At the state’s mercy: ringing the Covid alarm in Delhi’s prisons

Last week, five prisoners in Delhi died of COVID-19. As Delhi continues to face over 25,000 new cases and 300 deaths daily, its prisons are the most overcrowded they have ever been, and have the highest occupancy rate in the country. With little to no data from jail authorities on the current prevalence of testing, and complete apathy from courts on prison conditions, fears of an unchecked spread of infection and rising death toll loom large.

One Year On, No Accountability for Delhi Police's Terrifying Impunity at Jamia

A year after the police violence at Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), the official narrative remains stubbornly resistant to reality. The police assault on Jamia on December 15, 2019, was documented in-depth and yet mandatory procedures for investigating police brutality have not been followed. The official narrative has succeeded in shielding police impunity through a haze of paltry excuses – not entirely unexpected when the police are tasked with investigating themselves.

Four months later, Delhi communal violence FIRs are still not public. Here’s why this is troubling

During episodes of mass violence, states fundamentally change the nature of what transpired by suppressing or manipulating the first record of crimes. Accounts of their own complicity remain relegated to scattered news articles and civil society reports. We have few means to work towards justice and recompense for crimes that are not written down as crimes in the first place.

A Special Injustice: Special courts will fall short until there is impartial investigation into Delhi violence

Reports from previous incidents of mass violence and from Delhi this year highlight a more fundamental issue—the role of the state both during the violence and after. If the state is a passive onlooker or complicit in violence, it can hardly be expected to ensure an impartial investigation. Special courts will remain ineffective until this larger issue is addressed.

Why the harsh bail provisions of UAPA have lived on

Overly broad offences and onerous bail conditions effectively condemn many to years of incarceration without trial. But amid criticism of the continued custody of activists under the Bhima Koregaon and Delhi violence cases, it is important to remember that such criticism had led to a repeal of similar provisions in the past, only for them to come back in even more insidious and dangerous ways. Draconian measures that the state itself agreed should be temporary have over the years been made permanent.

UAPA tribunal upholds ban: The case of SIMI

RECENT amendments to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967, garnered considerable attention, unsurprisingly, since they allow individuals to be designated “terrorists” without effective redress. But their coverage eclipsed another event around the same time, which reveals with great force the pernicious workings of the Act. A UAPA tribunal upheld the eighth successive ban on the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), ensuring its near-continuous proscription since 2001.

A Misuse Of Power: BCI's Condemnable Response To The Complaint Against The CJI

On May 15th, LiveLaw reported that the Chairman of the Bar Council of India (BCI), Manan Mishra, raised concerns over women taking undue advantage of the law to falsely implicate men in cases of gender-based violence. These comments are the latest in a series of troubling statements from the BCI in the wake of the sexual harassment complaint against the Chief Justice of India (CJI). It bears repeating that the complainant's only ask has been for a fair inquiry into her complaint. Yet it is in r

Breaking the glass ceiling in judiciary

Advocate Indu Malhotra’s recent recommendation to the Supreme Court has rekindled discourse on the need for greater gender diversity within the judiciary. If appointed, Malhotra will be only the seventh woman Supreme Court judge since its constitution in 1950, and will also be the first woman promoted directly from the bar to the Supreme Court bench. The state of gender representation in the High Courts is similarly worrying: currently, less than 10% of the judges in the High Courts are women.
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