‘The Best of India Legal-2015’, an intellectual treat

By Ashok Dixit

New Delhi, Jan. 8 (ANI): Trying to make sense of how the rule of law, natural justice, judicial precedents, case histories, judicial activism and accountability impacts the day-to-day functioning of modern India, has given a stand-alone magazine like India Legal credibility, greater outreach and confidence to expand its horizons.

Inderjit Badhwar, its Editor, has rightly said the magazine is “not for, of, and by lawyers, even though this community is now increasingly involved in its content creation,” but, “is about justice, exposing corruption and charlatans, taking a critical stance on legal matters of national and constitutional importance.”

Since its inception a little over eight issues ago, India Legal has been on top of all recent news breaks, covering them from the legal angle, giving them special perspective, or as Badhwar puts it a “new avatar in journalism”.

It is, therefore, no surprise that its year-end special has aptly been titled “The Best of India Legal-2015” and features 17 issues that in the eyes of its editorial and reporting staff best reflects its goal of pursuing “current affairs, investigations and controversies with a solid legal angle that would be a special interest not only to lawyers and judges”, which it sees as its core audience, but also to “general readers, MPs, politicians, students, diplomats and think tanks.”

The issues covered in this special edition range from highlighting the government’s knee jerk measures to combat national capital Delhi’s alarmingly high pollution levels to questioning commentators on their readiness to write off the Congress Party and their alacrity in predicting the “Sunset” of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty just on the basis of the party achieving a record new low in terms of seat share in the 16th Lok Sabha (44).

It talks of why there is no retribution against Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, the so-called instigators of the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat, and how them being given a clean chit by the courts of the land, has provided them and their arguments with credibility and renewed strength; as also the dichotomous dilemma surrounding the government’s on again -off again declassification of the files related to erstwhile freedom fighter ‘Netaji” Subhash Chandra Bose, on grounds that it may adversely impact India’s foreign policy and relationships with other nations.

The hasty passage of the amendment of the Juvenile Justice Act by parliament, the Supreme Court striking an amendment validating the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act (NJAC) passed by parliament, the debate over whether intelligence agencies should or should not be lenient with terrorists and militants surrendering to them, the future of Maggi Noodles, the David and Goliath clash of egos and authority between Delhi’s Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, a landmark survey that reveals that Muslim women in India want triple talaq to be banned, the humane side of the Supreme Court in allowing a 14-year-old girl to abort her fetus despite the MTP Act prohibiting it and the ongoing debate about child pornography and amateur sex videos, and why there is no punitive action against internet service providers, are some of the other issues that have been taken up in this special edition simply because they occupied national media space in a fairly dominant way during the course of the year gone by.

This special edition has some interesting quotes such as the one by former army chief General (retired) Ved Prakash Malik that “The Ministry of Defence is a bad organisation. Accountability within the ministry is zero”. The one by IT czar Azim Premji, where while addressing the global alumni of IIM, Bangalore, he says, ‘Why am I not in politics? Because I think it would have killed me in a couple of years . you should cultivate a sense of insensitivity to be in politics”, indirectly speaks volumes about the state of Indian politics in the 21st century.

Four pages of the 98-page special edition are devoted to significant directives issued by various courts through 2015, which could have a bearing on the “legal” way forward for government, institutions and people alike.

There are two significant Letters (or commentaries) from the Editor – one on the NJAC and the second on the mindboggling backlog of cases of every “conceivable nature” pending in various courts, and the transformatory reforms required thereof, are “lampooning” eye openers for the reader.

The India Legal year-ender is indeed an intellectual treat. (ANI)

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