvad Commission) of India discussed the status of legal education and recognized the need for reform in the system of legal education. It depicted a very dismal picture of legal education . It was only from 1958 that many universities switched over to three year law degree courses. It was only by 1967, that it became onerous task for the three year law colleges to include procedural subjects into the curriculum of their law school. The minimum qualification for being an advocate is an LL.B. degree, generally a three year course, which can be obtained after graduation in other disciplines .A debate as to its efficacy in the recent past led to a proposal of five years integrated course after intermediate (10+2) examination. The three year course itself came to be restructured into a semester system and several papers came to be included and excluded as per the Bar Council Guidelines. Hence, the Council today allows both the courses 3 year and 5 year courses to continue. However, the dichotomy between the two courses based on various factors such as professional legal education, mental faculties of students, multi-disciplinary and clinical legal approach to legal education, still continues.Agencies Regulating Legal Education The Constitution of India basically laid down the duty of imparting education on the states by putting the matter pertaining to education in List II of the Seventh Schedule. But it now forms part of List III, giving concurrent legislative powers to the Union and the States . Legal profession along with the medical and other professions also falls under List III (Entry 26). However, the Union is empowered to co-ordinate and determine standards in institutions for higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions besides having exclusive power, inter alia, pertaining to educational institutions of national importance, professional, vocational or technical training and promotion of special studies or research .Empowered by the Constitution to legislate in respect of legal profession, Parliament enacted the Advocates Act, 1961, which brought a uniformity in the system of legal practitioners in the form of Advocates and provided for setting up of the Bar Council of India and State Bar Councils in the States. Under clause (h) of sub-sec (1) of Sec.7 of the Advocates Act, 1961 the Bar Council of India has power to fix a minimum academic standard as a pre-condition for commencement of a studies in law . Under clause (i) of sub-sec (1) of Sec. 7, the Bar Council of India is also empowered "to recognize Universities whose degree in law shall be taken as a qualification for enrolment as an advocate and for that purpose to visit and inspect Universities" . The Act thus confers on the Bar Council power to prescribe standards of legal education and recognition of law degrees for enrolment of persons as Advocates. However, for promoting legal education and for laying down standards of legal education, the Universities and State Bar Councils must be effectively consulted . The University Grants Commission has in the course of time evinced interest in improving legal education and has taken various steps towards that end, through adequate funding, creation of senior posts and other means .The Journey of Legal Education, from the crossroads to modernizationPrior to the introduction of five year law course, most of the students who performed well in their Intermediate Education aspired to study medicine, engineering, computers, business management and accounting. Law as a profession and legal education as a discipline was not a popular choice of the students. Unlike India, the situation prevalent in England, America and in many other developed countries is convincingly different. The admissions to law schools in these parts of the world are highly competitive. The end result is that the 'creams' among students opt for law by choice and not as the last resort and thus richly contribute their shares to the society as lawyers, judges, para-legals and academicians.Though, five year law schools are doing their bit to bring about a change; but more effectively the perspective of prospective law students can be changed by a healthy pre-legal education at the school level.

Legal Education in India - Need for change

History of Modern Legal Education
Though India is one of the pioneers in the legal system, dating back to the BC era, with enlightened souls like King Vikramaditya and the like imparting unquestioned justice to his subjects and Aasthan Pundits educated explicitly in the field of legal justice, said topic, being vast in itself and almost flawless, cannot and need not be covered and hence has been left unattended to, with the aim of dealing with present day crisis in the Legal Education system, as expressed hereunder.
The pattern of legal education which is in vogue in India was transplanted by the English, after the establishment of their rule in India. Formal legal education in India came into existence in 1855 when the first professorship of law was established at the Government Ephistone College. As majority of the population was rural and illiterate, the need was felt to bridge the gap between the existing law and the uneducated masses crying for justice, by rendering importance to formal legal education. In the year 1857, legal education was introduced as a subject for teaching in three universities in the presidency towns of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. Thus, a beginning of the formal legal education was made in the sub-continent.
For almost a century from 1857 to 1957, a stereotyped system of teaching compulsory subjects under a straight lecture method and the two year course continued. The need for upgrading legal education has been felt for long. Numerous committees were set up periodically to consider and propose reforms in legal education. The University Education Commission was set up in 1948-49 and in the year 1949, the Bombay Legal Education Committee was set up to promote legal education. The All India Bar Committee made certain recommendations in 1951. In 1954, XIVth Report of the Law Commission (Setalvad Commission) of India discussed the status of legal education and recognized the need for reform in the system of legal education. It depicted a very dismal picture of legal education. It was only from 1958, that many universities switched over to three year law degree courses. In fact, in 1958, when the Law Commission voiced its concern there were hardly 43 institutions preparing 20,519 students for law examination. After enactment of Advocates Act, 1961, it was noticed that there was a mushroom growth of sub-standard law schools, with hardly any regard to the quality of legal education. Admission to these law schools was easy.
The Advocates’ Act, enacted in 1961, became the Patriarch of the Legal Education system presently in existence. The Bar Council of India Rules, inducted under The Advocates’ Act 1961, lays down the curriculum for imparting Legal Education throughout India and said Bar Council of India Rules have been governing the procedural aspects of Legal Education, including, but not restricted to the subjects to be taught, mode of examination to be conducted, the various Degrees to be conferred on successful students and the like. It was only by 1967, that it became onerous task for the three year law colleges to include procedural subjects into the curriculum of their law school. The monologue lecture scheme adopted in law schools, where practical training is either totally neglected or marginally implemented at the level of Moot Courts, Court visits and legal research will not make good lawyers in today’s scheme of legal education.
Rules on Legal Education have been amended from time to time which were incorporated in the pre-existing regulations. There were demands for a consolidated latest version of the Rules under Part IV on standards of Legal Education and Recognition of Degrees in Law for admission as Advocates from Universities and Colleges teaching Law in the Country. In response to popular demand, the Bar Council of India published the Rules in its final shape as applicable from 30-11-1998.
The minimum qualification for being an advocate is an LLB Degree, generally a three year course, which can be obtained after graduation in other disciplines. A debate as to its efficacy in the recent past led to a proposal of five years integrated course after intermediate (10+2) examination. The three year course itself came to be restructured into a semester system and several papers came to be included and excluded as per the Bar Council Guidelines. Hence, the Council today allows both the 3 year course and 5 year course to continue.
Agencies Regulating Legal Education The Constitution of India basically laid down the duty of imparting education on the States by putting the matter pertaining to education in List II of the Seventh Schedule. But it now forms part of List III, giving concurrent legislative powers to the Union and the States. Legal profession along with the medical and other professions also falls under List III (Entry 26). However, the Union is empowered to co-ordinate and determine standards in institutions for higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions besides having exclusive power, inter alia, pertaining to educational institutions of national importance, professional, vocational or technical training and promotion of special studies or research.
Empowered by the Constitution to legislate in respect of legal profession, Parliament enacted the Advocates Act, 1961, which brought uniformity in the system of legal practitioners in the form of Advocates and provided for setting up of the Bar Council of India and State Bar Councils in the States. Under clause (h) of sub-section (1) of Section 7 of the Advocates Act, 1961 the Bar Council of India has power to fix a minimum academic standard as a pre-condition for commencement of studies in law . Under clause (i) of sub-section (1) of Section 7, the Bar Council of India is also empowered "to recognize Universities whose degree in law shall be taken as a qualification for enrolment as an advocate and for that purpose to visit and inspect Universities”. The Act, thus, confers on the Bar Council of India the power to prescribe standards of Legal Education and recognition of Law Degrees for enrolment of persons as Advocates.However, for promoting legal education and for laying down standards of Legal Education, the Universities and State Bar Councils must be effectively consulted. The University Grants Commission has in the course of time evinced interest in improving legal education and has taken various steps towards that end, through adequate funding, creation of senior posts and other means. As suggested by Hon’ble Justice A.M. Ahmadi in the Chief Justices’ Conference held in 1993, “There should be proper evaluation of papers in the examination. The students should be trained to draft pleadings at the college level. The standard of English should be improved.”Under Rule 9 (1) to (4) of Section – A, Part-IV of The Bar Council of India Rules (under The Advocates’ Act 1961) deals with the subjects to be covered to complete the respective courses. Hence, it is incumbent to reproduce the relevant section to highlight the short-comings.
Section – A, Rule 9 (1) The courses of instruction for the Part I for law degree course shall include the following 6 compulsory subjects:-1. General English (Graduate Standard) - 2 Papers (Part I and Part II)2. Political Science (Part I , Part II and Part III) - 3 Papers 3. Economics - 1 Paper 4. Sociology - 1 Paper 5. History - 1 Paper 6. History of Courts, Legislature and Legal Profession in India. - 1 Paper
Despite the fact that our National Language is Hindi, the common practice of language in Indian Judiciary is English. Hence, the English subject listed in Rule 9(1) may well standstill. English as a subject may help the students to increase their analytical skills as well as their vocabulary too. Likewise as students of law, it is quite important to be familiar with History of Courts, the evolution of Courts from the ancient period, later development in the medieval period and the status in vogue. Therefore even the History of Courts including Legislature and Legal Profession in India, subject listed in Rule 9(1) may as well standstill. Whereas, the other subjects such as Political Science - 3 papers, Economics, Sociology and History have their immense significance in imparting BA; whereas they may not play an imperative task in Legal Education. Therefore, it could be recommended that these BA subjects might be deleted to give importance to Legal subjects mentioned in Rule 9 (2), by dividing them into 2 parts, which is elaborately discussed in the subsequent clauses.
Section – A, Rule 9 (2) (2) The course of instruction for Part II of the study in law shall include the following 21 compulsory subjects:-1. Jurisprudence 2. Contract-I(General Principle of Contract-Section 1-75 and Specific Relief) 3. Contract-II (Indian Contract Act, Indian Partnership Act, Sale of Goods Act and other Specific contracts) 4. Tort and Consumer Protection Laws5. Family Law-I 6. Family Law-II 7. Law of Crimes 8. Criminal Procedure Code, Juvenile Justice and Probation of Offenders Act9. Constitutional Law 10. Property Law including Transfer of Property Act and Easement Act 11. Law of Evidence 12. Civil Procedure Code and Limitation Act13. Legal Language/Legal Writing including General English 14. Administrative Law15. Company Law16. Human Rights and International Law17. Arbitration, Conciliation and Alternate Dispute Resolution Systems18. Environmental Law including laws for the protection of the wild life and other living creatures including animal welfare19. Labour Law20. Interpretation of Statutes21. Land Laws including ceiling and any other local laws
As we perceive from the above list of 21 compulsory subjects, a few subjects such as Contracts, Family Law are divided into two parts with an object to cover all the sections of the statute. Similarly, the following subjects are required to be divided into two parts with an object of covering up all the sections;1. Law of Crimes2. Criminal Procedure Code, Juvenile Justice and Probation of Offenders Act3. Constitutional Law4. Law of Evidence5. Civil Procedure Code and Limitation Act6. Company Law7. Labour Law
The above cited subjects are measured to be of greater significance both in academic as well as pragmatic point of view; accordingly, dividing of these subjects may lead to overcome the illusion present in the Legal Education. This could also pave the way for deletion of the subjects in Rule 9(1) and depute the divided subjects of Rule 9 (2) into Rule 9 (1) for a systematic and thorough undertaking of the more imperative subjects of law.
Apart from these 21 compulsory subjects mentioned in this Rule 9 (2) it is also recommended to include specific subjects such as Cyber Law, Intellectual Property Rights and so on. The Bar Council of India, while framing the subjects for 5 year LLB in the year 1998, Cyber Crime was rarely in vogue whereas, today Cyber Crimes are a new class of crimes in India and it is rapidly expanding due to extensive use of internet. India is among few countries in the world that have a separate law for cyber crimes. Indian Parliament has passed the legislation known as Information Technology Act 2000. Therefore, inclusion of Cyber Law (Information Technology Act, 2000) as subject in the list of Rule 9(2) is essential to Legal Education.
Similarly it is well evident from the various Landmark decisions of our Supreme Court, as well as various other High Courts of State, the significance of Intellectual Property Law is enhancing day by day in the filed of Law. More so, the recent start of Diploma Courses by various law schools in the country substantiates the significance of Intellectual Property Law. No doubt Intellectual Property Law is listed as a subject in Rule 9(3) as an optional subject, but the significance of the same urges to be included as one among the compulsory subjects under Rule 9(2).
Section – A, Rule 9 (3) (3) Not less than 3 more subjects which may be chosen from the list hereunder:-1. International Economic Law 2. Bankruptcy Laws 3. Taxation Laws 4. Comparative Law/Legal History 5. Insurance Law 6. Conflict of Laws 7. Banking law including Negotiable Instruments Act 8. Investment and Security Law 9. Trusts, Equity and Fiduciary Relationships 10. Criminology and Penology 11. Air and space Law 12. Law and Medicine 13. Women & Law and Law Relating to Child/Law, Poverty & Development 14. Intellectual Property Law 15. Maritime Law
The list of subjects referred above comprises of 15 subjects with an option not less than 3 more subjects to be included in the Syllabi of 5 year LLB Degree Course. This scheme of option in selecting the subjects may help to traverse the extra subjects which the Universities may experience to be imperative. Inspite of these 15 subjects it is recommended that some of the following subjects may also be given its significance in Rule 9 (3);
1. The Motor Vehicles Act2. The Registration Act3. The Indian Stamp Act4. The Land Acquisition Act 5. The Prevention of Corruption ActThe option in selecting the subjects, not less than 3 more subjects could be increased to 5 which may help to traverse the subjects mentioned herein above. It is also recommended that the following subjects may be deleted;
1. International Economic Law 2. Insurance Law 3. Conflict of Laws4. Air and space Law5. Law and Medicine 6. Maritime Law
Section – A, Rule 9 (4)
(4) Six Months of Practical Training be imparted and Practical Training will include the following Compulsory Papers:
1. Moot Court, Pre-Trail Preparations and Participation in Trial proceedings. 2. Drafting, Pleading and Conveyancing. 3. Professional Ethics, Accountancy for Lawyers and Bar Bench Relations. 4. Public Interest Lawyering, Legal Aid and Para Legal Services.
Most of the law teachers join the law schools after completing their LLB, LLM, or Ph.D. and are rarely exposed to the practical aspect of law and the Courts. Such teachers impart theoretical knowledge, divorced from the practical aspects and the result is that a fresh Lawyer appears quite lost in the court room. Proper means must therefore be devised so that the law teacher is required to go to law courts to gain the work experience, as this would not only enable him to have the work experience but will enable him to equip meaningfully the students who wish to join the profession. The following Practical Training Scheme shall be adopted by the Universities.
Paper - I: Moot Court, Pre-Trial Preparations and Participation in Trial ProceedingsAlong with the topical subjects in Law the 5 year LLB Degree course takes in the moot court, pre-trail preparations and participation in trial proceedings, drafting, pleading and conveyancing, professional ethics, accountancy for lawyers and bar bench relations, public interest lawyering, legal aid and para legal services, etc. It is a means of improving in students the basic skills such as the skills of critical thinking, presentation skills, participation skills, and the skills to work as a team, the leadership quality, in addition to the boost in students’ knowledge of law. However, the present scheme for practical training ought to be built up with special attention.
Paper - I of practical training is divided into 3 major components, They are (a) Moot Court, (b) Observance of Trial in two cases, one Civil and one Criminal and (c) Interviewing techniques and Pre-trial preparations; each carry 30 marks total aggregating to 90 marks and 10 marks for the viva voce.
(A) Moot Court (30 Marks)“Every student will do at least three moot courts in a year with 10 marks for each. The moot court work will be on assigned problem and it will be evaluated for 5 marks for written submissions and 5 marks for oral advocacy.”
In pragmatic aspect moot court requires higher significance, thus, the problem assigned for moot court may be increased up to 10 problems in a year with 10 marks for each. For instance these moot court problems may be upon the topics involving Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure Code, Contract Act, Evidence Act, and so on. This proposition may head an in depth study of the subject. These components divided in the Paper-I should be split into one single practical paper. It is pertinent to note that the moot problems ought to be in consonance with the law subject being taught in that particular Semester/Year as applicable. It is suggested herein that an External examiner may be permitted to conduct the practical examination, where the moot court examination may be conducted in presence of such external examiner will craft a transparency while dispensing marks. (B) Observance of Trial in two cases, one Civil and one Criminal (30 marks)“Students will attend two trials in the course of the last two or three years of LL.B. studies. They will maintain a record and enter the various steps observed during their attendance on different days in the court assignment. This scheme will carry 30 marks.”The Observation of Trial in civil as well as criminal cases is constrained to one each. Whereas, if pragmatically observed there could be at least 5 civil cases and 5 criminal cases to be observed in a year with 10 marks for each. These observations of cases may be upon the topics involving Civil Procedure Code, Constitutional Law, Contract Act, Evidence Act, Transfer of Property Act and so on in civil cases and Criminal Procedure Code, Complaints, Criminal Miscellaneous petition, Bail Application, Memorandum of Appeal and Revision, and so on in criminal cases. This proposition may head an in depth study of the subject. It is pertinent to note that the moot problems ought to be in consonance with the law subject being taught in that particular Semester/Year as applicable. These components divided in the Paper-I should be split into one single practical paper and the practical training may possibly commenced by the third year of 5 year LLB degree course.
(C) Interviewing techniques and Pre-trial preparations (30 marks) “Each student will observe two interviewing sessions of clients at the Lawyers’ Office/Legal Aid Office and record the proceedings in a diary which will carry 15 marks. Each student will further observe the preparation of documents and court papers by the Advocate and the procedure for the filing of the suit/petition. This will be recorded in the diary which will carry15 marks.”
Though the draftsman of the syllabi for the 5 year LLB degree course under discussion herein had the noble intention of imparting every possible knowledge of practical training in the 5 year course upon the student and this very intention led to the inculcation of interviewing techniques to be observed, said aspect is found to be impractical in the light of degree of confidentiality attached to Lawyer-Client interviews, which makes it highly impossible for a student to ‘record’ such an interview. In view of this ambiguity, it could be suggested that amputating this component from the list may pave way for other elemental practical papers.

Paper – II: Drafting, Pleading and ConveyancingPaper II of the practical training is also divided into 3 major components, They are (a) Drafting, (b) Pleading and (c) Conveyancing, where drafting is a part of pleading, therefore both drafting and conveyancing carry 45 marks each total aggregating to 90 marks for 15 exercises (3 marks for each exercise) on various topics dealt in Part - B and Part - C herein below and the remaining 10 marks will be given in a viva voce examination which will test the understanding of legal practice in relation to Drafting, Pleading and Conveyancing.
(A) Drafting and (B) Pleadings “1. Civil: (i) Plaint (ii) Written Statement (iii) Interlocutory Application (iv) Original Petition (v) Affidavit (vi) Execution Petition and (vii) Memorandum of Appeal and Revision (viii) Petition under Article 226 and 32 of the Constitution of India. 2. Criminal: (i) Complaints (ii) Criminal Miscellaneous petition, (iii) Bail Application and (iv) Memorandum of Appeal and Revision.”
(C) Conveyancing “(i) Sale Deed (ii) Mortgage Deeds (iii) Lease Deed, (iv) Gift Deed (v) Promissory Note (vi) Power of Attorney (vii) Will.”These civil and criminal pleading together comprise 14 exercises. At this juncture, 15 exercises are to be carried out with 3 marks for each exercise. It is similar in the conveyancing division with 7 exercises, where 15 exercises are to be carried out with 3 marks for each exercise. This method of performing the exercises and allotting gratuitous marks could be stretched out with the assistance of eminent draftsmen by including and excluding reliable topics linking the subjects in the practical year and also which are perceived to be beneficial in practical aspect.
It is also expounded that instead of delegating the powers relating to allocations of subjects under Rule 11 of Section – A, Part-IV of the Bar Council of India Rules (under the Advocates’ Act 1961) of the 5yr LLB Degree Course, the Bar Council of India while publishing the list of subjects may frame the syllabi as well with an object of universal system of Legal Education in India. This, in addition would ease the Bar Council of India to review the working of the schools and to make proposals for reorganizing the Syllabi. Bar Council of India may perhaps, encounter a few hardships to increase the standard of study materials, but, with the assistance of profound lecturers in the country the task may be well accomplished with ease. These lecturers may while away the ambiguity of deletion and addition of subjects to be done in the Rule 9 (1) to (4), Section – A of Part-IV.Paper - III: Professional Ethics, Accountancy for Lawyers and Bar Bench RelationsPaper - III of the practical training is divided into 4 materials such as (a) Mr. Krishnamurthy Iyer’s book on "Advocacy", (b) The Contempt Law and Practise, (c) The Bar Council Code of Ethics and (d) 50 selected opinions of the Disciplinary Committees of Bar Councils and 10 major judgments of the Supreme Court on the subject. The Written examination on this paper will have 80 Marks and the viva voce will carry 20 marks. In lieu of the written examination, colleges may be encouraged wherever appropriate to give the students, Seminars and Projects where they are expected to research and write persuasive memoranda on topics identified in the above subjects.
In these 4 materials one can easily perceive the stress of endeavor required in the lead of each subject. The stress put up and the marks allotted are extremely absurd. It is well evident that each subject is to be supported by 10 Supreme Court judgments, which carries 2 marks for each judgment aggregating 20 marks for each subject. Whereas the hardship involved by a student in procuring out of research 10 Supreme Court judgments on each subject deserves at least 5 marks on each judgment. It is furthermore appealed that the 50 selected opinions of the Disciplinary Committees are fuzzy and demands a swift change in design. Therefore, it is suggested that these papers could be divided into 2 parts with100 marks of each part where Mr. Krishnamurthy Iyer’s book on "Advocacy", and The Contempt Law and Practise, may form a part and The Bar Council Code of Ethics and 50 selected opinions of the Disciplinary Committees may be the other.

Paper - IV: Public Interest Lawyering, Legal Aid and Para-Legal ServicesPaper – IV of the practical training carrying 100 marks will have to be designed and evaluated according to local conditions by the colleges in consultation with the Universities and State Bar Councils. It can be taught partly through class room instructions including simulation exercises and partly through extension programmes like Lok Adalat, Legal aid Camp, Legal Literacy and Para Legal Training. The Course should also contain lessons on negotiations and counseling, use of computer in legal work, legal research in support of Public Interest Litigation, writing of case comments, editing of Law Journals and Law Office management. The marks may be appropriately divided to the different programmes that each University might evolve for introduction in the Colleges under its control. Hence, it may be standstill without any replacement.
The teachers associated with the clinical education should preferably have some practical experience in law. Association of retired judicial persons, as visiting faculty would be instrumental in selecting suitable clinical experience for the students and enhance amongst the students the commitment to learn. It is also suggested that for the purpose of grant of recognition to law colleges a committee should be formed consisting of a member nominated by the Bar Council of India (and not by its Chairman only), a member to be nominated by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, who shall be a Judge of the Supreme Court or High Court and a member to be nominated by the Bar council of India, who shall be renowned person in the field of Legal Education
Conclusion -- Legal education is an investment which, if wisely made, will produce most beneficial results for the nation and accelerate the pace of development. Of late, the role of a lawyer in a common social system is more than a skilled legal mechanic; he acts as a harmonizer and a reconciler. The legal education granted at the law schools should be streamlined to the conventional and contemporary needs of the legal profession. It is further recommended to the Bar Council of India that at least once in every five years constitute a commission to review the working of the School and to make proposals for reorganizing the syllabi of Legal Education.The quality of Legal education has a direct impact on the prestige of the Legal Profession. We must, therefore, identify the areas of default and initiate corrective action to repair the damage. Unless a drastic surgery is undertaken without loss of time, the patient, that is Legal Education, will be fatally wounded and consequently the country’s justice delivery system will stand bereaved. These are some of the suggestions – food for thought – to repair the cracks in legal education – to arrest the rot. All those connected with the maintenance of standards of Legal Education must, therefore, be prepared to take hard decisions to save the situation. A concerted action on the part of Bar, the Bench and the law teachers is called for to improve the deteriorating standard of Legal education. Act now – already it is late. If you fail to check the deterioration now, posterity will not forgive you.

The Court- A struggle

The power and majesty of the law manifests itself in its most concentrated form in the Court. Everything about the Court right from the robed judges to the black coated lawyers is about conveying authority, authority which is meant to intimidate, coerce and finally to silence. In the presence of the law , even the most vocal are rendered silent. In such a context one can well imagine the plight of those who not only are rendered silent by the mystical authority of the court , but are also not able to afford legal representation. The court room gives a false sense of formality with behaviour constrained within well established procedures. The lawyers in their black coats would speak a language which was quite incomprehensible to the people they were representing. The clients would hang on every word that is exchanged between the judge and their lawyer. Some of them are genuinely submissive and afraid of the court while others pretentiously bow their heads, faking submission and respect for the court. Clients are completely at sea as to what exactly is happening in the court as the judge bends over and scribbles furiously on the files. The moment of clarity is arrived only when the judge flings their file to the bench clerk- then they would know it is over for the day. This over dramatic sequence of events ensures that the courts are not the space where the voice of those at the bottom of the socio-economic strata are usually heard. It remains a forum where the sex worker or the slum dweller in seen but not heard. He or she is , often brought in after a night in custody, after some by now routine harassment by the police and his or her fate is decided by whether there is a competent lawyer to represent him or her. Even if there is a lawyer to represent him or her, if the bail requires sureties which the person is not able to furnish, then the person is doomed to a long period of detention in the other horrific institution in modern India – the prison.The venality of the court is an hoary Indian tradition. If you are practicing in any court in India , you will be told the price of different things right from getting hold of certified copies, to getting your case posted on the next date to amounts which one might need to pay to Public Prosecutors. The feeling of sleaze and dirt around the court is so palpable that not many would choose to venture in these territories in the quest of justice without simultaneously having the ability and the willingness to grease the wheels of justice.It is precisely this arena that we decided to intervene is as practicing advocates. If we wanted to in any sense make a difference to marginalized communities , intervening in the court processes would have to be a significant part of our work.Our litigation work started with the arrest of Sameena ( Accused Cr no 58/2002) on charges of soliciting and moved on to encompass a range of cases involving child labour children accused of committing offences , women who were victims of domestic violence and women wanting to get out of unhappy marriages. Throughout this period the number of sex workers wanting to contest only increased with Savita, Shoba , Ratna , Jayamma and several other women deciding that they too had enough of arbitrary police harassments and deciding that they too wanted to contest. What was apparent , particularly in the case of women arrested on charges of soliciting is that they moved from a position of being objects of the law to slowly articulating their conviction that they had done no wrong, in response to the judge asking them to enter their plea. The sense of sex workers being treated as cattle within the court does enormous violence to the constitutional philosophy underlying Art 14 namely the idea of equality. There is no equality before the law. Even in the ranks of the oppressed, comprising murderers, thiefs, drug dealers , the lowest of the low positions is occupied by sex workers. Right from when they are produced in court ( at the end of the day after all proceedings are finished) to the way they are treated in the court re-affirms their marginal and stigmatized role in society. In fact the cattle metaphor is applicable from the very moment of arrest. Nothing exemplified this better than, the incident when over twenty women who were all arrested on charges of soliciting were produced in court. All looking enormously weary, after a night in custody they were in court waiting their turn before the Magistrate. Just as they appear before the Magistrate, before the court closes in the evening, they are ordered to cover their heads and look down. The judge murmurs something which the women cannot comprehend. It seems like it is below the dignity of the judge to look at them straight and speak to them. The bench clerk then asks the women collectively “do you all plead guilty”. And all the women unanimously say “yes”. Their only concern is to get out of the court and join their children who have no clue as to where their mothers have disappeared for the night. Every body right from the sex workers to the police the benchclerks, the pending branch and the judge are in a hurry to finish the matter and retire for the day. However Ratna had other ideas. In the cacophony of voices all saying ‘Forgive us, we have done wrong’ “We admit we did wrong’ , there was one voice struggling to get heard in asserting her basic right to assert that she had not committed any offence. Everybody right from the police to the women who were arrested with her were annoyed that she wanted to contest her arrest. She was under tremendous pressure and to stand up to the pressure was indeed remarkable. She wanted to make a statement before the Magistrate on violence inflicted on her by the police and we managed to record her statement in the cacophony of voices. To provide the black comedy , suddenly the judge noted that he might have to remand all the women back to judicial custody as the typist had left and there was no one to type the release order. Once again the cacophony of voice moaning about children and old parents and how it was impossible to be in jail for another day arose. Ofcourse our client Ratna was seen to be the cause of the problem as in that Babel of voices in different languages the other women thought that it was her decision to contest that , would result in the rest of them spending another night in jail. However, somehow another typewriter was procured, the women were released and Ratna volunteered to go back to the jail so that she could be sent for medical examination. Ratna was clear that regardless of the inconvenience of another night in the jail, she wanted the police who had beaten and stripped her to be held responsible. Ratna asserted her dignity that day and her need for justice.The above in some sense communicates the atmosphere of the court. So then how does one intervene in the system of the court ? We tried looking at our experience and trying to understand what does it mean to do alternative law in the court rooms ? We came up with the following broad understandings:1) Using the ‘power’ of the law Even while we have used the phrase alternative lawyering it remains clear that our practice did not disavow the power of the law. What we sought to do was demystify the power of the law for our clients while at the same time we were clear that we were using the power of the law on behalf of our clients. We did go to courts wearing the uniform which gave us power ie the black coats. The coats were what in some sense immunized our clients from harassment in the courts. The coats were what opened doors in the court and enabled you to access basic information. The coats were what were responsible for the police man even letting you know under what provision your client was arrested. The fetishistic powers which resided in the black coat was what we were trying to channelize towards empowering the marginalized. It worked to the extent that you were part of the process of trying to fulfill a constitutional promise- everybody has the right to legal representation. What was clear is that some sections of the Indian population were (non) citizens when it came to accessing basic rights. Our work in its own miniscule way was really about filling this gap between what was laid down and what was actually there. Of course being conscious of the nature of India’s problems one is fully aware that we will never fill this gap through our limited practice. The solution has to lie in a braver re-imagination of possibilities, so that the broad ideal of justice can encompass a wider range of the dispossessed people of India.Thus even while we use the ‘power’ of the law one needs to be conscious of the way the ‘power’ works on your client and on yourself bringing about subtle changes in behavior and personality. The fetishistic powers which reside in the Black Coat in particular, can have an impact on clients , silencing and intimidating them. We have been very conscious of this power and have tried to demystify and minimize it. Of course where there is power, money cannot be far behind and one should not have the impression that the power of law is necessarily linked to the ideal of justice. In its day to day workings out in the lives of the poor , the Black Coat signifies a group of people who will use their influence to extort money and other favours from the poor. In the traditional practice of law the less the client knows the more the lawyer earns. Even though the filing of bail applications in bailable cases is very standard and the formats are available in the court premises for Rs. 5/- the lawyers may charge anywhere between Rs. 1,000/- to Rs.10,000/- depending on the reputation of the lawyer and what the client can afford. This is a regular feature in the court when desperate arrested persons are produced before the magistrate. Not only does the advocate solicit clients in the corridors but sometimes he takes an advance promising to get them released on bail. When they are produced before the court they find themselves without a lawyer. The lawyer who was supposed to bail them out disappears with the money. The poor are then remanded into judicial custody. To take another common example, lawyers mystify and make profitable the very process of filing an exemption application on behalf of clients who are unable to appear. While it is the discretion of the Magistrate to accept or not accept the application, the practice in the courts is that exemption are in the nature of a standard form application which is invariably accepted without question. Lawyers often make it seem that exemptions are extremely difficult to procure and use the power of the law to extort as much as possible form the client. We tried to demystify simple court processes like filing exemptions and are in the process of encouraging our clients to file their own bail applications as well. By helping them to understand simple things like case number, the next date of hearing, the client is empowered to handle her own case to the best of her ability. Further the ‘power’ of the law inherently resides in the distance between the client and the lawyer. The distance is maintained by ensuring that even if you are going to the same court, the lawyer comes by his or her car and the client takes an auto. There is no question of sharing food with the client. When it comes to sex workers the distance is amplified by several degrees. Lawyers never see the sex worker beyond the limited time of the hearing in court. We sensed this distance of which we were a part of and tried to respond to the dynamic of being a lawyer and hence automatically being a part of the social process which creates the distance. Ratna, Sameena and the others always saw us as both lawyers and ordinary people with both identities playing off each other. In the meetings for sex workers which were initiated by the women themselves we played a secondary role compared to the role we played in the courts. Further, whenever we were invited for tea or lunch after the court hearings ,we always went firstly because we were tired and wanted the tea and also because it was an important act of affirmation that there was a social solidarity which went beyond the lawyer client relationship. This ‘act’ of social solidarity also conveys a strong message to the police that even the sex workers, hijiras, juveniles from the slums or muslims have some form of access to justice. Using the ‘power’ of the law has remained an inherently contradictory enterprise with the law having the capacity to function as a bulwark against oppression as well as being the very source of the oppression.

2) Changing the culture of the court The courts are spaces for public performances. It has been identified as an arena which in many ways mirrors the existing societal prejudices, in some ways amplifies prejudice and yet in other ways constructs prejudices of its own. But the courts are also spaces where there is a contestatory politics which plays out. This is because while there is power, the power is not absolute and allows for some amount of critique and hence change in the very culture of the courts.It has been our limited experience that changing the culture of the courts requires a sustained effort by a team of lawyers who are constantly present in the courts, making interventions and through their efforts bringing about a change in the court room culture. One of the descriptions which come to mind is that of the work of the feminist lawyer, Flavia Agnes. She notes in an interview that through her work in the family courts in Mumbai with a team of committed women lawyers, there has been a remarkable shift in the gender sensitivity of the judges in Mumbai.[1] Similarly the veteran civil liberties lawyer Mr K. G. Kananbiran in a conference organized by the Alternative Law Forum noted the need for a practice of law which he called insurgent jurisprudence.[2] By this we gathered he meant that the courts are spaces in which it is possible and in fact necessary to question dominant values. Maybe one of the predominant values which we were successful in questioning was the ubiquitous nature of the bribe which had to be paid to every lower court functionary. The first instruction we got from a senior lawyer is that if we wanted to learn the ropes of litigation then we better be part of the system. Being part of the system primarily meant that we had to learn to bribe people. Even as he instructed and his junior whole heartedly agreeing with the look that you have to ‘grow up’ and face the realities of the court life if one aspired to be a ‘good’ lawyer. These lawyers were proud that they were experts in the “art of bribing”. There is a certain maleness associated with the very act of bribing. Although we heard this from many lawyers, we did not start with the premise that we had to bribe everybody to get our work done. If we did not pay then the clerks would ask money for “coffee” which meant a bribe. Initially we had somedifficulties as they would make us wait or be extremely rude. Some of the clerks and lawyers could not understand as to why we would waste our education and legal knowledge on such petty cases. They would in fact suggest that we take up other cases like “murder” which is more lucrative than petty cases of police violence. We never started with the presumption that it was necessary to pay money to get our work done. When we represented sex workers in the courts, that very act of representation seemed to have appealed to a core of idealism in most of the court staff. While reactions ranged form yes there are poor women someone needs to help them to they are criminals you should not be helping them, a larger majority of the court staff including the judges were empathetic to the work we were doing. Gradually they understood the kind of work we did and with the informal discussions about the kind of constituency we represented and the subsidised legal fees we charged our clients. In most of the court halls where we regularly practice the pending clerks are familiar with work and almost never ask for a bribe. One of the judges in fact commended the very fact of representing sex workers and asked us to work at the policy level to change the law. He further noted that in his day he too was a part of the social revolution. While one cannot claim that this is a significant change, it points to possibilities of bringing about a more overwhelming change in court culture of everyday bribes if we do indeed have a significant number of people practising in the same courts. The other issue which had troubled us is whether it is indeed possible to bring about a shift in the way we present cases. Representing the marginalized meant that we use a language in which we were not very comfortable with. Indeed, in a legal argument, facts can be emphasized or omitted, made to appear relevant when they are not, and skewed to make one point or another. The goals are the same--to tell a story by using words as tools to produce a desired reaction. For example, when we present the cases of women who are arrested on grounds of soliciting very often, the image of the woman is as a victim. She is presented as a poor woman with three kids who would be subject to enormous hardship if she was not released on bail. The question is whether it is indeed possible to change the way we present the image of the woman , moving beyond the rhetoric of victimization.While what we submit as applications are often not read, what we say gets heard. So changing the very perception of the woman has to be a public court process. In some ways that perception has changed largely due to the very self presentation of the women. They have moved from being victims who look down and mumble saying that yes we have done wrong to vociferously articulating that they have done no wrong. The image of Laxmi who was falsely arrested by the police standing up in court with her arms folded and asserting with great dignity that she had done no wrong , will always remain permanently stamped on our memory as an assertion of an identity which moved beyond the rhetoric of the ‘victim’.We have used the narrative of the sex worker to tell the story of HIV/AID’s. Due to the National Aids Control Society (NACO) definition , sex workers are seen as high risk group and interventions with the sex worker community are a priority for HIV/AIDs interventions. However the contradictory nature of the Indian state is such that , while there is a policy supporting such intervention, the constant violence against and arrest of sex workers renders difficult the very possibility of such intervention. We have sought to constantly make the point that many of those arrested were HIV/AIDs workers and by arresting them the police were hampering the very work of HIV /AIDs prevention. The women were in fact doing a service to society and they should be allowed to continue working unimpeded. The Court should in fact be used as a space where significant social issues such as HIV/AIDs are discussed and the court process should be used to further sucheducation. Strangely the very perception of sex workers and those considered even lower in the social hierarchy, ie the hijra community changes based on the fact that they have access to legal representation. The fact that there is a group of advocates willing to intervene on their behalf means that the court system has to be sensitive to the fact that, that the routine violation of their rights and dignity will become matters of justice. There will be interventions to safeguard their rights and hence one the justice delivery system cannot be complicit in the routine violation of their rights. This very recognition brings about a change in the very the court system can afford to treat them.

3) Subsidized legal services -To state that the law is an unequal institution is perhaps to state the obvious. The more critical question is whether it is very possible to right the balance so that those at the bottom too have a broader access to justice.The role that money plays in ensuring that the poor, never have access to justice is critical. To just take one example, in our interventions with the sex worker community, we have never charged conventional lawyers fees, instead leaving it to client to pay what they are willing and able to. IF we had charged conventional lawyers fees the legal component of the sex worker initiative would have been impossible. To just estimate the minimum legal fees for the over seventeen women we represented would have been in the range of 51,000 at a conservative estimate. The group which has just started a bank account has a grand total of of Rs 2000. Justice would have just been priced out of reach of the entire community if the group had sought to access justice through a conventional lawyer. The fact that one can provide competent legal services at highly subsidized rates means that even the poor can have a shot at justice. Sometimes one feels that in critiques of the role of law , one should never erase the importance of an intervention which might not even do much beyond just ensuring that the inequality of money is minimized in accessing justice.
4) Performance as politics -Perhaps nothing the courts as political theatre as much as the cross-examination. The cross examination can excite fears and anxieties among all the participants including the police , lawyers and victims. It is a mode of exercise of power and a way in which the powerful can be made accountable for their deeds and misdeeds. It can also function in a way which can completely disempower the already brutalized by further exposing them to the gaze of a prurient public. In our work we witness both these contradictory possibilities of the cross examination.To take up the first instance, the very fact of sex workers contesting cases means that at some point in time ( the time getting prolonged by constant police inaction) the police have to present themselves in the witness box. The techniques and stratagems adopted by the police to avoid this possibility are many. Invariably every date of hearing , when the police witnesses are supposed to present themselves, they would be absent. In some cases where the Magistrate happened to be conscious of the need to bring the case to a closure, the magistrate may issue a non bailable arrest warrant. If in one case involving Savita for example, though the Constables and the Women Police Constable presented themselves in court and underwent the cross examination, the Inspector refused to come for the cross examination. The logic being that as an Inspector it was completely beneath his dignity to be cross examined in the case of a sex worker who was solicting. However the Inspector in the case of Sameena, after the Court exercised its authority over him and issued a non bailable warrant finally attended. Since we were able to expose the Inspector’s story as being false and show that he had not been at the scene of the crime, it did send a signal to the police that women could not be dealt with in a totally highhanded and arbitrary fashion. The inspector who had gained notoriety for giving electric shocks, throwing chilli powder in the vagina of a woman and beating sex workers with the police baton was examined in the witness stand. It was very emotional for the sex workers who saw it as some fort of vindication that the inspector was being questioned in the open court. The impact of these cross examinations is that the sex workers see this as a forum where the police have to justify their actions and in most cases they fail to do so. This further inspires the women to contest arbitrary arrests. Further the very fact of the Inspector being in the witness box and being cross examined in front of Sameena sent out a powerful message to her that their was some sort of public pressure (albeit in the limited context of the court room ) which the Inspector had to face for his actions and that he was accountable for his actions.However this publicness of the Court room can function in precisely opposite direction as well by further victimizing the already brutalized. During the cross examination of a woman complainant in a case of outraging the modesty of a woman (section 354 IPC) the courtroom was spilling out of its space with male lawyers. The woman testifying was a smart English professor. She was repeatedly harassed by a male colleague (the Accused). She had complained several times to the management but to no avail as the accused had a lot of support in the college. After one such altercation the Accused followed her and in a busy market area pulled her saree and verbally abused her. She registered a police complaint and a criminal case was registered. After three years the case was posted for cross examination of the complainant. In preparation for hearing some salacious details all the male colleagues of the lecturer had come to observe the women being forced to reveal all the details of the incident. Word had spread through the court room that this matter was coming up and the hall was filled with both lawyer, curious onlookers as well as the men who were her former colleagues. The atmosphere in which the cross examination was to be conducted was thus extremely hostile to the woman. In fact the presence of so many male lawyers we later learnt was a defence tactic to embarrass and intimidate the English Professor. Every question the defence lawyer asked his accomplices would snigger at the complainant. The woman was forced to reveal intimate details of how he had stopped her in the middle of the road, tried to strip her and abused her in the most filthy language. When she asked he judge whether she should say everything the accused had said, the judge responded by saying thatif she wanted to see justice done she should. She responded by saying in choking soft terms, ‘He called me a whore your Honour.’ The Honour in question, who was not familiar with the word whore said ‘ore what ore ?’ To which the Public Prosecutor responded by saying She means prostitute your Honour. This point the said Honour duly recorded. Of course this entire exchange was accompanied by more audible whispers, sniggers and jeering looks. It was free entertainment for the all gathered in the court hall.This incident which we witnessed was so shameful in the way the public culture functions to reinforce the notion of women as sexual objects who could be degraded anytime by the male gaze. Our sense was that there was a strong need for a more political approach, which was conscious of the power dynamic inherent in the maleness of the court room and consciously tried to reverse it. What clearly needed to be done was to connect the woman with some feminist groups and ensure that at least the atmosphere of the Courts was changed with a strong group of women attending the court hearing and challenging the very maleness of the space and making it more strongly empathetic to the case of women victims of patriarchal attitudes.

5) Legal strategies- Of course everything we have said till now forms a part of a legal strategy. But what we have felt very strongly is that legal strategies should be a part of a wider socio-political strategy. Sometimes litigation might be the solution , yet at other times litigation might need to be supplemented by a non court process. Sometimes before even starting the process of client counseling, one might need to be more clued into the very context of the client.To take an example, what we have realized about domestic violence cases, is that women go through phrases. At points they are very keen on filing a case of divorce against the husband, in a couple of months, they decide that they don’t want a divorce but want to get back to the man. A few months later violence is inflicted again and the woman wants a divorce. This context of the impact of domestic violence needs to be understood before any strategy can be planned. In cases of clients who have been battered we first send them for counseling so that they are strong enough emotionally to sustain through the litigation process.The fact that women will express different opinions at different points in time needs to be taken into account in planning strategy. In fact studies of domestic violence have referred to what they call ‘ honeymoon period’ to refer to the complete inability of women to leave the men who are beating and abusing them. So even if a woman who initiates a divorce case wants to withdraw it, it makes good legal strategy to not immediately comply, as the situation in a few months could be totally different. Further in complex situations such as this one might need to go beyond the role of the lawyer, to even playing the role of a counselor. This could mean referring a particular client to a counselor, a shelter or giving them contacts of support groups before we file a case. Perhaps the key example which we have worked with is how to take forward the issue of sex workers struggle against police violence in a manner in which the community better learns to question violence and hold the police accountable. We have learnt that it makes sense particularly in the context of a community to initiate a community based process as well. In a spontaneous sense because the women felt the need they started meeting every week to discuss strategies in the context of violence. This process of weekly meetings gave them a sense of courage that there was a group of women behind them who shared their feelings of outrage and humiliation with respect to police conduct and also encouraged them to contest cases as they had legal support. If there was any reason at all that women were willing to contest cases , it had to flow out of the regular meeting process where they were able to interact both with other women who had already contested cases. Thus what was important was to supplement the legal process as a mode of ensuring that women could feel that they could hold the police accountable. The strength of this approach becomes apparent when we see the fact that, in the past in Bangalore there were never women who contested cases. This was because of there was no social process as well as because there was no legal process. Unless both were there it was impossible for a legal intervention to succeed by itself.The notion of legal strategies has to be based on a clear understanding of the intricate way in which the legal system works. Understanding the interface between the civil process and criminal process is crucial in any attempt to secure justice. For example, in a civil case involving Muniratnamma a child labourer working in the silk industry in Magadi. She suffered burn injuries in the course of her employment in the silk unit. The employer who is member of the powerful silk employers association denied that he had ever employed her. Fearing legal consequences of the accident the powerful silk lobby tried to hush the entire incident by cheating Muniratnamma’s illiterate mother into signing an agreement that the accident did not take place in the silk unit. Proving her employment which was one of the requirements for the compensation was difficult as he was employing them without giving them any written acknowledgement of payment. (Beyond the court – what needs to be done). Further, the doctor who was certifying the burn injuries was bribed by the employer. The entire case was prolonged for over three years as the doctor and the employer were stalling the entire court proceedings. When we approached him he was very annoyed with us and told us “it is not as if somebody is murdered that you take this matter up so seriously, it is after all a child labourer”.(triviality of the matter) We then contacted the labour commissioner who them put immense pressure on the health department which brought the doctor to the court.(making the sys work) Further, upon inquiry it transpired that there was a criminal case which was filed against the employer and further investigation at the court revealed that the employer had actually pleaded guilty to criminal negligence in the wiring of his factory and being responsible for her burns. Thus, the criminal records were submitted as evidence inthe civil case which was enough to prove that Muniratnamma was burnt in the course of employment. Legal strategies also have to be contextualized to suit the case of the individual client. Sometimes there could be a conflict between the need to hold the state accountable and the need to ensure the best for the individual client. For example in the case of the arrest of a Nepali watchman at 5 am in the morning, and the illegal detention for three days, it was imperative that to ensure police accountability we needed to file a case of habeas corpus to ensure that the case of illegal detention came to light. However if in response the police filed a false case of theft against the Ramesh Bahadhur Dwal, then he was stuck, only because getting out on bail would mean that he would be required to produce sureties. Considering that his family was from Nepal he would not be in any position to produce sureties and hence invariably condemned to a long period of detention. So in this case , we just kept the pressure on the police and ensured that he was not illtreated by constantly calling the police and going to the police station. However we ended up condoning the illegal detention for two days, only because it was a better alternative than a possible long spell in jail. Susheelamma was a devastated mother when she walked into our office. Her seventeen year old daughter Manjula was kidnapped by twenty seven year old Ravi. She was inconsolable and desperate to get her daughter back. She was afraid that Ravi would sexually abuse her minor daughter. The jurisdictional police had registered a criminal complaint but were not pursuing the case. Susheelamma promised to pay any amount we wanted as long as we could get her daughter back. There was enormous pressure on us to file a habeas corpus immediately. While drafting the petition the more we inquired into the matter and analysed the letters which Manjula had written the more contradictory and dubious was Susheelamma’s story of the kidnapping. We stalled filing the habeas corpus and it came to light that Susheelamma is an orthodox Brahmin. She strongly opposed Manjula’s relationship with Ravi who is from a lower caste. She had arranged for Manjula to marry a person whowas also Brahmin. Manjula then eloped with Ravi. We refused to file the petition. (politics of caste and law)So in a sense legal strategies bring to the fore the dilemmas between law and politics, individual people and broader social causes. Choices one makes can have an irrevocable effect on the life of the client, so they need to be well thought through before any form of action is taken.

6) The client as an active subject of the law -While it is true that once one enters within the framework of the law, one is invariably defined by the law, there exist ways in which this ‘power’ of the law can be understood by even poor people and used to defend their interests. It is important in our practice of the law that the client is empowered through the process rather than the process making them more isolated or weak. This means taking time to explain the court procedure and processes to the client. Often especially in civil cases the clients are quite frustrated in the long delays and adjournments. With numerous interim applications being filed by either party they are confused as to what relief they would be getting and when and for how long. In our practice of law we explain to the client the court process by drawing diagrams and charts to explain the various stages of the case. Not that this leaves them any less frustrated but at least they can plan their life in accordance to the different stages of the litigation. For example, even though the woman would be filing a case of maintenance we ensure that she looks for other employment or give her contacts of organizations that would help her look after her andsupport her children. Through this her energies are not always concentrated on the case but to also look for other means to support herself and her children.We always insist that our clients actively engage in the litigation process be it getting the next hearing date or preparing themselves for the accused statement before the Magistrate or getting medical certificate from the government doctors to produce as evidence the injuries they have sustained. When the clients come to us they are quite desperate either because they have gone to other lawyers who have cheated them or they no support system whatsoever or have suffered continuous abuse that they are quite resigned to the fact that there is no other way out. Savitha* a sex worker who is also HIV positive was beaten and arrested while she was having lunch by a WPC (woman police constable) She contested the arrest. In the beginning she was very overwhelmed by the arrest and its implications on her work. She was threatened by the police and the women who stood on the streets with her. Initially we sent Savitha to get dates of her next hearing andconstantly sent her to the courts along with another sex worker to find out when the matter would come up for hearing. During this process she was forced to interact with clerks at the pending branch, the police and other court officials. Soon everybody in that court hall were quite acquainted with Savitha’s case. When the matter was posted for the Accused statement (S.313 of the CrPC) she courageously stated before the Magistrate the circumstances of her arrest. The magistrate listened to Savitha’s story which was related devoid of any great legal argument or jargon. Savitha was acquitted and this entire process has been positive in helping her to articulate her story to the court and to be confident in accessing the court the police station and other state agencies.Similarly, Parveen*, Selma* are no longer afraid of the judicial system. They have each contested three to four arbitrary arrests and to a large extent have conducted their own cases. Although, there have been mix ups with the dates which then results in the court issuing a non bailable arrest warrant (NBW) and this would require an extra effort from us to recall the NBW. Despite this, we have thought it made sense to insist that the women take responsibility for their cases. However this confidence that the client acquires can itself be a double edged sword. A single good experience can make one look to the court for justice where the court may be quite unable to do so. In the case of Savitha, for example, she was so emboldened by her experience with the court system that when she was being harassed by a client on the street she went to the police station to file a complaint. The police outraged by her ‘audacity’ promptly booked a case of soliciting against her.

7) The court as socialization- The court also functions as a mechanism through which a different social reality is constructed. What in many ways exemplified this was the case of Arul Jyoti. Arul Jyoti was a student of the 10 std doing his SSLC exam. Arul Jyothi* aged 15 years is from a slum in Bangalore. His mother a domestic worker and his brothers who are construction workers have put all their resources to ensure that Arul completes his board exams. To them he symbolized the aspiration to a world which was different from the world in which they existed. During his exams Arul panicked and ran out of the hall with his answer sheets. The next day he went to the invigilator to give in his papers of the previous exam. The teachers and the head master also panicked as they immediately felt that they would be suspended for dereliction of duty. Instead of making further inquiries with Arul they immediately notified the police. The police arrested Arul. He was detained in the police station and beaten. He was not produced before the magistrate. We telephoned the police several times asking when they would be producing Arul. The police panicked as they did not want the lawyers to be involved. They misledus deliberately with regard to the time of production and released Arul. By the time we traced Arul to the court, the boy was traumatized. He was threatened and beaten by the police not to make any statement to the Magistrate. Once Arul was out on bail our task was to see that he does not get debarred by the examination board and that he works as an apprentice to keep himself occupied until he can write the supplementary exams. In this case apart from representing Arul in the court we were very much involved in ensuring that Arul does not get debarred and is admitted in a training institute.he had tampered with the answer script which was an offence under the Karnataka Education Act. In the police station he was beaten by the police and later produced before the Magistrate. The clerk in the Magistrate’s chambers did not allow Arul Jyoti’s mother to enter the chamber with her sandals on. The Magistrate was perfunctory in recording the details and releasing Arul Jyoti. The entire episode can be seen as really the first step in jerking a young person out of the context of the school and thrusting him into the face of the law. The experience is most definitely not pleasant and by treating Arul Jyoti as a criminal, produces him as a criminal. If he becomes familiar with criminality , the courts would in no small measure be responsible for the same. It was no surprise to see that Arul Jyoti’s brother came back to us another day, because Arul Jyoti had been arrested in another case.