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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. Malavika Parthasarthy
Research Fellow

Malavika holds a BA. LL.B (Hons.) from National Law University Delhi. She is passionate about legal anthropology, constitutional law, human rights law, feminist jurisprudence and animal rights. At NLUD, she was involved in various research projects such as the Death Penalty Research Project, the Supreme Court Empirical Analysis Project, the HRLN Project on Prisoners’ Rights, and the CRR Project on Reproductive Rights. While at law school, she co-founded the GenderCircle, a student group that engages with issues of gender and sexuality, conducting sensitization campaigns and hosting a lecture series, and was also involved in the Public Law & Policy Discussion Group.

At the Centre, she is assisting Dr. Aparna Chandra with a book on the Indian Supreme Court, that is being written in collaboration with Prof. William Hubbard, University of Chicago Law School, and Prof. Sital Kalantry, Cornell Law School.

Ms. Shreya Shree
Research Fellow

Shreya holds a B.A. LL.B (Hons.) degree from National Law School of India University, Bangalore, where she received the Temasek Foundation’s Leadership Enrichment and Regional Networking scholarship award for a semester-exchange at National University of Singapore. She also holds a LL.M degree from National Law University, Delhi, where she was the recipient of the gold medal for securing the first rank and the Vice Chancellor’s gold medal for overall best female student of her batch. Her LL.M. dissertation involved an empirical study on medical examination of the accused in rape investigation.

Before pursuing her masters degree, Shreya worked as an associate with Khaitan & Co., New Delhi. At CLPG, she is primarily working on Reproductive Justice in India Project, a joint initiative of CLPG and the Centre for Reproductive Rights, New York. She is assisting the directors of the Centre in editing and reviewing a compendium on reproductive justice in India that will serve as a reference material for judges and practitioners on reproductive rights case laws.

She is interested in empirical legal research, medical jurisprudence, criminal law, gender justice, rights of the marginalised and barriers to livelihood.



CENTRE ACTIVITIES- ONGOING

 

PROJECTS


CLPG-CRR Study on Legal Barriers to Accessing Safe Abortion Services in India


The Centre in collaboration with the Centre for Reproductive Rights, New York is undertaking a study on the legal barriers to accessing safe and comprehensive abortion care in India. The aim of the study is understand, document and analyse the restrictions placed by these barriers on those seeking and those providing abortion services, and the harm caused to women. The study will be based on field work in select states, survey of existing literature and analysis of national, international and comparative norms. The findings of the study will be published in a report that will aid in steering the legislative and judicial discourses on abortion law and rights in India.

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

CLPG-MWCD Project on Women in Detention (2018)


The Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India undertook a study focusing on the needs of women prisoners and their children. The main aim of this project was to examine all relevant rules relating to incarceration from the perspective of women prisoners. It involved research and study of existing domestic and international norms, standards and court decisions on treatment of women prisoners, recommending revisions in the national model prison manual, providing draft rules governing official and non-official visitors to women’s prisons and suggesting rehabilitation measures for released women prisoners.

The Centre submitted a detailed report to the Ministry based on a survey of literature, especially field studies on women prisoners and their children. This report incorporates the perspectives gained from the work of the Centre in prisons, particularly in Jail No. 6 of the Tihar Prisons, New Delhi.