en | 13:04min | 2020
Newslaundry / by Newslaundry Team
You may lately have come across stories of activists and journalists being charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, or UAPA. The UAPA is an anti-terrorism law which has been used against activists associated with the Bhima-Koregaon movement, the citizenship law protesters, and even a journalist on his way to cover the Hathras rape and murder…
Meghnad S takes you through the history of the UAPA, its evolution from an anti-secession legislation to being an anti-terrorism law, and how it has been misused by successive governments.
New Frame / by Alf Gunvald Nilsen
The Indian poet Varavara Rao was arrested in 2018 and is still being detained. His treatment is symptomatic of how the right-wing government is waging war on opposition and minority voices.
“This life in jail is life crippled –
You can no longer
Apprehend your world
Here your mind is an injured eye
That flutters shut”
This is how Varavara Rao, an octogenarian poet, writer and radical activist from the state of Telangana in southeast India, described his experience of imprisonment during the second half of the 1980s, in the essay collection Captive Imagination.
People’s organisations demand release of Bhima Koregaon case accused
The Times of India / by Siva G
Andhra Pradesh: Various people’s organisations demanded the police to release the arrested people’s organisations leaders including adivasis, women, dalits and minorities unconditionally along with the 16 persons detained illegally in the Bhima Koregaon case.
Tribal Rights Activist Among 67 Slapped With UAPA Over ‘Maoist Link’ Suspicion
The Wire / by Gali Nagaraja
Driven to a frenzy over purported statements given by Maoist sympathisers, Andhra police have arrested several human rights activists from Andhra Pradesh and Haryana.
Hyderabad: Athram Suguna, a 38-year old school teacher of the Gond tribe from Telangana’s Fakrigutta in Adilabad district, has been caught in a cat-and-mouse game with no end in sight.
Suguna works as a school assistant in a zilla parishad high school at Utnoor. After a group of suspected Maoist sympathisers supposedly spilled the beans on a network of Maoists to the police, the latter have framed her in a case under the draconian and stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Is India governed by the principles and norms laid down in the Constitution of India
The Leaflet / by Jacob Peenikaparambil
The Constitution of India was adopted more than two years after independence from British rule. It provided a common vision and set goals towards which both the government and people of India could strive as well as the foundational principles of governance of a nation.
Along with celebrations, this day is also for introspection for Indians. How far has the vision and goals of the constitution been realised? …
Dissent is demonised as anti-national by the government and the ruling party. The judiciary that is entrusted with the task of protecting the fundamental rights of the citizens is often shirking from its responsibilities.
Save Our Constitution
The Leaflet / by Cedric Prakash
In times when the Supreme Court is selectively granting relief for wide-scale violation of constitutional rights, it is important to save the constitution by saving the Article which embodied the heart and soul of the Constitution according to Dr Ambedkar i.e Art 32…
Fr Stan Swamy and fifteen others who are ‘allegedly’ involved in the Bhima-Koregaon conspiracy case are in jail- some of them languishing for more than two years now. Besides these, there are several others imprisoned under the UAPA, and were also charged and arrested on the archaic ‘sedition’ law and even on ‘contempt of court’.
The Leaflet / by Mihir Desai
Preventive detention laws and anti-terrorism laws, that deviate from regular principles of criminal law, have a history of misuse. In his speech delivered at the KG Kannabiran Lecture 2020, Senior Advocate MIHIR DESAI argues that the time has come to sideline the dreadful UAPA due to the increased and ever more dangerous misuse of anti-terror laws. People are being arrested just for dissenting with the government and denied bail.
Live Law / by Prof M Sridhar Acharyulu
We celebrate 70 years of Constitutional Governance in India, i.e., Bharath on 26th November 2020 with Damocles sword on free speech that could deprive personal liberty. None is bothered about those innocent, not very popular, common journalists and protestors who were arrested for talking against the establishment or protesting against Government policies like the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). In recent times, several Journalists have been charged under the sedition law, the Official Secrets Act, for incitement to riots and under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Left wing thinkers, poets and academicians are arrested without any convincing evidence or or charge, and are denied bail by the Courts.
The Wire / by The Wire Staff
The SAR urged authorities to repeal the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act “to ensure compliance with obligations under its constitution and international human rights law”.
Scholars at Risk (SAR), an international network of higher education institutions that aims to defend academic freedom, in its Free to Think 2020 report, has called on authorities in India to “ensure the autonomy and functioning of higher education institutions”… In India, the Free to Think 2020 report, the arrest of activists, including students and scholars, amidst nationwide lockdowns raised concerns that the government was “taking advantage of the crisis in order to crack down on dissent”.
Observer Research Foundation / by Niranjan Sahoo & Jibran Khan
The Democracy Report 2020 by V-Dem Institute created quite a storm recently in India’s policy circles. The report claimed that the world’s largest democracy is on the verge of losing its status as a democracy. Noting India’s rapid slide into an autocracy, the Sweden-based report, which produces the most comprehensive analyses on the health of democracy across the world, cited trends of dramatic erosion of basic civil liberties, particularly media freedom and suppression of the freedoms of free speech and dissent as the key reasons for this major dip…
The last two years, in particular, have witnessed a sharp rise in the arrests of several prominent human rights defenders, civil society leaders, agitating leaders and even protesting students under the UAPA and sedition laws, including Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Varavara Rao, Anand Teltumde, Gautam Navlakha, and Arun Ferreira.
‘Unfair To Target A Lawyer For Appearing For A Particular Client’: Justice Lokur
Live Law / by Radhika Roy
I think that it’s unfair to target a lawyer for appearing for a particular client”, said Justice (Retd.) Madan B. Lokur, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India at a virtual session hosted by Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum and Women in Criminal Law Association.
“If a lawyer is dealing with hundreds of COFEPOSA cases, you can’t say that he is also a smuggler. I don’t think the Judge should ever get involved in the relationship between a lawyer and a client”, the judge commented.
Video: Justice (retd.) Madan Lokur speaks on „Defending Liberties“
en | 1h 29min | 2020
By Bar & Bench
The former Supreme Court judge is speaking at a virtual discussion hosted by the Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum and WCLA.
Former Supreme Court Judge, Justice (retd.) Madan Lokur is speaking on the theme Defending Liberties in a virtual discussion to be hosted by the Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum and WCLA. Justice (retd.) Lokur will interact with Warisha Farasat, Tara Narula, Shalini Gera and Sowjhanya Shankaran during the discussion.
Read tweets/summaries by Live Law
Drawing by Arun Ferreira
Not Just NIA, Maharashtra Govt Too Is Responsible for Varavara Rao’s Failing Health
The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha
While the state government has spoken against the wrongful arrests of activists in the Elgar Parishad case, it did very little to provide timely medical care.
Telugu poet, writer and activist Varavara Rao was 78 years old when the Pune police arrested him in August 2018. At the time of his arrest, Rao was already suffering from several age-related health issues. His prolonged incarceration, coupled with the lack of medical care in prison and the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, has exacerbated his condition even further.
Podcast: Why Varavara Rao’s Treatment Raises Questions on Civil Liberties
The Quint / by Mghna Prakash
At a time of a pandemic are states acting responsibly with prisoners?
The Bombay High Court finally allowed 80-year-old Varavara Rao to be shifted from Taloja Jail to Nanavati Hospital for 15 days for medical treatment on 18 November… But why did it take so much active intervention in order for Rao to be treated and transferred to Nanavati Hospital? At a time of a pandemic are states acting responsibly with prisoners?
Listen to podcast
Arnab Goswami and Varavara Rao, Unequal Citizens Before the Law
The Wire / by N Venugopal Rao
While Goswami could move three levels of courts in quick succession within a week to secure his release, Rao has languished in jail in a fabricated case for two years, without trial and without bail.
Article 14 of the Indian constitution that “we, the people of India” conferred upon ourselves proclaims that “the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.”
But it seems this proviso is only a lofty goal enshrined in the statute, to be adhered to selectively.
Article 32: Rights for All or For a Favoured Few?
The Wire / by M Sridhar Acharyulu
Arnab Goswami’s case seems to have been an exceptional one where the SC felt it needed to intervene. It felt no such compunction in the case of Varavara Rao and countless others.
When the law becomes a weapon of oppression rather than an equalising force, democracy is in danger. Article 32 deals with the ‘Right to Constitutional Remedies’, and affirms the right of an individual to move the Supreme Court (SC) by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred in Part III of the constitution.