This year’s budget made a short yet significant reference to amendments that will be introduced in the Arbitration Act, 1996 to ‘streamline institutional arrangements for resolution of disputes in infrastructure related construction contracts, public-private partnerships and public utility contracts’. This, however, is not the first time that such reforms were suggested in the budget speech. Last year’s budget speech, also, proposed a ‘Public Contracts (Resolution of Disputes) Bill’ which, inter alia, made provisions for institution of separate tribunals for resolution of such disputes. Last year also witnessed, the constitution of India’s first institutional arbitration centre, the MCIA, and a 3-day […]

Darshan Kulkarni is part of the limited club of lawyers working on US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory and compliance. A member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania State Bar Associations, Darshan Kulkarni has also worked as a pharmacist for more than a decade, and has even participated as a clinician in clinical trials. In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Varun Marwah, among other things, Darshan Kulkarni speaks about the Indian legal landscape for pharmaceutical companies, investor confidence, and the limits of pharma regulation. Varun Marwah: Tell us more about your educational background. Darshan Kulkarni: We are at […]

Dispute financing (also known as third party funding, or litigation financing), an area of practice which is relatively unheard of in India is a multi-million dollar industry which is young, but growing by the day in countries such as USA, Australia and England. And Selvyn Seidel is one of the forerunners in this industry, being one the first few to have set up a company for dispute financing. Not just one, but two, first Burford Capital, and then Fulbrook Capital Management. In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Varun Marwah, Selvyn discusses the intricacies and nuances associated with dispute financing, […]

Sarah Grimmer, a former senior counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, was recently appointed as the Secretary General of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center. A graduate of the University of Wellington in New Zealand and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, Sarah Grimmer practiced Refugee Law before becoming a member of the international arbitration group at Shearman & Sterling LLP (Paris). She spent three years as deputy counsel at the ICC International Court of Arbitration (Paris), and has been with the Permanent Court of Arbitration for the last decade. In India to attend the NITI Aayog arbitration conference in […]

Stefan Schicker is a Partner at German law firm SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwalte. Specialising in the areas of Intellectual Property and Information Technology law, he spoke about his pet topic, the Darknet, at the ITechLaw Conference held in India earlier this year. In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Aditya AK, Schicker discusses the legal issues surrounding the Darknet, data protection, and how disruptive technologies are likely to affect legal professionals. Aditya AK: Could you give us a little background about your career as a lawyer? Stefan Schicker: I got my first computer, a Commodore C64, in the mid of 80’s. I […]

The Global Initiative for Access to Justice recently released the Access to Justice Index 2016. The Index, which found mention at the World Economic Forum, was the brainchild of NLSIU graduate Basavanagouda Patil. The Index attempts to quantify the level of access to justice in the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), based on various parameters like Government, Judiciary, Legal Profession and Legal Education. Among other findings, India was ranked second after South Africa overall, and was ranked last under the Legal Profession head. Bar & Bench’s Aditya AK caught up with Basavanagouda and Chief Editior […]

Mishi Choudhary, is a technology lawyer, Legal Director of the Software Freedom Law Center, New York and the Executive Director of Software Freedom Law Center, India. One of Asia Society’s 21 young leaders of 2015, Mishi Choudhary spends her time between New York and India, representing some of the most significant free software developers in the world. In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Varun Marwah, Mishi Choudhary talks about a wide range of topics covering, among other things, net neutrality, cyber security and online privacy. (Edited excerpts) Varun Marwah: As a lawyer, what does your work entail? Mishi Choudhary: I […]

The Supreme Court recently struck down the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) Telecom Consumers Protection (Ninth Amendment) Regulations, 2015, which prescribed penalties for call drops on telecom operators. The apex court brought up a number of issues, including the competence of TRAI to pass these Regulations, and the manifest arbitrariness of the amendment. It was also made clear that the regulator had failed to fulfill its mandate under the TRAI Act, which is to balance the interests of the consumers and the Telcos. Yesterday, Bar & Bench conducted a live Twitter Q&A with Rajeev Chandrasekhar, founder of BPL Mobile […]

Having set up a flourishing sports law practice in Bangalore, Nandan Kamath is an Indian Jerry Maguire of sorts. A graduate of the National Law School of India University, Kamath has a fairly illustrious academic track record. He did his B.CL from Oxford University after receiving a Rhodes scholarship. He then went on to pursue an LL.M. from Harvard University, before returning to set up the Law Offices of Nandan Kamath in 2006.  In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Aditya AK, Kamath talks about following his dream of being associated with sport, what it takes to be a successful […]

Taking into the consideration the urgent need to regulate the civil use of unmanned aircrafts (UAs), the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a set of draft guidelines for laying down rules governing the registration and usage of the UAs . In India, the existing aircraft rules do not account for unmanned vehicles, a void the DGCA hopes to fill up in the near future. Along with defining UA’s and UA Systems, the draft guidelines further: Classify the UAs into four categories depending on their weight and; Require a Unique Identification Number (UIN) for all UA operations in India. All civil […]

Last month, the Child Rights International Network released a report on child rights, more specifically, on children’s access to justice across the world. Titled Rights, Remedies and Representation, the report takes a detailed look at judicial systems across the world, and examines the rights granted (or often denied) to children. The report, in which India is ranked 43 in the world, also provides a comparative listing of countries ranked as per “how well” these countries “allow children access to justice”. In an e-mail interview with Bar & Bench’s Anuj Agrawal, CRIN’s Director, Veronica Yates, talks about the report, the recent amendment […]

Wolfgang Kaleck is the General Secretary of the  European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. In the second part of the interview with Bar & Bench’s Anuj Agrawal, the civil rights lawyer talks about the criminal liability of corporations, Edward Snowden, and more. Anuj Agrawal: Coming to the criminal liability of corporations, in the Jeddaliya interview you said,“A CEO can be as much as a war criminal as a Muammar Gaddafi.” Wolfgang Kaleck: Yes, but is a very difficult issue. Look, the most wonderful and comprehensive approach to massive human right trials were the Nuremberg trials organized by the Allied winners. The most well known […]

Wolfgang Kaleck is the General Secretary of the  European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. In the first part of an interview with Bar & Bench’s Anuj Agrawal, the civil rights lawyer talks about the “double standards” of international criminal law, going after the Bush administration, and more. Anuj Agrawal: What brings you to India? Wolfgang Kaleck: I wanted to get to know India better, see different parts of the country such as Bombay, and the North-East. In fact, I started my trip in the Andaman islands. Anuj Agrawal: So no work? Wolfgang Kaleck: I see myself as an intellectual so […]

Earlier this year, Columbia University launched an online database of court rulings on freedom of expression. Covering judicial decisions emanating from 65 countries, the database is curated by the Global Freedom of Expression and Information project. In an e-mail interview with Bar & Bench’s Anuj Agrawal, the project’s Program Officer Bach Avezdjanov talks about FoE trends, the global FoE report published in March this year, and much more. Anuj Agrawal: It has been over a year since the Global Freedom of Expression was launched. Can you share some of the significant learnings made so far? Bakhtiyor Avezdjanov: There is so much to share and most of […]

Sarayu Natarajan is currently pursuing her Ph.D. from King’s India Institute, an affiliate of King’s College, London. The NLSIU alumnus also holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. In this interview with Bar & Bench‘s Aditya AK, she talks about her research in electoral politics, solutions to improve the quality of education in Indian law schools, and more. Aditya AK: What prompted the shift to political research? Sarayu Natarajan: After working for McKinsey, I worked with an organisation called Elevar Equity and then Gray Matters Capital. Both of these were social enterprise funds, so while […]

Amba Salelkar is a Board Member at Equals Centre for Promotion of Social Justice, a disability rights advocacy organization. She has previously worked with Inclusive Planet Centre for Disability Law and Policy and prior to that, as a criminal lawyer in Mumbai with Raja Thakare & Chimalkar. In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Aditya AK, the NLSIU grad shares the trials and tribulations faced by a litigation lawyer with mental health difficulties, what it takes to be a policy lawyer, and more. Amba Salelkar describes her law school experience as a buffet in terms of opportunities. However, while practicing […]

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, started his career as an engineer in the Silicon Valley before becoming a telecom entrepreneur, and finally joining politics. In this interview with Bar & Bench’s Pallavi Saluja, Chandrasekhar talks about Net Neutrality, the role of the Supreme Court and why he filed the Section 66A petition. Pallavi Saluja: What is your stand on Net Neutrality? Rajeev Chandrasekhar: My position on net neutrality is very simple – the internet was designed and developed to be a public utility. It is a public space, which has no commercial ownership and no overwhelming influence. […]

It is his smile that stays with you long after the interview is over. It is a smile filled with optimism and hope and a powerful belief that things can change for the better. There is no bitterness, no anger. It is certainly not what you expect from someone who spent nearly five years in the anda barrack of Nagpur Central Jail. Accused and imprisoned for crimes he did not commit. Published in 2014, Arun Ferreira’s Colours of the Cage is an unflinching look at the Indian justice system. Right from outdated and draconian laws, to the people tasked with […]

Early last month, Akosha raised $16 million, with a projected valuation of $70 million. It was the third round of funding for the customer dispute redressal portal, with another round of infusion ($50 million) expected before the year ends. Akosha was founded by law graduate Ankur Singla five years ago, one of the earliest entrants in this space. In this interview with Associate Editor Anuj Agrawal, Singla talks about the lessons he has learnt along the way, employment trends, and what advice he has to offer for future entrepreneurs. (Excerpts below) Anuj Agrawal: A $16 million fund raise, an expected headcount of […]

In March this year, Member of Parliament Vivek Gupta introduced a Private Member Bill in the Rajya Sabha to set up a Bench of the Supreme Court in Kolkata. In an exclusive interview with Bar & Bench, he discussed the reasoning behind the Bill, and how the Bill would alleviate the difficulties of poor litigants. (Excerpts below) Bar & Bench- Why Kolkata? Why not an alternate Bench in any other state? Vivek Gupta- I belong to Kolkata. I am sure it will be a good idea if the Supreme Court or the government of the day concludes that there should […]

“And they reply that we have been told that your kok (womb) produces terrorists.” Forty-five minutes into the interview, Gagan Sethi looks right into my eyes and recounts Bilkis Banu’s deposition before a special court set up after the Godhra riots. The then 19-year old Bilkis was being attacked by men she thought were part of her family, and she was pleading for the men to stop tearing her clothes, stop raping her. For a moment, the only sound in the room is that of the whirring fan above. He blinks and the conversation meanders on, Gagan Sethi sharing his […]

Shubhankar Dam, an Assistant Professor of Law at the Singapore Management University School of Law, recently published a book on the history of ordinances in India. In this conversation with Bar & Bench, he talks about the common perception that ordinances enjoy, the role of the judiciary and the administrative challenges of a national law school. Bar & Bench: One-sixth of all federal legislations between 1952 and 2009 are in the form of ordinances. That’s a disturbing statistic. Were you surprised at this finding? Shubhankar Dam: I must say that I wasn’t really surprised by that. I began looking at […]

Babloo Loitongbam is one of the most well known human rights activist in Manipur and the founder of one of the earliest human right organisations in Manipur, Human Rights Alert. In Bangalore to attend a two-day conference organized by the Alternative Law Forum, Babloo spoke to Bar & Bench about the “Pandora’s box” that is human rights, the quiet persistence of Irom Sharmila and why he is grateful he studied mathematics in school. Bar & Bench: Human right issues in Manipur are not really picked up by mainstream media. Thoughts? Babloo Loitongbam: Well one of the reasons is that Manipur […]

Amy Hariani is the Director and Legal Counsel for the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), which is the largest bi-lateral trade organization between the U.S. and India representing about 350 companies that do business either in India or in the U.S. or both. Amy manages the Life Sciences and Legal and Professional Services portfolios at USIBC.  In this interview with Bar & Bench, Amy talks about investor sentiment – both from an Indian perspective and U.S. perspective, legal hurdles U.S. companies face while Investing in India, liberalization of Indian legal market and the Indian Bar growing in the US. Bar & […]

The Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission, chaired by Justice Srikrishna, has recently released its two-volume Report containing a series of wide-ranging suggestions on the manner in which the financial sector has been regulated in this country. One of the major reforms suggested by the Commission is a draft “Indian Financial Code” for regulating financial institutions in the country. This Code is intended to replace the bulk of the country’s existing financial law. The Commission, which was constituted on March 24, 2011, consisted of experts in law, public policy, administration, and finance. In the course of its existence, the Commission’s work included […]

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2012 was passed by the Rajya Sabha on February 26, 2013. In this interview with Bar & Bench,  Lawyer and Equality Activist Naina Kapur shares her thoughts on the Bill, and the reasons why she is disappointed with the way the legislation has come about.   Passed 16 years after the landmark Vishaka judgment, the new Bill seeks to provide for prohibition, prevention and redress against sexual harassment of women at the workplace. It defines sexual harassment to include any one or more of the following unwelcome acts […]

The three-member Committee headed by former Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma set up after the gang rape of a twenty-three year old student in Delhi, submitted its Report on January 23, 2012. The Committee, whose members include Justice (Retd) Leila Seth and former Solicitor General, Gopal Subramanium, in its 630-page report has looked at the entire gamut of laws relating to gender justice and crimes against women. Bar & Bench spoke to Justice Verma Committee Member and Senior Advocate Gopal Subramanium. Excerpts from the interview: Bar & Bench: 30 days, 70,000+ suggestions and a report which is more than […]

The preliminary rounds of the Men’s 100 Metre sprint at London 2012 start tomorrow. For one man, Justin Gatlin, it will mark a return to the stage that he once lorded over when we he won the Athens Olympics Gold Medal. But what a return it will be, with questions being asked from various quarters as to whether he should be there at all? In this column, I trace Gatlin’s tryst with the unsavoury side of sport, that of doping, his subsequent legal battles and his “road to redemption” upon return to competitive sprinting in 2010, culminating finally in his […]

Bar & Bench in conversation with CV Madhukar, who aims to strengthen the legislative debate in India by making it better informed, more transparent and participatory. He speaks with us about his background, work done by PRS, research methodology used and the future. Bar & Bench: On the intitial years CV Madhukar: I started like any other good south Indian student. I graduated with a civil engineering degree from the BMS College of Engineering. In my 3rd year, I realized that I wanted to do an MBA and later was admitted to the University of Houston, where I specialized in […]

Agatha Sangma (pictured) has the distinction of being the youngest Member of Parliament and is a Minister of State for Rural Development in the UPA government. Elected from the Tura constituency from the North Eastern state of Meghalaya, the Nationalist Congress Party MP is well aware of the rigmaroles of political life having seen her father, former speaker of Lok Sabha, P.A. Sangma go through the grind. A lawyer, environmentalist and an amateur photographer, Agatha Sangma speaks to Bar & Bench on law school, entry of foreign law firms and the problems faced by young girls from the North East.  How does […]