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News and Views for Law Professionals in India and Abroad

Legal Directions Law Simplified

Newsletter on Indian and International Legal Affairs An initiative of RMN Foundation humanitarian organization

VOL. I * ISSUE I * September 2018

PEOPLE Justice Ranjan Gogoi Appointed as Chief Justice of India

T​he President of India has appointed Justice Ranjan Gogoi as the next Chief Justice of India. He will assume the office of Chief Justice on 3rd October, 2018 after the retirement of the current Chief Justice, Justice Dipak Misra. Born on 18th November, 1954, Justice Gogoi was enrolled as an advocate in 1978. He practiced in the Gauhati High Court on constitutional, taxation and company matters.

He was appointed as Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court on 12th February, 2011. He was appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 23rd April, 2012. Michelle Bachelet Joins as New UN Human Rights Chief

M​ichelle Bachelet assumed her functions as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on September 1, 2018. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was established in 1993 and Ms. Bachelet is the seventh Commissioner. She succeeds Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein who took on the role in September 2014. Ms. Bachelet was elected President of Chile on two occasions (2006 – 2010 and 2014 – 2018). She was the first female president of Chile, as well as Chile’s and Latin America’s first female Defense Minister (2000 – 2002). She also served as Health Minister (2002 – 2004). Since the early 1990s, Ms. Bachelet has worked closely with many international organizations.

Photo: PIB India

He was appointed as a Permanent Judge of the Gauhati High Court on 28th February, 2001. On 9th September, 2010, he was transferred to the Punjab & Haryana High Court.

In 2010 she chaired the Social Protection Floor Advisory Group, a joint International Labor Organization (ILO) and World Health Organization (WHO) initiative, which sought to promote social policies to stimulate economic growth and social cohesion.

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seeking adjournments as a norm rather than an exception.

Photo: UN

Michelle Bachelet has a Medical Degree in Surgery, with a specialization in Pediatrics and Public Health. She also studied military strategy at Chile’s National Academy of Strategy and Policy and at the Inter-American Defense College in the United States. LEGAL REFORMS How to Deal with 33 Million Pending Cases in Indian Courts

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New thinking is gradually taking place on frequent adjournments. He noted that the judiciary is making sincere efforts to curb this practice. He expressed confidence that the entire legal fraternity will resolve not to seek adjournments except in absolutely unavoidable circumstances. The President said that demands from our advocates and legal professionals have changed dramatically in recent decades. As the Indian economy has opened up, business and trade law and technology law have come to acquire a new salience and specialization. The study of these has added luster to our legal education.

President of India, Ram Nath Kovind,

has expressed concern over 33 million pending cases in different courts of India. He said that our judges are overburdened by the sheer volume of cases. As a consequence, the Indian legal system is marked by long delays. The President was inaugurating the National Conference organized by the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association in New Delhi on September 1, 2018. He noted that there is a backlog of 3.3 crore (33 million) cases in various courts of the country. Of these, 2.84 crore cases are in the subordinate courts. Another 43 lakh are in the High Courts and about 58,000 in the Supreme Court. The President said that there are many reasons for such delays. There are infrastructure gaps and considerable vacancies, particularly in subordinate courts. There is a culture of

The President, Ram Nath Kovind, in a group photograph at the inauguration of the National Conference, organised by the Supreme Court Advocates-on-record Association (SCAORA), in New Delhi on September 01, 2018. The Chief Justice of India, Justice Dipak Misra and other dignitaries are also seen. ​Photo: PIB India

The President said that the traditional law faculties in public universities provide the backbone of the legal fraternity in India. Their rejuvenation, including access to greater funding from private and innovative sources, should be a common endeavor. When it comes to private law schools of a certain stature, the President suggested that the

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Bar Council of India could consider providing greater autonomy – perhaps recognizing them in the manner of “institutes of eminence”. Justice Dipak Misra Launches Applications for Digital Courts

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Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak

Misra launched various applications for litigants and lawyers at an event last month August 2018 - in the Supreme Court of India. According to a government statement, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister of Law and Justice released brochures to increase awareness about eCourts initiatives and user manuals on the applications and services provided under eCourts project to publicize work done under eCourts project and to enable litigants, lawyers, and other stakeholders to avail these services.

Three applications of e-filing, e-pay, and NSTEP (National Service and Tracking of Electronic Processes) created under the eCourts project were launched during the occasion. The second phase of the eCourts project is being implemented by Department of Justice during 2015 – 19 under the guidance of eCommittee, Supreme Court of India for ICT enablement of all district and subordinate courts in the country. Department of Justice Takes Steps to Ensure ICT–enabled Judiciary

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eCourts project has made a significant

progress under the guidance of e-Committee of Supreme Court of India in computerizing 16,089 district and subordinate courts of the country through installation of case information software, hardware and local area network in courts. The aim is to make the judiciary ICT–enabled for efficient and transparent functioning with a positive overall impact on the justice delivery system.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister of Law and Justice. Photo: PIB India

Justice M.B. Lokur, Judge in charge, eCommittee, Supreme Court of India, under whose guidance the eCourts project is delivering digital court services, explained the features and benefits of the applications. The principal components of the eCourts project especially the pan-Indian Wide Area Network (WAN) Connectivity programme is being handled by Dr. Alok Srivastava, Secretary, Department of Justice.

The Department of Justice awarded the eCourts’ WAN project to BSNL at a cost of Rs. 167 crore for establishing Wide Area Network (WAN) connecting 2,992 district and subordinate court complexes across the country including 547 court complexes with no connectivity. An online monitoring tool prepared by NIC for tracking real-time progress and monitoring of pan-Indian Wide Area Network (WAN) project against the set baselines was launched on 7th September, 2018.

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BSNL has completed feasibility studies of 458 unconnected district and subordinate courts under the eCourts project.

weaker sections of the society, to promote justice on the basis of equal opportunity. Further, Article 14 and 22 (2) of the Constitution ensures equality before law.

The activities of BSNL with clear phases, tasks, milestones and timelines are monitored regularly by the Department of Justice. The project is expected to be completed by 31st December, 2018.

Also, the United Nations Sustainable Development – Goal 16 underscores the obligation of States ‘to ensure equal access to justice for all.’’

FOR YOUR INFORMATION Do You Want to Offer Pro Bono Legal Services?

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Keeping in line with these obligations and with a view to encourage pro bono legal services the Department of Justice is creating a database of lawyers willing to provide their services to litigants identified under Section 12 of The Legal Services Authority Act of 1987.

Department of Justice, Government of India, observes that the pro bono (free) legal service as a concept has not gained momentum in the country and remains an ad hoc practice, while the legal needs of underserved people continue to grow.

The Department has written to Bar Councils and Bar Associations across the country to provide information of lawyers who are engaged in providing pro bono legal services to the poor and those who otherwise cannot afford legal representation.

Today, most lawyers deceptively use pro bono service just as a marketing tool to rope in the deep-pocket clients, while they hardly offer any free service to the deserving people in the society.

Lawyers and legal professionals who want to provide pro bono legal services can ​register and provide information related to their areas of expertise. 5 Bitter Truths in the Indian Legal System

Political and bureaucratic corruption is the main cause of poverty, pollution, sickness, and hunger in India.

The Department of Justice is trying to create an institutional structure for the pro bono services in the larger legal ecosystem in order to arrange free representation for the poor and vulnerable citizens. The Department reveals that the Constitution of India by virtue of Article 39 A directs the State to provide free legal aid to the poor and

1. While the administrative systems in India have almost collapsed, the bureaucrats do not take any decisions to resolve public problems. As a result, the suffering people have no other option but to approach the courts. That’s why courts are always overcrowded and their decisions are either inordinately delayed or lack justice. 2. Most lawyers lack domain expertise and they are just providing template-based services to their clients. They pull out old court cases and change some sentences here and there to make legal documents for the clients. Such cases get defeated in the courts, but the lawyers take hefty fees from their clients while there is no accountability for them.

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3. The English communication skills of most legal professionals are pathetic. While the petitions and judgments that they write are full of syntax and semantics errors, their convoluted sentences in legal documents are so ambiguous that they can be interpreted in many different ways. The law institutes fail to provide proper communication skills to students.

themselves or turn a blind eye to criminality. It deprives people of their rights, drives away foreign investment, and despoils the environment.

4. While the government is trying to promote paperless ​digital courts​, the lawyers continue to work in an archaic way and can’t even use the basic ​email tool properly. Instead of reading the documents delivered over email, they force the clients to meet them frequently with bundles of paper files.

~ UN Secretary General António Guterres

5. The higher courts work on an ugly concept called “face value.” It is said that the judges see the face of the lawyer (instead of facts of the case) before they pronounce their judgments. That means if the lawyer is not known to the judge, the lawyer cannot expect the right judgment. Therefore, most lawyers act as mere marketing agents of senior lawyers who have the “face value” to stand in front of a particular judge.

Photo: UN

C​orruption

“T​he demands from our advocates and legal professionals have changed dramatically in recent decades. As the Indian economy has opened up, business and trade law and technology law have come to acquire a new salience and specialization. The study of these has added luster to our legal education.​” ~ President of India Ram Nath Kovind STUDY AND RESEARCH Volunteers for Corruption Research Project

T​he ​leading ​humanitarian organization ​RMN

Foundation in India has launched a comprehensive ​research project under the title: India Corruption Research Report 2019 (ICRR 2019).

OPEN VIEW

“​

Governments can also enhance anti-corruption efforts by ensuring independent judiciaries, a vibrant civil society, freedom of the media and effective whistleblower protections.​”

robs schools, hospitals, and

others of vitally needed funds. It rots institutions, as public officials enrich

The unique selling proposition (USP) of this report will be to sensitize different stakeholders in India and abroad about the limitations of the Indian governments in deploying information-driven processes to deal with corruption, although it will also cover traditional aspects. RMN Foundation runs different anti-corruption campaigns including an online community court “​Clean House​” to help the

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Delhi residents raise their voice against corruption and injustice.

national award-winning journalist and founder of RMN Foundation. However, RMN Foundation is in the process of forming a team of about 25 students who will handle this project.

Clean House Anti-Corruption Social Service

We need about 20 law students from Delhi to work as ​volunteers to manage different work areas of this project. These areas include primary and secondary research, data collection, analysis, content creation, public relations, events management, fundraising, and so on. It will be a 4-month project beginning October 2018. The volunteers will be selected on the basis of a test and interview. ​Last date to apply​: September 28, 2018. Candidates can contact Mr. Rakesh Raman, founder, RMN Foundation (Email: contact@rmnfoundation.org) with their contact details and a one-page profile.

The students who want to ​participate in the project may please send their details with a one-page profile by September 28, 2018 to Mr. Rakesh Raman, founder, RMN Foundation (Email: contact@rmnfoundation.org). HUMAN RIGHTS UN Human Rights Lists 5 Rules of Democracy 1. Public dissent is a hallmark of a democracy and a confident state. Civil society actors must be able to operate freely. 2. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government. 3. Democracy means people’s human rights are protected, allowing them to live with dignity.

Work for Legal Directions Newsletter

R​MN

Foundation

has

launched

​Legal

Directions which is a monthly newsletter on Indian and international legal affairs. As this is the inaugural issue of the newsletter, it has limited content.

Photo: UN Human Rights

The October 2018 issue will have more comprehensive content. It will carry news, opinion articles, book reviews, interviews, analyses of court judgments, and so on.

4. Democracy is essential to achieving the fundamental goals of peace, development, and human rights.

Currently, the newsletter project is being managed by Mr. Rakesh Raman who is a

5. Civil society is the oxygen of democracy. But its freedom to operate is diminishing, even disappearing.

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a document which is drafted by people with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all the regions of the world. EVENTS AND CONFERENCES Pro Bono Conference October 4 - October 5, 2018

T​he 7th National Pro Bono Conference will bring together lawyers, paralegals, law students, judges, politicians, government representatives, non-profit sector leaders, academics and the public from different parts of the world. They will share ideas and best practices for increasing access to justice for all members of society. The participants will discuss new ways to identify and serve the needs of people seeking timely and effective resolutions to their legal problems. Topics will include: justice system reform, supporting self-represented litigants, serving indigenous communities, unbundled legal services, reduced rate legal services, paralegal pro bono services, the politics of access to justice, using new technologies and good corporate citizenry. Contact

The conference is being organised by the Centre for Transparency and Accountability in Governance, National Law University Delhi in collaboration with National Labour Law Association and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, New Delhi. Contact Prof. Jeet Singh Mann, Conference Convener Centre for Transparency and Accountability in Governance National Law University, Delhi, Sector 14, Dwarka, New Delhi 100 078, India Email: ctag@nludelhi.ac.in INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ILO Unveils New Visual Identity for 100th Anniversary

A​s International Labour Organization (ILO) begins the countdown to its 100th anniversary, a new visual identifier has been launched and will be rolled out across around 40 offices worldwide. The visual identifier brings together past, present and future in its combination of traditional ILO logo, and alongside it the number 100 which is open ended, symbolising that it leaves the door open to the future of work.

Access Pro Bono Society of British Columbia 300 – 845 Cambie Street Vancouver, BC Canada V6B 4Z9 Email: abaric@accessprobono.ca Conference on Future of Work November 17-18, 2018

I​nternational Conference on Future of Work, Labour, Policy & the Law

Photo: ILO

The Centenary tagline, which underscores the number 100, is a reminder of the ILO’s core

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mandate “Advancing social justice, promoting decent work”. Since its founding in 1919, the visual representation of the ILO has gone through several phases. ILO is a United Nations agency dealing with labour problems, particularly international labour standards, social protection, and work opportunities for all. It has 187 member states. ICC Launches Digital Exhibit: Trauma, Healing and Hope

F​ollowing the opening of physical exhibits at the ICC and Atrium in The Hague and the UNHQ in New York, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched the digital version of its latest exhibit "Trauma, healing and hope". This exhibit features photos from award-winning photographer Marcus Bleasdale, who has spent 20 years documenting human rights abuses in many ICC situation countries, working with National Geographic and Human Rights Watch.

Photo: ICC

Through the stories of survivors, the viewer follows the path from the moment trauma occurs, including the crimes and their aftermath, living in insecurity, dealing with loss, and steps taken towards healing and hope, including justice and reconciliation. Photos from the exhibit can be shared via the Court's new Instagram account, which explores how art and science intersect with justice. It features, among other content,

images from this new exhibit as digital exhibit "Building a more launched in July, plus material on science are integral to both the healing processes.

well as the just world" how art and justice and

The exhibits and Instagram account have been created in the context of the Rome Statute's 20th anniversary, which is being marked throughout 2018. MEET THE EDITOR

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editor of this newsletter

Rakesh Raman is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. Besides working at senior editorial positions with leading media companies, he was writing an exclusive edit-page column regularly for The Financial Express (a daily business newspaper of The Indian Express Group). Nowadays, for the past over 7 years, he has been running his own global news services on different subjects. He also has formed a free Education and Career Counselling Center for deserving children at a poor J.J. Colony in Dwarka, New Delhi under his NGO – RMN Foundation. Earlier, he had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development. Contact Rakesh Raman Founder RMN Foundation 463, DPS Apts., Plot No. 16, Sector 4 Dwarka, Phase I, New Delhi 110 078, India Contact by email

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Legal Directions Newsletter September 2018  

RMN Foundation has launched Legal Directions which is a monthly newsletter on Indian and international legal affairs.

Legal Directions Newsletter September 2018  

RMN Foundation has launched Legal Directions which is a monthly newsletter on Indian and international legal affairs.

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