Judicial Reform

Video: 'Great Cases' talk by Mr. Anand Grover on the Novartis case

On August 26, 2016, Vidhi continued its Great Cases series with a talk by Mr. Anand Grover, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India on the Novartis Case (Novartis AG v. Union of India). The primary issue in the Novartis Case revolved around whether the pharmaceutical company Novartis AG could patent the anti-cancer drug, Gleevec in India. After litigation that lasted seven years, the Supreme Court held that Novartis cannot be given any patent for this drug. The case pertained to the patentability criteria in the context of Gleevec, and also involved important human rights issues.

At the talk, Mr. Grover shared insights from appearing for the Cancer Patients Aid Association in this case. Watch the video here:

Video: Panel Discussion on Appointments to the Lower and Higher Judiciary

On 31st August, 2016 Vidhi and the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms organised panel discussions on appointments to the lower and higher judiciaries in India. Ms. Maja Daruwala, Director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative moderated the first panel on appointments to the higher judiciary, which included Senior Advocates, Mr. Anil Divan and Mr. Shanti Bhushan, among others. The second panel on appointments to the lower judiciary was moderated by Vidhi Senior Resident Fellow Mr. Alok Prasanna Kumar, and comprised Gen. Secy., National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights Mr. Paul Divakar, NLU-Delhi Assistant Professor Ms. Aparna Chandra, and Senior Advocate Mr. Sanjay Hegde.

Watch the discussion here:

Event: 'Great Cases' talk by Ms. Nitya Ramakrishnan

On the 29th of July, Vidhi continues its Great Cases series with a talk by Ms. Nitya Ramakrishnan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India on the Parliament Attack Case (State (NCT of Delhi) v. Navjot Sandhu).

The genesis of the Parliament Attack Case lies in the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001. In its judgment in 2005, the Supreme Court awarded death sentence to Mohd. Afzal. While one of his co-accused was convicted with imprisonment for 10 years, two others were acquitted by the Court. The judgment raised several important issues pertaining to criminal law and criminal procedure in a rule of law state. Ms. Ramakrishnan will share her insights on the nuances involved in criminal law matters as well as the compelling human rights concerns involved in such cases.

Ms. Ramakrishnan is a Senior Advocate in the Supreme Court of India. She is a distinguished human rights lawyer and has been a defense counsel in several prominent criminal trials, such as the Haren Pandya Murder Case and the 1993 Bombay serial bomb blasts case. She has also authored a book titled ‘In Custody: Law, Impunity and Prisoner Abuse in South Asia’ published by Sage Publications, India.

The talk with be held on Friday, July 29 at 5.30 p.m. at the India International Centre Annexe, Lecture Hall 2, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi – 110003. Do register here!

Event: 'Great Cases' talk by Mr. Arvind P. Datar

Vidhi continues its Great Cases series with a talk by Mr. Arvind P. Datar, Senior Advocate, High Court of Madras on the Sahara v. SEBI case (Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Limited v. Securities and Exchange Board of India).

Sahara v. SEBI raises important questions relating to securities and company law, and also delves into issues relating to contempt of Supreme Court orders and personal liberty of an incarcerated individual. Mr. Datar will share his insights from appearing for SEBI in the case.

Mr. Datar regularly appears before the Supreme Court of India and has appeared in leading cases such as the National Company Law Tribunal case, the National Tax Tribunal case, and the landmark National Judicial Appointments Commission case. He has authored the multi-volume ‘Datar Commentary on the Constitution of India’, published by LexisNexis and co-authored the book ‘Nani Palkhivala: The Courtroom Genius’.

The talk with be held on Friday, April 8 at 5:30 p.m. at UChicago Centre, DLF Capitol Point, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, New Delhi – 110001.

Do register here. We look forward to seeing you!

Event: 'Great Cases' talk by Ms. Rebecca John

On the 26th of February, Vidhi continues its ‘Great Cases’ series with a talk by Ms. Rebecca John, Senior Advocate, High Court of Delhi on the Hashimpura Massacre Case (State of Uttar Pradesh v. Surender Pal Singh and Others).

Ms. John is a distinguished criminal lawyer with many years of experience before the High Court of Delhi and the Supreme Court of India. She has been involved as a defense counsel in several prominent and high-impact criminal law cases, such as the Arushi Talwar murder trial, the Delhi serial bomb blasts of 2005, and the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. 

At the event, Ms. John will discuss her reflections on the judgment of the Delhi trial court in the Hashimpura Massacre case, which raised compelling questions regarding the criminal justice system of the country, and her experience of having represented the victims and survivors.

The talk will be held on Friday, February 26, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at the India Islamic Cultural Centre, Conference Room 1.

Do register here. We look forward to seeing you!

Video: Panel Discussion on the NJAC Verdict

Watch the proceedings of the Vidhi Panel held on 5th November, on the ‘NJAC Verdict Deconstructed’ and its implications on constitutional law and theory in India.

Vidhi invited an eminent group of experts to throw light on the subject, including Mr. Arvind Datar, Mr. A K Ganguli Senior Advocate, Mr. Raju Ramachandran, and Mr. Madhav Khosla.  


Event: 'Great Cases' talk by Mr. P. S. Narasimha

On the 22nd of January, Vidhi continues its 'Great Cases' Series with a talk by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Mr. P. S. Narasimha on the Italian Marines case. In his capacity as ASG, Mr. Narasimha has appeared on behalf of the Government of India in leading cases such as the National Judicial Appointments Commission case, the Coal Block Allocation case and the ongoing Uttarakhand Hydroelectric Power Plants case.  

The talk will be held on Friday, January 22nd, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at the India International Centre - Annexe, Lecture Room 2.



Panel Discussion: The NJAC Verdict Deconstructed

On 5th November, Vidhi organized a panel discussion on the ‘NJAC Verdict Deconstructed’ and its implications on constitutional law and theory in India.

The event was moderated by Vidhi’s Research Director Dr. Arghya Sengupta. Vidhi invited an eminent group of experts to throw light on the subject. The panel consisted of Mr. Arvind Datar, Senior Advocate, who appeared for the petitioners in the NJAC case; Mr. A K Ganguli Senior Advocate, amicus curiae in the Suraz India case where the Supreme Court first expressed concern about the Collegium; Mr. Raju Ramachandran, Senior Advocate, one of the leading authorities in India on the basic structure doctrine, and Mr. Madhav Khosla, PhD candidate at Harvard University and author of Oxford India's Short Introduction to the Indian Constitution.

The discussion revolved around four main themes: first, the implications of the judgment for the basic structure doctrine, second, the conceptualisation of judicial independence in the judgment,  third, the composition of the NJAC, specifically the inclusion of the Law Minister and the eminent persons, and fourth, the criticisms of the collegium in the case, and the way forward for collegium reform. An engaged audience pushed for greater exploration of these themes in the lively Q&A that followed the panel discussion.

'Great Cases': Talk by Mr. Mohan Parasaran on the Vodafone case

On 31st October, Vidhi organized its sixth talk in the 'Great Cases' series by Mr. Mohan Parasaran, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India on the Vodafone tax case (Vodafone International Holdings v Union of India).

Mr Parasaran, obtained his law degree from the Delhi University and his Masters in Law from the University of Cambridge. He started the practice of law at the Madras High Court in 1985.  He was appointed Additional Solicitor General of India in 2004 and served in that capacity till February 2013 when he was appointed Solicitor General of India. 

In the event organized by Vidhi, Mr. Parasaran spoke about the dispute between Vodafone UK and the Indian Income Tax Department regarding the payment of Rs. 11000 crores as tax deductible at source by Vodafone for its Rs. 55,000 crore purchase of Hutchison Whampoa's mobile phone services business in India.

 Mr Parasaran appeared on behalf of the Tax Department in all the rounds of litigation concerning the Vodafone case before the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court in his capacity as the then Additional Solicitor General of India.  

The video of the proceedings can be accessed below:

New Judicial Reform Projects


Previously, the Judicial Reform Initiative has undertaken several projects, including detailed study and analysis of the growing trend of 'Tribunalisation' and shortcomings in different statutory tribunals. 

Over the next few months, the Initiative will be involved in a project titled 'Strengthening Mediation as a Viable Dispute Resolution Mechanism in India'. The project will undertake a review of mediation practices in India and recommend requisite steps to enhance its role by structuring out a more formal procedure to conduct mediation proceedings. 

The Initiative will also be working on a project titled 'Breaking the Backlog: Analysis of the Case Workload of High Courts and District Courts in India'. The objective is to empirically analyse judicial backlog and pendency of cases in these High Courts and District Courts, and propose necessary procedural reforms to ameliorate this situation.

Great Cases: Talk by Mr Shyam Divan on the Naz Foundation cases

Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy cordially invites you its fifth talk in the ‪Great Cases‬ series by Mr. Shyam Divan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India on Naz Foundation v. NCT of Delhi and Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation.

Mr. Divan is a distinguished lawyer with many years of experience before the High Court of Bombay and the Supreme Court of India. He has been involved in several prominent constitutional law and environmental law cases. He has also co-authored a book titled “Environmental Law and Policy in India”. At this event, Mr. Divan will discuss his reflections on both cases, which have had a lasting impact on LGBT rights.

Date: August 22nd
Time: 5:30 pm
Venue: UChicago Centre, DLF Capitol Point, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, New Delhi - 110001.

There are limited number of seats at the venue, so please register on the link given below to provide us with a confirmation of your attendance.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/great-cases-talk-by-mr-shyam-d… .

We look forward to seeing you!

Audio: 'Great Cases' Talk by Sidharth Luthra

In the fourth talk of the Great Cases Series, Senior Advocate Mr. Sidharth Luthra narrated his experiences in the two cases - the Subramaniam Swamy case, relating to Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 in the context of investigation of corruption in public offices and in the case relating to the commutation of death sentences of the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi. Mr Luthra also discussed the background of these cases, the legal issues involved and the possible future consequences.

Thereafter, a wide-ranging discussion between Mr Luthra and the members of the audience followed, where the two cases as well as various aspects of criminal law and constitutional law were discussed.

'Great Cases' Talk by Ms. Karuna Nundy on Shreya Singhal v. UOI

In the third talk of our series on 'Great Cases', Ms. Karuna Nundy, who appeared on behalf of PUCL in Shreya Singhal v. Union of India, spoke about the impact of the judgment on the development of free speech laws in India, and her experiences in court while litigating this case. The complete video of her talk can be accessed on the website of The Firm

'Great Cases' Talk by Mr. Raju Ramachandran on the Ajmal Kasab Case

Mr. Raju Ramachandran spoke to an audience of 60-odd lawyers, journalists and scholars about his experiences as amicus curiae to the Supreme Court in the Ajmal Kasab decision. Through his experience of being asked to defend Kasab, the reactions he faced and the arguments presented in Court, he raised larger questions on the role of an amicus, which led to a lively discussion after the talk.

State of the Nation’s Tribunals

Ever since the first tribunal, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (‘ITAT”), was set up in 1941, tribunalisation has been seen as a panacea for the litigation explosion being faced by the regular court system in India.  However, over time, stakeholders have expressed serious concerns regarding the constitution and functioning of tribunals.

Vidhi has embarked on a series of  reports to address macro level issues with the functioning of tribunals and tribunalisation per se, and also to analyse the concerns raised and suggest reform where necessary.

Our first report examines the functioning of Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (“TDSAT”). The report inter alia highlighted certain concerns as regards the functional autonomy of TDSAT such as (i) Lack of ability to hire its own staff; (ii) Dependence on the Central Government for funding and (iii) Lack of separate, independent infrastructure.

The second report in this series analysed the normative and functional independence with which the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (“IPAB”) operates.  The report inter alia demonstrated that first, the qualifications of persons who can be appointed as Expert Members to the IPAB did not commensurate to the jurisdiction and powers of the IPAB. Second, there was no protection against unfair variation in the terms and conditions of service once a Member of the Tribunal has been appointed. The report also suggested the legislative changes that were required to adequately safeguard the independence of IPAB.  Vidhi’s third report in this series evaluated the normative and functional independence with which 29 tribunals in India operate in light of the critical Supreme Court judgement in Madras Bar Association v. Union of India which declared the setting up of National Tax Tribunal as unconstitutional.

At present, we are assisting the Ministry of Law and Justice in overhauling and streamlining of the judicial tribunals system in India.

'Great Cases' Talk by Mr. TR Andhyarujina on Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala

Andy talk.jpg

A snapshot of the first talk by Mr. Andhyarujina on Kesavananda Bharati case for our series on Great Cases held last Friday at India International Centre.

The video of the entire talk can be accessed on the website of the CNBC TV18's show 'The Firm', here: