International conference on Sociology of Law

Joint Annual Conference of the Research Committee on Sociology of Law (RCSL) of International Sociological Association (ISA) and the Central University of Himachal Pradesh.
September 10-12, 2011

I welcome all the participants and delegates to the International Conference on ‘Sociology of Law’ being organized at Dharamshala under the Joint aegis of the Central University of Himachal Pradesh (CUHP) and the Research Committee on Sociology of Law (RCSL) of International Sociological Association (ISA) during 10-12th September. With a galaxy of academicians and practitioners slated to participate in the event, it would indeed be an academically exciting and rewarding moment in the history of our nascent University. Barely a year old in the active academic existence, it is a matter of great pride for us that an academic conclave of this magnitude is being held here.

Devoted to a theme that has continued to engage attention of the intelligentsia since evolution of society, I am sure that this conference will raise issues related to PEACE, JUSTICE and DEVELOPMENT in a very profound and substantive manner. Although there has been an antiquity in the evolution of Law, Peace, Development and Justice in the evolution of society, a series of culminating events, particularly the end of World War II and End of Colonisation in twentieth century have shaped the current trend of Legal construction of Peace, Justice and Development, since the beginning of the forties of Twentieth century. Since then, the academia and practitioners of Civil Society, besides the national and international organisations, have played key role in giving a shape to the theme. Thus, in those days of Twentieth century, multiple forms of violent conflicts or political ideologies, wars and invasions and colonisation and solutions for therein requiring practical application had a legal density with, the legal dimensions as Public and International Law which replaced social norms of every day life of men and matter.

I send my best wishes and warm welcome to all the delegates of this conference and I am confident that the Organising Team of our University as a host will leave no stone unturned to make this grand event a success and would leave cherished memories for future.

Prof. Furqan Qamar
Vice-Chancellor,
Central University of Himachal Pradesh,
Dharamshala

Paper Submission

Instructions for Submission of Abstracts

1. Abstracts should be submitted on the prescribed ‘Abstract Format’ as given below, one original and one photocopy.

2. Abstracts has to be accompanied by ISS Adhoc Group on Sociology of Law Membership fee of Rs. 200 for two years (Rs. 400 for 5 years) to the Academic Sessions Organizer-Dr. Rashmi Jain at the time of Conference.

3. Only Abstracts of those who register for the Conference before July 31, 2011 will be included in the Book of Abstracts.

4. Abstracts without the membership fee and not in the prescribed format are not acceptable.

Instructions for preparation of abstracts:

1. Main author (presenter) must register for the conference and must present the paper himself/herself.

2. Deadline: July 31, 2011

3. Language: English

4. Length Between 300 and 500 words;

5. Use single space

6. Use only Times New Roman or Arial font of 12-point type size.

7. The title should not exceed 20 words.

8. Authors, list authors in the following order: presenting author first followed by other authors in single continuous lines. Initials, name and surname. Omit titles and degrees.

9. Institution: Give the institution of the main author only with full address, as briefly as possible, in brackets immediately after his/her name.

10. The text Abstract must be informative and specific. The content should contain 5 paragraphs, Preamble, Objectives, Methods, Findings, and Conclusions.

11. Submission: The original and a copy should be submitted to the Academic Sessions Organizer-Dr. Rashmi Jain before July 31,2011.

NOTE: Abstracts may be preferably sent as attachment to e-mail (Academic Sessions Organizer-Dr. Rashmi Jain rcsl) on Microsoft Word in Type Times New Roman or Arial font of 12 point size in A4 and a hard Copy by Post. Use the format or Abstract Form)

Registration

Conference Registration

Dead-lines for the Conference Registration Form will be available on the Conference website in a very short while.
Registration Fees are fixed with reference to ISA A, B, C Category citizenship criteria as follows:
(a) Category Countries: 300 Euros
(b) Category Countries: 200 Euros
(c) Category Countries: 100 Euros

Accommodation would be extra. A list of Hotels will be provided with rates details on the Conference website.
Lunch and Dinner on the Inaugural Day will be provided by the Conference Organizers.

“Delegates from India and SAARC Nations shall be required to pay Rs. 3000/- as Conference Registration Fees and they will have to arrange their own accommodation in Dharamshala. In case they want help from the organizers to arrange accommodation on payment basis then such delegates may contact the Organizing Secretary.

The Students, Research Scholars, and Members of Organizing Committees, Faculty, and Staff of Central University of Himachal Pradesh are exempted from Conference Registration Fees. However, they would not be provided any accommodation by the organizers. However, such delegates have to fill up Registration Form of the Conference and adhere to the norms of Abstract submission.

Final decision on acceptance of any paper for presentation in the conference shall be sole discretion of the concerned experts of the Conference Organization.”

Kindly send your registration fees for the conference as it applies in your case as per following details of banking transaction:

Payment should be made in favour of “The Central University of Himachal Pradesh-International Conference on Sociology of Law
Account no. : 31797623121
RTGS/IFSC No. : SBIN0000634
MICR CODE : 176002008
SWIFT CODE : SBININBB277
State Bank of India, Dharamshala (H.P.), India

The bank transaction charges at the point of submission, if any, has to be paid by the delegate at the time of submission of Conference Registration Fees. The Organizers should get the amount as specified in the category of the delegate.

Download Registration Form

For further Details click here

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Another Big Blow to Transparency in the Governance

Putting National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) in the list of organisations exempted from making disclosures under the RTI Act 2005 will certainly fuel concerns as a citizen would not be able to seek details on whether any of his databases have been accessed by the investigating agencies through Natgrid. In the original RTI Act 2005, the second schedule had 18 organisations on its list, which grew to 22 in 2008 and to 25 today. Most of the 11 agencies which can access the NATGRID for getting database information on a citizen are also already exempted from the RTI Act. With the inclusion of NATGRID, NIA and CBI in the second schedule to the RTI Act – there are now 25 ‘intelligence and security’ organisations which are exempted from providing any information under the RTI Act, except information pertaining to allegations on any corruption and human right violations.

The Govt’s stand is that the NATGRID needed to be kept out of the RTI purview because most of the 11 agencies authorised to access databases through the NATGRID are already exempted from RTI. So anyway if a citizen wants to know if the Intelligence Bureau (IB) asked for any information on his bank account database through the NATGRID, the information cannot be disclosed as IB is an exempt organisation. NATGRID is not an organisation but only a forwarding tool and like an extended server of these 11 agencies.

The CBI has justified the exemption under 2005 Right to Information Act, specifically pointing out that the increase in volume of applicants demanding file-notings on closed or chargesheeted cases is threatening its smooth functioning. The exemption is restricted to only intelligence and sensitive organisations, the CBI have pointed out that even organisations like the Enforcement Directorate central police organisations like the Indo Tibetan Border Police the Assam Rifles and the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau enjoy exemption.

While the 2005 Act explicitly forbids disclosure of information of all cases under investigation, the CBI has been flooded with requests for internal file-notings on cases in which either a closure report has been filed or which have been chargesheeted. This is a very dangerous trend since the CBI functions on a single file system where every case file has the opinion of the investigating officer, the agency’s law officer’s right to the director. Disclosure of the varied, and often conflicting, opinions expressed by its officers is a very serious matter and if allowed, will inhibit them from expressing their opinions on evidence freely on files. Even, several applications have been received wherein persons listed as accused or put under investigation by the CBI have themselves used the RTI route to find out which specific officers gave written opinions against them. The use of such file notings in court, the CBI has argued can be a very unhealthy precedent and result in officers being victimised even years after their retirement.

Interestingly, the CBI’ exemption from RTI comes at a time when the agency is investigating several politically sensitive cases including the 2G spectrum scam and the bunch of cases linked to the Commonwealth Games. Among the high voltage cases in which the agency recently filed a closure report was the Arushi Talwar double murder case, and top officials argued that disclosure of file notings on the case would only stir up a fresh controversy.

The civil society, The National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), various other organizations and individuals, lawyers the activists, including NAC members Aruna Roy, Nikhil De, lawyer Prashant Bhushan etc have criticised the Govts decision to keep CBI, NIA and NATGRID outside the purview of the RTI Act. It is considered to be a major setback to transparency efforts such a move is in excess of the powers delegated to the Centre. Such exclusion could be challenged before the courts, which may strike it down. The Govt’s decision can be questioned under Section 24; the government may exempt only intelligence and security organisations from the obligations under the RTI Act. The CBI and NIA do not belong to either category. They are primarily investigation agencies established by laws of Parliament. Excluding NIA and CBI from the RTI ambit will ensure that crucial state agencies remain opaque and unaccountable to the people and that will only promote the ‘Big Boss’ concept. It is a blackout and a very big setback to transparency in governance. We agree that national sovereignty is paramount but that should not be used as an instrument to hire & fire all levels of transparency in the governance.

Source: http://indiatoday.intoday.in (21st June, 2011)

http://www.rtiindia.org (21st June, 2011)

If Lawyers Can Practice In All Courts Why Not Full Time Law Professors: A Necessity of Engaged Scholarship

Now, lawyers can practise, as a matter of right, in all courts and forums, including tribunals or any quasi-judicial authority. The lawyers will be able to practise in courts across the country irrespective of their enrollment in any bar council without the need to transfer licence to their desired states.
Fifty years after the Advocates Act, 1961, came into force, the Centre has notified Section 30 of the Act — with effect from 15th June, 2011 to enable advocates to practise anywhere in the country.
In 1988, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to consider whether Section 30 should be brought into force or not. The court had, however, held that it was the discretion of the Centre to bring the section into force by issuing a notification.
This provision was not notified when the Act was added to the statute book. As a result, in certain courts and tribunals, lawyers could appear only if they were permitted by the presiding officer. Section 30 says: “Subject to the provisions of this Act, every advocate shall be entitled as of right to practise throughout the territories to which this Act extends; in all courts including the Supreme Court; before any tribunal or person legally authorised to take evidence; and before any other authority or person before whom such advocate is by or under any law for the time being in force entitled to practise.”
The government issued the Gazette Notification on June 9. It said: “The Central government hereby appoints June 15, 2011 as the date on which Section of the Advocates Act shall come into force.”
The long-pending demand of lawyers for notifying this Section was fulfilled, thanks to Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily’s initiative. Expressing satisfaction over the progress in the implementation of ‘vision statement’ launched in October 2009, Mr. Moily said under the programme to be launched from July 1, about 40 per cent of the petty cases pending in various courts were to be disposed of in six months through Lok Adalats and morning/evening courts.
As the 13th Finance Commission provided Rs. 5,000 crore for support to the judiciary and the first instalment of Rs. 1,000 crore had already been released for 2010-2011. The Finance Commission envisaged that all subordinate courts could have extended court hours by hiring retired judges or giving allowances to incumbent judges to dispose of petty cases.
Such courts, he said, were to be established at a cost of Rs. 3.5 lakh each and they were expected to dispose of 225 lakh minor cases annually. In addition Lok Adalats were expected to dispose of 15 lakh a year and by 2015, a total of 75 lakh cases would be disposed of by Lok Adalats.
He said he had asked the CJs to launch the campaign from July by fixing targets and types of cases for disposal.
He had suggested to them to follow summary procedure as allowed by law, plea bargaining and compounding of cases to reduce the caseload in courts.
On the progress in computerisation of courts, he said: “The government is implementing a Central sector scheme for computerisation of the District and subordinate courts [e-courts project] in the country and for upgradation of the Information and Communication Technology infrastructure of the Supreme Court and High Courts including video-conferencing facilities.”
The steps taken by Mr. Moily for legal reforms are praiseworthy. But still there is long way to go. As till today the law teachers are not permitted to practice before the courts in India. If the full time law teachers will be allowed to act as an advocate it will increased production of engaged scholarship
While in the USA the most advanced country where the legal education and legal profession is highly respected the law teachers are allowed to practice. Now the law minister should seriously thing on the issue not as a mere professional responsibility, but as a matter of necessity. Although others have made similar calls in the past, we note several structural reasons affecting lawyers and judges that preclude them from preparing the same quality and quantity of analysis as law professors.

No other group on to lawyers, judges, or law students is in position to provide quality engaged scholarship. The assumption that judges and lawyers are in position to write engaged scholarship may be simply wrong. More significantly, the failure of professors to do so degrades the ability of courts to fairly ascertain the law, negatively affects our own students, and could negatively affect the perception of law schools and law faculty held by the public, the bench, and the bar. In sum, there is a need for more engaged scholarship, law professors are uniquely situated to fill that need, and doing so is in our best interest. Engaged scholarship addresses problems related to the law, legal system, or legal profession that affect a significant portion of society or the legal community. It identifies current legal issues, offers possible solutions to legal problems, or meaningfully informs decision-makers on the issues before them.
Judge Edwards noted two characteristics of this type of scholarship: it is prescriptive in that it solves legal problems, and doctrinal because it offers solutions without ignoring the existing sources of law that constrain or otherwise guide decision-makers.

Engaged scholarship tackles any number of issues, but does so with an eye toward improving the process of law or educating those who affect it. Engaged scholarship brings legal theory to the worker bees of the legal beehive, and does so in a way that enables them to actually use the information. It is submitted that our law minister should seriously think over the matter and try hard to pave the way for allowing law teachers to practice in all the courts of all over India. This will be a biggest reform in legal education and legal profession that will bridge the gap between law in books and law in action.

-Sources: http://www.siasat.com ( 16/06/2011)
http://www.hindu.com /16/06/2011)
https://www.law.suffolk.edu/HricikSalzmann.pdf (16/06/2011)