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DAKSH Podcast Profile

DAKSH Podcast

English, National/National politics/National assembly, 1 seasons, 23 episodes, 10 hours 27 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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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  
21/11/20227 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
14/11/202213 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 hu
07/11/202215 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 pr
31/10/202211 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 <a h
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 <a
03/10/202234 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
26/09/202218 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: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chLzKblXJYE" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedi
19/09/202226 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: <a href="https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/&source=gmail&ust=1660910804065000&usg=AOvV
12/09/202228 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
05/09/202233 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: <a href="https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.dakshindia.org/donate/&source=gmail&ust=1660910804065000&usg=AOvVaw0su1iZ1nHz81Zg9O
29/08/202229 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: <li
22/08/202246 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 b
18/04/202242 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 impo
11/04/202235 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
05/04/202226 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 experim
28/03/202232 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
21/03/202227 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
14/03/202232 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
07/03/202238 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 <a href=
28/02/202242 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 b
21/02/202230 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
14/02/202229 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.
01/02/20221 minute 17 seconds