Live Blogging | 3rd HPNLU National Moot Court Competition in association with National Human Rights Commission

The third HPNLU National Moot Court Competition is being held in association with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) from October 28 through 30, 2022, at the Himachal Pradesh National Law University in Shimla.
The Moot Proposition for this competition includes discussions of other human rights issues and Indian Constitutional Law. The competition featured 74 teams from law schools, colleges, and universities all over India. Crews from National Law Universities and public and private law schools that have received Bar Council of India accreditation, comprised these teams. Based on the evaluation of Memorials held by the HPNLU, Shimla campus, 32 teams were selected to participate in the oral rounds.

The associate partner, NHRC, is responsible for defending and promoting human rights in India as a statutory body. Under the capable direction of Vice-Chancellor (Professor) Dr. Nishtha Jaswal, the event is being organized. Dr. Santosh Kumar Sharma, Chair of the Moot Court Committee at HPNLU Shimla, as well as other faculty members, are in charge of overseeing it.

The Himachal Pradesh National Law University, established in 2016, is an emerging epitome of legal education in North India and is unflinchingly determined to work assiduously for the same. Under the zealous leadership of its proficient hon’ble vice chancellor, Prof. Dr. Nishtha Jaswal, the university campus has received unprecedented expansion and transformation best suited for the holistic and academic development of students and it has made its presence reckoned among the other prominent NLUs in India. After the establishment of the Moot Court Committee, HPNLU Shimla, in 2017, the university is working relentlessly to inculcate the very pertinent mooting culture among the students. In the past, HPNLU successfully held two online iterations of its national moot court competition, which captivated a significant number of law students from across India. One of them was held in collaboration with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India and was based on the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

So today, The Himachal Pradesh National Law University Shimla is proud to conduct its 3rd HPNLU National Moot Court Competition in association with the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi. This edition is powered by SCC and EBC as our knowledge partners.
The NHRC, as established under the Protection of Human Rights Act on October 12 1993, is an embodiment of India’s concern for promoting and protecting human rights. Section 2(1)(d) of the Act defines Human Rights as the rights relating to life, liberty, equality, and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution as embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by the courts in India. The NHRC has been pivotal in various nuances of this event including the various aspects of the moot proposition, and the possible grilling questions and we are thankful for their unending support.
This flagship event, also being our first in-person cohort after the unfortunate Covid pandemic, has been designed to provide participants the opportunity to acquire knowledge about the development of jurisprudence on contemporary aspects of constitutional law and human rights law, as well as to equip the next generation of lawyers with research and oratory expertise.
The focus of the competition’s moot proposition is on constitutional law, human rights, and related legislation. Keeping up with the spirit of mooting, this year as well, we are delighted to organize our flagship event in association with NHRC, on the very premises of our campus, in the middle of the breathtaking landscape of the hills of Shimla.

DAY 1 | October 28, 2022 [Inaugural Ceremony | Researchers’ Test | SCC Workshop | Memorial Exchange]

On October 28, 2022, the Competition’s Opening Session took place from 10 am to 12.00 noon, post the breakfast, registration, memorial, and compendium submission. Shri Rajeev Bali, Director of the Himachal Pradesh Judicial Academy, was the event’s chief guest, and Prof. Sanjay Sandhu, Chairman-Dean of the Faculty of Laws at the Himachal Pradesh University in Shimla, was the Guest of Honor.

The inaugural ceremony commenced with Saraswati Vandana, Lamp-Lighting, and a Felicitation Ceremony for the guests. Prof. Nishtha Jaswal, Vice Chancellor, HPNLU, Shimla delivered the inaugural address welcoming the cohort of participants from different law schools across India. The participants were then addressed by Prof. (Dr.) Sanjay Sindhu, the Guest of Honor, where motivated them for their legal career and noted the importance of moot court competitions. In the Inaugural Address, the Chief Guest Sh. Rajeev Bali discussed the importance of moot courts. He emphasized how these competitions help mold the students for their careers as litigants. He further noted and appreciated the efforts that the students of law school today put into preparing and researching for these competitions. The Researcher’s Test, the first leg of the mooting competition, was conducted at the University Campus. It is imperative to judge the level of research the team has done and give them a little weightage over the other competitors on the basis of a very important aspect of a legal career: research.

For our 3rd HPNLU National Moot Court Competition, we are delighted and obliged to have SCC and EBC as our Knowledge Partners. In light of the same, an SCC Workshop was conducted by the team for the participants, given the importance of research and SCC as a renowned publishing company. The workshop was hosted by Ms. Khushboo Sood, who’s the campus ambassador for SCC at HPNLU. Various facets of general and moot court research were discussed in light of the curated moot court resources available on SCC online. It was followed by the Memorial exchange, one of the very important aspects of a moot court competition. The teams were given the memorials of their opponent teams for the prelims round one and two to be held on the following day.

DAY 2 | October 29, 2022 [Prelims Round 1 | Prelims Round 2 | Quarters Round | Cultural Night]

Court Room 8 || TC 343 v. TC 353 

10: 05 AM Judges and participants arrived. The court master addressed the court and sought the permission of the judges.
The petitioner talks about the facts of the case. Judges asked the petitioner that the poet who has written the poem in the case a description of a fictional character if the minds of the readers prejudiced. Also, there was a story that was already there and the poet just converted it to a poem while the petitioner stated that the content was obscene. The petitioner keeps on explaining.

10:26 AM Judges asked the respondents whether the story was published on any online platform or not. The counsel seeks permission to proceed with the issue further. Stated issue 4 which says that it is the right to use the internet in the INDICA act. judges asked the petitioner what about the right to use the internet or the social media mechanism go into the hands of troublemakers like terrorists. The Internet sometimes raises trouble for common people. The petitioner stated that in case of any mishappenings the government should act immediately.

10:37 AM The council seeks permission to proceed with the issue as the 5 minutes time overs. The petitioner keeps on explaining their situation. The respondent sought permission to proceed with the issue. the speaker raises issues no 1,2, 3, and 4 . stating the Dr. Rammanohar Lohiya V. State of Bihar case. Speaker no. 1 stated that the study of female anatomy should be banned due to its vagueness, the judges replied that female anatomy and intimacy are different and should not be mixed. Female anatomy is just a scientific study it should not be mixed with vagueness. The judges asked the respondent speaker to explain the exception to article 19(2).

11:03 AM speaker no 2 seeks permission for the further issue. He keeps on explaining the issue. Technology has affected people and they are unaware of their privacy. The judges asked that the right to access the internet is restricted, is it reasonable? Replied that the 12 monthly bans on the internet in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir ensured the security of the nation and human rights. In the case of Puttaswamy V. Union Of India, the right to privacy is a constitutionally protected right in India. The judges asked the criteria of a terrorist i.e. how the speaker will define a terrorist.

11:25 The first rebuttal starts. The respondent replied to the petitioner. The end of the verbal argument. The bench is requested to fill the mark sheet. the judges give valuable remarks. The court ends.

Court Room 12 || TC 359 v. TC 331

10:12- The Court Master has started the session. Petitioner Speaker 1 deals with Issues 1, 2, and 3 in MC. Arguments laid are in reference to Xatali community members vis-a-vis the Constitution of Indica. Reference was made to article 25 of the Constitution wrt religious freedom. Emphasis is laid on the wording wrt Article 19. Sabrimala Case- Dy Chandrachud- Liberty prevails over religion. Article 25 CoI is subject to Art. 19- freedom of speech. Bars free speech by right to religion. Does not sustain any reasonable restriction. Judge s asks about hierarchy in CoI based on ps1’s argument. Asked how one determines which is more fundamentally important. Counsel argues Art. 25 is at mercy of Art. 19.

10:20-Xatali Comm. Act is not justified in the context of a moot problem. Argues wording of ‘publicly discuss’ is vague. The intent of the legislature does not match with the Xatali community. Submission, XCA is ultra vires of CoI. Judge 2 questions- right to regulate one’s religious affairs given by CoI. The judge emphasized whether open-ended language makes an act vulnerable to be deemed anti-Constitution. Question laid on what ‘derogatory’ means in legal terms in response to an argument about language being derogatory. Counsel argues that Freedom of Speech cannot be curtailed if said speech is violative of someone else’s freedom of religious affairs.

10:29- Gulam Abaz vs State of UP quoted repeatedly. Counsel1 summarises the issue of whether UAPA is anti-Constitution. Violative of FR, Arbitrary. Judge 2 requests clarity on the language of the Act. Says vagueness of language cannot be held as a yardstick to see whether it can be misused. Judge requests case law on UAPA was unconstitutional. Counsel 2P comes to argue. Approaches Issues 4, 5, and 6. Whether there is a hierarchical scheme of FR. 2P argues that there is no such hierarchy. Footnote 58, pg11 compendium referred to. FR cannot exist in isolation in a watertight compartment. FRs have to co-exist. Superiority cannot be ranked. Judge 2 asks about the Right to Life. Refers to emergency situations- right to life and liberty is only allowed. 2P refers to Asha vs Bihar.

10:41- J1 asks how will obscenity be defined. S. 295 of IPC referred to. S. 79 of IPC referred to by J1. 2P goes on to argue that violated the community standard test. XCA objectives described- respect of women fundamental. Community standard tests and social standard norms referred to how a poem meets the reasonable restriction. J1 asks whether obscenity can be legally defined. J2 asks about landmark judgment on obscenity. 2P refers to the Ranvir Deshi case. Hicklin test and miller test referred to by J1. The sixth issue picked up. The right to access the Internet is a fundamental right as argued. Landmark judgments referred to.

10:53- R1 starts. Deals with Issue no. 1 and 3. Issue 1- XCA ultra vires? Issue 3- Right to the Internet is FR? Issue2- Freedom of speech and curtailment of the same? Issue 4- Internet FR? R1 argues that XCA is NOT violative of the constitution. Provides details of acts- how it is women protective. Cites Sheshamal vs. TN to call for State regulation of ethical rules to admin religious community. Moves to Ambedkar to define the essence of religion. Act derives power from Art. 26 (3), same is subject to public order and health. Says that govt. cannot be stopped from implementing reasonable restrictions. J2 asks R1 to describe the test of proportionality. R1 cites Modern Dental College vs. MP. J2 asks R1 to read S.3 of XCA. J2 asks about punishment being out of proportion. J2 refers to IPC. J2 brings up Hijab case and ERP. J2 asks about Xatali’s ERP. R2 stumped. Religious Endowment Case is referred to describe how an ERP is decided. Sardar Case is quoted. Landmark cases are quoted vis-à-vis to decide ERPs and religious doctrines.

11:13- R2 starts. S2 of XCA described. R2 says S2 talks about already established practices of Xatali. Argues that Poet violated Act by violating Freedom of Speech and Religion. R2 emphasizes Xatali’s religious practices. Argues state has the power to regulate religious communities under CoI. J1 asks about national and local community standard tests- which one should be applied? Refers to Miller vs. California. R2 refers to the setup of the state and wording of the Act. Layed out facts about Jatala. Argues that Union is empowered by Schedule 7 of CoI to formulate UAPA. Art. 246 ensures Parliament can make laws. J2 lays out the thought process of formulating legislation. Acts like UAPA ensure the security of the state, argues R2. UAPA ensures that terrorism doesn’t happen. R2 lays emphasis on democratic setup and Constitutional Assembly Debates. Says UAPA-like laws take supremacy when the issue in question is the security of the state. Cites live examples. Dalmia case referred to. R2 concludes that UAPA is not an ultra vires Constitution. R1 approaches. Elaborates on the establishment of religion’s date as not relevant. Emphasizes the practice of respecting female goddesses’. Court Master concludes proceedings.

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