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DAKSH Podcast

English, National/National politics/National assembly, 1 season, 31 episodes, 14 hours, 19 minutes
About
Welcome to the DAKSH podcast. DAKSH is a Bangalore-based non-profit dedicated to judicial reforms and access to justice in India. Through this series, we will critically examine India’s laws, judicial administration, the prison system, family law and other topics that we hope will help you understand our public institutions and your rights. Join us every Tuesday, as we discuss and decode this system.
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Switching Sides: The Intricacies of Anti-Defection in Politics

After the nail-biting election results in India on June 4, 2024, with margins fluctuating dramatically, many contemplated the possibility of defections of elected politicians to other parties. Defections have become such a staple in Indian politics that social media was rife with memes about politicians being sequestered in resorts. Against this backdrop, this episode where Ninni Susan Thomas interviews MR Madhavan would offer some valuable insights. MR Madhavan is the co-founder and President of PRS Legislative Research. PRS was established to deliver high-quality, independent research to legislators, aiming to help them grasp the complexities of various issues and understand the impact of policies through data analysis. After exploring the history of the anti-defection law in India, the discussion in the episode moves to the repercussions of defection, the influence of the anti-defection law on parliamentary democracy, and its impact on legislative debates. The conversation also touches on the roles of the Speaker and the courts during defection crises, and Madhavan shares his perspectives on the future of the anti-defection law.   References: Explanation of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/understanding-the-tenth-schedule-explained/article67746169.ece Effectiveness of the anti-defection law: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/voices/anti-defection-law-doesnt-work-at-crunch-time-it-needs-to-be-scrapped/ Anti-defection law in practice: https://prsindia.org/articles-by-prs-team/the-absurdity-of-the-anti-defection-law Gaps in the anti-defection law: https://theleaflet.in/defects-writ-large-in-the-anti-defection-law/ Resort politics in India: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-61905894 Summary of Nabam Rebia judgement : https://www.scobserver.in/reports/nabam-rebia-deputy-speaker-arunachal-pradesh-presidents-rule-judgment-in-plain-english/ CREDITS: Host: Ninni Susan Thomas  This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Sean D’mello  Sound Design & Mixing:  Vijay Doiphode Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
6/10/202431 minutes, 26 seconds
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Listing of Cases

In this episode, Ninni Susan Thomas interviews Advocate Vikram Hedge, an Advocate-on-Record at the Supreme Court who practises at courts in Karnataka and Delhi, as well as in other High Courts and Tribunals. The conversation begins by shedding light on the lesser-known aspects of a lawyer's tasks, leading to discussions on common challenges faced by lawyers, litigants, and the public when accessing courts. Issues such as lack of adequate notice before hearings and the uncertainty surrounding court dates are explored. The importance of causelists in addressing these challenges is emphasised, along with suggestions on how they can be improved. Furthermore, the conversation delves into the necessity of listing rules to enhance transparency in the functioning of courts. If you like our podcast, do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/ References: On issues of listing at the Supreme Court: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/on-the-listing-of-cases-in-the-supreme-court-explained/article67625314.ece Need for listing practices in courts:: https://www.dakshindia.org/with-a-huge-backlog-of-cases-the-indian-judiciary-should-revisit-the-listing-practices-of-courts/ CREDITS: Host: Ninni Susan Thomas This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Sean D’mello  Sound Design & Mixing:  Vijay Doiphode Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
5/27/202436 minutes, 52 seconds
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The Rule of Law

Our guest for this episode is Justice (retd.) S Muralidhar, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Orissa and former Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Delhi High Court. In this episode we're diving into a topic that's at the heart of India's legal framework: the rule of law. What ensures that you, me, and every individual we pass on the streets or meet in our workplaces are all bound by the same set of legal rules? That's the rule of law in action. It's the glue that holds our diverse society together, ensuring that justice isn't just a lofty ideal but a tangible reality for every citizen, regardless of their background or influence. If you like our podcast, do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/ Rule of Law in India: A Quest for Reason, OUP India, 2018 Rule of law index https://worldjusticeproject.org/rule-of-law-index/   CREDITS: Host: Leah Verghese This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Sean D’mello  Sound Design & Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
5/20/202436 minutes, 49 seconds
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Marriage Equality Case

In this episode, Ninni Susan Thomas speaks to Senior Advocate Raju Ramachandran, a former Additional Solicitor General and who has been involved in influential cases related to constitutional law at the Supreme Court for more than 3 decades. Some  nuances about the Marriage Equality Case which was heard by the Supreme Court where the legal recognition of  same-sex marriages in India was sought for and he represented one of the petitioners were discussed. Other topics of discussion included whether the Supreme Court was the right forum for this adjudication, the impact of the judgement on other constitutional and discrimination cases,  the Supreme Court choosing not to decide on the notice provisions in the Special Marriage Act and his thoughts on the Supreme Court having asked for a decision on the issue to be made by a Committee to be constituted by the Union Government.  References:   Supriyo & Anr. v. Union of India, judgement in the Marriage Equality Case: https://main.sci.gov.in/supremecourt/2022/36593/36593_2022_1_1501_47792_Judgement_17-Oct-2023.pdf Round-up of the hearings and constitutional issues: https://indconlawphil.wordpress.com/2023/11/22/the-supreme-courts-marriage-equality-judgment-round-up/ Delinking personal laws: https://www.scobserver.in/journal/adjudicating-marriage-equality-an-opportunity-lost-or-a-bullet-dodged/ Effect on fundamental rights: https://www.scobserver.in/journal/marriage-equality-judgement-overlooking-fundamental-rights-justice-bhat-on-marriage-equality/#:~:text=There%20were%20four%20opinions%20among,of%20LGBTQIA%2B%20persons%20to%20marry. Effect on the queer community: https://repository.nls.ac.in/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1046&context=popular-media Court not dealing with the  notice provisions in Special Marriage Act: https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/same-sex-marriage-supreme-court-special-marriage-act-provisions-notice-objections-228449 CREDITS:Host: Ninni Susan Thomas This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Sean D’mello  Sound Design & Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
5/13/202427 minutes, 30 seconds
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Accessing the courts as journalists

In this episode of the DAKSH Podcast, Leah Verghese spoke to Apurva Vishwanath about court reporting. The courts are forbidding institutions with complex procedures. Often regular citizens can access the courts only through what is reported through the media. In this episode, Apurva discussed how she became a legal journalist, the challenges with legal reporting in India and live tweeting. If you like our podcast, do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/   MĀRGA – Media And its Role in Governance and Accountability https://www.dakshindia.org/marga/ Live tweeting from courts puts enormous burden on judges: CJI DY Chandrachud https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/live-tweeting-from-courts-puts-enormous-burden-on-judges-cji-dy-chandrachud-2348442-2023-03-18   CREDITS: Host: Leah Verghese This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Sean D’mello  Sound Design and Mixing: Vijay Doiphode Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
5/6/202428 minutes, 8 seconds
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The Model Code of Conduct

In this episode, the second in our series on elections, Leah Verghese discusses the Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct. Learn about what role the Model Code of Conduct plays in the conduct of free and fair elections, the effectiveness of the code and the challenges it faces in an ever-evolving political landscape. Editor’s note: This episode was recorded on the 2nd of April 2024, in the lead up to the general elections.   If you like our podcast, do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/ References     Expecting Model Code of Conduct to kick in, government departments speedrun project approvals https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/elections/lok-sabha/india/expecting-model-code-of-conduct-to-kick-in-government-departments-speedrun-project-approvals/articleshow/108538728.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst Lok Sabha elections 2019: ₹3000 crore haul by Election Commission, highest in Lok Sabha polls https://www.hindustantimes.com/lok-sabha-elections/lok-sabha-elections-2019-rs-3000-crore-haul-by-election-commission-highest-in-lok-sabha-polls/story-ugdYhuN5l2MNS2ppYRGWlI.html Lok Sabha polls cancelled in Tamil Nadu's Vellore after massive cash haul https://www.indiatoday.in/elections/lok-sabha-2019/story/lok-sabha-polls-cancelled-in-vellore-after-massive-cash-haul-1503419-2019-04-16 Mamata Banerjee's appeal to Muslims violated model code of conduct, says Election Commission https://www.hindustantimes.com/elections/west-bengal-assembly-election/mamata-banerjee-s-appeal-to-muslims-violated-model-code-of-conduct-says-ec-101617803773352.html  Model Code of Conduct for the Guidance of Political Parties and Candidates https://tmp.eci.gov.in/mcc CREDITS: Host: Leah Verghese This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Sean D’mello  Sound Design & Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome Research Assistance: Manushree Sarkar
4/29/202410 minutes, 6 seconds
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Election Commission

In this episode, the first in our series on elections, Leah Verghese discusses the Election Commission, the institution that oversees the mammoth task of elections in the world’s largest democracy. Learn more about this significant public institution, its origin, evolution, and the important personalities who shaped its trajectory.If you like our podcast, do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/References About Election Commission of India https://www.eci.gov.in/about-eci An Expert Explains: How EC evolved, what rules it follows in case of disagreement https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/an-expert-explains-how-election-commission-evolved-what-rules-it-follows-in-case-of-disagreement-5720029/ Anoop Baranwal vs. Union of India WP (CIVIL) NO.104 OF 2015 Appointment of CEC, EC | Supreme Court refuses to stay new law; issues notice for hearing in April https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/appointment-of-cec-ec-supreme-court-refuses-to-stay-new-law-issues-notice-for-hearing-in-april/article67733389.ece Manjari Katju, Election Commission and Changing Contours of Politics Economic and Political Weekly Vol. 44, No. 16 (Apr. 18 - 24, 2009) Manjari Katju, Election Commission and Functioning of Democracy Economic and Political Weekly , Apr. 29 - May 5, 2006, Vol. 41, No. 17 (Apr. 29 - May 5, 2006) R. P. Bhalla, Electoral Mechanism in India (1951-1971) The Indian Journal of Political Science Vol. 33, No. 1 (JAN-MAR, 1972) S.S. Dhanoa vs. Union of India (1991) 3 SCC 567 The Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term Of Office) Act, 2023 CREDITS:Host: Leah Verghese This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Sean D’mello  Sound Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome Research Assistance: Manushree Sarkar
4/22/202413 minutes, 11 seconds
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The End of the Electoral Bond Era

This episode is a collaboration with Grand Tamasha, an excellent podcast on the latest developments in Indian politics, economics, foreign policy, society, and culture. Milan Vaishnav, the host of Grand Tamasha, joins us for this bonus episode. On 15 February 2024, the Supreme Court, in a unanimous landmark verdict, struck down the controversial electoral bonds scheme. Given that general elections are just around the corner, Milan discussed how this judgment will impact the financing of political parties in the largest democracy in the world. If you like our podcast, do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/ The DAKSH Podcast https://www.dakshindia.org/the-daksh-podcast/ Ajoy Sinha Karpuram, Why did the Supreme Court strike down the Electoral Bonds Scheme? https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-law/supreme-court-electoral-bonds-verdict-9163729/ Arun Jaitley, Why Electoral Bonds are Necessary https://pib.gov.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=175452 Association for Democratic Reforms & Anr.  Writ Petition (C) No. 880 of 2017 https://main.sci.gov.in/supremecourt/2017/27935/27935_2017_1_1501_50573_Judgement_15-Feb-2024.pdf Part 1: Behind the BJP’s rise and rise, bonds, trusts and raids on corporates https://www.newslaundry.com/2024/02/20/behind-the-bjps-rise-and-rise-bonds-trusts-and-raids-on-corporates DAKSH Podcast, Crime and Politics (Milan Vaishnav) https:www.dakshindia.org/crime-and-politics/ Milan Vaishnav, On electoral bonds, a short-lived celebration https://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/on-electoral-bonds-a-short-lived-celebration-101708170676086.html Press Release: Introduction of the Scheme of Electoral Bond https://www.dea.gov.in/sites/default/files/Electoral%20Bonds_Press%20RELEASE_2-1-2018.pdf
2/28/202448 minutes, 9 seconds
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Algorithms in the judiciary

Technological interventions have the ability to enhance access and improve the efficiency of the various processes in the justice system. In this episode, we will discuss how technology can improve the justice system and how we should monitor that improvement. If you like our podcast do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/ CREDITS: Host: Sandhya PR This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Nikkethana K Sound Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome  
11/21/20227 minutes, 13 seconds
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Open Courts

Our legal system is based on the fundamental principle of open courts. Courts must be “open”, physically and metaphorically, to the public. We, as citizens, should know and understand what courts do for us. In this episode we explore what this principle means and ponder on how it can be used to promote transparency in the court system, right from entering courtrooms as ordinary citizens to considering the live-streaming of court proceedings. If you like our podcast do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/ Host: Anindita Pattanayak This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Nikkethana K Sound Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
11/14/202213 minutes, 2 seconds
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India’s first sedition trial and age of consent

The role of the state in reforming religious and social practices is a subject of heated debate in India. This is especially so when such reforms involve claims of women. A recent example is the debate around marital rape. In this episode we go back more than 130 years and examine the reactions to the British government  increasing the age of consent for women from 10 to 12 years and how these led to India’s first sedition trial. Research Assistance: Jiyon Chatterjee  If you like our podcast do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/ Reading list Chitranshul Sinha, The Great Repression India, Viking 2019 IshitaPande, "Phulmoni's body: the autopsy, the inquest and the humanitarian narrative on child rape in India." South Asian History and Culture 4.1 (2013): 9-30. Queen-Empress vs Hurree Mohun Mythee (1891) ILR 18 Cal 49 https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1410526/ Host: Leah Verghese This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Nikkethana K Sound Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome  
11/7/202215 minutes, 16 seconds
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Constitutionality of laws - An explainer

As many antiquated laws like Section 377, adultery and sedition are being questioned, do you ever wonder what challenging the constitutionality of a law really means? Have you been confused about what striking down and reading down laws are? In this episode, we break down the meaning of “unconstitutionality” and do a quick explainer of what it means to declare a law unconstitutional.  If you like our podcast do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/ Reading list: https://constitutionnet.org/vl/item/basic-structure-indian-constitution  CREDITS: Host: Anindita Pattanayak This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Nikkethana K Sound Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
10/31/202211 minutes, 30 seconds
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UK's Experience In Court Administration with Nick Goodwin

In this episode of the DAKSH podcast, we spoke to Nick Goodwin, CEO of His Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS), UK. HMCTS is a unique institution, a partnership between the judiciary and the parliament. It is responsible for the administration of criminal, civil and family courts and tribunals in England and Wales.  It assists the judiciary in its administrative and management functions. Nick Goodwin has joined us today to talk about the roles and responsibilities of the HMCTS, and its plans.  This episode was recorded on 5 September 2022 If you like our podcast do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/ Reading list: The HMCTS reform programme: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-hmcts-reform-programme HM Courts & Tribunals Service Framework Document https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/384922/hmcts-framework-document-2014.pdf Harish Narasappa and Leah Verghese, Mountain of pendency, The Week 8 February 2020 https://www.theweek.in/theweek/cover/2020/02/07/mountain-of-pendency.html Joe Tomlinson, How digital administrative justice is made https://bristoluniversitypressdigital.com/view/book/9781447340331/ch004.xml CREDITS: Host: Surya Prakash B. S. This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Nikkethana K Sound Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
10/10/202221 minutes, 41 seconds
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Search and Seizure with Abhinav Sekhri

In this episode we explore the police powers of search and seizure with Abhinav Sekhri, a criminal lawyer and the author of the wonderful blog Proof of Guilt. During their investigation, law enforcement authorities like the police and customs and tax officials have the power to search our person and property, ranging from homes and godowns to laptops and other electronic devices. They can also seize objects they believe to be incriminating or relevant to their investigation. The exercise of these powers can create very distressing situations for people, especially if they are unaware of their rights. Abhinav helps us understand what the extent of these police powers are and emerging legal developments that may lead to reform.  If you like our podcast do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/ CREDITS: Host: Anindita Pattanayak This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Nikkethana K Sound Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
10/3/202234 minutes, 50 seconds
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Courts in Development Economics with Dr. Manaswini Rao

In this episode, we talk to Manaswini Rao on using rigorous quantitative methods to study courts and the judicial process. Manaswini Rao is an economist and researcher who studies the functioning of the Indian judiciary and how it affects economic productivity and development. She joins us to discuss this emerging field of study and how it can inform policy changes. We emphasise the importance of building a community that can engage with the issues highlighted by such studies and act as advocates for structural judicial reforms. If you like our podcast do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/ Reading list: Manaswini Rao. "Courts Redux: Micro-Evidence from India". 2021. http://manaswinirao.github.io/files/rao_courts.pdf Manaswini Rao. "Institutional Factors of Credit Allocation: Examining the Role of Judicial Capacity and Bankruptcy Reforms". 2019. http://manaswinirao.github.io/files/rao_bankruptcy_and_judiciary.pdf  CREDITS: Host: Smita Mutt This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Nikkethana K Sound Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
9/26/202218 minutes, 8 seconds
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Access to Justice with Retd. Justice Prabha Sridevan

In this episode we speak to Justice Prabha Sridevan who takes us through the various perspectives associated with accessing justice in India. She brings to this conversation her rich understanding of the Indian justice system, informed by her years as a lawyer and a judge. Most importantly, she de-constructs what it means to access justice in India for those who are often sidelined when systems are built, including women and other marginalised sections of the population. This conversation explores the reality of the justice system and makes us think about speaking the language of equality.   If you like our podcast do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/   Reading list: Women in Law in India https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/removing-cobwebs-from-the-courtroom/article4501561.ece https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/judiciary-an-old-boys-club/article8410065.ece CREDITS: Host: Sandhya P R This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Nikkethana K Sound Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
9/19/202226 minutes, 14 seconds
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Women in elite Indian law firms with Swethaa Ballakrishnen

In this episode our guest was Swethaa Ballakrishnen whom we spoke to about their research on women’s representation in elite law firms. Swethaa’s first book, Accidental Feminism unpacks the case of unintentional gender parity among India’s elite legal professionals. The legal profession worldwide is fairly male-dominated, and India is no exception. However, Elite corporate law firms in India are a surprising exception. These law firms offer a surprising oasis for women within a hostile, predominantly male sector. We explored how egalitarian outcomes have been produced in this relatively recent professional setting without any deliberate effort to do so.   If you like our podcast do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/   Reading list: Swethaa S Ballakrishnen Accidental Feminism: Gender Parity and Selective Mobility among India’s Professional Elite. Princeton University Press, 2021. Ethan Michelson Women in the Legal Profession, 1970-2010: A Study of the Global Supply of Lawyer, Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies Vol. 20, No. 2 (2013), 1071. Bryant G. Garth and Joyce S. Sterling. "Diversity, hierarchy, and fit in legal careers: insights from fifteen years of qualitative interviews." Geo. J. Legal Ethics 31 (2018): 123   CREDITS: Host: Leah Verghese This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Nikkethana K Sound Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
9/12/202228 minutes, 41 seconds
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Crime and Politics with Milan Vaishnav

In this episode, we spoke to Milan Vaishnav, the host of the popular podcasts ‘Grand Tamasha’ about the criminalisation of politics. Most Indians are familiar with the phenomenon of politicians with criminal records and appear to have accepted their participation in the democratic process . In today’s episode, Milan helped us unpack this uneasy balance by exploring why political parties give tickets to criminals, why people continue to vote for them and whether this status quo is likely to change.   If you like our podcast do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/   Reading list: Milan Vaishnav. When crime pays: Money and muscle in Indian politics. Yale University Press, 2017 James Crabtree, Lunch with the FT: Raghuram Rajan. Financial Times August 15 2014 https://www.ft.com/content/b049ce16-230e-11e4-a424-00144feabdc0#axzz3B60Xysad Association for Democratic Reform https://adrindia.org/   CREDITS: Host: Leah Verghese This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Nikkethana K Sound Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
9/5/202233 minutes, 45 seconds
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Early constitutional litigation with Rohit De

In this episode we talk to Professor Rohit De, a lawyer and scholar of south Asian legal history. He is the author of the book, ‘A People’s Constitution’ in which he studies how many marginalised communities used the constitution as a way to oppose unfair laws and have a say in how they were governed. His work focuses on the 1950s, the period right after the constitution was passed. We understand the ideas and challenges of these early litigants and how their efforts continue to be valuable today. We explore why, after around 75 years, why it is still so relevant for regular citizens like us to continue to engage with the constitution.   If you like our podcast do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/   Reading list: A People’s Constitution  https://www.outlookindia.com/national/explained-the-supreme-court-order-on-sex-workers-laws-on-prostitution-how-sc-order-changes-things-news-198865 https://scroll.in/article/676679/a-history-lesson-for-nitish-kumar-prohibition-does-not-work https://thewire.in/books/book-review-a-peoples-constitution-rohit-de   CREDITS: Host: Anindita Pattanayak This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Nikkethana K Sound Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
8/29/202229 minutes, 59 seconds
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Indian elections with Ornit Shani and Rahul Verma

In this episode  we spoke to Rahul Verma and Ornit Shani on Indian elections. The elections in the world’s largest democracy are often described as a dance of democracy. Here are some statistics just to give you a scale of the vast logistical exercise that is the general election. In 2019, 619 adults voted in 1 million polling booths in 543 constituencies. Ornit and Rahul took us on a fascinating journey from the first general election to recent elections, exploring how the first electoral rolls were prepared, the logistics of the process and how Indians make voting decisions.   If you like our podcast do consider supporting us with a donation at the link below: https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/   Reading list: Adam Auerbach etal., Rethinking the Study of Electoral Politics in the Developing World: Reflections on the Indian Case https://www.duo.uio.no/bitstream/handle/10852/85802/1/Auerbach_elal2021_postprint.pdf Association for Democratic Reform https://adrindia.org/ Kumar, Sanjay and Palshikar, Suhas and Shastr, Sandeep and Swaminathan, Siddharth and Krishnaswamy, Sudhir and Jayadev, Arjun (2018) Politics and society between elections. Technical Report. Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. Ornit Shani. How India became democratic, 2018. Ornit Shani, Women and the Vote: Registration, Representation and Participation in the Run-Up to India’s First Elections, 1951–52 South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies Volume 44(228), 2021 Pradeep K Chhibbe and Rahul Verma. Ideology and identity: The changing party systems of India. Oxford University Press, 2018. CREDITS: Host: Leah Verghese This is a Maed in India production. Producer: Nikkethana K Sound Mixing: Lakshman Parsuram Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
8/22/202246 minutes, 34 seconds
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Courtrooms in Film

Many of us, consciously or subconsciously, are heavily influenced by popular media and film and legal court dramas are  no exception. They, in equal parts, entertain and educate. In this episode, we spoke to Anushka Shah, the founder of Civic Studios and Chaitanya Tamhane, the writer and director of the nationally and internationally lauded Marathi film, ‘Court’. Anushka Shah strongly believes in the power of entertainment to bring change. Her organization, Civic Studios, notes that “a good story and set of characters can bring attention to ignored issues, create awareness of rights and duties, and model exemplary actions to help ‘fix-the-system’.” Chaitanya, on the other hand, has created an exceptional piece of art through his movie, “Court”, that exemplifies the type of art Anushka has been rooting for. The film follows the trial of a protest poet and singer who is accused of abetting the suicide of a manhole worker to reveal the systemic issues of bigotry and injustice in society and the judicial system.  We chatted with Anushka and Chaitanya about the role of art in social change and the moral responsibility of artists, especially in the depiction of a courtroom drama. In the process, we explored the importance of empathy in building characters, realism in cinema and how conveying the fragility of the individual in a complex and unpredictable system transcends the courtroom.  Reading list: Court (2014), available on Netflix Civic Studios, Crime and Punishment in Indian Entertainment, 2019 https://sway.office.com/CUIjI1M69CLiVxCN Aishwarya Viswanathan, Roohi Bhatia and Anushka Shah, Crime, courtroom drama in Indian entertainment: How the genres sway popular opinion on law and judiciary, Firspost, 2020 https://www.firstpost.com/india/crime-courtroom-drama-in-indian-entertainment-how-the-genre-sways-popular-opinion-on-law-and-judiciary-7905631.html#aid_8087031 Host: Anindita Pattanayak This is a Maed in India production. Production Head & Editor: Joshua Thomas Sound Mixing: Kartik Kulkarni Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
4/18/202242 minutes, 24 seconds
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Vimukta communities and Police

In Episode 9 of the DAKSH Podcast we discussed “de-notified tribes” or “vimukta” communities and what they show us about policing culture in India. They are communities that were notified under a colonial legislation - the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 - as people who, by birth, are "addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences." Though this Act was repealed after India gained independence, discretionary powers of the police coupled with social stigmas of the judiciary continue to haunt these communities, many of whom are subject to oppression, surveillance and imprisonment, sometimes without even being convicted by a court of law. We talked to Nikita Sonavane, co-founder of the Criminal Justice and Police Accountability Project in Madhya Pradesh about her work with these communities, the origin of the idea that some people can be labelled criminals by birth and how this prejudice and injustice lives on in the India of today. More importantly, Nikita asks some crucial questions about our tendency to look to the police for solutions to problems that have little to do with law and order. In the wake of the pandemic we are experiencing, she dares us to reimagine legal and policy responses to public crises rather than let only some marginalised groups take the fall.  Reading list: Ameya Bokil & Nikita Sonavane, Why Charan Singh Bolts His House From Inside And Out https://www.article-14.com/post/why-charan-singh-bolts-his-house-from-inside-and-out-before-he-sleeps Milind Bokil and Vijay Raghavan. "Women and Children as Victims and Offenders: The Case of De-Notified Tribes in India." Women and Children as Victims and Offenders: Background, Prevention, Reintegration. Springer, Cham, 2016 Nikita Sonavane and Ameya Bokil, Condemned without Trial - India’s undertrials problem is spurring the COVID-19 outbreak in prisons https://caravanmagazine.in/law/india-undertrials-problem-spurring-covid-19-outbreak-prisons Nikita Sonavane and Ameya Bokil, How Poverty-Struck Tribals Become ‘Habitual Offenders’ https://www.article-14.com/post/born-a-criminal-how-poverty-struck-tribals-become-habitual-offenders Bangalore International Centre Masterclass by G N Devy on Denotified Tribes https://youtu.be/4rG6IzxGOHM CREDITS: Host: Anindita Pattanayak This is a Maed in India production. Production Head & Editor: Joshua Thomas Sound Mixing: Kartik Kulkarni Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
4/11/202235 minutes, 57 seconds
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Custodial Violence

In Episode 8 of the DAKSH Podcast, we discussed custodial violence and the broader issue of access to justice for women in the background of the movie Jai Bhim and Justice Chandru’s book Listen to my case. Widespread custodial violence has become an accepted feature of our policing system. The issue has been spotlighted in the recent film Jai Bhim which is based on the real-life story of Parvathy, a woman belonging to the Irula tribe who approaches the Madras High Court to find her husband who is falsely arrested for theft and after severe custodial torture purportedly escapes from prison. The film also highlights the obstacles faced by women accessing justice. According to the data from the DAKSH Access to Justice Survey 2016 only 15% of the litigants interviewed were women. Justice Chandru’s book Listen to my case describes the stories of 20 women who approached the Madras High Court for justice. Our guest today is Justice Chandru, former judge of the Madras High Court who has one of the most prolific rates of disposal for any judge in the country. He has also written a book called Listen to my case which has twenty short accounts of bold and courageous women who have approached courts for redressal of a range of injustices. More recently Justice Chandru has been in the news as the inspiration for Suriya’s character in the Tamil movie Jai Bhim. Jai Bhim is based on the real-life story of Parvathy, a woman belonging to the Irula tribe who approaches the Madras High Court to find her husband who is falsely arrested for theft and after severe custodial torture purportedly escapes from prison.  Reading list: Aditya Manubarwala, Revisiting India’s obligations against custodial torture (19 May 2017) http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/80097/ DAKSH, Access to Justice Survey 2016 https://www.dakshindia.org/access-to-justice-survey/ Justice K Chandru, Listen to My Case! When Women Approach the Courts of Tamil Nadu State of Indian Policing Report 2019, Common Cause https://www.commoncause.in/uploadimage/page/Status_of_Policing_in_India_Report_2019_by_Common_Cause_and_CSDS.pdf CREDITS: Host: Leah Verghese This is a Maed in India production. Production Head & Editor: Joshua Thomas Sound Mixing: Kartik Kulkarni Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
4/5/202226 minutes, 12 seconds
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Unpacking Public Accountability

According to surveys, public procurement, access to public services, and regulation in India are prone to high degrees of bias, corruption and misalignment with public welfare. An ideal at the heart of good governance reform is “public accountability”; we frequently hear calls for greater accountability of government actors - both within public institutions and to the public at large.  In Episode 7 of the DAKSH podcast, we speak to Dr. CK Mathew, a former bureaucrat and current academic, researcher and author with an interest in challenges before the Indian administrative state. Dr. Mathew weighs on how he thinks about public accountability - who owes it, to whom and how; how it affects the morale and functioning of administrators, and what elements are necessary for ‘accountability’ to drive towards improved development indicators. Drawing on his experience working with politicians and civil society, Dr. Mathew explores institutional and public experiments with accountability and unpacks what this concept means to him.  Reading List Dr. CK Mathew. “The Historical Evolution of the District Officer.” Azim Premji University, 2020. https://azimpremjiuniversity.edu.in/publications/2020/book/the-historical-evolution-of-the-district-officer-from-early-days-to-1947 India Today. “State of States 2021: The Best States in India.” November 2021. https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/cover-story/story/20211206-state-of-states-2021-the-best-states-of-india-1880809-2021-11-27 Public Affairs Centre. “The Public Affairs Index.” https://pacindia.org/page/pai  Bala Posani & Yamini Aiyar. “State of Accountability: Evolution, Practice & Emerging Questions in Public Accountability in India.” Accountability Initiative. May 2009. https://accountabilityindia.in/sites/default/files/working-paper/34_1244199435.pdf  CREDITS: Host: Smita Mutt This is a Maed in India production. Production Head & Editor: Joshua Thomas Sound Mixing: Kartik Kulkarni Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
3/28/202232 minutes, 45 seconds
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Death Penalty

The death penalty is a deeply polarising topic in India. People who justify and oppose it hold deeply held often emotional reasons for their vie​​ws. Most of Europe has abolished the death penalty but India does not seem to be considering such a move. In fact in recent years the clamour for capital punishment epecially for rapists has only grown louder. At the end of 2021 when this episode was recorded, the numer of prisoners on death row stood at 488, the highest in 17 years, according to the Death Penalty in India Report. On Episode 6 we spoke to Dr Anup Surendranath who is the Executive Director of Project 39A (formerly the Centre on the Death Penalty) and an Assistant Professor of Law at National Law University, Delhi.  His involvement with the death penalty our topic for today began in May 2013 by establishing and leading the Death Penalty Research Project that culminated in the Death Penalty India Report ​that was released in​ 2016. The project, first of its kind on the death penalty in India, interviewed all of India's death row prisoners and their families towards developing a socio-economic profile of death row prisoners and also mapping their interaction with the criminal justice system. Today Anup joins us to help us unpack and understand how capital punishment plays out in India. Reading List Anup Surendranath,, Neetika Vishwanath, and Preeti Pratishruti Dash. "The Enduring Gaps and Errors in Capital Sentencing in India." Nat'l L. Sch. India Rev. 32 (2020), 46. Craig Haney,  Death by design: Capital punishment as a social psychological system. Oxford University Press, 2005. Craig Haney, Criminality in context: The psychological foundations of criminal justice reform. American Psychological Association, 2020. Jahnavi Misra, The Punished: Stories of Death-Row Prisoners in India, 2021Harper Collins Probal Chaudhuri, Debasis Sengupta and Paramesh Goswami, Adalat, Media, Samaj Ebong Dhananjoyer Phasi 2016. Project 39A, Death Penalty India Report, 2016 https://www.project39a.com/dpir CREDITS: Host: Leah Verghese This is a Maed in India production. Production Head & Editor: Joshua Thomas Sound Mixing: Kartik Kulkarni Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
3/21/202227 minutes, 20 seconds
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Undertrial detention in India

In Episode 5 of the DAKSH Podcast we discussed undertrial detention in Indian prisons.  One of the tragedies of the Indian prison system is the high proportion of undertrial prisoners (around two-thirds). Undertrial prisoners are kept in prison while awaiting trial or during their trial. The high proportion of such prisoners in our system has not budged in the last 3 decades since the issues started getting media and judicial attention.  Prolonged undertrial detention violates their rights to liberty and fair trial, and adversely impacts their lives and livelihood. The overuse of undertrial detention effectively ends up punishing people before they are convicted, and makes a mockery of their right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.  This week we chatted with Dr Vijay Raghavan about undertrial detention in Indian prisons. Dr. Vijay Raghavan is a Professor at the Centre for Criminology and Justice, TISS and the Project Director of Prayas. Prayas has been working for the past 30 years towards rehabilitation and social reintegration of persons in prison, women rescued from commercial sexual exploitation, and children in conflict with the law. Reading list: Aparna Chandra and Keerthana Medarametla, Bail and Incarceration: The State of Undertrial Prisoners in India in Approaches to Justice in India 2017 https://www.dakshindia.org/Daksh_Justice_in_India/16_chapter_06.xhtml#_idTextAnchor068 Justice under trial: A study of pre-trial detention in India, Amnesty International India 2017. Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Sindhu K Sivakumar, and Shishir Bail. "Legal and judicial reform in India: a call for systemic and empirical approaches." Journal of National Law University Delhi 2.1 2014, 1 Vrinda Bhandari, Inconsistent and Unclear: The Supreme Court of India on Bail 6(3) NUJS L. Rev. 549-558 (2013) Vrinda Grover, ‘The Adivasi Undertrial, a Prisoner of War: A Study of Undertrial Detainees in South Chhattisgarh’ in Contesting Justice in South Asia (2018): 201. CREDITS: Host: Leah Verghese This is a Maed in India production. Production Head & Editor: Joshua Thomas Sound Mixing: Kartik Kulkarni Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
3/14/202232 minutes, 56 seconds
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Women in the Constituent Assembly

This womens’ day, we reflect on the contributions of the women members of the Constituent Assembly that framed our Constitution. The Constituent Assembly was formed in 1946, before India gained independence. The Assembly consisted of 389 members, out of whom 15 members were women. Each of them had extensive experience in the national freedom struggle and local movements relevant to their place of operation. They also shaped  the Indian women's’ movement and balanced these interests with nationalist goals. Along with this, they faced the challenges of sexism within the constituent assembly and patriarchal mores in their personal lives, all of which contributed to their ideas of what a future India would look like. In episode 4 of the DAKSH Podcast we spoke to Priya Ravichandran, an independent analyst in the field of politics and policy-making who has written extensively about the women in the Indian constituent assembly in her blog ‘15 for the republic’. We explored with her, the motivations, experiences and rich lives of these women - both inside and outside the Constituent Assembly and mused on how far we are from the idea of India they had worked for. Reading list: Priya Ravichandran’s blog available at ​​https://15fortherepublic.wordpress.com/ The Constituent Assembly Debates available in the Parliament’s digital library at https://eparlib.nic.in/handle/123456789/4 Speeches of the women members of the Constituent Assembly ​​https://rajyasabha.nic.in/rsnew/publication_electronic/Selected%20Women%20Speech_Final.pdf Priya Ravichandran, The Women Who Helped Draft Our Constitution, Mint https://www.livemint.com/Leisure/dLi6ZIdW6CgswZCGdOA9VM/The-women-who-helped-draft-our-constitution.html HS Anupama, Samvidhana Mattu Mahile, Ladai Prakashana publications, 2019 in Kannada (ಸಂವಿಧಾನ ಮತ್ತು ಮಹಿಳೆ) Youtube series by The Scroll on Women in the Constituent Assembly hosted by Priya Ravichandran. The first episode is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ldVv2TFZME  Host: Anindita Pattanayak This is a Maed in India production. Production Head & Editor: Joshua Thomas Sound Mixing: Kartik Kulkarni Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
3/7/202238 minutes, 53 seconds
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Demystifying Family Law

In Episode 3 of the DAKSH podcast, we are joined by Chethana V, a family lawyer practising in Chennai. Family courts are interesting in many aspects and Chethana sets the tone for this insightful discussion on how these courts function. In the context of family law, the citizens are often overwhelmed by the litigation process and so we discuss how we can improve access to information on family law related disputes.  The hold of religion over the framing of family laws, the stigma attached with matrimonial disputes, the status quo of the LGBTQ community as regards family law - all come together in this interview with Chethana.  Reading list: https://nyaaya.org/marriage-and-divorce/ https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/d-word-what-you-need-know-about-divorce-lawyer-writes-152992 https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/d-word-divorce-mutual-consent-and-other-remedies-lawyer-writes-153059 https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/d-word-child-custody-and-other-elements-divorce-proceedings-lawyer-writes-153103 https://www.dakshindia.org/common-legal-terms/   CREDITS: Host: Sandhya PR This is a Maed in India production. Production Head & Editor: Joshua Thomas Sound Mixing: Kartik Kulkarni Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
2/28/202242 minutes, 47 seconds
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Public interest litigation in India

In Episode 2 of the DAKSH Podcast, we discussed public interest litigation in the higher judiciary in India. A PIL or public interest litigation is a petition that an individual, group or organisation files in a high court or the Supreme Court that has a larger public interest. PILs are central to how Indians view the higher judiciary in India. They are seen as a simple means for citizens to access these courts and claim their rights or the rights of communities they represent. However a deeper look at the consequences of easing procedural standards and the non-representation of affected parties in such cases raises some disconcerting questions.  This week we chatted with Anuj Bhuwania who will help us peel the layers of the onion that public interest litigation has become. Anuj is a Professor at the O.P. Jindal Global University in Sonipat. He is the author of ‘Courting the People: Public Interest Litigation in Post-Emergency India’, the subject of today’s discussion. Anuj in his book has studied PILs related to the national capital of Delhi in some detail and revealed some disturbing trends often overlooked in the glorified coverage of PILs in the media Reading list: Anuj Bhuwania, Courting the People: Public Interest Litigation in Post-Emergency India 2017 Cambridge University Press. Arun K Thiruvengadam, Swallowing a bitter PIL? Reflections on progressive strategies for Public Interest Litigation in India https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2465783 Lavanya Rajamani, Public interest environmental litigation in India: Exploring issues of access, participation, equity, effectiveness and sustainability Journal of environmental law 19.3 (2007), 293 Marc Galanter, , and Jayanth K. Krishnan. "Bread for the Poor: Access to Justice and the Rights of the Needy in India." Hastings LJ 55 (2003), 789. Mathew Iduculla, Smothering the housing rights of the urban poor, The Hindu 12 September 2020 https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/smothering-the-housing-rights-of-the-urban-poor/article32584491.ece CREDITS: Host: Leah Verghese This is a Maed in India production. Production Head & Editor: Joshua Thomas Sound Mixing: Kartik Kulkarni Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
2/21/202230 minutes, 12 seconds
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Policing in India

Warning: This episode contains descriptions of violence.   In Episode 1 of the DAKSH Podcast we discussed policing in India. The police are at the frontline of the criminal justice system yet they are possibly the most feared and the least trusted arm of the system. Every time there is a high profile incident of police excess there is talk of police reform. Yet as the saying goes the more things change the more they remain the same.  In this episode we chatted with Vipul Mudgal who helped us understand the nuances of the policing system better and suggest paths to reform. Vipul is the Director and Chief Executive of Common Cause. Common Cause is a Delhi-based organisation that has been in the vanguard of the campaign for probity in public life and integrity of institutions. Over the years, it has earned a reputation and credibility for its initiatives, advocacy and public interest litigations (PILs). Common Cause periodically publishes the Status of Indian Policing Report an indepth evaluation of policing across India through an analysis of official data and elaborate perception surveys.  Reading list: Atman Mehta, IndiaSpend.com, ‘It’s not like Singham’: Policemen in India work 14 hours a day and get few weekly offs The Scroll https://scroll.in/article/941656/its-not-like-singham-policemen-in-india-work-14-hours-a-day-and-get-few-weekly-offs Basant Rath, It's Important to Make India's Police Force More Welcoming for Women, 2018 https://thewire.in/gender/india-police-gender-women Crime and Punishment in Indian Entertainment Civic Studios https://sway.office.com/CUIjI1M69CLiVxCN?ref=Link Human Rights Watch, Broken System: Dysfunction, Abuse, and Impunity in the Indian Police https://www.hrw.org/report/2009/08/04/broken-system/dysfunction-abuse-and-impunity-indian-police India Justice Report 2020 https://www.tatatrusts.org/Upload/pdf/ijr-2020-overall-report-january-26.pdf State of Indian Policing Report 2019, Common Cause https://www.commoncause.in/uploadimage/page/Status_of_Policing_in_India_Report_2019_by_Common_Cause_and_CSDS.pdf CREDITS: Host: Leah Verghese This is a Maed in India production. Production Head & Editor: Joshua Thomas Sound Mixing: Kartik Kulkarni Project Supervisor: Shaun Fanthome
2/14/202229 minutes, 55 seconds
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Trailer

Welcome to the DAKSH podcast. DAKSH is a Bangalore-based non-profit dedicated to judicial reforms and access to justice in India. Through this series, we will critically examine India’s laws, judicial administration, the prison system, family law and other topics that we hope will help you understand our public institutions and your rights. Join us every Tuesday, as we discuss and decode this system.
2/1/20221 minute, 17 seconds