Posted in Law school

Want to become a lawyer? Get your resume right following these simple tricks!

As it is rightly said, “The first impressions last long”, well your resume is no different. In most cases, your resume is your first contact with your potential employer, and hence, your best shot to stand out among the other applicants.

Since a firm doesn’t always have the time and resources to call each interested applicant for a job interview, candidates are screened on the basis of their resume. Thus, it is significant to look organized, structured, precise and interesting through your resume.

Your resume speaks volumes about you, it tells your prospective employer about your past achievements, about your present aspirations and even your future goals. All you have to do is tell your story fast and make it interesting so that the person calling the shots is convinced that you command further attention.

A good resume is one which grabs the attention of your recruiters, sells your professional skills and accomplishments, but most importantly gets you the call for the job interview.

As for the legal aspirants, the resume test is even tougher as law firms are flooded with resumes and in the legal field, resumes which are verbose and provide too much non-related personal information are screened out immediately. So, here are a few guidelines to construct a resume that makes you stand tall among others:-

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Know the background

Most people follow the ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to resume. People prepare a resume and forward the same to every firm they wish to work with. This is what you need to change as not every firm is looking for the same thing. You must not send the resume to a law firm, a small nonprofit organization, and a large government agency.

Keeping the crux of your resume constant, make small and appropriate changes to it, according to the nature of the firm you are applying to. This will enhance your chances of getting an interview call from the firm. So, next time you send out a resume, do not forget to reflect on your target audience.

Keep it crisp

Yes, your resume is your chance to brag all about your positive side and your accomplishments but do not go on for pages leaving your recruiter gasping for breath. Keep your resume limited to two pages (two-and-a-half at the most). Even better if you can wrap it up within a page, although don’t leave out necessary details to shorten your resume. While preparing your resume, always keep in mind that law professionals are used to reading pin-point details and superfluous is frowned upon in the legal arena. So, never pad up your resume with non-relevant details which can put off your recruiter. Also, try not to use a flowery language and keep it succinct. Another thing to keep in mind while preparing your resume is to keep it relevant. In simple words, you may have achieved a lot of things in your educational journey but if it is not relevant to the legal world, don’t mention it.

Do not falter at formatting

Before you send out the resume to your prospective employer, make sure it doesn’t have any grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, uneven enter marks, or double spaces between words. Further, make sure you don’t use a very loud or funky font, rather go for a sophisticated one. If you are not sure of certain things, use online software to ensure a spell-check and a grammar-check.

Many people highlight their achievements by making the words bold which doesn’t look good. If it’s there on the resume, your recruiter will see it. It is also advised to send your resume in a pdf format so that it doesn’t turn wonky when your recruiter opens it.

Further, you must also try to stay clear of loud graphics, images, colours, boxed information and complex layouts.

Follow the right construction

Do not send out a hotchpotch resume that jumps from one domain to the other. Follow the right construction: – start with a heading, including your name, mailing address, telephone number, and other contact details. You may also add your permanent address below contact details. Then, go on to your educational qualifications and make sure to list your degrees in reverse chronological order. Here, you can also describe any awards that you received during your studies, just try not to make it look self-explanatory.

Next in line are your scholastic abilities leadership skills, speaking and writing proficiency, and of course teamwork. Your scholastic abilities should be followed by your experience, which you should not mention chronologically but in the reverse order. List the name of the employer, followed by the location, and dates of employment. Do mention your job title and your roles and responsibilities. If you don’t have that much experience, including any internship experience or volunteer work will also augur well. Also, do illustrate the projects you worked on and the skills you developed while working on the project

And finally, list your tech skills. Yes, today legal aspirants are expected to proficient in the use of technology. Though, you must highlight only the specialized tech competencies that resonate directly with the job. Expertise in managing databases can also be listed here.

A separate section can also be created if some of your law-related articles have been published. You can mention its headline and give the link to the article.

Keywords are the key

Today, many legal firms use software tools to screen the resumes of the applicants. Thus, it is critical for legal aspirants to include the keywords in their resume so that their resumes are not screened out.

Even if resumes are screened manually, the recruiter looks for some keywords while deciding the fate of your resume. So give them what they want. Customize your resume in a way that you don’t miss out on any major keyword.

What not to tell

While we have talked about what to mention, let’s also discuss a few things that you must not mention in your resume:-

  • Your salary expectations or the pay you have been receiving in your last job. Disclose all this information after you during the interview.
  • Why you left your last job (or internship) — disclosing the reason as to why you left your last engagement is a strict no-no. Tell the reason only if you are asked to during the interview.
  • Try not to use clichés like “problem-solver”, “dynamic personality”, and such others in your resume.
  • Do not mention your career objective. This is the most repeated mistake which the aspirants make. The firm wants to know what you can offer to their organization, they couldn’t care less about your professional aspirations and goals. Even if you are asked about this in your interview, the best you to sidestep the question is by saying — “I work step-by-step and right now my focus is to earn a spot in your esteemed organization and work hard and evolve as a professional here.”

Cover Letters

Well like you compliment your pizza with toppings; do ensure to compliment your resume with an impressive cover letter. The tricks are the same — keep it concise, clear, crisp, error-free, and to the taste of your recruiter.

A terrific cover letter can give an edge over a candidate with similar experience and degrees. So, tailor your cover letter in a meticulous fashion.

Following the above tips can help you construct a resume that will enhance your chances of getting an interview call. Good Luck!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rakesh Vashi

Author-headshot

Rakesh is a Law Student at iilsindia and like to write about topics related to law.

Posted in Human Rights

Sentencing without Parole: Assessing prisoners right to Dignity in India

The Bombay High Court[1] on 11th March 2019 held that every prisoner shall be eligible for an emergency parole subject to valid reasons. However, the broader question which arises before us is why in certain crimes no parole is granted at all in India. Major Parole rules[2] prohibit granting of parole for crimes such as rape, robbery, crimes under NDPS[3] among others.

A Division bench[4] of the Supreme Court of India in 2017 had held that the heinousness or seriousness of the crime cannot become a reason for parole refusal. However, another Division bench decision of the court, State of Haryana v. Jai Singh[5] in 2003 held the contrary. Though, that case pertained to grant of remission, yet it created an ambiguity of sorts. The legal ambiguity and the pertinent human rights concerns call upon us discuss this issue.

The primary question is raised with respect to the objective of such punishments. It has been held in Asfaq case that the primary purpose of a reformative justice system is to eventually integrate the convict with the society and granting of occasional parole at regular intervals helps in attaining this. However, such rules which completely bar any relationship between the convict and society rather create a divide by breaking all such links between a criminal and society.

Secondly, prohibiting any opportunity of parole to a prisoner further violates his right to dignity. Right to live with human dignity is enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.[6] According to Whitman, dignity functions as a master concept in human rights law, is hard to define, but its core includes a notion of respect and solicitude toward subjects, owed simply to their status as human beings.[7] Thus, a prisoner should not be deprived of his dignity. As a human being, there are certain basic minimum commitments such as maintaining family and social ties and breathe fresh air albeit in periods rather than being bound by the four walls of prison forever. Therefore, even a prisoner has a right to live a dignified life with some prospects of parole subject to reasonable conditions such as of him being a habitual offender where his release is actually dangerous to the society. Thus, imposition of blanket ban on parole is unconscionable.

However, proponents of such laws argue that the underlying rationales for such are the distributive principles of punishment: the general deterrence, the deserved punishment, and the incapacitation of the dangerous. I would argue how none of the theories in reality allow for sentencing without parole.

The proponents of such punishment argue that oftentimes sentences such as life imprisonment without parole serve as a punishment worse than the death penalty and therefore, there is higher deterrence for these crimes. However, this idea does not seem to be backed up by any facts and census, further there is little evidence that punishments imposed on convicted offenders have any impact on the behaviour of potential offenders’.[8] According to Robinson, for deterrence to be effective, the intended targets must be aware about the rules i.e. potential offenders must know that by committing rape they would not only invite a prison-time but would be given parole at all.[9] There is little evidence to suggest that potential offenders in India are aware about the specific rules that are made pursuant to Acts let alone the prison rules of various states where such specific provisions are provided for. Studies suggest that most people assume the criminal law tracks their intuitions of justice.[10] Thus, when deterrence deviates from the general intuition of people with respect to the degree of punishment that is to be accorded to criminal actions, the deterrence principle fails. Imprisonment without parole are not the punishments which the society is generally aware of and thus these deviations will not be anticipated by potential offenders unless they are specially advised to them.

Secondly, the proponents argue that such select criminals deserve to be sentenced without parole because of the nature of crime committed by them. However, usually such selection of crime is based on majoritarian judgement at the relevant point of time rather than understanding the immorality of crime itself (consider introduction of rape under this category only after the gruesome Nirbhaya rape case of 2013). Empirical justice does not serve real justice in transcendent sense. Therefore, many philosophers do not believe in the utility of resulting greater harm to the convict.[11] Whether a convict morally deserves to be punished to a certain extent subjective question which is dependent of various facts and circumstances. Therefore, one cannot state that imprisonment without parole is what a criminal deserves.

Lastly, it is argued that denial of parole checks the future possibility of crime by the convict. This means that the law functions on the notion that ‘once a criminal, always a criminal.’ However, reliable studies from both United Kingdom and United States point towards the difficulties in predicting future dangerousness of a criminal on the basis of a past crimes, unless the person is a proved habitual offender. Marquet and Sorosen state that offenders, generally, do not present a significant threat to the society in general.[12] Further, it is even more difficult to expect responsible behaviour from convicts within prison when there is no incentive such as parole to do so.

Currently, most Indian states in their parole rules have prohibited parole for certain crimes. The public pressure for protection from violent offenders is overriding the important human rights issues. However, it must be understood that, in a tolerant and mature democracy, human rights must extend to all humans, irrespective of their position in society. The principles of both justice and effective crime control are in favour of a sentencing policy that that would abhor from imposition of imprisonment without paroles, reserving them for only the most unimaginable cases possible. Such a system and policy ensures that the sentence imposed is such nature that do not fall at the extreme ends of the punishment continuum but on that point that puts each offender at his appropriate transcendent rank in relation to the blameworthiness of all other offenders.

[1] Dilip v. State of Maharashtra, Cr. Writ Petition No. 354 of 2019 (Bombay High Court).

[2] The rules made pursuant to various Parole legislations, the link to the Maharashtra govt. Parole rules have been provided, http://mahaprisons.gov.in/Uploads/pdf_GR/23a1fbf3-5af0-4f47-8b29-8f00ed590454parole.pdf

[3] The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

[4] Asfaq v. State of Rajasthan, 2017 (7) SCC 53.

[5] State of Haryana v. Jai Singh, Cr. Appeal No. 661 of 2002 (Supreme Court of India).

[6] Francis Coralie Mulin v. The Administrator, Union Territory of Delhi, AIR 1981 SC 746,

[7] James Q. Whitman, Harsh Justice: Criminal Punishment and the Widening Divide between America and Europe (2005).

[8] Danya W. Blair, A Matter of Life and Death: Why Life without Parole Should Be a Sentencing Option in Texas, 22 Am. J. Crim. L. 191 (1994-1995).

[9] Paul H. Robinson, Distributive Principles of Criminal Law: Who Should be Punished How Much (2008).

[10] Id.

[11] Morse, Stephen J., “The Moral Metaphysics of Causation and Results”, Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law. 523 (2005).

[12] James W. Marquart & Jonathan R. Sorensen, A National Study of the Furman-Commuted Inmates: Assessing the Threat to Society from Capital Offenders, 23 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 5 (1989).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rajat Sinha

Rajat Image

Rajat Sinha is a 5th Semester student of National Law University, Jodhpur. He takes an avid interest in Constitutional Law. He is also an Advisor of the Constitutional Law Society in his college.

Posted in Others

Five Common Myths About Personal Injury Lawyers

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you are likely afraid and confused, struggling with medical bills, and not sure what to do next. That’s the time to call an experienced personal injury attorney, despite how lawyers are frequently depicted on TV shows and in the movies. At J&Y Law, a recently published E-book, “From Pavement to Payment”, explains the ins and outs of personal injury claims. This article is designed to dispel the common myths about personal injury attorneys.

Myth #1: Personal Injury Lawyers Cost a Lot of Money

Attorneys are often portrayed as affluent, sharply dressed individuals. Certainly, being a lawyer can be very lucrative, but the primary motivation of many individuals who practice law is to help others. While some lawyers charge consultation fees and have different fee structures for their services, the vast majority of personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis.

This means that injury victims do not pay any attorneys’ fees unless they obtain compensation. While this is typically a percentage of any final settlement or jury award, the attorney assumes the costs of pursuing the claim (e.g. court filing fees, expert witness consultations, accident reconstruction specialists) if it is not successful. Ultimately, a contingency fee structure acts as an incentive for personal injury attorneys to only pursue valid legal claims and to fight to protect their clients.

Myth #2: Personal Injury Attorneys Are “Ambulance Chasers”

It is common from some people to deride personal injury attorneys as “slip and fall lawyers” or “ambulance chasers” who prey on innocent victims. It is worth noting, however, that all attorneys are governed by the rules of professional conduct established by the applicable state bar association or the courts. In particular, personal injury attorneys are generally barred from contacting injury victims immediately after an accident and must always act in the best interests of their clients. As such, an attorney cannot hold out for a higher settlement solely to generate a profit. Attorneys who violate the rules of professional conduct may face disciplinary action and could potentially have their law licenses suspended.

Myth #3: I Don’t Need a Lawyer Because I Have Insurance

Most injury claims never go to trial and are often settled through a complicated negotiation process with an insurance company. Let’s face it, however, insurance companies are in business to be profitable, and insurers often attempt to deny claims or pay as little as possible. If you have been injured in an accident, you should never go up against an insurance company alone, or even speak to anyone from an insurer without proper legal representation. Insurers can rely on teams of investigators and attorneys who have an unfair advantage over injury victims. It takes a skilled negotiator to make sure you receive the full value of your claim, and an aggressive trial attorney who will fight for you in court if need be.

Myth #4: The Party Responsible for My Injuries Will Have to Pay Out of Pocket

In a personal injury claim, the at fault party may be another driver who crashed into you, or a business that sold you a defective product. In either case, the at-fault party will not pay directly for your medical bills, lost wages or pain and suffering. Instead, the at-fault party’s insurance company will ultimately pay your settlement or award. Depending on the type of accident, there may also be more than one potential source of compensation. If you have been injured in an Uber accident, for example, your claim may involve the Uber driver’s insurer, Uber’s liability policy, as well as a third party. As mentioned above, it takes a skilled personal injury lawyer to make sure the insurer pays the full value of your claim.

Myth #5: I Don’t Need a Lawyer Because My Injuries Were Not Serious

People often fail to file a personal injury claim because they feel their injuries were minor or believe that pursuing a claim would be frivolous. Given that minor injuries can become more serious in time, the medical expenses can quickly mount. In addition, personal injury claims typically involve two different forms of compensation — economic damages and non-economic damages. The former cover actual financial losses such as lost wages, medical expenses, and property damage while the latter cover intangibles like pain and suffering. No matter the size of your case, a trustworthy personal injury attorney can help you explore all of your options.

The Takeaway

In the final analysis, personal injury attorneys are dedicated to holding negligent parties accountable and avenging the injured. Knowing that most people have little experience dealing with the legal system or negotiating with insurance companies, the way to protect your rights is to work with the right attorney, one who has a proven track record of achieving successful outcomes inside or outside of the courtroom. To learn more, check out our published E-book, “From Pavement to Payment”, available as a free digital download here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yosi Yahoudai

yosi-yahoudai

Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y Law Firm. Yosi is an inspired, aggressive and successful advocate for his clients, especially those who have suffered from construction accidents. He is personally committed to making a difference in his clients’ lives. Nothing makes Yosi happier than getting his clients’ lives back on track.

Posted in Women and children

Clergy Sexual Abuse: Are First Rules of Reporting a Notable Action?

In Christianity, priests are envisaged as alter Christus, another Christ, and thus any sexual violation caused by them is a breach of the sacred trust that a person entails in the religious institutions. Widespread and growing sexual abuse at the hands of priests, nuns and other members of the religious orders and a number of attempts to cover them up has resulted in a worldwide distrust in the credibility of the Catholic institutional hierarchy and a threat to the papacy. A universal law that protects the victims of abuse from being silenced has been the need of the hour.

On the 9th of May, 2019 Pope Francis put forward the first law in an apostolic letter which obligated the Roman Catholics Church officials including all priests and nuns to report any type of clergy sexual abuse that they encounter or hear of, to the superiors in the Church. This move was undertaken by the Pope as a strong retaliation to the widespread sexual abuse at the hands of bishops across the world in order to bring in accountability post the landmark meeting held at the Vatican in the presence of global church leaders in February.

The meeting held in February ended up frustrating a lot of victims of abuse as well as the other faithful while the church leaders who were a part of the meeting were of the belief that it achieved a positive outcome though no specific action was decided upon in its due course. While the meeting did send out a strong message pertaining to the expected conduct on part of church bishops and zero tolerance for sexual abuse, it failed to provide a consolidated solution for the same.

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The first law introduced by the Pope is thus being considered as an all-embracing solution to the persistent problem of clergy sexual abuse as it diverges from the canon law wherein the power to judge a bishop’s conduct lies only in the hands of the Pope. The new laws have delegated the power to investigate any sexual misconduct on part of the church clerics to major archbishops across the world thus facilitating the due course of justice.

For the purpose of clear application of these norms, inclusivity has been brought in by including not only women but also minors as well as ‘vulnerable’ people who are not in a situation to defend or protect themselves due to physical, mental or other disabilities.

The decree has put power in the hands of archbishops in various regions of the world to look into sexual accusations against the bishops in their particular region.  It empowers churches to imposed stringent measures and brings justice to the victims of abuse. The church dioceses have been given a year’s time to establish facilitating procedures for the report of abuse.

But as rightly said by Cardinal Blasé Cupich, the archbishop of ChicagoYou can make all the laws in the world and then put it on the shelf if there is no motivation to enact it.”

While this law put in force by the Pope does depict a very progressive step taken, it cannot be considered to be a concrete solution to put a full stop on clergy sexual abuse as it does not propose any established penalty for the abusers. Each step taken for addressing this fallout needs to be questioned as to whether it is sufficient to render justice as well as a sense of healing to the victims of abuse?

Another key problematic issue that the new law fails to address is that of reporting abuse to the civil authorities. While the law necessitates the reporting of abuse (though not the police), it does not in any way ensure strict compliance. Here the responsibility to report abuse lies on the conscience of the church leaders who may or may not intend to protect the abused. There is no guarantee whether the aforementioned will be enacted by the bishops worldwide. Furthermore, the law and policies mentioned in the apostolic letter should be of such nature that can be comprehended and understood by the regular people having interests in the issue. The practice of control of narratives of problems and their solutions needs to be reformed in order to make it more inclusive of opinions and less concealing. Listening to the deliberations of those who have suffered is a must for catering to their needs of justice.

Unless there is widespread cooperation from the church leaders all over the world in establishing a basic understanding for the enforcement of safe environments in churches, the trust in this institution will continue eroding as it has been since the past years in light of the increasing sexual abuse incidents. Zero tolerance policies and their fruitful implementation is the only way to rebuild the hope and trust of people that have been damaged to a great extent.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Priyanka Dhage

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Priyanka Dhage is a second-year student from NALSAR University of Law. She is an ADR enthusiast with a special interest in the field of negotiation and arbitration. She also loves to dance and travel.

Posted in Opinion

RTI: A grossly misused tool in the hands of CPIO

An RTI, or the Right to Information Act, 2005 is undoubtedly one of the best tools in maintaining the transparency and accountability among the governing and the governed. The mission of this act clearly objectifies and commits to providing factual information, reliable data with an authentic source. The Preamble puts a cherry on the cake by reading it very loud and clear “An Act to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority, the constitution of a Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”

The RTI act is a powerful tool to safeguard the interest and faith of the citizen in the economy and the system, but unfortunately, the way RTI is responding to the applicants is a matter of severe concern and great disappointment. It will not be a blunder to say that ‘Yes, RTI is a grossly misused tool’ and the authorities who are responsible for its smooth flow are the root cause of this problem.

  1. Mainly, it’s the attitude of CPIO, very pessimist towards their work. CPIO, instead of providing information tries to deny it with the provisions under section 8 of the Act. CPIO usually denies the application stating the reason for third party information u/s 8(1)(j) which reads as “information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information”. There is a need to understand the difference between personal and public information of the third party. The commission in its various orders issued the show cause notice to CPIOs and asked them to prove, how the concerned third party information is the private information, and how that very general information of contextual party is going to harm him. It has been observed that either CPIOs are very protective towards the records or they are not willing to give the information to the public. Commission’s order in case number CIC/SH/A/2016/001055 is a precedent for this issue.
  2. Another reason is the delay in transferring the application to the concerned department. If an officer is not the informing authority towards an application then there is a situation of delay in forwarding that paper to the relevant table. This leads to the imposition of the highest degree of penalty upon the authorities. It has been observed that CPIOs never felt it important to record the transfer of the application to their colleagues, for example, attaching a letter or taking the signature for the transferring of the document to the concerned officer might be a proper solution to this problem. Following points can be considered for this issue: CIC/EPFOG/A/2017/173925:
    1. CPIO, if forwards an application for information then he must write on a formal dated letter, which will show his attentive attitude and active effort.
    2. The first appellate authority should entertain the case more sincerely and must analyze the case with the intention to provide information to the applicant.
    3. CPIO should be informed and trained about the manner to furnish the response to an RTI application.
    4. There must be provisions for the penalty on first appellate authority for responsible and sincere working.
    5. Assisting officer should assist the CPIO more responsibly and quickly, else penalty may go on him too.
    6. If the information is tough or large enough to draft then CPIO can suggest an inspection to the applicant.

      There is the need to strengthen the transparency of files and records and bring parallel to act’s section 4(1)(a).

  3. The never-ending problems include the basic loopholes as well. CPIO lacks basic writing skills. There is an immediate need to train the CPIOs. They should follow the basic writing skills when replying to an application. There are instances when CPIO forgot to mention the date in the application or a subject on the application is either not clear or not added. This practice not only confuses the citizen but also troubles the commission to determine the exact date sheet of the case.
  4. The Role of assisting authority is vital in helping the CPIO. Many a time, it is the assisting officer or the concerned officer who fails to help the CPIO in furnishing the information. As per the provision of Section 5(4), the assisting officer acts in the capacity of assisting CPIO and he has all the relevant duties and rights to furnish the information. Case number CIC/EPFOG/A/2017/173925 is based on the same issue. Not to forget that if the assisting officer lacks the efforts then the penalty can be imposed on him also.
  5. CPIO, sometimes, excuses that they are unable to submit the reply as there is more work on their shoulders and this an additional charge of CPIO disables them to work properly on any of the position. The gravity of this excuse cannot be ignored as it may be possible that the overloaded work pressure does not allow the CPIO to deal with the applications attentively. There is a need to study this issue and to understand the depth as up to where does this effect.
  6. Sometimes the summoned officer is represented by another officer, especially in the case of transfer or retirement. This causes the delay in the order of commission as the summoned CPIO is actually absent and he is the actual party who was involved on the prima facie basis. Presiding CPIO must be instructed that if they receive the notice on the behalf of summoned CPIO then it is their duty to forward it to them and keep the option of his own representation as to the last resort because as per the precedents it may be possible that if facts and circumstances turn out to be rude then the representative can be fined.
  7. A CPIO should interpret the application and try to furnish the information. What happens is that CPIO also plays this tactic to deny the application stating an error in the application. Section 5(3) of the RTI Act, a CPIO or SPIO has to render reasonable assistance to the person seeking the information if required. As per the orders of the Commission the CPIO should try to talk the applicant and sort out the matter as conveniently as possible. The same fundamental was observed and ordered by the commission in the case number CIC/POSTS/A/2017/125738.
  8. One of the biggest turning points in the RTI cases is that CPIO initially deny furnishing the information sought by the applicant on whatsoever ground but when they held answerable to the show-cause notice issued to them the commission then they provide the information with immediate effect. This attitude in CPIOs is very discouraging because not everybody files an appeal. This is trouble not limited up to applicants only, this levies the unnecessary burden on the commission also, especially as those cases which are in less of judicial mind or legal issue or any real problem. The commission was set up with the motive to ensure the fast redressal of case but such practices depress the motive behind the formulation of this RTI Act. Case number CIC/EPFOG/A/2017/151493 is one of the cases dealing with the same issue.

All are these instances when CPIO brought the misfortune for the RTI Act. The promise delivered by the preamble remains undelivered and the tool gets depleted because of such corrupt activities. Section 26(1)(d) of the RTI reads it very clearly “train Central Public Information Officers or State Public Information Officers, as the case may be, of public authorities and produce relevant training materials for use by the public authorities themselves.”

It is important to ensure the workshops for the training and assessment of the CPIOs so that the improper working situation and this level of unprofessional behavior can be avoided. These kinds of activities not only cause a problem to the applicants but also attract a penalty over CPIOs.

The author has the field experience of being an intern with Prof. M.S. Acharyulu, Central Information Commissioner of India, CIC, Delhi. He has worked multiple times with the CIC.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anchit Jain

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Anchit Jain is pursuing law from the ICFAI University Dehradun. He is a third-year law student in B.B.A. LL.B (Hons.). He is interested in ADR, RTI and Consumer Laws. Debating, Dramatics and Chess are the hobbies he carries with him.

Posted in Constitutional Law, Criminal Law

Analysing the Constitutionality of the Marital Rape Exception under IPC

While Indian rape laws have been amended several times, most notably after the infamous Tukaram v. State of Maharashtra,[1] and more recently after the Delhi gang-rape in 2012, one particularly contemptible colonial vestige has managed to survive these amendments. This is Exception 2 to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, often referred to as the marital rape exception.

It is pertinent to bear in mind at the outset that, in the recent past, there has been a significant shift in the attitude of the Supreme Court towards criminal provisions of law based on Victorian-era morality. The reading down of Section 377 as unconstitutional,[2] entirely striking down Section 497[3] bear testament to the current attitude of the Supreme Court, which is at stark odds with that displayed in the notorious Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation[4] in 2013. Indeed these cases quite clearly indicate that the marital rape exception, which is undoubtedly premised on Victorian morality,[5] is living on borrowed time, until challenged.

Through this article, I seek to argue that the marital rape exception is unconstitutional, since there is a clear violation of Article 14.

The Exception Vis-A-Vis Article 14 of the Constitution

Exception 2 to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code states: “Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.”[6] While non-consensual sexual intercourse by a man with a woman who is not his wife is rape, non-consensual sexual intercourse by a man with (a woman who is) his wife is not rape, due to the exception. Hence, the latter is not punishable under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code. The exception thus creates a classification on the basis of marital status. Consequently, the exception must be tested on the touchstone on Article 14.

To pass the test of Article 14, the classification must be based on an intelligible differentia and must bear a rational nexus to a legitimate State objective. However, the exception fails all the requirements.

The basis of the classification, as mentioned earlier, is marital status. Thus, the question that needs to be answered is if marital status constitutes intelligible differentia, and bears a rational nexus to the objective of the Act, in the present context.

The law on this is clear: the classification must be founded on an intelligible differentia which distinguishes those that are grouped together from others.[7] Here, the married women form one group and the unmarried women form another. As noted earlier, the protection of Section 375 is not extended to the group of married women. The question to be answered now is whether the differentia of marital status is valid to deprive the protection of Section 375 to a class of women?

The offence of rape, under Section 375, belongs to Chapter XVI: Of Offences Affecting the Human Body. For any offence under this Chapter, marital status is not recognised as valid intelligible differentia. Section 304B,[8] which also belongs to the class of offences affecting the human body, explicitly rejects marital status as an intelligible differentia, and to the contrary, creates a presumption against the husband, subject to the fulfilment of certain criteria.

Similarly, there are no exceptions to Sections 354(A) to 354(D),[9] in favour of the husband. Section 377[10] also does not create an exception in favour of the husband. While it might be argued that Section 304(B) (and the related Section 498A) was introduced for a specific purpose, that is, to deter dowry deaths, and are hence outliers, no such claim can be raised in the context of the other sections of the Chapter.

Thus, the structure of the IPC does not permit marital status to be the basis of classification for any offence affecting human body, and the emergent norm is clear that whenever the question of the human body, the consideration of marital status is not relevant to deny the protection of criminal law to a class of persons. However, exception 2 to Section 375 is in contravention to this, inasmuch as it creates a classification based on marital status and accordingly, deprives the protection of law to a group of women, based on such classification. Thus, the classification is not based on valid intelligible differentia.

Further, even if the previous argument were not to find favour with one, it can be argued that objective sought to be achieved is illogical and thus, not a legitimate purpose. Under the current position of law, the objective invoked by the State shouldn’t be illogical, unfair and unjust.[11] In simpler terms, it should be a legitimate purpose. When in Independent Thought v. Union of India,[12] the exception was read down to exclude married women between the ages of 15 and 18 from its ambit, the State, though in vain, invoked the objective of “preservation of the institution of marriage,” to be the legitimate purpose behind the exception. The Court, in that instance, very explicitly rejected the avowed objective to be legitimate purpose, stating that “marriage is not institutional but personal in nature.” The Court then went to the extent of stating that “nothing can destroy the ‘institution’ of marriage except a statute that makes marriage illegal and punishable”. The Court differed in its approach to the very characterisation of the nature of marriage. The Court, in contradistinction to the State’s characterisation of marriage, held that the nature of marriage is personal, thus precluding the state from ever successfully invoking the objective. Therefore, the argument that the exception is justified in its existence to preserve the institution of marriage falls flat in the preliminary stage itself, since the very premise of the avowed objective – that marriage is institutional in nature – has been rejected. Thus, the objective sought to be achieved is not a legitimate purpose.

Even if one were to assume otherwise and deem ‘preservation of the institution of marriage’ to be a logical and legitimate purpose, it still has to be proven that there exists a rational nexus between the classification and the objective. The law is clear that the classification must rest on a difference which bears a fair and just relation to the object sought to be achieved by the classification.[13] The final argument rests on the point that there exists no rational nexus to the objective. The state’s argument can be summarised thus: the criminalisation of non-consensual sexual intercourse would lead to the destruction of the institution of marriage. It is to be noted that the operative and the underlying logic of this argument is that the institution of marriage will be destroyed if a significant part, content, constituent, or purpose of the marriage is criminalised. In this particular instance, that significant part is sexual relations within a marriage, which, if criminalised would destroy the institution of marriage. Thus, in simpler terms, this argument holds that if sexual relations – albeit non-consensual – within a marriage– are criminalised, the institution of marriage will be destroyed since sexual relations are a significant part of the marriage. However, the more forceful argument is that the State’s argument is specious since the link drawn by the state’s argument between criminalisation and destruction of institution of marriage is untenable. The Supreme Court, in the case of Saroj Rani v. Sudarshan Kumar,[14] has rejected the premise of the previous argument – that sexual intercourse forms the summum bonum of marriage. The Court by holding that sexual relations between a husband and his wife do not constitute the whole content of a marriage, and that remaining aspects of matrimonial consortium can’t be said to be wholly unsubstantial or of trivial character puts to rest the state’s argument in this case. Further, it can also be argued that there is no fair and just relation in this case, since the exception clearly does not take into the account physical and emotional trauma caused to the wife due to the commission of rape, possibly even repeatedly. And thus, there exists no rational nexus to the objective sought to be achieved.

In light of the aforementioned, it is clear that the exception in question fails the reasonable classification test, and thus, is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution and unconstitutional.

[1] (1979) 2 SCC 143, <https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1092711/>

[2] Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, (2018) 10 SCC 1 <https://indiankanoon.org/doc/168671544/>

[3] Joseph Shine v. Union of India, (2019) 3 SCC 39, <https://indiankanoon.org/doc/42184625/>

[4] (2014) 1 SCC 1, < https://indiankanoon.org/doc/58730926/>

[5] Lelenya Weintraub Siegel, The Marital Rape Exemption: Evolution to Extinction, 43 CLEV ST. L. REV. 351 (1995) < https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1610&context=clevstlrev>; see also Rebecca M. Ryan, The Sex Right: A Legal History of the Marital Rape Exemption, 20 LAW & SOCIAL INQUIRY No. 4 941, 948-954 (1995) < https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/law-and-social-inquiry/article/sex-right-a-legal-history-of-the-marital-rape-exemption/15B4BC0F145FC41B6E53C25C69701FAE>

[6] §375, Indian Penal Code, No. 55, Indian Legislative Council, 1860, < https://indiankanoon.org/doc/623254/>

[7] Special Courts Bill, 1978, In Re, AIR 1979 SC 478, < https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1306191/>

[8] §304B, Indian Penal Code, No. 55, Indian Legislative Council, 1860, <https://indiankanoon.org/doc/653797/>

[9] §§354A-354D, Indian Penal Code, No. 55, Indian Legislative Council, 1860, <https://www.kaanoon.com/indian-law/ipc-354a/>

[10] §377, Indian Penal Code, No. 55, Indian Legislative Council, 1860, <https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1836974/>

[11] Deepak Sibal v. Punjab University, (1989) 2 SCC 145, <https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1461661/>

[12] (2017) 10 SCC 800, < https://indiankanoon.org/doc/87705010/>

[13] Special Courts Bill, 1978, In Re, AIR 1979 SC 478, < https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1306191/>

[14] (1984) 4 SCC 90, < https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1382895/>


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maladi Pranay

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Maladi Pranay is a 2nd year law student, pursuing BA LLB (Hons.) at NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. He enjoys reading, and watching and playing cricket in his free time.