Legal Education in India: From ‘what is’ to ‘what could be’

Right from the beginning, when a student frames his mind to take up the legal profession, then and there, he is made aware of the tedious route. From entrance test battle to decoding the ambiguity over placements, this route of legal profession never stops to offer surprises. Five-year academic or three-year academic, as the case may be, is considered to be the most crucial phase of this legal journey.

Indeed! Many novice law students consider B.A.LLB (5year) or LLB (3year) programme as a surety to mould them into legal luminaries. Well, their illusions disappear as soon as they encounter the over-academic syllabi of Bar Council of India. It comprises of twenty-eight subjects in total including eighteen compulsory, four clinical and six optional subjects.

No doubt, students celebrate its completion after receiving their degrees in the grand event of convocation. Though, end results of this academic journey do not seem to be satisfactory.  The time they enter the real world of the legal profession, things become clearer to them. In order to learn the fundamentals of their respective trade, they are commanded to unlearn some of their irrelevant academic learning. Someone has rightly said that we learn to unlearn and the system of legal education in India has beautifully applied the said adage.

To cover these loopholes, students are inclining themselves towards internships more than ever. Some get landed to right destination and get a little taste of trade while others who don’t hit their target in first go also learn some precious trade rules directly or indirectly. The idea is simple. During thirty hour mandatory lectures per week as prescribed by BCI, students are indeed motivated to learn more and more. In these enclosed classrooms, they just learn but it is only outside the classroom where they can apply their learning before it gets swept away.

Hence, classroom learning and outside training shall go hand in hand for an effective legal education system. Research papers, seminars, moot courts are also the effective tools of learning and boost the confidence of students. In the present context, ‘law’ has become a popular area of study. More and more students are being attracted towards it due to several reasons. It goes without any doubt that law is a unique area with tremendous potential and has so much to offer to the society.

With each passing year, we witness the establishment of new law colleges and encounter an army of law graduates with a degree in hands and high hope of future. Does it suffice?  The answer is an absolute NO. In order to guarantee a flourishing career, one’s legal background still matters in India, placements advantages are primarily offered to those from top notch law institutes. After facing the battle of law entrance and going through the academic training, only twenty to thirty percent of law graduates are found to be fit for the trade. This clearly proves that in the era of globalisation and specialisation, our very own system of legal education is failing us. In order to serve the real purpose, with up gradation of infrastructure, all we require is up gradation of legal education.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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DEEPIKA SANGWAN

Deepika Sangwan is a second-year student at Army Institute of Law, Mohali. She is an Editor at college magazine ‘AILITE 2016-2017’. She believes that writing gives clarity & depth to one’s thoughts. Apart from decorating facts with reasoning, cycling is her favourite pass time.

 

Visiting a National Park

What a nice day! Let’s go somewhere to relax…”

Somewhere can mean anywhere, but usually by using the word “relax”, people tend to think in nature. Beautiful landscapes, fresh air, cute animals; who would not be attracted to that? There are a lot of options on where people should go to “relax” and have a good time. National Parks are the favourite ones.

A National Park is a category of management of a protected wilderness area whose objective is the conservation, defense and improvement of the environment and the natural resources involved.[1]In addition of being a conservation area, people are allowed to enter, but it isn’t aregular park, or like places called “Balnearios”[2]So there are certain issues to keep in mind when visiting this type of places.

The use of logic is always good. Of course, as it is a conservation area, people are allowed to enjoy these spaces, but without damaging or harming the environment.Who would dare to harm something as beautiful as nature? Well, sometimes because of ignorance people perform acts that are actually forbidden, other times they do it by being aware that it is wrong. This second group of people are really unpleasant. But at least, for the people interested in learning and making this world, a better world, here are some facts that we must know.

While legislations vary around the world, many of them have similarities. Let’s learn some of the rules[3]through situations:

If while you walk appears a snake, usually you think about running or if you are “brave”[4] enough, you think in killing it to defend yourself. Well you’d better have chosen the first option, since it is prohibited to kill, damage or frighten wild animals, or destroy their lairs or nests. It is recommended to walk away from the place, and inform the park ranger o the place manager.

It doesn’t even matter if we you have found something dead because collecting and / or extracting any material, alive or dead, without the corresponding permission of the Authority is prohibited. There is a license for doing that.

“What a beautiful flower! It would look nice for a photo.”Well, yes, you can take amazing photos of the flower, but by extracting them? Please, don’t! It is forbidden to destroy, to remove or to remove plants of the place.

Having a good time for majority is generally synonymous of drinking alcohol, “A beer with friends does not cause any harm, right?” Well, consuming or selling alcoholic beverages, narcotics or other drugs of any type, as well as enter to the area intoxicated it is prohibited.

Besides alcoholic beverages, there is also something almost indispensable to have a good time: music! If you love group meetings with a guitar and people singing, a National Park is not the place for you, as it is prohibited to use sound elements (radios, musical instruments, etc.) that disturb the natural environment or other visitors.

For people who love to take their pets for a walk, they must remember that they need the authorization of the administration to enter or transit domestic animals within the area.

You must not perform recreational activities in places other than those indicated (camps, lunches, bath room, etc.). National parks as they are designed so that people enjoy the contact with nature, they usually have specific areas in which people can carry out the activities mentioned.

There are other things to take in count but this are the principal ones. For last but not least, don’t litter. It talks a lot of what kind of people you are.

On June 21, the National Parks Day is commemorated in Paraguay by Decree No. 21,525 / 93, in order to raise awareness among citizens about the importance of these places for nature care.

The parks and national reserves[5] of Paraguay occupy an area equivalent to almost 3% of the national territory, where almost 40% of the native flora and fauna are found, whose species, for the most part, are in extinction.[6]Why? Most of the time, because of one kind of people. The unpleasant ones.

It is our duty to take care of the wild spaces, and to respect the regulations that have been created for the well-being of all and for the conservation of the protected area.

[1] Art. 4.Paraguayan Law No 352-94 “Protected Wilderness Areas”Available in Spanish: http://www.seam.gov.py/sites/default/files/ley_352_0.pdf

[2] I couldn’t find the perfect translation for this word, but in Paraguay it is used for places with lakes or rivers, where people go to enjoy the nature, and also to drink and dance.

[3] Extracted from the Resolution Nº 781/05 of the Ministry of Environment of Paraguay. Available in Spanish: http://seam.gov.py/sites/default/files/resolucion%20781.pdf

[4]Sarcasm.

[5] Different category of management. Generally stricter than National Parks.

[6] http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/suplementos/escolar/parques-nacionales-y-areas-protegidas-1021665.html


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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ANTONELLA MENDEZ

Antonella Méndez is an educator, environmentalist and agent of change. She holds a Bachelor Degree in International Trade and she is graduating this year (2017) with a Professional Law Degree at the National University of Asunción. She is Assistant Professor of Sociology of Law and she is member of the research committee at university.  She is host of a live TV program about analysis and debate of general interest topics.

 

5 Interesting Law Case Studies: A takeaway of knowledge for students

For Indians, it is a common phenomenon to undermine the judicial system and mock the professionals by saying they don’t do any work. But is it really true?

In the year 2014, the Delhi high court granted a divorce to an 85-year old man after a waiting period of 32 years. This, in turn, shattered all hopes of resuming his married life.  There are almost 27 million cases that are pending in the Indian courts while they remain short of around 5000 judges.

The story that I mentioned in the beginning is something that the High Court and Supreme Court judges are facing every day. It’s almost like a bubble breaker for a common man. As a child, there have been innumerable instances where I overheard ‘men in my family’ talk about the legal scenarios and judiciary system of India. Most of the times, it started and ended with the same thing ‘the judges in our country don’t do any work’. It’s easy to say so, but how would we know the reality behind the harsh truth?

Judges, lawyers and the entire judiciary system is working extremely hard to ensure they clear the backlog. They are unable to do so, not because they don’t want to, but because there is a shortage of resources.

In fact, there are a number of law case studies which are extremely long and have a lot of knowledge about law. For example, the Nirbhaya judgement sheet is around 429 pages long which explains the reason it takes a particular case so long.

Here are 5 Interesting Law Case Studies which is a great knowledge takeaway for the students of today:

  1. Tarakeswar Case (1874)

The popularity of the case is understandable from the fact that authorities had to sell tickets at the entry. The case revolves around Nobin Chandra and his wife Elokeshi. Nobin slit his wife’s throat for allegedly having an affair with the chief priest of Tarakeshwar Temple. Nobin confessed his crime to the police, but the locals were mostly on his side. Due to this, Nobin was released after two years while serving life imprisonment. However, the priest was put behind the bars for three years. In fact, there were rumours doing rounds that the priest had raped Elokeshi by promising to help her with “fertility issues”. This case was even more important due to the ‘British Raj’ prevalent during that time.

  1. Bhawal Case (1921-1946)

One of the most peculiar identity cases of that time, it revolves around a possible pretender who affirmed to be the prince of Bhawal Estate, largest zamindari estate of Bengal.

Ramendra, a kumar of Bhawal estate died in early 1900, but there was tittle-tattle among people that he was not really dead. In 1921, a religious man who looked like Ramendra was spotted in Dhaka. The former tenants and farmers of Ramendra supported his claim to the title. The entire village trusted him except Ramendra’s widow, Bibhabati. After a long legal procedure of 25 years, the court ruled in his favor after which he passed away due to a stroke.

The interesting thing is that during the case, the look-alike (or whatever) also moved to Calcutta and even collected 1/3rd of the estate revenue.

  1. Kiranjit Ahluwalia’s Case

Kiranjit Ahluwalia’s case came a year after marital rape was declared as ‘rape’ in 1991. She was convicted of murder by burning her husband alive during his sleep. The lady in question had been a victim of domestic violence for over a decade and had been in severe depression when she took the step. The case set a benchmark for improving public awareness on domestic abuse. As a final verdict, she was convicted to life imprisonment. However, she was later freed as her conviction of murder was reduced to manslaughter.

  1. Roe V Wade

If you want to understand the implications of judicial decisions on the political and the social environment, no case is as good as this one. The decision in 1973 supported a woman’s right to abortion and is celebrated by women each year today. The popularity of this decision is such that thousands of people march in the support every year.

  1. Mathura Rape Case (1972)

One of the most prominent cases in the history of India, mainly due to the protests following the final verdict which saw a major overhaul in the rape laws of the country. In the city of Mathura, a tribal woman was raped by two constables within the premises of a police station. During the trial, the judge found the accused not guilty. Can you guess the reason given behind this unfair judgement? As per the judge, a sexual act within the premises of a police station was permitted and consensual. However, this law had to be amended due to the massive protests all over the country, with everyone saying- Submission does not mean consent.

These were some of the cases which are extremely interesting if you go through the entire judgement. Some cases would have surely made you go “Like what! Are you serious this ever happened?” This proves one thing- The lives of lawyers and judges aren’t as easy as it seems and you must be prepared before taking up the L.L.B. course. They may seem right to some and wrong to others. However, as history has it, wherever they have been wrong, they have acknowledged their mistakes, and the judgement has been changed as well. So, let them do their work while we do ours.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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SANYA SAJJANHAR

Ms Sanya Sajjanhar is the academic writer at Sharda University. She has keen interest in writing articles pertaining to Law Courses.

 

Homosexuals Too Have Rights – They are not demanding something ADDITIONAL!

We often say that there is gender inequality amongst men and women and that’s true. But what about the third gender that has been given a due recognition by Supreme Court of India[1]. This so called third gender is not even accepted by majority of the people in the society, talking about its dignity, rights and so called ‘equality’ is like a fairytale!

Even after getting a legal status conferred by the Apex Court they haven’t been given their due right in many states. Although we come to read and know about some of the transgender like Zara Sheikh[2], Rudrani Chettri[3], Kalki Subramanyam[4], Madhu Kinnar[5], Manabi Bandyopadhyay[6] , Padmini Prakash[7] and 23 other transgender who have been given jobs at Kochi metro who have achieved something but what about rest of such population.

In the case of Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation[8] the Hon’ble Supreme Court reversed the High Court’s judgment that held Section 377 of Indian Penal Code unconstitutional. In this case the Hon’ble Supreme Court quoted the case of R.M.D. Chamarbaugwalla v. The Union of India (UOI)[9] and asserted that the instead of declaring a legislative provision illegal, doctrine of Severability must be applied and valid portion must be separated from the invalid portion. So from the Supreme Court’s judgment on the rights of homosexuals and constitutionality of Section 377 it can be construed that there is a reasonable classification made on intelligible differentia that homosexuals are an exception to it (Section 377 IPC).

Despite having been given rights by Supreme Court, they aren’t getting what they too deserve. Till date it is very normal and regular to see these people begging at traffic lights, at religious places like temples, mosques, etc. Not only this they’ve to face ill-treatment by police authorities and public. This Eunush culture is present in our culture since the ancient times of Lord Rama. And, it was in that era that homosexuals were considered as the agents of GOD and gave blessing to people on pious occasions. But at present times they have to face hatred, abusive treatment, cruelty and sexual harassment[10]. Till November, 2014 thirty seven attacks have were reported against eunuchs in Hyderabad since March. Shockingly there were around 10 deaths, three gang rapes and five acid attacks[11].

The Hon’ble Court has left it on the competent legislature to consider the desirability and propriety of deleting Section 377 IPC from the statute book or amend the same as per the suggestion made by the Attorney General[12].

But this does not end here only!

Despite the verdicts of Supreme Court this community is being harassed, blackmailed and tortured because of their genetic disorder and make them feel ashamed and embarrassed about their identities. This clearly implies that States are not able to comply with the orders of Supreme Court by not being able to providing its citizens their precious fundamental rights.

[1] National legal services authority v. UOI [WRIT PETITIONS (CIVIL) NO.400 OF 2012 & 604 OF 2013]

[2] India’s first transgender HR Professional in a MNC

[3] Delhi-based transgender activist and head of Mitr Trust, opened a modelling agency to help transgender models get work and recognition

[4] activist and author, established Sahodari Foundation that works for the empowerment of transgender persons in India

[5]  she fought mayoral elections in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh as an independent candidate and won

[6]  India’s first transgender principal a year ago

[7]  India’s first transgender TV anchor with a prime time show on a South Indian TV channel

[8] CIVIL APPEAL NO.10972 OF 2013

[9] AIR 1957 SC 628

[10] Jayalakshmi v. State, (2007) 4 MLJ 849

[11] http://www.deccanchronicle.com/141121/nation-current-affairs/article/eunuchs-face-assaults-rapes

[12] Suresh Kumar Koushal Case, supra


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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TESU GUPTA

Tesu Gupta is a third-year B.A.LLB(H) student of Jagan Nath University, Haryana. She has participated in many moot court competitions and paper presentations. Passionate about law and legal research, her area of interest is Arbitration. She has won the intra-university moot court competition and received the ‘Best Presenter’ award.

 

An overview of the Admiralty Bill, 2016

India with a coastline of about 7500 km and massive interest in the Indian Ocean as well as the Bay of Bengal is rightfully tagged as a “seafaring nation”. Thus, it is directly responsible to dispense justice over waters under its control. Admiralty law or maritime law is a code of both domestic and private international law that covers all contracts, injuries, torts or offences over navigable waters. After independence, India’s maritime sector experienced phenomenal progress with 12 major and 205 minor ports [1]. In contrast, legal system maintained status quo by subscribing to age old traditional British statutes which limited the maritime jurisdiction to only three Indian High courts viz. Bombay, Calcutta and Madras (three major ports during British regime). After Supreme Court judgement in M.V. Elisabeth and others Vs. Harwan Investment and Trading Pvt. Ltd. and law commission 151st Report matter attracted widespread attention. To solve the problem of conflicting maritime jurisdiction, procedural delays and to clear the ambiguity over maritime laws, Parliament introduced ‘The Admiralty Bill, 2005’ which subsequently lapsed after being termed as regressive piece of legislation.

Bright rays of hope have rekindled with the passing of ‘The Admiralty (Jurisdiction & Settlement of Maritime claims) Bill, 2016’ in the Lok Sabha. Preamble of the bill gives a clear idea about its far reaching ramification. This bill seeks to consolidate the existing laws on civil matters of admiralty jurisdiction of courts, admiralty proceedings on maritime claims, and arrest of ships [2].

Under British enactments, admiralty jurisdiction is conferred only to those High Courts which were established under the Letters Patent, 1865. This composition will be changed after the enactment of ‘The Admiralty Bill, 2016’. Jurisdiction will vest in the High Courts of Coastal states and shall be exercisable up to territorial waters which can be extended via central govt. notification up to the limit as defined in sec 2 of act of 1976 [3]. This will not only bring efficiency but will also lead to speedy disposal of maritime disputes.

The High Courts are empowered to adjudicate maritime claims arising out of disputes regarding ownership of vessel; mortgage, sale, damage, construction, repair, conversion of the vessel. Vessel is defined as any ship, boat or sailing vessel which may or may not be mechanically propelled. Highest priority is given to maritime claims in all admiralty proceedings followed by other claims as mentioned in the bill. Jurisdiction can be exercised In personam and in rem as the case may be. Appeals will lie to the division bench of High court.

This bill seeks to repeal five archaic admiralty laws on civil matters viz. The Admiralty Court Act, 1861; the Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890; the Colonial Courts of Admiralty(India) Act, 1891 and the provisions of Letters Patent, 1865 in so far as they apply to the admiralty jurisdiction of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras High Court [4].

Hence, Maritime and legal fraternity wait finally ended after seventy years of independence when Parliament exercised its exclusive power in concerned area.  Indeed, this bill will cater to long felt requirement of comprehensive admiralty law. By simplification of procedure, maritime disputes, which often termed as costly affair can be disposed off quickly and efficiently.

[1] http://indianexpress.com/article/india/maritime-admiralty-bill-passed-by-lok-sabha/

[2]http://www.prsindia.org/billtrack/the-admiralty-jurisdiction-and-settlement-of-maritime-claims-bill-2016-4471/

[3] section 3 of The Admiralty ( jurisdiction & settlement of maritime claims ) Bill, 2016. Act of 1976 refers to ‘The Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Zone and Other Maritime Zones Act, 1976’

[4] section 17 of The Admiralty ( jurisdiction & settlement of maritime claims ) Bill, 2016


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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DEEPIKA SANGWAN

Deepika Sangwan is a second-year student at Army Institute of Law, Mohali. She is an Editor at college magazine ‘AILITE 2016-2017’. She believes that writing gives clarity & depth to one’s thoughts. Apart from decorating facts with reasoning, cycling is her favourite pass time.

Wild Animals as Pets: legal aspects

“If they have wings, let them fly”

There are several videos on internet about funny and cute talking parrots. We love them, they make us laugh and we even want to have one at home, but stop right there!!! Did you know that having wild animals as a pet is illegal? Unless you have the documents and licenses established by law.

In the homes of many people in the world wild animals species abound, the most frequent and beloved is usually the parrot. It would seem that people still don’t know that having parrots, iguanas, turtles and any other unusual pet at home is illegal. Or they know it, but they still have it, being conscious that they are committing an infraction. Not in vain Mahatma Gandhi said: “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”

Although, there are usually wildlife laws that allow having this type of animals with certain prerequisites, this practice should be eradicated.

The cases in which it is permitted to have a wild animal as a pet, can be for example some species which have been bred in captivity; when it is corroborated that it would be detrimental for them to be released; in cases of domestication or for being with some deficiency. Out of these cases it is not recommended to keep a wild animal as a pet.

It is not easy to have this kind of animals.“They require special care, housing, diet, and maintenance that the average person cannot provide. When in the hands of private individuals the animals suffer due to poor care. They also pose safety and health risks to their possessors and any person coming into contact with them[1]

If you want to have a wild animal as a pet, you must be able to show if asked that you legally own your animal and it’s not captured from the wild. You should keep a record of when and where the animal was found or taken, or a receipt if you bought it. Because wildlife trade without the permission of the authority in charge, is illegal. And people can suffer intervention and also confiscation of the animal.

The Secretariat of the Environment of Paraguay recommends not having wild animals as pets, because they must live in their natural habitat, since only in that way the species can be conserved and protected.[2]  This public body only grants licenses in exceptional cases.

Wild animals have the right to live in freedom, in their natural habitat. By extracting them from nature, illegal wildlife trafficking is being encouraged.

Illegal wildlife trade is the threat that has a direct and irreversible impact on ecosystems and their biodiversity. This is demonstrated by the decline of species with high commercial value. By buying these animals from places or people who do not have the corresponding licenses or permissions, we are encouraging this practice. Because where the demand exists, there is supply.

A research carried out in Mexico by the environmental organizations Defenders of Wildlife and Teyeliz states that most of the wild birds are destined to the national market, due to the custom of many families to have parrots in their houses. Of the 22 species, 11 have been found to be at risk of extinction, and only two of every 10 that are captured, survive.[3]

There are regulations that empower the environmental public institutions to sanction these practices and others that have to do with violations of wildlife. In Paraguay the possession of wild animals as unauthorized pets is classified as a serious offense and the fines can reach to approximately 1349250USD.[4]

In Colombia, sanctions for those who hold copies of wild animals range from large fines to imprisonment for 3 to 7 years, without the possibility of paying bail, as provided by law.[5]

At the international level, in response to this illegal trade in flora and fauna, several countries signed the International Treaty on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

A lot of organizations are fighting against this issue as Born Free USA, WWF, ORGFAS Py[6], etc. You can also do something! Do not buy wild animals as pets. Share this information with those around you. Report abuse cases or animals living in deplorable conditions to the appropriate control agencies. And please, let them fly!

Taking care of nature is everyone’s duty…

[1]Get The Facts: The Dangers of Keeping Exotic “Pets”. Link: http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?p=187&more=1

[2]Official Secretary of Environment web page. Link: http://nwww.seam.gov.py/content/la-secretar%C3%ADa-del-ambiente-recomienda-no-tener-animales-silvestres-como-mascotas

[3] Enciso, Angélica; Méndez, Enrique. Article in Spanishcalled “Loros, en riesgo de extinción”. Link: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2007/04/19/index.php?section=sociedad&article=049n1soc

[4] Ídem 2

[5] Article in Spanish, called “TRÁFICO DE FAUNA, QUÉ ANIMAL!” Link: http://www.eltiempo.com/archivo/documento/MAM-598286

[6]NGO I’m currently working for. The NGO works for rescue, rehabilitation and reproduction of wild fauna and flora. We are in Paraguay, México and Argentina.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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ANTONELLA MENDEZ

Antonella Méndez is an educator, environmentalist and agent of change. She holds a Bachelor Degree in International Trade and she is graduating this year (2017) with a Professional Law Degree at the National University of Asunción. She is Assistant Professor of Sociology of Law and she is member of the research committee at university.  She is host of a live TV program about analysis and debate of general interest topics.