Thursday, November 26, 2009

LLP at SOS Childrens Village, Bangalore

It was a pleasant afternoon on the 2nd of October, 2009, when the seven of us - Rahul (V year), Lakshmi (II year), Kanika (III year), Nidhi (III year), Nishita (III year), Aqseer (III year) and Protiti (II year) – packed into a Qualis and trundled off to the SOS Children’t Village on Banerghatta Road. The sight that welcomed us there was such that it made us all stand still in awed delight – lush green and bright flowers, and happy little children everywhere!

We began the LLP with a skit highlighting the necessity of consumer awareness. Kanika portrayed a shopkeeper who sold Aqseer and Lakshmi foodstuffs that had crossed the expiry date. Our audience, which was aged between 12 and 15 years, very correctly pointed out that the customers had not checked the dates of the products before buying them and had not asked for a bill either. The methods of approaching the Consumer Fora and procedures involved therein were explained to them.

Next was a skit on Child Rights, wherein Nidhi portrayed a young girl who was being forced to marry against her wishes while she actually wanted to study further. The children pointed out that it was wrong to not let her study further. Nidhi then told them about the importance of mutual consent for marriage and a child’s Right to Education, while Protiti told them about a child’s Right against Employment and Exploitation.

The next skit depicted domestic violence wherein Protiti portrayed an abused housewife who was being economically, mentally and verbally being tortured by her mother-in-law, played by Nishitha. Rahul, who played the role of the husband, brought home a second wife, Kanika, who was preferred because she could offer higher amounts of dowry. Aqseer discussed the issues of dowry harassment and domestic violence with the children, with many interesting inputs coming from their side as well.

The last skit showed Nidhi, a domestic help, was arrested by a Protiti, playing a Police officer, late at night without a warrant. The essential conditions for arrest were explained to the children.

Nishitha then spoke to them about Legal Aid, and we distributed LSC bookmarks and Melodies! We came back with a happy and content feeling in our hearts.

Reported by
- Protiti Roy
(II Year)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A long awaited answer

A confusion which has been perplexing courts and leading to confused judgments for the past five decades, the governments seems to have finally woken up to the fact that the range of laws dealing with children in India, do not actually agree on the definition of a 'child' - the consequence - the menace of child marriage cannot be properly controlled or punished, marital rape above 15 but less than 16, technically the age of statutory rape, remains legal, and dangerous delinquents perfectly capable of understanding the consequences of their actions have been going scot - free under the JJ Act. But now, there appears to be a movement to make the definition of child across all these laws 'uniform'

"Centre to examine anomalies in definition of child: SC told New Delhi, Aug 3 (PTI) The Centre today told the Supreme Courtthat it was examining the issue of removing the anomalies in thedefinition of a child in various existing laws which were comingin way of checking the menace of child marriage. It said the Child Marriage Restraint Act has been repealed withthe new law and the issue has been taken care of. "I have recieved some documents and I will go through them and filean appropriate response," Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaisingsaid before a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and A K Ganguly which adjourned the matter for four weeks. During the hearing, advocate Aparna Bhat said the new legislation The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, which got the President's assent in Janaury 2007, did not completely address the concern over child marriage. Earlier last year, the apex court was told that the Law Commissionwas examining anomalies in the definition of child in various existing laws. The National Commission for Women and the Delhi Commission for Women had said there were anomalies in the definition of child. They contended that the variance in age in different Acts to define a 'minor' or a 'child' was coming in the way of dispensationof justice, particularly in cases of girls below 18 years marrying after eloping with adult male"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Weekly Legal Issue #1

In order to enthuse the followers of this blog, members of the LSC and other legal aid enthusiasts, I plan to introduce discussions on points of law concerning the LSC's mandate of dispensation of justice, based on hypothetical fact situations. It is hoped that this would be a weekly exercise.

Fact: X, is a woman who has been subjected to physical abuse by her husband for the last 15 yrs. X decides to file for divorce after her husband's latest abuse involving a hockey stick. X's husband runs away from home in the meanwhile and this is the third time he does so. X, in addition to divorce seeks immediate protection against her husband as she fears more violence on his return, but refuses to resort to criminal action.

Which is the most effective short term legal solution that is available to the woman for the protection of herself and children in addition to divorce?

Is the concept of "nudging" as described in
a viable option?

LLP on 17/07/09

The Legal Services Clinic had organised a Legal Literacy Programme for the students of Rockford School, Nagarbhavi, Bangalore. The team of 20 saw an audience of around 40 kids from classes 6th to the 9th. The students had a reasonable knowledge of the theoretical aspects of law but were unaware of the practical applications of the same. The LLP precisely tried to fill that void.

For this purpose the Legal Services Clinic along with it’s volunteers performed short skits on some of the most relevant provisions of the Constitution and other statutes. These were Art. 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, Right to information Act, Consumer Protection Act, Right to Constitutional remedies. Common examples were taken to create an understanding of how law comes to one’s rescue when he is wronged in his day to day work. These skits also helped to send across a message on the power of the black letter of law, which empowers them with knowledge of their genuine interests.

The enthusiastic interaction that ensued between the students and the LSC members assured us that the message had been received well. Their overwhelming response will surely encourage LSC to undertake more of such trips in order to make laws more accessible to people. The dedicated students who were a part of the LLP are: Vikram, Bhargavi, Nishita, Adithi, Ramyaa, Aqseer, Reeba, Shubhang, Nidhi, Abhijeet, Nandi Verman, Niharika, Akshaya, Geetha, Sahana, Trishee, Ramya, Varsha, Meera and Linda.

- Trishee

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Criteria for membership for the year 2009-2010

I. Inside LSC Activities

1. Work at the NLS Centre [1] [3]
5. Work at Ramnagaram [3]
3. Legal Literacy Programmes [3]
4. Research work in LSC’s research projects [2]
6. Others [4]

(e.g assistance with online queries, scanning and documentation of records, judicial management research work,)[2]
Please give a detailed description of the kind of work done and the cases handled and also the specific role played in legal literacy programmes.

II. Outside LSC Activities
1. Relevant placements during 2007-08 [2]
Please give a detailed description of your work. Relevant placements include work in NGOs involved in pro bono lawyering, legal literacy, Lok Adalats, alternate dispute resolution issues, advocacy initiatives. Placements which involved extensive drafting of legal documents and applications may also be mentioned with a detailed description of the nature of documents drafted.
2. Articles on socio-legal issues (please attach copy of the article) [1]
3. Research at NLSIU under research groups and in association with the Centers and Round Tables (Please do not include research work done at your placements, only work done at NLSIU will be considered) [2]

III. Organizational Experience

* Head [3]
* Volunteer [1.5]

IV. Knowledge of Kannada [3]

1. Speaking [3]
2. Reading [1]
3. Writing [1]

Note: In case of any ambiguity in the information provided by the applicant, the undersigned reserve the right to call the person for an interview to clarify the same. If a tie occurs, the same will be resolved through an interview.
[1] LSC members and co-opts for the year 2007-08 lose 25 % marks under this sub-head
[2] List is merely illustrative
[3] The same may be tested during an interview.

Students from both the LLB and LLM programs are eligible to apply.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A definite push towards a settlement

In some kinds of mediation/negotiation, the main issue is how much one party is obliged to pay to another. One of the reasons such a mediation/negotiation can fail can be is because the party who is claiming might not agree to any offer (even if it is reasonable) by the other party if he feels even though the chances of him getting an award better than the offer are very slim, he has nothing to lose by continuing with the litigation and even with a lower award he will be able to force the costs of litigation on the other party.

If this is indeed the practice, it seems unfair on many counts. First the party against whom the claim is made is forced into a litigation even when he is willing to settle. Assuming the court awards the claimant an amount lesser than the offer made by the opposite party, the court has in fact held that the opposite party's substantive rights are more than what he is willing to settle for. However, by imposing costs on the opposite party, the court gives the claimant an undue incentive to increase the burden of pending litigation on the court.

Relating to this I would like to call the attention of the reader to rule 68 of the US Rules of Civil Procedure
It reads-

Rule 68. Offer of Judgment

(a) Making an Offer; Judgment on an Accepted Offer.

More than 10 days before the trial begins, a party defending against a claim may serve on an opposing party an offer to allow judgment on specified terms, with the costs then accrued. If, within 10 days after being served, the opposing party serves written notice accepting the offer, either party may then file the offer and notice of acceptance, plus proof of service. The clerk must then enter judgment.

(b) Unaccepted Offer.

An unaccepted offer is considered withdrawn, but it does not preclude a later offer. Evidence of an unaccepted offer is not admissible except in a proceeding to determine costs.

(c) Offer After Liability Is Determined.

When one party's liability to another has been determined but the extent of liability remains to be determined by further proceedings, the party held liable may make an offer of judgment. It must be served within a reasonable time—but at least 10 days— before a hearing to determine the extent of liability.

(d) Paying Costs After an Unaccepted Offer.

If the judgment that the offeree finally obtains is not more favorable than the unaccepted offer, the offeree must pay the costs incurred after the offer was made.

(c) and (d) are especially important here. What such a rule does is not just set right the inequity I pointed out earlier but also gives the claimant a strong reason to agree to a reasonable offer of settlement. Someone told me that this is in practice in India too, but I couldn't find the relevant provision anywhere and can't think of any instance where I've seen this happen. Does seem indeed to be a necessary change. What say?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


The Legal Services Clinic had organized a Legal Literacy Programme in the village of Kootgal in Ramnagar on 5 April, 2009. So one fine Sunday morning, six of us form the National Law School set forth to Kootgal. The audience was a group of approximately 35-40 women who are members of the Devamma Trust. The LSC group performed a skit on domestic violence and dowry harassment in a manner that the audience could relate to. The skit was well received and the captive audience interacted with us following the skit. On being told about the Domestic Violence Act and how they could make use of it to seek legal help, some women shared their problems with us. The programme ended with us promising to return to the village for more such LLPs on demand from the audience. The LLP seemed to have been useful for these women and this made us feel like we were of some help.
Another thing we carried back with us is an awareness of the kind of problems faced by the people in this village, which we gathered from our interactions with them. The village does not seem to have a working drainage system with many residents having to bear with the stench that ensues. Also, there was an understandable fear of falling ill among the villagers. Another problem is that there are no public latrines in the village with the effect that open spaces close to the homes of people were used instead leading to unhygienic conditions. One other problem that the women were bogged down by was the inability to obtain ration cards. Many of them seem to be in dire need of the same and nothing has been done to secure them to these women till date. The other problem that we sensed was that the village was not availing of all the programmes that the central and state governments sponsor like the widow pension scheme among a host of others.
The LSC hopes to help the villagers in meeting these difficulties and solving their problems in the future monthly trips that we plan to make.
Just as we were about to take leave following the lunch that we were served, a woman came up to two of us and asked if we could help her with some property dispute. There is now another case for the LSC to take up in the future and hopefully a chance to help someone in need of justice.
Thus the trip was an eventful and fulfilling experience for the six of us who went. The six are:
Ashwita Ambast
Gowthaman Ranganathan
Lakshmi Nair
Sahana Manjesh
Sahil Kher
Vikram Hegde

-Sahana Manjesh

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kolar LLP

Kolar Legal Literacy Programme

The bright sunny morning of Wednesday, the 11th of March saw an ebullient group of 17 Law Schoolites set off for the border town of Kolar, in an effort to raise awareness among the farmers over issues pertinent to them, thereby empowering them with their rights and remedies in law against any exploitation.

The peaceful meadows of the modern town were deceptive to the real zeal possessed by the village-folk. The venue of the LLP, atop a hill, was bustling with activity, every inch filled by the enthusiastic population of the village. It was amid the same enthusiastic audience that students of National Law School, Bangalore staged two street plays in the local language of Kannada. The zest of the villagers was matched by the zest of Law Schoolites themselves, some of who learnt dialogues of the unfamiliar language of Kannada in a matter of a few hours.

The first skit portrayed the predicament faced by agriculturists on being sold expired seeds and fertilisers. A rendezvous with a lawyer in the skit awakens them to the virtues of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, and the remedy available to them thereby, but only on fulfilling certain requirements.

The second skit, also elucidating on the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was an insight into the hassles faced by the local villagers owing to an erratic electricity supply, and related problems.

The group was then left free to explore the mounds of Kolar, but not before receiving the warm hospitality of the localites, through the preparation of an indigenous meal on mock banana leaves.

The long journey back under the starry night sky was filled with a lot of laughter and fun, when the group not only indulged in some games, but also in moments of quiet reflected upon new revelations or experiences gained through the day. The drive to Bangalore was passed with sincere hopes in everyone’s hearts of having made a difference.

--Radhika Chitkara

The following people attended the LLP

Sahana, Ashwita and Radhika from the first year

Deepika, Ramya, Aqseer, Meera, Pranav, Nishita, Rachita, Subhang from second year

Bhargavi, Megha, Soumya from third year

Vikram Hegde from fourth year

Khulali and Sriraj from fifth year

Monday, January 5, 2009

LLP on 04/01/2009

The fourth of January, 2009 saw a group of six, namely Vikram, Bhargavi,
Gowthaman, Deepika, Ashwita and Aqseer trundle into Balantimaramma school at
Kanakpura for what was to be quite an interesting LLP.

Armed with the usual arsenal of skits on Fundamental rights, COPRA, CRPC
and the Domestic Violence Act, we found ourselves facing about 60 young
girls. As the skits rolled out, the girls progressively got bolder until
we found two vociferous, pint sized students throwing questions at us with
awe-inspiring enthusiasm.

The response was phenomenal to say the least, and we left marveling at our
eager-to-learn audience.

- Aqseer

LLP on 03/01/2009

L.L.P on “Family Laws”
An L.L.P organized by the Legal Services Clinic of NLSIU, was held at the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority in Bengaluru on 3 January 2009. The students who organized this L.L.P include Vikram Hegde, Ramya Shankar, Deepika Kinhal, Meera Sreekumar, Akshaya R and Lakshmi Nair. The programme started at 9:00 A.M.
It was inaugurated by Sri H.S. Kempanna, the Principal City Civil and Sessions Judge and Chairman, D.L.S.A, Bengaluru and was presided over by Prof. Major Seema, Principal, Maharani’s Arts, Commerce and Management College for Women, Bengaluru. Sri Radhakrishna K. Holla, Princpal Judge, Family Court, Bengaluru, was the Guest of Honour and Smt. K Sukanya, Judge, Family Court, Bengaluru was the resource person at the programme.
The students of Maharani’s Arts, Commerce and Management College and the students of Maharani’s Science College attended the L.L.P. The legal literacy programme started at 11.45 with a short skit. The skit put forward by the students of NLSIU focused on the protection of women from Domestic Violence Act. After this skit the students went on to explain The Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the rights of women under this Act and the procedure followed while filing a petition under this Act. The spectators seemed quite interested in this and put forward questions regarding the same. The L.L.P achieved its aim of sensitizing the students about domestic violence and the rights granted to women by this Act.
The first L.L.P of this year was quite a success, a good sign for all the L.L.Ps ahead.

---Lakshmi Nair