The Right to Breathe- Fixing Bengaluru's Air

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Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, Karnataka would like to invite you to attend a panel discussion on "The Right to Breathe- Fixing Bengaluru's Air" on 11th January 2019 at Bangalore International Centre Domlur. The panel discussion is part of a public engagement series on "Bengaluru Solutions" jointly organized by Vidhi and Citizen Matters in collaboration with Bangalore International Centre.

In 2017, Vidhi published Cleaning Delhi’s Air: Implementation Action Plan, that identified legal and executive pathways to implement already identified solutions to improve Delhi’s air quality. This year, Vidhi Delhi has created a database, ‘Biting the Dust’, to track the monitoring and enforcement action taken by public authorities to track air pollution in the Delhi NCR.

This winter season has shown to many Bengalureans that the quality of city's air is declining and much needs to be done to improve it. In a recent report published by Climate Trends, it has shown Bengaluru to be most impacted by Vehicular pollution in the country. The report also recognizes the need for better governance and regulations to combat air pollution in the City.

This discussion is an attempt to shed light on the problem and identify solutions on the growing concern surrounding the quality of Bengaluru's Air.

For the discussion we are pleased to have a diverse panel of Mr Randeep D, IAS & Special Commissioner BBMP, Mr Pawan Mulukutla, Head of City Development Bosch Mobility Solutions and Anjali Saini Member of Whitefield Rising.

Vidhi Annual Summit: Deepening Dialogue

The Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy is turning five this December. To mark this occasion, we are organising our first Annual Summit titled, ‘Deepening Dialogue’. True to our ethos, the Summit brings together judges, academics, civil society groups, bureaucrats and friends of Vidhi to share their views on diverse and contemporary policies of our time.

The Summit will feature keynote speakers and panels of thought leaders who will engage in conversations on the public policy challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of us.

The summit comprises the following events:

  • Conference on Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (by invite only)

  • Townhall discussion on Data Sovereignty

  • Panel discussion on Social Media and Elections

  • Roundtable on Creating Universal Design Principles for Indian Courtrooms &

  • A dramatic performance scripted by Nyaaya on sexual harassment at the work place.

The full agenda can be accessed here.

Except the Conference on Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, all events are open to the public but require prior registration. Please select the sessions you would like to attend in this registration form, here.

ET Now is our media partner for the Summit.

We look forward to seeing you there.

National Solidarity Event- The Law Isn't Straight | 19 May 2018, Scope Complex and Central Park (New Delhi)

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To mark the upcoming International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) India HIV/AIDS Alliance and the Vidhi Centre For Legal Policy, are organizing a day-long ‘National Solidarity Event- The Law Isnt Straight’ under Samarth programme addressing stigma and discrimination towards sexual minority people.

May 19, 2018 | 10:30 am to 4:00 pm | Scope Complex Auditorium, Lodhi Road, New Delhi

Followed by a Public awareness event from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at Central Park, Connaught Place, New Delhi

We look forward to your august presence. Download the detailed agenda here

Vidhi Bengaluru: Briefing Book Launch and Panel Dicussion

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Vidhi Bengaluru celebrated the occasion of its first Briefing Book launch titled "15 Legal Reforms for Karnataka". The launch of the book shall be followed by a panel discussion on the topic: Towards a Better Bengaluru, Reforming Urban Governance in Karnataka"

Justice (Retd.) Santosh Hegde (Former Justice of the Supreme Court of India and Former Lokayukta, Karnataka), Rohini Nilekani, (Philanthropist) and Dr. A Ravindra, Former Chief Secretary, Government Of Karnataka were the panelist for the event.

The event also marked the release of three reports - a study of financing of urban local bodies of Karnataka, a study of Karnataka High Court's writ jurisdiction and waste picker welfare law in Karnataka.

The event was organised on 16th February, 2017 at 06:00 pm at the Mother Tekla Auditorium. 

Download the Briefing Book here.

Comments on the draft Uttar Pradesh Self-Financed Independent Schools (Regulation of Fees) Bill, 2017

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Vidhi responded to a call for public comments on the draft Uttar Pradesh Self-Financed Independent Schools (Regulation of Fees) Bill, 2017. Vidhi’s submissions critiqued the Bill based on inconsistency with existing legal frameworks and Supreme Court decisions, as well as pari materia legislations on fee regulation across different States. The submissions recommend several changes to the existing Bill based on the above analysis. Vidhi’s submissions can be accessed here.

Vidhi's work on discrimination against leprosy affected persons

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In 2015, Vidhi assisted the Law Commission of India with its Report No 256 on Eliminating Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy. The Report recommended some affirmative action measures to be taken against persons affected by leprosy, as well as the repeal of some laws that discriminated against such persons. However, no legislative action was taken on the basis of this report except for the repeal of the Lepers' Act, 1898. 

Vidhi worked with the Leprosy Mission Trust of India to uncover laws apart from those mentioned in the Law Commission Report that discriminated against persons affected by leprosy. We searched Manupatra and SCC Online for the words 'leper' or 'leprosy' to arrive at 119 Central and State statutes and rules that contained such discrimination. We excluded provisions from public health laws that applied to persons with infectious diseases generally without specifically mentioning leprosy. The laws that we included are only those that directly discriminate against persons affected by leprosy by explicitly mentioning them. We excluded laws that might discriminate against such persons indirectly since this would have required more evidence than the news reports and anecdotes we came across, and would also have been more appropriately challenged by persons directly affected. 

The petition challenges the 119 laws on the grounds that they violate the right to equality and dignity under Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution, as well as the fundamental freedoms to move throughout the territory of India and practise any occupation, guaranteed under Article 19. These laws disqualify persons affected by leprosy from public office, allow their segregation by public authorities and prevent them from accessing public transport. In December, 2017, the Supreme Court admitted Vidhi's petition and has ordered notice to be issued to the Central and State Governments. 

The petition can be accessed here and the list of laws is available here.

Litigation on Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities

Inclusive education was recognized as a right under the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006, particularly with respect to elementary education. This right ensures access of children with disabilities to the same learning environment as children without disability, as well as reasonable accommodation in the common learning environment to meet the learning needs of children with disability. This is recognized in spirit by the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016("RPWD Act"). Similarly, the Right to Education Act, 2009 ("RTE Act") expressly  recognizes the right of children with disabilities to free and compulsory education, in the same manner as children without disability.

In light of the above, Vidhi has intervened in the Supreme Court in a matter related to education for children with disability in Uttar Pradesh and appointment of special educators. Vidhi's submissions argue that State cannot exclude children with disabilities from mainstream education on the basis of categories of disability and as such, the State should endeavour to deinstitutionalise existing special schools. Vidhi's submissions before the Court are available here

Vidhi has also filed a petition in the Delhi High Court praying for a policy that sets out norms and standards for inclusive education and for measures that will ensure that schools comply with these standards. Vidhi's submissions are based on a harmonious reading of the RTE Act and RPWD Act. The petition submits that even though the current statutory framework ensures that children with disabilities are admitted to mainstream schools, however in the absence of any enforceability of standards the said inclusion is not meaningful. Vidhi's petition is available here. 

 

Vidhi's Briefing Book Launch & Public Debate

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Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy celebrated the occasion of its fourth anniversary with the launch of its fourth Briefing Book titled 'Towards the Rule of Law: 25 Legal Reforms for India' on December 22, 2017 at Constitution Club of India. The launch of the Briefing Book was followed by a public debate on the topic: “This house believes that India is a rule of law state.”

The public debate was moderated by Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai (Consulting Editor, India Today Group). The speakers included  Ms. Madhavi Divan (Advocate, Supreme Court of India), Mr. Sidharth Chauhan (Asst. Professor, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad), Mr. Baijayant “Jay” Panda (Hon’ble Member of Parliament), Mr. Swapan Dasgupta (Hon’ble Member of Parliament), Ms. Shruti Kapila (University Lecturer, Cambridge University) and, Mr. Alok Prasanna (Senior Resident Fellow, Vidhi).

View the video for event here

Vidhi seeks legal recognition for Advance Directives

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The Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, represented by Senior Advocate, Mr Arvind Datar, intervened before a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court today in a writ petition filed by Common Cause, seeking legal recognition for Advance Directives, also known as living wills. Advance directives are instruments that allow a person to express her prior wishes regarding what medical treatment she should or should not receive at a future time, should she lack the capacity to make an informed decision then. Vidhi argued that the recognition of Advance Directives was a necessary extension of the right to life and the right to die with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution, as well as the right to refuse medical treatment. Vidhi provided the Court with examples of legislation from other jurisdictions recognising advance directives and asked the Court to lay down guidelines that would grant legal validity to Advance Directives while also preventing their misuse.

A copy of Vidhi's written submissions is available here. Vidhi's intervention application can be accessed here

The Vidhi Dialogues: In conversation with Ms. Anubha Rastogi, Dr. Aparna Chandra and Dr. Suneeta Mittal

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The Supreme Court, in K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India, recognized the concept of 'bodily integrity' as an element of the right to privacy. At the same time, the Supreme Court and High Courts have been witnessing individual petitions for the right to seek abortion beyond 20 weeks- including those by minor rape victims. These petitions bring to light several criticisms of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The criticisms may be science-based (progress in medical science may allow for later-term safe abortions), ethics-based (the decision-making in the Act is not centred around the woman seeking abortion) or constitutional (the Act excessively restricts bodily intergrity). The Surrogacy Bill, 2016 raises similar questions about the right of women to enjoy autonomy in reproductive decisions that affect their bodies.

In the next edition of Vidhi Dialogues, three women- an academic, an advocate and a medical practitioner come together to deliberate on the issue of reproductive autonomy and bodily integrity. The discussion will centre around the intersection between legal, ethical and medical frameworks on the issue of reproductive rights.

Ms. Anubha Rastogi is a Mumbai-based lawyer with 14 years of experience in litigation on issues of human rights violation as well as in advocacy, research and policy-making. She has worked extensively on issues of women's rights including sexual and reproductive health from a rights-based point of view.

Dr. Aparna Chandra is an Assistant Professor of Law and Research Director at the Centre for Constitutional Law, Policy and Governance at National Law University, Delhi. She is currently collaborating with the Centre for Reproductive Rights, New York, on a manual on Reproductive Rights in India. She has previously co-taught a course in collaboration with Cornell Law School on Surrogacy Law and Practice.

Dr. Suneeta Mittal is Director & HoD of Obsretics & Gynecology at Fortis Memorial Research Institute. She has worked in this field for more than 42 years, including pioneering work in introducing Emergency Contraception in India, issuance of guidelines on safe abortions, and a collaboration with the Indian Government and UNICEF on Minimum Standards for Mother Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. She previously served as Director-in-Charge, WHO-CCR in Human Reproduction, AIIMS, New Delhi for more than 12 years and as short-term consultant for WHO and UNFPA for reproductive health issues at several countries.

The dialogue is scheduled for 13th October, at 6.30 p.m., at the India International Centre, Lecture Room I, Annexe.

For admission to the event, we will prioritise guests who have registered. You can register for the event here

We look forward to seeing you!

The Vidhi Dialogues: In Conversation with Justice A.P. Shah and Mr. Sushant Singh

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With the retirement of Justice Khehar at the end of August, Justice Dipak Misra has been appointed the next Chief Justice of India. A Memorandum of Procedure on the appointment of judges, however, is still to be finalised. General Bipin Rawat was also named the Chief of Army Staff a few months ago, superseding two senior army officers. These developments give rise to questions about whether the seniority convention as an objective method of appointment should continue, or should be replaced with appointment based on merit.

In this edition of Vidhi Dialogues, Justice A.P. Shah and Mr. Sushant Singh will discuss their views on ‘Seniority Convention and Appointments to High Offices’ and whether a better selection mechanism can be developed for these appointments.

Justice A.P. Shah is the Chairman of the 20th Law Commission of India, and has served as the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court.

Mr. Sushant Singh is the Associate Editor at the Indian Express. He has earlier served with the Indian Army and as a peacekeeper with the United Nations.

The dialogue is scheduled for 15th September, at 7 p.m., at the India International Centre, Conference Room II.

For admission to the event, we will prioritise guests who have registered. You can register for the event here

We look forward to seeing you!