About the Institute
The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) was established in 1936, as the Sir Dorabji Tata Graduate School of Social Work to meet the emerging need for trained human service professionals accorded the status of deemed university in 1964, and funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Since then TISS is a postgraduate Institute of national stature today.
About the School of Law, Rights & Constitutional Governance
In pursuance of the TISS mission towards creating a people-centered society that promotes equality, social change and transformation and human rights for all, especially the marginalized and vulnerable groups, the School of Law, Rights and Constitutional Governance at TISS conducts a One Year Full time, LL.M Course in Access to Justice.
The School was set up at the Mumbai Campus in June 2012 with the main objective to advance socially relevant legal education and promote human rights education and lawyering.
One of the mandates of the school is to sensitize lawyers to work towards protecting and promoting justice for disadvantage communities in line with the tenets of Indian Constitution, thereby to work towards law reform.
About the Seminar:
India is a social, democratic, republic governed by rule of law. The Constitution of India guarantees all citizen basic fundamental rights including equal treatment and protection of law and access to legal including civil, criminal mechanisms and institutions. If law is equal for all, accordingly access to justice should be similarly available to all.
If equal justice under law is to be a reality, there has to be equal access to courts, institutions and legal mechanisms. Further, these Constitutional guarantees are coupled with state obligation under Directive Principles of State Policy to ensure justice in all spheres of life equitably among the citizenry.
Despite these robust constitutional protections, large sections of society particularly the marginalised groups owing to their disadvantageous socio-economic condition face onerous burden to access legal protection, judicial institutions. In addition to this, these communities receive least or minimal co-cooperation from law enforcement agencies to avail legal support.
It is usually observed that the marginalised communities are at the forefront of receiving oppressive treatment at the behest of legal institutions and remain largely vulnerable being inducted in prison, police custody with or without compliance with their legal safeguards. Keeping in line the present scenario, the courts being overburdened and law enforcement agencies acting arbitrarily, this further creates bar to access to justice for the same.
Today there is an access-to-justice “crisis” imperilling the country’s legal system as access to courts is expensive, time-consuming, procedure-ridden, technical, difficult to comprehend which impedes poor and vulnerable people from approaching the same.
Another vulnerable section of society which faces serious bar to access to justice is the trafficked victims or the survivors, particularly women and children are more vulnerable as these individuals are abducted, forced to cross border movement through middlemen, illicit agencies and they are exploited on various grounds as prostitution, organ extraction, forced labour supply among others. Besides these individuals are found to be without authoritative government identity proof, thereby they are looked upon as miscreants posing threat to law and order and hence they are oppressed by these authorities. Much worse, these individuals for the lack of identity proof are unable to approach the law enforcement agency and the judiciary for seeking prosecution and enforcement of their rights. Thus, these people remain outside the ambit of legal framework despite they being subject to grave violations of human rights. There is strong urge to secure not only protection of their rights but also rehabilitation, empowerment and reintegration in their respective societies.
In the light of the above-mentioned, this seminar has the objective to delve, deliberate and to generate awareness amongst students of varied disciplines, legal luminaries and the diaspora working on Access to Justice on two cardinal issues mainly access to justice through criminal and correctional legal mechanisms, its impact and implications on the marginalised community in terms of entitlement, legal empowerment and issues connected there with and possible resolve.
The School of Law, Rights and Constitutional Governance, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai in its one day National Seminar in association with Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission and International Justice Mission calls upon students, research scholars, legal professionals, academicians, civil society organisations, social activists and the representatives of governmental to actively participate and present their perspectives on the same.
Themes of the Seminar:
For the purpose of this seminar the themes and sub-theme are listed below are indicative of relevant research areas to give the prospective authors innovative prepositions about the ambit of discussion during the course of seminar.
However, the authors may draw upon issues not limited to but touching upon the same for abstract submission and paper presentation.
- Law enforcement agencies – Police and Investigating Agencies: A gateway to Access to Justice
- Issues and impediments in registration of FIR and Role of Police.
- Botched up investigations, procedural lacunae in criminal investigation and state responsibility.
- Viability of forensic and scientific evidences in criminal investigation, issues of consents versus just fair reasonable procedure.
- Policing the police – Role and functioning of Police Complaint Authority.
- Access to Justice for Victims & Witnesses
- Assessing functioning of Criminal Justice System towards vulnerables – Women, backward communities, migrant workers, destitute and others.
- Formulation and workability of Witness Protection Schemes or Support Systems under Criminal Justice System.
- Victim centric criminal justice – compensation and right based perspective for victims.
III. Rights of Prison Inmates
- Appropriateness of penal sanctions, terms of sentences for various offences under Criminal Law.
- Effectiveness of legal representation and legal aid to under trials and convicts under the statutory legal services authority.
- Differentiation, limitations in statutes & implication in prison inmate’s rights
- Functioning of prisons as restorative, reformative institution – Impact on prison inmates.
- Overcrowding in prisons and consequents human right and legal right abuse.
- Role of Judicial Institutions: Courts, Tribunals in Access to Justice
- Delays and arbitrariness in criminal trials – Challenges and way ahead.
- Appraisal of evidences and judicial accountability
- Role of public prosecutor in facilitating trials.
- Effective legal safeguards entitlement of prison inmates.
- Independent human rights institutions – Functioning, role in monitoring, reforming criminal and correctional justice.
- Human Trafficking: Control, Prevention and Rehabilitation of Trafficked Survivors
- Increasing incidences and causes of human trafficking including sex trafficking and other issues related to trafficking (trafficking for organ extraction, bonded labour, beggary, slavery)
- Rescue mechanisms, rehabilitations and socio-legal support for victims.
- Review and assessment of statutes and the recent bill (Trafficking of Persons Bill, 2016).
- Role of civil society organisations and independent human rights institutions in safeguarding the legal entitlements and empowerment of trafficked victims.
- Varying judicial interpretations on broadening the conceptualisation of human trafficking in national and international context.
The Registration fee for the seminar is as follows:
- Students from other Universities – ₹1200
- Faculty and professionals – ₹1700
- Delegates (non-paper presenters) – ₹1000
The seminar is open to all for attending and participation, subject to payment of mandatory registration fee.