Friday, 16 October 2015

Language of Respect is Missing in Respecting the Language!

  


Wondered what is the State of Maharashtra up to? It is up to being more Marathi than before.

Years back Marathi signboards and name hoardings for shops and business establishments were made mandatory. The rules also insisted that in case the name is written in more than one language, then the Marathi name should come in the beginning and should not be of a smaller font size than other languages used on the board.  Now the Marathi-ness is being taken a step (in fact two steps) further.

The Multiplexes have been ordered to assign one screen for Marathi films during the prime time slot (6pm to 9pm).

The ministers want that all official work and documentation shall be conducted in Marathi in the State Secretariat Office.  

In the first instance, the intention seems harmless and even progressive to an extent. But the problems of Marathi films need more than compulsive screening at multiplexes. Marathi films have a legacy of V Shantaram. The real strength of Marathi films has mostly been in its story and content. However, the industry has been struggling to cope up with the onslaughts of Bollywood in terms of budget, among many other things. Marathi films are more often low on budget. Indian audience (or at least a major part of it) is used to grandeur on cinema screens. Thus, it is unfortunate that a regional film low on budget but heavy with content on social issues do not attract many.  The government’s contribution in budget assistance is minimal and if this can be studied further to address inherent film making issues, many problems can be resolved in the first stage of regional film making.  Similarly, about 80% of regional films are shot digitally but there are few government subsidies or similar provisions to promote such films. On the contrary, government grants subsidies for regional cinema shot on films. This doesn’t solve much purpose. Instead it is forcing film-makers to choose the mode of film shooting that will avail them a better subsidy rather than a mode which is in sync with time and technology. Hence, though the multiplex orders seem like a change to be welcomed, the inherent issues remain ignored.

As far as speaking Marathi for official work is concerned, the rule seems archaic and obviously inconvenient. If the intention is to instill a sense of pride in Marathi language, then pride cannot be forced. In past, there have been panels and committees set up to study ways of promoting and preserving Marathi language. These suggestions included
·       Promotions and raises be linked to usage of Marathi for government officials    and other governmental establishments  like schools

·          Officials to monitor ‘correct usage of Marathi on television channels

·   Grants to be withheld for non usage or wrong usage of Marathi in specific institutions under the government

These and such suggestions raise doubts about the intention behind rule. In a secular state, people should be encouraged; not forced to learn and imbibe different cultures and languages. Besides, can we demand respect for language by forcing people to speak in it? Isn’t the language of respect missing in insisting on respecting a language?

  
Wednesday, 14 October 2015

On Age, Education and Ability



On many occasions the Constitution of India puts up minimum age limit as eligibility. It is very worrying and surprising that the lengthiest constitution in the world has failed to address the issue of calibre while listing eligibility criteria for the country’s representatives. Ours is a very opinionated country.  We all have opinions about law, medicine, police, justice, order, crime, rape, women, youth, roads, rains, farmers, crops, subsidies, scams, bans, everything. But our representatives cannot govern us on their opinions or their age.

Does age define ability? Or for that matter; efficiency? Then why age? Why not qualification? Or experience? Some may say that experience comes with age. But have you seen a toddler swipe through high end mobile phones while the 60 something generation is simply awestruck with the technological progression? So age certainly has no relation with experience anymore.

Our representatives must be qualified to be where they are put. We expect that every employee we hire has a supporting educational base, has a good resume and is well recommended. Even house help is expected to be from a work related field, should have experience, should know the work s/he will be entrusted, and must have the police verification sorted. Police verification for a maid who works for a house! Then why should these basic principles not be applicable to our representatives working for the country?  We insist on education and experience because together education and experience inform us, teach us, make us think and analyse. Education and experience both make us wonder; create doubts and find answers- solutions. This helps us make informed decisions and have opinions. This is precisely its importance. 
Friday, 21 August 2015

LAWYERED OUT!


Lawyers have been the pre-dominant force in Indian politics since the freedom movement days. Gandhi was a lawyer, Nehru, Patel, Jinnah and of course Ambedkar; the list goes on. In fact, research shows that lawyers dominate politics all over the world. One does not find it difficult to make sense of this dominance of lawyers in politics. But we can’t stop wondering, why is it that lawyers make good politicians? Or is it just that it is convenient for political parties to have lawyers?

The answer is rather simple. Political parties in India have always been very closed and unapproachable for the general public, they conduct various rallies across the country to expand voter base, but seldom do they indulge in public discourse on critical issues. There is a conventional manner in which they function and they are in no mood to transform anything. Arguments on behalf of political parties are made by spokespersons who are lawyers- mostly, and the issue at hand is discussed in television debates which are of no consequence- essentially. Law is often used as a tool to shoot down critics and dissenters. It has proved to be a potent weapon for political parties appointing lawyers into key party positions. Although these appointments cannot really be questioned, one needs to look at the pattern meticulously.

For instance, let us look at the Vodafone case- highly controversial in nature and many thought may have cost the UPA government the elections in many ways. It may have been the final nail to their coffin. Corporate India was said to have given up on the government after the retrospective amendment. Our current finance minister was one of the advisers to Vodafone in his capacity as a lawyer. He was also the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha. He was a vehement critic of the government’s decision to bring about a retrospective amendment. Now whatever the case may be, one cannot help but notice the clear case of conflict of interest, although now as finance minister, he is said to have recused himself voluntarily from looking at the files, why is it that the government has still not reversed the amendment? We have another example of the former telecom minister who was also a lawyer. He examined the policy that directly impacted his former client-Reliance Communications. He later went on to claim zero loss in the allotment of spectrum.  The concept of conflict of interest was clearly on display.

In a worth welcoming initiative, the Central Information Commission proposed to bring political parties under the purview of Right to Information Act. Unfortunately, these political parties have opposed the decision with unity and unanimity. We need to enact a conflict of interest law like the United States wherein declaration of any possible financial interest in any company or organization or even with an individual would be a prerequisite for all MP’s. It is desirable to transform the system to bring in transparency and accountability as it will establish a much needed trust between the legislature and its electorate.


The problem is not with lawyers dominating the political scene. The problem is with what happens as a result of that.
Friday, 7 August 2015

Thinking of Studying LLM?




Higher Studies can be tempting. But do you need that extra degree? We try and help you find out.


1.  Is LLM for Professors Only?
Please understand that LLM is not only for those who wish to get into academia. LLM is for all those who wish to ‘master’ a particular stream of law.


2. Should I work before I take the course?
Many students opt for LLM immediately after their law degree. There is no requirement for any work experience to study LLM. However, we strongly recommend that you should give yourself some time before jumping into another course. Here is why:

i.      You may want to try a couple of work streams like litigation, corporate job, social work, human rights etc to understand what really holds your interest.

ii.    You could also work in the field in which you wish to pursue your Masters degree. This will help you to have a better clarity on whether you want to pursue this line of work.

iii.    Previous work experience has many benefits; it strengthens your career record, builds up on some financial aid, supports your decision and gives you a practical understanding of the course that is to be taught.  

iv.    Once you are aware of practical implications, theory becomes simple.


3. Two years or One?
Traditionally Indian institutes have been offering two years LLM course. Whereas everywhere abroad the course can be completed in one year. This difference in duration has been one of the reasons for students to prefer studying abroad and save up on a year. The year saved can be utilised to acquire other skills, or gain work experience or to undertake another beneficial course. 

Since last year the UGC has issued guidelines permitting certain Indian institutes to run one year LLM courses. Yet there is no uniformity in the course structure. Presently both the courses are operational and recognised by the UGC.

4. Should I Go Abroad?
Studying LLM abroad has been alluring young law graduates for many years. Recent years have seen a considerable rise in the number of students flying abroad for higher legal studies. Some of the factors that boost this trend are: varied areas of specialisation, easy education loans, fee waivers, scholarships, teaching assistance provisions, earn while you learn opportunities, advanced technology that reduces issues of distance and international exposure that these countries offer.

Besides, there is a popular notion that a foreign degree helps you stand out and provides better job opportunities back in India.  


5. Where to Study?
The United States of America and United Kingdom have been the most popular destinations for higher studies among Indians. However, with all the technicalities and visa regulations, there is little scope to acquire legal jobs in the US with your base Indian degree. Para legal jobs are comparatively a considerable option in the UK to gain some international work experience. Canada and Australia have also been attracting a lot of applications with promising work opportunities. In recent times, Singapore has picked up the study scene on the grounds that it is closer to India, it is much cheaper than UK and US and the process is substantially easy.



6. How is it in India?
Most of the Indian institutes offering LLM have very limited areas for specialisation. Whereas universities abroad have opened up a huge arena of specialised fields. Recognising this loophole, some of the law schools in India are working hard to fill in this gap through a few innovative and in demand courses. However, presently such new courses are usually in the form of certificate or diploma courses with just a handful of institutes offering LLM in varied topics.


7. What is the difference between MPhil and LLM?
MPhil is Master in Philosophy. It is usually a shorter version of PhD and can be the first step towards PhD. MPhil is a two years full time taught course with dissertation, whereas PhD is mostly pursued by one self with guidance of supervisor/s over a period of 4 to 5 years with a thesis. Some institutes offer integrated degrees in which if the supervisors are satisfied; the Mphil degree can be integrated with the PhD to save time and research.


8. Which Area Should I Choose?
Recently areas like media, entertainment, maritime, arbitration are picking up. While other popular streams are IPR, international commercial law, economic law, trade law, investment law etc. Before you choose the area of specialization, please ensure that you have studied the market for job opportunities and career growth aspects. Talk to a few experts, it helps. Talk to your own firm/ company and see if they can assure you some work on return.


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Tickle Tuesday


Virtual Personality and Professional Boundaries





We live in the age that takes virtual existence very seriously. Virtual existence has become an inseparable part as much for any business as for an individual. We want people to know, notice and like the fact that we eat at particular place, meet certain people or travel abroad. We want our life to be tagged, liked, commented upon and shared. Our popularity depends on the traffic gathered by our web page visits. Our ego gets a boost with the number of likes for our professional and personal milestones. Our check-ins are the direct indicators of our social lifestyles that hint at our professional success.
Basically we want our virtual personality to be impressive.

But what about virtual intelligence? Are we being virtually intelligent? It is about time we start thinking hard about what we write, like and dislike online! With little privacy left in the virtual world, your internet identity is a guide to your individual dignity. And more often than not, people will take you for your online image. This includes not just your friends and family but your teachers, colleagues, employees and former employers. 

Missing the point?

All shall agree that it is easier to look on the internet for maps, books, movies, shops, sale, weather forecasts, hospitals, hotels and prospective employees too. And reviews by strangers seem so helpful and reliable. With this logic, employers have begun to dig up information about their employees, current and prospective through social media. It is a different debate altogether on whether the employers should trace their employees’ virtual existence? However, there has been a general trend to do so and employers find it easier to authenticate the claims of your resume. Research studies indicate that social media like Linkedin is often referred to for hiring talent and to gain professional publicity. While such professional network gives indication of your work background and reliability, other personal media networks are often traced to see if you are the right fit for cultural/social background that a particular office set up demands.

Besides, such checks allow employers to conduct a reasonable surveillance to ensure that an employee is not causing any harm to the employers’ reputation. Remember, your work agreement bounds you not to reveal professional information of various categories in public? Recently, a well recognised educational institute in Mumbai fired its teaching staff owing to the ranting comments on social media about the professional life.

How one chooses to handle their social media is a completely personal choice. But we caution you to be virtually wise. Write blogs/posts that are creative, information, analytical. Use virtual media intelligently because there is a chance your unethical comment on inane issues may cost you your job.


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Some Lessons Learnt from Janhavi Gadkar Incident

Some Lessons Learnt from Janhavi Gadkar Incident

Let’s accept it. Indian women drink alcohol.  And they too should be checked for drink and drive.

Men with babies or children in the car too could be driving drunk. There is no basis to the presumption of someone’s responsible behaviour. Often the traffic police let go vehicles with women or children in it, presuming the driver to be responsible enough to be sober. This presumption can be a blunder and there is no point in waiting for instances to occur before taking punitive/preventive measures.

CCTV is a necessity on our roads and the authorities should give it some serious thought. It could assist in timely action. Besides, having the cameras with some monitoring system in place will ease up police investigation and evidence collection.

There should be more scientific ways to test the drivers for drink and drive. A mere breathe test is not just humiliating for the traffic police but it also leaves scope for subjective/intuitive decision that is open to challenge and often involves a lot of nuisance from the offended drivers arguing with police personnel.

There should be more awareness created among the people about the difference between legal limits of alcohol consumption and drink and drive. The general notion suggests that one can drive if he/she has had drinks within legal limits. It is important to know that legal limits vary in different states and that impairment can be caused at different levels even below the legal limits of alcohol consumption. Legal limit in no way allows you to drive after a specific number/kind of drinks. It is scientifically proven even the modest amount of alcohol can lead to impaired vision and motor skills. Thus, the traffic police should consider levying fine on drink and drive irrespective of amount of alcohol consumed. This will act as deterrence.

Rigorous checking on weekends/ festivals and holidays is certainly an effective measure. However, on all other days there should be proper monitoring with continuous and regular checks. It is important to promote awareness on the lines of social behaviour and responsibility without making it an issue of self image or taboo.  

Monday, 6 July 2015

Top Legal Journals: Five more

      

  
Five more of the popular legal journals





          Following up on our last post on popular legal journals, we bring you five more to complete the     list of top ten. As mentioned earlier, the numbers are in no way an indication of ranking. Keep writing and try publishing. Hope this post helps you.




6. Journal of Indian Law Institute (JILI): This quarterly journal publishes articles, notes, comments on Constitutional law, Administrative law, Criminal   law and Company law.  It solicits hard copy submission accompanied by a soft copy in a CD. The Journal of the Indian Law Institute accepts submissions throughout the year. All submissions are required to be addressed to the Editor, The Journal of Indian Law Institute and mailed to: The Editor, The Journal of Indian Law Institute, Bhaganwandas Road, New Delhi – 110001 or can be emailed to jili@ili.ac.in / http://www.ili.ac.in/footnoting.pdf / http://www.ili.ac.in

7. Indian Yearbook of International Law and Policy: IYBILP is a peer reviewed journal that aims to provide a forum for the publication of articles in the field of international law, written primarily by experts in the field and elsewhere. It welcomes submissions from academics, practitioners, policymakers and students from within the legal community, and has a strong preference for articles that are not descriptive but prescriptive and argumentatively focused. The submissions go through a two-staged peer review process and if necessary, are edited by the Editorial Board.  For any queries relating to the theme or the structure of your submissions or any general queries relating to the journal, you can write to indianyearbook.il@gmail.com or refer to the below link below http://ilreports.blogspot.in/2009/10/call-for-papers-indian-yearbook-of.html.

8. ISIL Yearbook of International Humanitarian and Refugee Law: The ISIL Year Book of International Humanitarian and Refugee Law is being published since 2001.The yearbook seeks to focus on the development in the areas on these two streams of law. Other than articles, notes, comments, book reviews, the Journal also contains important documents published on the related subjects during the year. It is an effort by the ICRC, the UNHRC, and the ISIL to resolve issues of international humanitarian law and refugee law. The principal objective is to reflect upon the point of view of developing countries with particular reference to South Asian and South-East Asian regions. It solicits manuscripts at isil@giasdl01.vsnl.net.in. For Submissions & Guidelines for contributors to ISIL yearbook of international humanitarian and refugee laws: http://www.isil-aca.org/download/yearbook/isil_yearbook_guidelines.pdf
9. The Indian Journal of Intellectual Property Law: The Journal is an endeavor of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad in collaboration with the N.C.Banerjee Centre for Intellectual Property Law. The Indian Journal of Intellectual Property Law (IJIPL) was first conceived as an idea in 2007 by the students of NALSAR as a forum for students across the country. Gradually, in extended to the intellectual property academia. The Journal publishing annually and seeks to invite manuscripts dealing with general intellectual property law and related interdisciplinary fields, as well as those pertaining to a particular area-in-focus. An indicative list of topics is not presented, but it is heavily encouraged for contributors to submit innovative, interdisciplinary papers which broadly deal with the concerns of the theme. All submissions are to be made electronically in the form of MS Word Document file at: submissions@ijipl.com check also http://www.nalsar.ac.in/IJIPL/Files/Submissions/Submission%20Guidelines.pdf

10. International Journal of Cyber Society and Education: The IJCSE is a double-blind referred academic journal for all fields of cyber society and education including theatrical, empirical and applied manuscripts. Manuscripts are reviewed by the editor for general suitability. Usually the evaluation span is less, about two months. The Journal imposes page fess for all selected manuscripts. The Journal follows open access policy and allows open access to its content. To submit papers to the journal, one must first register online at http://academic-pub.org/ojs/index.php/IJCSE/user/register . Check for author’s guidelines for submission at http://academic- journals.org/ojs2/index.php/IJCSE/about/submissions#authorGuidelines
Friday, 3 July 2015

Seminar on Career Options after Law



Law Matters is happy to announce that after receiving several requests from law students, we shall now conduct one day seminar on career options after a law degree. We have been conducting such seminars exclusively for the law schools. However, on students’ demand we are conducting it as an open seminar for parents, 12th pass outs, law students about to complete their degree and students from other fields keen on pursuing law.

The Seminar will provide ten comprehensive career options and growth trajectory. It will also discuss various career combinations with law and inform the audience about niche fields in law that are unexplored. The participants will have a chat session with legal experts who shall provide them with valuable insight.


We are currently inviting applications for the seminar to be conducted in the month of August. 

To know more please contact us at 9820873977 or 022 22060592. 
You can email us your queries at info@lawmattersllp.org
Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Five popular Indian journals

Law Matters aims to promote good research and writing abilities among the law operators. It is important to get your well researched and well written work published. Publishing has many benefits. To list a few:

It gives you a platform to present your views

It gives you an audience who can benefit from your work or who can provide you with valuable feedback to further improve your work

It contributes to the profession’s primary literature 

It opens up new topics for further discussion and analysis

It adds credibility to your work

It has immense impact on your resume

And it feels great to see your name appear as an author on a fancy law journal!

Further to our aim of promoting publication among the young legal professionals, we note five most popular inter-disciplinary/ multi-disciplinary law journals in this post. The selection is based on a few parameters that include quality, editorial board, peer review methods, time taken for review, impact factor, style of writing, types of journals, clarity on directions to the author, follow up on submission and type of publication- in house or institutional.

1.  Economic and Political Weekly: First published in 1949 as the Economic Weekly and since 1966 as the Economic and Political Weekly, EPW, as the journal is popularly known, occupies a special place in the intellectual history of independent India. For more than five decades EPW has remained a unique forum that week after week has brought together academics, researchers, policy makers, independent thinkers, members of non-governmental organizations and political activists for debates straddling economics, politics, sociology, culture, the environment and numerous other disciplines. Contributions can be made via edit@epw.in, epw.mumbai@gmail.com

2.  Indian Journal of International Law: This quarterly journal (IJIL) has been published by the Indian Society of International Law (ISIL) since 1960. It is premier Indian journal on international law. The contributions can be in the form of research papers, notes, comments, current developments, Supreme Court judgments and judgments of International Court of Justice on issues of international law. Guidelines for contributors are available at http://www.isil-aca.org/guidelines.htm

3. Journal of International Studies: This journal is published by SAGE for the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. It is the premier Indian Journal on International Relations and publishes on issues related to Indian foreign policy, the nonalignment theory and practice and Third World’s developmental and security problems. Publishing since 1959, new issues are released quarterly. Manuscript submission can be made to the editor at internationalstudies@sagepub.in
  
4. Indian Journal of Constitutional Law: The Constitutional Law Society of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad came up with the Indian Journal of Constitutional Law (IJCL) in 2007. The IJCL seeks to achieve twin objectives; firstly to promote writing among students of Constitutional Law, and secondly, to provide a platform for legal scholarship and discussion among practitioners and academics in the legal fraternity. The initiative is financially supported by Mr.K.K Venugopal, leading Advocate in the Supreme Court of India through the M.K. Nambyar Chair of Comparative Constitutional Law set up at NALSAR. Contributions are solicited under the heads of articles, essays, case comments and legislative comments. All submissions are required to be in the form of one printed copy accompanied by three back-to-back photocopies and one electronic copy. Electronic copies can be sent to ijcl.cls@gmail.com

5. NUJS Journal of Law and Society (NUJS):  Formerly known as the Indian Juridical Review, it seeks to present a dedicated forum of debate for work bearing upon the cultural, economic, political and social lives of law in India. Published annually in September, NUJS Journal of Law & Society aims to publish no more than two student notes. Essays, case comments and legislative briefs can be submitted by anyone. It promptly acknowledges the receipt of submissions and a decision on publication takes around 8 weeks. The issue is out in print within 6 weeks of a decision to publish. Electronic form of submissions should be mailed to nujs.jls@gmail.com


The numbering is in no way an indication of the ranking. There is no methodology available to unanimously decide the ranking. Thus the list is derived from most recommended/ referred journals by our peers. Five more journals shall be listed soon. 
Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Confessions of a Mother to be...

Confessions of a mother to be...is a compilation of instances shared during some interviews on female child, female foeticide and son obsession in India. 




I? I was a mother to be.
Mother to my dead children.
Three in total. All daughters.

I? I am a dreamer.
I dream of them all. My daughters.
Beautiful, with silk like hair,
blackberry eyes.

I? I am the guilty.
Guilty owner of “a useless womb.
Of a vagina that holds on to wrong elements”- he says.
Guilty of my womanhood, I feel.

I? I seek forgiveness.
From my daughters.
I tell them that I cried.
And I pleaded and begged.
And even got beaten up.
To save their life and mine.

I? I am a ‘could have been’ mother.
Of my dead children- forgiving even in death.
They kiss me, one by one.
My daughters.
Beautiful, with silk like hair, blackberry eyes.
Disappearing in the darkness of my womb,
they dissolve yet again.

I? I am a guilty-coward-mother to be.
Of my fourth child.
And I hope and pray...

this time, it be a son.