ObituariesOP. ED.

In Memory of Shamnad Basheer

— by Ruma Pal

I have just returned from attending a memorial service to pay tribute to the memory of Dr Shamnad Basheer held in the offices of IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Awareness). The meeting was small but meaningful and attended not only by members of Shamnad’s family, but also IDIA scholars and others who were associated with Shamnad and IDIA including Shishira Rudrappa. Memories were exchanged and what I will write today is a brief personal account of my association with Shamnad.

When I was associated with NUJS in Kolkata, both as a member of the Executive Council as well as a Professor, Shamnad came from George Washington University in the US to teach Intellectual Property at NUJS. He looked like a student and spoke so well at a lecture that he delivered, that both Dr M.P. Singh, the then Vice-Chancellor and I were persuaded to offer him the post of Chair Professor of the Intellectual Property Department. A few months later he approached both Professor Singh and me with the idea of setting up IDIA as a registered trust. We both agreed. And so began the genesis of what has turned out to be a huge enterprise. That IDIA has grown exponentially is beyond dispute. Shamnad left NUJS and ultimately the office of IDIA was set up at Bangalore. Although he was visiting Professor in Nirma University in Ahmedabad and subsequently of the University of Pennsylvania in the US (UPenn), he chose Bangalore because he was an ex-student of the National Law School there and also because he joined the chambers of an advocate who in fact had an abiding influence on him. It was factors such as these that ultimately led him to form IDIA and also that he had himself struggled to make it through law school.

Because of his extraordinary commitment to his subject—something which led him to even appear as an Amicus Curiae in Novartis case[1] —coupled with his commitment to IDIA, I recommended his name for the Infosys prize—the considerable prize money of which was no doubt used to meet the various commitments he already had including IDIA. By all accounts his generosity was unmatched.

We met earlier this year at UPenn where an international conference on the judiciary was being held. I was no doubt invited by UPenn at the instance of Shamnad. The conference ended somewhat disastrously because of a misunderstanding between the organisers and the invitees. I have written about this in detail in an article in The Hindu. Shamnad as usual played the role of resolving the differences between the organisers and myself. Later that night he had dinner with me in an Italian restaurant and ate well and promptly fell ill. This brings me to two other aspects of his character. He loved eating despite his ill health, something which troubled him greatly. From a strapping young ponytailed man he became almost emaciated.

I remember him being invited to deliver the convocation address in Sikkim University. His talk was so mesmerising that not only the students but the staff and even the guest of honour Mr Pawan Chamling were spellbound. He came despite his ill health and spoke as far as I remember mainly on how one can convert this ill health into strength.

But the most profound aspect of Shamnad’s personality was his deep spirituality—a spirituality which rose above divisions of religion and in pursuit of which in the end he died on the way to Chikmagalur in Karnataka. While at UPenn I had been to the Ramakrishna Mission at New York and had spoken to the Swamiji there, Swami Sarvapriyananda, of him. I had described him as a highly spiritually evolved person to the Swamiji. Subsequently he had been to see the Swamiji and attended his lecture.

I will conclude with an entirely personal note written to me on a book he presented to me last December on the Ashtavakra Gita[2] translated by Thomas Byrom:

“My dearest Ma’am, I cannot even begin to tell you how much you have come to mean to me. I feel a very special bond with you. Almost akin to a part life connect. Given our common search for meaning and appreciation for the metaphysical, I thought you might like this. Much love, Shamnad Basheer.”

He was a multifaceted personality. I am sure the other speakers have their own accounts of their interactions with him. Thank you for this opportunity to speak about someone who I was very close to from our days in NUJS to the last day of his death. Thank you.


Shamnad: An Exceptional Scholar and Humanist

— by Mahendra Pal Singh††

Meeting, knowing, working with and sharing many ideas in one to one talks and discussions, private meetings at home or in office or in the assembly of friends, colleagues, students or in academic or semi-academic gatherings in general with Shamnad used to be not only interesting, pleasant and informative but also focussed on human concerns foremost of the students and among them too of those who suffered from natural or social disabilities.

We would have never come in touch with each other but for the fact that I was unexpectedly invited to take over as Vice-Chancellor of West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata (NUJS) towards the end of 2006 after well over one year of my superannuation from the University of Delhi in 2005. After my joining NUJS towards the end of 2007, the Ministry of Human Resource Development instituted a Chair in Intellectual Property Law at the University. In view of my little acquaintance with IP law and its academic scholars, I sought the advice of Professor N.S. Gopalakrishnan, who happened to be a member of the Academic Council at NUJS and was initially IPR professor at National Law School, Bengaluru from where Shamnad earned his BA, LLB (Hons) degree and thus happened to be a student of Professor Gopalakrishnan. The professor readily suggested two names—Shamnad and James—along with their contact on email and location in Delhi. I contacted both for the Chair. While James expressed his inability to move from his existing position, Shamnad agreed to consider it after seeking some additional information from me. Accordingly, we agreed to meet in Delhi during my next official visit within the next few days. Even though we had never met before, Shamnad could recognise me without much difficulty in the crowded hall where we were expected to meet. His physical appearance and manners gave me the feeling of having known him since long. In a frank and intimate manner he asked me, if I did not have anything else to do in the hall, we could go to a nearby restaurant where we could talk over a cup of tea. We did so and started discussing the purpose of our meeting.

Even though it was our first meeting, without my having any idea of Shamnad’s international eminence as a scholar of IP law, we talked frankly as if we knew each other very well and for long. On my proposal for being considered for the MHRD Chair in IP law, he was quite modest in expressing his doubts whether he fulfilled the criteria for appointment to the Chair. On my assurance on leaving these technical aspects to the University subject to a presentation to the satisfaction of the faculty members, he agreed to make the presentation on a mutually convenient day on any topic of IP law of his choice. The meeting ended at that point. Shamnad arrived for the presentation on the date and time fixed for it. Incidentally, former Judge of the Supreme Court, Ms Justice Ruma Pal, who happened to be the Chair of Human Rights Centre at NUJS also decided to participate in Shamnad’s presentation. Demonstrating his special skills with PPTs and the span of his knowledge of the subject and mesmerising style of its presentation satisfied everyone present of his suitability for the Chair. Ms Justice Ruma Pal was so impressed that she expressed her doubt to me whether Shamnad would accept University’s offer of the Chair. Her statement strengthened my position to convince the Executive Council of the University in getting Shamnad appointed to the Chair without any questions or doubts raised by any member of the Council. It happened exactly that way and Shamnad became a faculty member as IPR Chair Professor at NUJS in November 2008.

As he was a well-known name in IP law through his popular blog “Spicy IP”, expert opinions, reports and other writings, the faculty colleagues as well as the students received him as the beginning of a new era in the life of the university. His overall charming personality, manners and behaviour, work culture and dealings with his colleagues, students, administration and anyone else connected with the University, instantly impressed everyone so much that within a few days of his arrival, he became the most likable and talked about person in the University. Along with his busy academic engagements, he became a centre of attraction for everyone for entertaining their concerns, especially of the weakest and the most disadvantaged ones, in or with the University or even otherwise. He demonstrated a remarkable ability to solve most of the problems of all types initially at his own level and, if required, in consultation with everyone concerned including above all the university administration.

While Shamnad’s popularity was constantly at an upward curve and everything was going on very well with him academically and otherwise, he decided to move out of the University campus accommodation, perhaps to avoid frequent and too much disturbance to his work schedule by his easy accessibility to everyone in the University. The change, however, did not suit him because quite soon he started showing the signs and telling about his ill health. The health issue continued to bother him even after shifting from one place to another until I left NUJS towards the end of 2011. But even during this adversity he did not change his work schedule and besides looking after all routine engagements and earning name as internationally recognised IP scholar for different achievements and award winning positions he also completed his PhD from Oxford University which was hanging in his mind for the last several years.[3]

Besides his remarkable intellectual and human qualities and achievements, Shamnad’s concern for the weak and downtrodden among the University workers and students was most intense and supreme, which I equally, if not more, shared with him and we often discussed it in our free moments to make it part of the University programmes and culture. Quite often we lamented students’ lack of interest in the problems of the common person as well as of those among them who suffered from natural disabilities or because of defective socio-economic set-up and arrangements. We used to think individually and discuss together the ways of focussing students’ attention on some such issues along with their career preferences. It is out of such thinking and discussions that Shamnad came up with the idea of starting a programme different from but side by side the existing programmes in which only students from the most advantageous socio-economic or educational background could participate. Sensitising and engaging socially oriented students to introduce people in disadvantaged sections of the society as well as in the remote areas where people were unaware of the new openings in carrier oriented education such as at the new law universities.

His popularity among the law students not only at NUJS but also in the two other prominent law universities i.e. NLS and Nalsar, attracted the imagination of many students who were looking for new options of meaningful engagement in the law universities. Starting with his own example of visiting remote areas in the north such as Sikkim and nearby backward areas in Sunderbans, giving the direction to students to undertake similar trips and engage themselves in similar awareness programmes initially at NUJS, which in the age of internet attracted the attention of other law universities too, including NLS and Nalsar. Even though NUJS students under Shamnad’s leadership had started this programme without any formal organisational structure, in view of its reception in other law universities, its structuring became imminent and appropriate. In the light of initial objectives and ultimate goals of the programme, Shamnad imaginatively coined its name: Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access: IDIA which expressed true essence and purpose of a well-recognised academic programme in US law schools too for their advancement, socially and academically.

The name with its acronym became a buzzword instantaneously almost in all National Law Universities (NLUs), which were not too many at that time. For the 2011 Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) designed for all the National Law Universities, candidates were given formal instructions and guidance only at NUJS. Out of these candidates, several cracked the admission test and all of them who came within the merit list of any of the NLUs could get admission with financial support and concessions by the admitting university or with the support of IDIA. While all of them came either from the backward areas or poor families, some of them also suffered from physical disabilities. It was of course a major step towards ensuring diversity in NLUs.

With this encouraging first step arose the need of giving IDIA a legal identity and sound structure to ensure its progressive continuity and nationwide expansion. After initial discussion between two of us, either to establish a society or a trust, we decided to establish a trust registered at Kolkata. As I was fast reaching the end of my tenure at NUJS, Shamnad in consultation with Ms Justice Pal and me prepared a trust deed with four trustees—Shamnad as executive trustee, Ms Justice Ruma Pal, me and Shishira as trustees and got it registered at Kolkata.

As on my return to Delhi beginning December 2011, I was appointed Chairperson, Delhi Judicial Academy, I could perform IDIA related functions only to the extent Shamnad assigned any to me while almost singlehandedly he carried all other responsibilities regarding the countrywide organisation and funding of the trust and selection and training of prospective IDIA candidates, admission of the selected IDIA candidates to different law universities, attending their problems during the course of their studies, organising annual gathering of all IDIA candidates in different law universities, and guiding and helping them in getting settled in legal profession or otherwise and much more along with his multiple academic engagements including the university job and “Spicy IP”. Thus, he carried enormous responsibility of running, spreading and strengthening IDIA programme in spite of his constantly decreasing health. But it is the result of such organisational ability and capacity to work hard that he could ensure countrywide success of IDIA programme within a very short span of time. These demands on his time and energy along with his health situation also compelled him not being able to meet all the demands of NUJS administration as IP Chair which forced him to give up that position also in 2014.

After leaving NUJS, Shamnad settled in Bangalore to carry on and expand IDIA related activities along with his numerous IP related activities including his famous blog, IP related major court matters such as his personal appearance in Novartis case[4] in the Supreme Court, Delhi University Copyright case[5] in the Delhi High Court, numerous reports and publications in journals and books, getting invalidated the constitution of Copyright Board, direct and indirect participation in a number of other court matters. For all these and many more activities and achievements he was also awarded prestigious Infosys Prize in 2015. Few months before his demise he also added to his numerous causes and activities the issue of letting the full-time University law professors practise in law courts and started the campaign for obtaining signatures of existing law professors including the retired ones like me. In view of my sad experience of having seen the decline of effective teaching, research and scholarship in Delhi University, Faculty of Law because without such permission many of its full-time professors started court practice even against the displeasure of the

University. Finding the University and myself helpless and target of displeasure of my colleagues, two of my former students, one of whom had just started practice while the other had simply got enrolled without having participated in any litigation, offered to take the matter to the court and filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, which was ultimately decided in their favour. In view of this institutional and personal experience, my conscience could not permit to agree with Shamnad’s suggestion, though I did not ask him to pursue his campaign. That may have disappointed him immensely adding to his health issues. But he never gave me that impression because even two-three days before the news of his sad demise came he wrote to me, perhaps along with other close colleagues, that I should take care of IDIA related activities if anything happens to him anytime because that day he again vomited blood.

The sad news of Shamnad’s demise came at about 8 p.m. on 8-8-2019 when my colleague Niraj sitting in front of me checked his WhatsApp and told me that Shamnad was no more. Without losing my composure, I told Niraj that he had already given a hint to me two, three days ago. Immediately innumerable memories of him, including his last visit to our place few months before, in which having got no relief even during his US visit and having lost further weight, he gave no impression whatsoever of any suffering or fear of losing his life. He prepared some coffee that he was carrying with him also for my wife and me to be gulped in one sip and left with his heavy bags promising to return soon and stay with us to enjoy the food my wife cooked. So sad for both of us that Shamnad could not keep his promise. Knowing well that Shamnad will never come to see us, sound of the words from a movie keep echoing in my head that read somewhat like this:

2020_1_SCC_J_3_1.png


 Former Judge, Supreme Court of India. Republished with the kind permission of Supreme Court Cases (SCC). First published in the (2020) 1 SCC J-1.

††Professor, Emeritus University of Delhi, presently Visiting Professor and Chair, Centre for Comparative Law, National Law University, Delhi. Republished with the kind permission of Supreme Court Cases (SCC). First published in the (2020) 1 SCC J-3.

[1] Novartis AG v. Union of India(2013) 6 SCC 1.

[2] Thomas Byrom (Tr.), The Heart of Awareness: A Translation of the Ashtavakra Gita (Shambhala Dragon Editions, 2001).

[3] For his different academic and related achievements see his CV in Google prepared a few months before his death towards the end of 2018 or in early 2019 required by me for recommending his name for the post of Vice-Chancellor, National Law University, Shimla.

[4] Novartis AG v. Union of India(2013) 6 SCC 1.

[5] Master & Scholors of University of Oxford v. Rameswari Photocopy Services2016 SCC OnLine Del 6229 : (2016) 235 DLT 409.

Law School NewsOthers

Meraki’s is India’s exclusive intellectual property law essay competition brought to you by IDIA, Institute of Law, Nirma University and Anand and Anand.

With themes focusing on research topics that are both core and contemporary, Meraki is designed to unleash your creative take on India’s intellectual property rights regime. Add to this the stellar jury and the attractive rewards and recognition that this competition offers and you have in front you, the epitome of all IP research competitions in India.

The participant whose entry will be adjudged as the Best Entry wins an ‘Internship with Anand and Anand’ and an attractive cash prize. The competition offers you an Opportunity to win Cash Prizes worth ? 16,000.

The stellar jury and the attractive rewards and recognition that this competition offers, makes it the epitome of all IP research competitions in India.

The competition is open to all students pursuing under-graduate (three/ five year) or post-graduate law degrees.

Students can choose from the following topics,
  1. Should the same subject matter merit protection under both copyright and design laws? Discuss with reference to the Indian context.
  2. Should Injunctions be granted in SEP cases? Please restrict your focus to the Indian context, drawing from international/comparative perspective where required.
  3. What is the likely future of John Doe jurisprudence in India? Please restrict your focus to copyright infringement and Bollywood.
Registration and Important dates
  • Single authorship: Rs. 350/-
  • Co-authorship: Rs. 500/-

Please refer to detailed information regarding the registration process and the submission guidelines by opening the brochure attached in the mail.

  • Last Date of Registration: 14th March, 2018 (11:59 pm)
  • Last Date of Submission of the Essay: 17th March, 2019 (11:59 pm)
  • First round of Evaluation: 29th March, 2019.
  • Declaration of the Results: 24th April, 2018
Prizes
  • First Prize: Rs. 8,000 cash prize; Internship with Anand and Anand; Certificate of merit.
  • Second Prize: Rs. 5,000 cash prize; Certificate of merit.
  • Third Prize: Rs. 3,000 cash prize; Certificate of merit.

The top 10 selected essays will be awarded Certificates of Appreciation.

All Participants will be provided with a Certificate of Participation.

Judges

The competition will be judged by an eminent panel of judges renowned in the IPR sphere in India and abroad. The judges for the competition are:

  • Mr. Pravin Anand.
  • Prof (Dr.) Feroz Ali K.
  • Mr. Murali Neelkanthan.
  • Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer.
Contact, Organizing team

In case of any query, please feel free to contact us:

  • Kartikey Kanojiya (Co-ordinator): 9913891167
  • Harshit Jadaon (Co-ordinator): 9106715298
  • Runjhun Pare (Team Leader): 9727886844
  • Aadesh Shinde: 7803941577
  • Supriya Julka: 9265300393
Further details are available at : https://merakidia.wixsite.com/website
Interviews

Ms. Prakrati Shah and Aiswarya Murali Team Leaders of IDIA Rajasthan Chapter recently won the Star of IDIA award. They were being interviewed by EBC student ambassador Srishti Rai on her win.

  1. Brief intro

Prakrati: My name is Prakrati Shah. I am a fifth-year student from National Law University, Jodhpur, I always wanted to make a difference in the society and the most effective way to bring about any change, in my opinion would be to start from the grass roots and educate the youth. I joined IDIA at the end of my first year because it filled that lacuna. We didn’t only help create awareness about career prospects in law, but mentored these kids to ensure they get into the best law schools of the country and the opportunities that they deserved and could not get due to lack of resources.

Aiswarya: My name is Aiswarya Murali. I am a fifth year student from National Law University, Jodhpur. I have been part of IDIA for almost four years now. It has now become an integral part of my life. IDIA gave a purpose to my learning and became an operating factor to the values I hold. The happiness I secured each time I saw a trainee excel is inexplicable.

  1. About IDIA

Prakrati: IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education)started by Mr. Shamnad Basheer. IDIA is a Non-Governmental Organisation that works towards bringing gender, class and caste inclusivity in law schools so that everyone has an equal opportunity to fully utilise their potential.

Aiswarya: IDIA, is the acronym for Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access.  As the name suggests, this project aims at cutting across economically and socially marginalised sections by sensitising them about legal education thereby encouraging them to pursue it as a career. This was an idea envisioned by Prof. Shamnad Basheer. IDIA provides a support system to the students throughout their journey in pursuing law as a career. The working hands of IDIA being law students across the country. They run chapters in the form of teams capable of sensitising, training and financially aiding the students to enter and survive in law schools.

  1. My journey as a team leader

Prakrati: In my drop year for CLAT, I joined Make a Difference where I was an English Teacher, a Community Fundraising Mentor and team leader in the dream camp organized for underprivileged kids staying in shelter homes. Working with these kids for a year made me realize that they have great potential, however we were only able to help them till the school level and after that they needed career guidance.

After becoming a Team Leader in 2017, I am nothing but grateful for what I along with my team have managed to accomplish at NLU Jodhpur. For the academic years of 2016-19, we have managed successful negotiations with CrackClat and LawPrep, Jodhpur and have secured subsidized coaching rates upto 85% along with them taking on visually impaired kids pro bono. We have created more awareness in our college by way of signing campaigns, setting up stalls during events like NH-65 (our college cultural fest) and Dandiya night, and sending out e-mails to alumni and our peers by reaching out to them personally. We also reached out to students from the legal background so they can involve their parents with IDIA as much as possible. We also organized a lecture by Mr. Carl Malamud in collaboration with CalQ, our college journal.

Through these initiatives we raised Rs. 40,000 in the span of two weeks in November to pay the coaching fees for the IDIA Rajasthan Chapter students and Rs. 10,000 from our activities on campus this semester. We have also gotten an in-principal approval from the administration to set up IDIA stalls on campus for any forthcoming event. Keeping into mind that people have varying level of time commitments, but still want to contribute to IDIA, we have also started a volunteer system for the students in the college.

We also had a case concerning POCSO in 2017, but we did not have members equipped to deal with case and had to reach out to a student outside IDIA to help us out. This incident gave me the idea to start a legal services team for the IDIA Rajasthan Chapter which is currently looking into measures which would make our college more PWD friendly by getting special scanners for the visually impaired and ramps for physically handicapped people. We are also looking at possible alternatives of filing an RTI or a letter petition to look at the minimum qualifications for teachers in law schools to ensure a better standard of education.

The Rajasthan Chapter over the past two years has achieved certain milestones and I will always be thankful to IDIA to give me the opportunity to lead the team to achieve them and help me fulfill the vision I had when I joined law school to try my best to make a difference in the society.

Aiswarya: I believe that being part of IDIA is a two –way transformation process. While we transform lives, our own lives get transformed. I became part of IDIA in my second year. I was part of the training team in my second and third year. I taught legal reasoning and English. I focused on helping the trainees chalk out a strategy, which I believe is the most crucial part of training them. Towards the end of my third year, we were slowly delegated the works of a Team Leader and then completely transitioned into running the entire chapter. It was quite challenging however, I quickly settled in due to my eagerness in executing the changes I wanted to see.

I have been the team leader of IDIA since February 2017 along with Prakrati Shah. Apart from several inherent challenges that we face while working for IDIA, institutional challenges are a major impediment. But each time I worked for IDIA, I strived to imbibe the true meaning of IDIA and believe in it more deeply. Being a team leader has added several aspects to my personality, in the form of enhancing problem solving capability, people skills, organisation skills and welcoming challenges in its true spirit.

It wouldn’t be an overstatement if I were to say that Rajasthan Chapter is one of the efficiently-run chapters, producing the best results every year. Major credit goes to my very enthusiastic team and ever supportive director who has always been our pillar. To ensure a good success rate we constantly keep a track of the performance of our trainees. Provide them with every possible material that we can by maintaining an internal library in the chapter. We keep them updated with current affairs by providing them monthly compendiums. Finally, I believe that the most determinative factor of a competitive exam like CLAT is self-belief and the much needed mental strength for perseverance.  We ensure that the trainees are provided enough emotional support and are motivated to achieve what they are capable of. In the course of being part of IDIA, I realised that there is no happiness greater than helping someone realise their dream. To rescue someone from being victims of their circumstances and to add an extra mile to their lives. This is what IDIA means to me. Pure bliss!

  1. Feeling after winning the award

Prakrati: I felt humbled in the presence of all the dignitaries present. We got to see the IDIA scholars being awarded, heard about their struggles even after joining law school and how well they are still doing for themselves. It was a platform to interact with the legal luminaries and chance to meet the people who are actually making a difference. I think I’m taking back lessons for lifetime. Getting this award has further motivated me and inspired me to work further.

Aiswarya: I was truly overwhelmed when I was informed that I was eligible for this award. My heartfelt gratitude to the entire IDIA family for this precious piece of memory. I was honoured to receive it. I am also grateful to my ever supportive family, who have always encouraged me to aim the stars and strive in the best possible manner to reach the sky. I am thankful to my friends who believed in me and gave me the emotional strength to never give up. Lastly, I believe that the real happiness is when you receive calls from your successful trainees and be a part of their happiness.Their satisfactions when you aid them embark on a journey towards a bright future. This award is a materialization of their happiness!

     5. Any suggestions

Aiswarya: It is important to do what gives you contentment in life. If it’s seeing transform lives of people then IDIA is the perfect place for you. There are several ways of being part of this project. If you are a law student you can join IDIA and be a part of this beautiful family. Financial aid is also very crucial. You can donate and support us. Any amount can add value to a life. The least, all of us can do is to spread a word about our project to those interested. Any mille of your help is precious for us.

Law School NewsOthers

This is a call for applications to be part of the Training & Materials Vertical of the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) Project.

The IDIA Project was initiated by Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer to reach out to the marginalized and under-represented groups, sensitize them to law as a viable career option and help interested students acquire admission in law schools, which are otherwise increasingly elitist spaces. The hope is that increasing access to legal education would contribute immensely to empowerment of the marginalized and underprivileged students and the communities they represent. To know more about the project, please visit the IDIA website here.

The Training and Materials Vertical (T&M Team) of IDIA is responsible for preparation of training-material for our trainees to practise with. The Team is inviting applications for the different projects it will be undertaking this year.  As you may know, the T&M Vertical is undergoing rapid expansion via its online platform and in furtherance of this endeavor, we require volunteers for the following projects:

1. Video Training: Building on from last year’s success, we aim to create more video tutorials in regional languages so as make learning easier and more fun for our trainees. We will be using a very simple software for this (for instance see this short explanatory video). Each video ideally explains one topic and gives some questions on it. You can view the tutorials we developed last year here.

This project, once completed, shall enable IDIA to reach out to areas where it does not have a strong presence as yet. Prior knowledge of video-making, programming, graphic designing etc. is NOT a pre-requisite to be a part of this team. If you have a sound grasp of subject areas tested through law entrance examinations, and wish to disseminate this knowledge country-wide then please do apply!

2. Mock Tests: We have prepared a repository of mock tests on the online platform. The work would entail –

  • Creating mock tests calibrated to different difficulty levels.
  • Proof-reading questions and answer keys in pre-existing Mock Tests.
  • Administering tests and analysing test results so as to give detailed, individualised feedback to test-takers.

Last year, all our trainees attempted these mock tests and greatly benefited from regular feedback on their performance. In addition to designing questions, you will have an opportunity to extensively engage with Moodle, code tests, and conduct data analysis using MS Excel. Once again, prior knowledge of these tools is NOT a pre-requisite.

3. Question Bank: We have been successful in preparing a well-segregated subject-wise question bank of all past-years’ law entrance examinations. This task was undertaken with the aim of familiarizing trainees with the possible types of questions that can be expected in an entrance examination. The work for this project would entail –

  • Reviewing the Question Bank to ensure there are no errors in the questions and ensuring the answers are conducive.
  • Determining and implementing a creative means for rendering the question bank online so as to ensure ease of usage.

4. Current Affairs: This project entails preparation of weekly quizzes on current affairs. If you are interested in regular engagement with the happenings across the world, then this work shall interest you greatly.

Qualifications: The minimum qualifications for this post are the following:

  1. The T&M Vertical must be first priority for you. You should be able to spare at least 6-8 hours a week for this work.
  2. It is essential that you believe in and be committed to IDIA’s cause.
  3. Good communication skills along with leadership qualities are also a must.

Incentives: The biggest incentive in working as part of IDIA is, of course, the satisfaction of having made great contribution towards a great cause. However, if the promise of a social revolution and transforming someone’s life is not good enough for you, some material incentives which you could consider are:

  1. IDIA’s various supporters and donors (including some of the leading law firms) have agreed to grant internship opportunities to best performing IDIA volunteers. In the past, IDIA has nominated its best performing volunteers for internships at top law firms such as JSA, Trilegal, Luthra and Luthra, AZB etc. as well as companies like GE, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis etc.
  2. An exceptional IDIA team leader/deputy team leader could be nominated for a series of awards including a fellowship instituted by a leading lawyer (IDIA: Sagar Fellowships) that pays a good sum each month.
  3. A certificate highlighting your contribution to IDIA and providing an assessment of your work.

Application Process: Those interested in applying may fill in this form by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, 2nd September 2018. Applicants having past experience with similar projects are encouraged to apply, although that is not a strict requirement for selection. Members of regional teams are also encouraged to apply. Based on your expression of interest via the Google form you will be asked to complete a small task in due course.

Needless to say, each of these projects would require you to maintain a high level of professionalism and meet strict deadlines. In case of any doubt(s), please feel free to write to Shilpa Prasad (shilpadeprasad@gmail.com) or Siddhant Sachdeva (siddhant.sachdeva14@nludelhi.ac.in). We would be happy to answer your queries or take up suggestions.

We look forward to receiving your applications!

Law School NewsOthers

This is a call for applications to be part of the Training & Materials Vertical of the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) Project. The IDIA Project was initiated by Prof. (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer to reach out to the marginalized and under-represented groups, sensitize them to law as a viable career option and help interested students acquire admission in law schools, which are otherwise increasingly elitist spaces. The hope is that increasing access to legal education would contribute immensely to empowerment of the marginalized and underprivileged students and the communities they represent. To know more about the project, please visit the IDIA website here.

The Training and Materials Vertical (T&M Team) of IDIA is responsible for preparation of training-material for our trainees to practise with. The Team is inviting applications for the different projects it will be undertaking this year.  As you may know, the T&M Vertical is undergoing rapid expansion via its online platform and in furtherance of this endeavor, we require volunteers for the following projects –

1. Video Training 
Building on from last year’s success, we aim to create more video tutorials in regional languages so as make learning easier and more fun for our trainees. We will be using a very simple software for this (for instance see this short explanatory video). Each video ideally explains one topic and gives some questions on it. You can view the tutorials we developed last year here.

This project, once completed, shall enable IDIA to reach out to areas where it does not have a strong presence as yet. Prior knowledge of video-making, programming, graphic designing etc. is NOT a pre-requisite to be a part of this team. If you have a sound grasp of subject areas tested through law entrance examinations, and wish to disseminate this knowledge country-wide then please do apply!

2. Mock Tests
We have prepared a repository of mock tests on the online platform. The work would entail –

  • Creating mock tests calibrated to different difficulty levels.
  • Proof-reading questions and answer keys in pre-existing Mock Tests.
  • Administering tests and analysing test results so as to give detailed, individualised feedback to test-takers.

Last year, all our trainees attempted these mock tests and greatly benefited from regular feedback on their performance. In addition to designing questions, you will have an opportunity to extensively engage with Moodle, code tests, and conduct data analysis using MS Excel. Once again, prior knowledge of these tools is NOT a pre-requisite.

3. Question Bank
We have been successful in preparing a well-segregated subject-wise question bank of all past-years’ law entrance examinations. This task was undertaken with the aim of familiarizing trainees with the possible types of questions that can be expected in an entrance examination. The work for this project would entail –

  • Reviewing the Question Bank to ensure there are no errors in the questions and ensuring the answers are conducive.
  • Determining and implementing a creative means for rendering the question bank online so as to ensure ease of usage.

4. Current Affairs
This project entails preparation of weekly quizzes on current affairs. If you are interested in regular engagement with the happenings across the world, then this work shall interest you greatly.

Qualifications
The minimum qualifications for this post are the following:

  1. The T&M Vertical must be first priority for you. You should be able to spare at least 6-8 hours a week for this work.
  2. It is essential that you believe in and be committed to IDIA’s cause.
  3. Good communication skills along with leadership qualities are also a must.

Incentives

The biggest incentive in working as part of IDIA is, of course, the satisfaction of having made great contribution towards a great cause. However, if the promise of a social revolution and transforming someone’s life is not good enough for you, some material incentives which you could consider are:

  1. IDIA’s various supporters and donors (including some of the leading law firms) have agreed to grant internship opportunities to best performing IDIA volunteers. In the past, IDIA has nominated its best performing volunteers for internships at top law firms such as JSA, Trilegal, Luthra and Luthra, AZB etc. as well as companies like GE, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis etc.
  2. An exceptional IDIA team leader/deputy team leader could be nominated for a series of awards including a fellowship instituted by a leading lawyer (IDIA: Sagar Fellowships) that pays a good sum each month.
  3. A certificate highlighting your contribution to IDIA and providing an assessment of your work.

Application Process
Those interested in applying may fill in this form by 11:59 P.M. on Sunday, 1st October 2017. Applicants having past experience with similar projects are encouraged to apply, although that is not a strict requirement for selection. Members of regional teams are also encouraged to apply. Based on your expression of interest via the Google form you will be asked to complete a small task in due course.

Needless to say, each of these projects would require you to maintain a high level of professionalism and meet strict deadlines. In case of any doubt(s), please feel free to write to Anusha (anusha@idialaw.com) or Shilpa (shilpadeprasad@gmail.com) or Siddhant (siddhant.sachdeva14@nludelhi.ac.in). We would be happy to answer your queries.

Hot Off The PressNews

In an unfortunate incident that took place last night, six NUJS students were groped and brutally assaulted by a mob of goons hired by the government contractor in charge of demolition of the Subhas Sarovar slums. After the students of NUJS Kolkata obtained a stay order of Calcutta High Court on the demotion of slum housing.

Narrating the sequence of events, the Student Juridical Association, NUJS, in it’s official Press Release, said that despite the stay order, the contractors demolished the slums at which point NUJS students went to the contractors with the copy of the Court order. On being confronted, the order was torn up, following which the female students were groped by multiple goons and the male students were grievously assaulted till they were unconscious. Their phones were smashed and destroyed and when they tried to escape, the gates of the area, which is a fenced enclosure, were shut.

Terming the incident as manhandling of collective conscience, the student association wrote:

“we, as the law school fraternity, must stand together against this complete obliteration of the rule of law that we seek to defend and practice. We sincerely hope that in this hour of need, our collective conscience will inspire us to participate in defending and echoing the common ideals of liberty and rule of law that bind us together.”

As per the latest update, the Calcutta High Court has immediately ordered the state for rehabilitation of the evicted slum dwellers within 24 hours and has issued a contempt of court notice against perpetrators.

Last month, the public interest team at Increasing Diversity By Increasing Access (IDIA) comprising of NUJS students had obtained a stay on slum demolitions in Kolkata’s Subhas Sarovar area.

As part of its beautification project, the West Bengal state government planned to demolish the slums in the area, which would render around twenty-two families living there for more than a decade, homeless. Three of the slum dwellers, including octogenarian Shiv Shankar Ray, sought to file a petition before the Calcutta High Court challenging the government’s decision. The petition was drafted by the IDIA team comprising of NUJS students– which received help from pro bono lawyers practising at the High Court.