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CENTRE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, POLICY AND GOVERNANCE


ABOUT THE CENTRE

The Centre for Constitutional Law, Policy and Governance focuses on foregrounding rights, rightslessness, and other vulnerabilities in understanding, critiquing, and reforming laws, legal institutions, and modes of governance, so that they reflect the constitutional ideals of justice. The Centre has the following objectives:

  1. To engage with constitutional theory and its practical application in framing law and policy in order to realize the constitutional vision of a rights-based just legal order.
  2. To undertake empirical and other studies on the working of the legal system and its interactions with social norms and structures, in order to engage in justice oriented law, policy and governance reform.
  3. To focus heavily, though not exclusively, on courts as institutions that are mandated to realize the constitutional vision of justice.
  4. To engage in action-oriented research for rights-based law and governance reform including through interventions in various fora such as governmental and judicial institutions.
  5. To create and disseminate knowledge about constitutional law, policy and governance through publications, class-room teaching and other allied activities, including focusing on clinical legal education on issues of access to justice.
  6. To approach all questions from a comparative perspective in order to place Indian constitutional praxis in context and understand and evaluate options and alternatives for policy and law reform.


PEOPLE


Prof. (Dr.) Mrinal Satish
Executive Director


[Click here to read profile]

Dr. Aparna Chandra
Research Director

[Click here to read profile]

Ms. Becky Elizabeth Isaac
Research Fellow

Becky completed her BA (Economics) from Stella Maris College Chennai and obtained her MA in Social Work (Criminology and Justice) from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, where she was the recipient of the award for best dissertation along with the prize for the best student of her batch at the Centre for Criminology and Justice. Besides, she has qualified the UGC-NET for both Criminology and Social Work.

Post her Masters, she was awarded the Legislative Assistants to Members of Parliament (LAMP) Fellowship. She has helped draft Private Members’ bills, resolutions and several other submissions that were introduced in the Parliament. After the LAMP Fellowship, Becky worked as a Programme Manager with the Additional Skill Acquisition Program of the Government of Kerala. She has also worked as a Research Associate with Quest Alliance, Bangalore.

At the Centre, Becky works on the Prison Advocacy Project, funded by Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee. She coordinates the research activities for the project and is working on preparing a report on the reasons for delay in trials for under-trial prisoners in Delhi’s Tihar prison. Becky’s research interests include Juvenile Justice, rehabilitation measures in the juvenile justice system, skill development programmes for children in conflict with law, children of prisoners and legal aid procedure for under trial prisoners.

Ms. Meher Dev
Research Fellow

Meher holds a B.A. LL.B (Hons.) from Jindal Global Law School and graduated with a gold medal for her outstanding leadership and excellence in academics. She founded the Women and Law Society at her law school and continues to be an active alumna member.

Before joining the Centre, Meher was practising women’s rights law with Senior Advocate Ms. Indira Jaising. She has worked on issues of discrimination faced by women on account of religious practices, sexual harassment, domestic violence, employment policies, and advocated for rights of women to: equality, family, work, health, political participation and dignity. Some of the landmark cases she has worked on include the Triple Talaq case and the Sabarimala Temple entry case.

Meher has engaged in advisory and policy work in partnership with NGOs like Lawyers Collective and provided voluntary support to NGOs like Majlis and IProbono. She has assisted corporates in complying with laws governing sexual harassment at the work place and in holding inquiries by serving as an independent member on their internal complaints' committees.

At CLPG, Meher is primarily working on the Reproductive Justice in India Project, a joint initiative of CLPG and the Centre for Reproductive Rights, New York. She is researching to produce a book on reproductive rights in India that will serve as reference material for judges and practitioners on reproductive rights case laws, international human rights laws and best practices. She will also be assisting in teaching a seminar course on Reproductive Justice at NLUD.



CENTRE ACTIVITIES- ONGOING

 

PROJECTS


CLPG-CRR Reproductive Rights in India Project (2017-2018)


The Centre in collaboration with the Centre for Reproductive Rights, New York is conceptualizing, researching for, and producing a manual on reproductive rights in India that will serve as a reference book for judges, legal practitioners and students on reproductive rights case laws, international human rights laws and best practices. The research undertaken for the manual will also be used to teach an elective course on reproductive rights at NLU Delhi.

CLPG-Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee Prisons Project


CLPG is collaborating with the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee to work on two projects on undertrial incarceration in Delhi. The projects involve preparing periodic reports on the status of each case, documenting the causes of delay (if any), compliance with guidelines and laws, and availability of bail for the incarcerated person. The Centre will also prepare a policy proposal based on these cases highlighting systemic concerns and blockages in the criminal justice system, and providing suggestions for reforms.

Project on Empirical Analysis Of Supreme Court Decisions


This research project, funded by the University of Chicago, is a collaboration between Dr. Aparna Chandra, Research Director of the Centre, Prof. Sital Kalantry (Cornell Law School) and Prof. William Hubbard (University of Chicago Law School). The project involves an empirical analysis of the functioning of the Indian Supreme Court by examining all reported decisions of the Court in the period 2010-2015. The results of the exercise will be published in a series of articles and a book.

The first published paper is available here.

Fair Trial Manual


The Centre is collaborating with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative to revise and update the 2010 edition of CHRI’s "Fair Trial Manual: A Handbook for Judges and Magistrates".

Report on issues of bail for women prisoners


The Delhi High Court, in Court on Its Own Motion v. State [Writ Petition (Crl.) 1352/2015) asked Prof (Dr.) Mrinal Satish and Dr. Aparna Chandra to submit a report on the issues of bail for women prisoners lodged in Tihar Jail, New Delhi. Reports were submitted in July 2017 and again in December 2017. The Court has issued orders on the basis of the submissions made by the CLPG team. The matter is currently ongoing, and further reports and submissions are being made.

Orders are available here.

Legal Awareness and Counselling Sessions at Jail No. 6, Tihar Prisons.


The Centre for Constitutional Law, Policy and Governance was requested by the Superintendent of the Women’s Prison, Tihar Jail, New Delhi to address issues faced by prisoners on access to legal aid/legal information. Thereafter, the Centre has been conducting weekly legal counselling sessions for women prisoners.



CENTRE ACTIVITIES- COMPLETED

 

PROJECTS



CLPG-Daksh Rule of Law Project

CLPG and Daksh collaborated on analyses of the data on the Indian judicial system generated by Daksh, as well as other publicly available data on the Indian judiciary. The aim of the collaboration was to provide data-driven inputs into debates and discourses around judicial reform in India.

Two articles on the judicial system appeared here and here.

Blog posts based on this collaboration appeared here, here, and  here.
Monitoring and Evaluation of the Implementation of the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2006

CLPG collaborated with the Lawyers Collective Women’s Rights Initiative on an empirical study analyzing the working of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2006. The project involved an analysis of orders passed under the Act, by courts across the country. A report on the results of this study will be published soon.

Prisoners’ Rights Manual

The Centre collaborated with Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) to revise and update HRLN’s Prisoners’ Rights Manual. These manuals provide ready reference material for lawyers and civil society organizations working on the issue of prisoners’ rights.

The Manuals are available here and here.


CONSULTANCIES


Law Commission of India’s 262nd Report on the “Death Penalty”


Dr. Mrinal Satish and Dr. Aparna Chandra were both members of the Sub-Committee formed by the Commission to undertake a comprehensive study of the death penalty in India and to formulate drafts of the Report. Student fellows of the Centre provided research assistance to the Sub-Committee.



Read report here

245th Report on Arrears and Backlog: Creating Additional Judicial (Wo)manpower:


Dr. Aparna Chandra worked with the Law Commission of India on its 245th report on “Arrears and Backlog: Creating Additional Judicial (Wo)manpower.” This report was prepared on the directions of the Supreme Court in Imtiyaz Ahmad v. State of UP, AIR 2012 SC 642. The report focuses on determining the number of judges required for reducing backlog of cases in the district judiciary. Dr. Chandra worked on collating and analysing data, as well as drafting the report.



Read report here

Project on Process Re-engineering in the Criminal Justice System:

The Centre, through Dr. Mrinal Satish and Dr. Aparna Chandra provided assistance to the Law Commission of India in the preparation of a proposed report advising the E-Committee of the Supreme Court of India on necessary amendments to be made to rules of criminal courts in order to facilitate usage of technology to make the systems more efficient, accessible and transparent.

Consultancy for the Law Commission’s 273rd report on Implementation of UN Convention Against Torture through Legislation (2017)


The Centre for Constitutional Law, Policy and Governance was requested by the Law Commission of India to provide inputs/expert opinion for its report on implementation of the UN Convention Against Torture.



Read Report here

Deposition before the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare relating to the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016


Prof. (Dr.) Mrinal Satish and Dr. Aparna Chandra in collaboration with Cornell Law School, submitted a memorandum to the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare on the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016. The Centre Directors were invited for a deposition before the Committee. These recommendations have been accepted by the Parliamentary Standing Committee, in its Report tabled in Parliament.

Read Submission here

Read Parliamentary Report here

Submission and Consultancy for the Law Commission’s 268th Report on Amendments to Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 – Provisions Relating to Bail (2017)

The Centre submitted a detailed report to the Law Commission of India for its report on Bail Law Reform, and provided consultancy to the Law Commission on this issue. Many of the Centre’s suggestions were accepted by the Law Commission and found place in the final report.



Read Law Commission’s Report here