Aakarsh Banyal is a final year law student and university merit scholar at SLS, Pune. He has interned with the Chief Prosecutor’s office at the International Crimes Tribunal, Bangladesh and under the UN Special Rapporteur for trafficking in persons. He is serving as an extern to Prof. Sandesh Sivkumaran (Prof. of International Law, Cambridge) and Dr Anna Petrig [Judge ad hoc, (International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea) ITLOS]. In this interview with Nipun Bhatia, the Student Ambassador of SCC OnLine for SLS, Pune, he discusses about his experience in academic externships in the area of public international law (PIL).

1. Could you kindly introduce yourself to our readers and tell us what made you choose law as your professional career?

I am a fourth-year law student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune. Outside of law, I have a penchant for music, philosophy, travel, documentaries (highly recommend Icarus by Bryan Fogel), and a love for horses.

My journey with the law began in high school. I was a science student with an appetite for philosophy. I chanced upon a brilliant book on bioethics by Peter Singer and was left wanting more. His other monographs dealing with the idea of rights, equality and morality (thanks to his legal background) led me to develop an interest in law. Add to this a few Model UNs and volunteer work involving civic engagement, and I felt I could do much more as a lawyer to advance societal change. Thus, I decided to exchange my lab coat for a gown.

2. What intrigued your interest in public international law?

Like many others, I discovered international law through moot court competitions. I appreciated how the subject operated in “greys”, and there was always room to question existing doctrine.

However, I built a personal connection with international law during my internships. I could see how the subject had a very real impact on everyday life. Be it the victims fighting for justice at the International Crimes Tribunal, Bangladesh or countries from the Global South such as Sri Lanka seeking to espouse a more just understanding of international law at the United Nations.

I became sensitive to many such issues and, consequently, international law’s intention and impact in resolving conflict. I knew I had to be part of this grand design in every way possible.

Over time, my “why(s)” for pursuing international law have only increased, and — as clichéd as it may sound — I find a new reason to pursue international law everyday.

3. How are academic externships and research internships different from enforcement internships?

My personal experience would guide this answer; thus, it may differ across individuals. Having said that, I would define an academic externship as one where you work with a scholar(s). In contrast, you work with practitioners or law firms in enforcement internships.

As a natural consequence, you serve different masters and work towards different objectives. Generally, scholars need assistance with research they hope to eventually publish. On the other hand, law firms and practitioners require assistance typically with ongoing disputes or compliance since they represent clients.

Academic externships require you to take a more interdisciplinary approach to legal issues. This is because the scope of analysis is broader for an academician than a practitioner. In my experience, I found the work to be more varied in an academic externship ranging from legal research and brainstorming discussions to editorial support and website development.

Ultimately, it depends on what you wish to learn from a professional engagement since each internship has something different to offer.

4. How was your experience with international institutions which offer internships in the field of PIL?

While interning with the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN, I interacted with a different side of international law: lawmaking and diplomacy. I could see the sheer amount of thought and research that went into drafting and negotiating a single model law provision. Despite the fact that numerous foreign policy considerations reigned over these discussions, it was inspiring to see the effort States made to reach a consensus. My work mainly pertained to the legal analysis of model laws in consideration at Working Groups under the auspices of UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law), such as ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) reform, electronic commerce and cross-border insolvency.

My internship with the Chief Prosecutor’s office at International Crimes Tribunal, Bangladesh was replete with drafting assignments. Among other things, it gave me an opportunity to bridge my ignorance about the Bangladeshi peoples’ encounter with extreme conflict during the Liberation Struggle. The ICT-BD statute and decisions are also telling insofar as they reveal a harsh reality of international law. Despite the [International Crimes (Tribunals) Act] ICT Act’s enactment in 1973 [well before the ad hoc tribunals and the ICC (International Criminal Court)] and trials taking place for the past decade, scholarship regarding ICT-BD is virtually non-existent in comparison to its western counterparts.

On a more personal level, you get a chance to interact with individuals from different backgrounds, allowing you to develop cultural sensibilities. These experiences facilitate holistic development by instilling fundamental values of inclusivity and acceptance.

5. In particular, how was your experience at Basel and how did it help you with respect to PIL?

The Basel Winter Arbitration School was a gratifying experience. I had the opportunity to meet and discuss ideas with stalwarts of international law whom I have admired since my formative years at law school. Further, as the youngest student at the arbitration school, I learned a lot from fellow students with diverse career aspirations (solicitors, doctoral candidates, researchers, professors, mediators, etc.) but a shared interest in international dispute resolution.

What struck me as unique about this programme was its learning journal. After every lecture, we had to write down our thoughts on topical issues (framed as guiding questions) related to that lecture’s theme. I found this exercise incredibly useful, and this is something I do now after all my classes.

Once again, I thank the organisers for their generous support scholarship that made this experience possible.

6. What career prospects and challenges could one expect in the field of PIL?

International law can allow you to don the hat of everything from a practitioner to an academic. You can use your education in international law (derived through a degree, work experience or otherwise) as a stepping stone towards many exciting careers in advocacy, diplomacy, academia, governance, journalism and policy. It all depends on one’s specific interest in international law.

As an undergraduate student, opportunities in this field remain hypercompetitive and scarce. Specific issues that vex Indian students are lack of funding prospects and visa-related limitations. Nevertheless, I am in touch with many seniors who have fared well despite all odds.

7. How important is doing proper legal research, and how should law students equip themselves with legal research skills. And could you please throw some light on “exhaustion of research” and its importance in PIL?

Broadly speaking, a strong foundation in legal research is essential to perform well as a lawyer, regardless of your area of interest.

Academic intervention is intrinsic to international law’s development. Hence, I cannot stress enough when I say that constantly developing your skills in legal research will always hold you in good stead.

I believe it is imperative to take your first year “research methods and methodology” lectures seriously. Although it may seem like drudgery, this course is vital to ensure a solid foundation in legal research. In addition, it is helpful to take time while devising your research question since that determines your research approach.

Similarly, suppose you are assisting someone with research. In that case, it is necessary to understand what the researcher or research question is asking of you. Otherwise, you can end up conducting research with no practical consequence. This also ties into what I have to say about the “exhaustion of research”. In my opinion, this phrase refers to reaching a point where you can reasonably assert that no more research is required for you to address a given question sufficiently.

In international law, the scope of inquiry is usually broad. So, it is pretty cumbersome and difficult to assert that you have exhausted all research. There are various lenses (even outside the legal realm) through which you can analyse a given proposition of international law. Therefore, as someone who wishes to pursue research in this field, I think having a broad reading base is critical. A decent understanding of subjects such as history, sociology, political science and international relations can always provide a fresh perspective on any issue.

8. Finally, could you tell our readers what your law school mantra is?

I am not one for mantras, for there would be a certain tautological emptiness in any one-liner I concoct. Rather, I can say that carving your individuality and path in law school (and beyond) goes farther than jumping on the bandwagon. Grades may seem paramount but are only important. Taking up every collegiate activity may seem necessary, but most of them may be redundant. Instead, the disciplined pursuit of “less” alongside having a “why” for any enterprise will help you overcome any challenge (law school) life throws at you.


Mr Tushar Agarwal completed his LLB from the Amity Law School, Amity University, Noida in the year 2015, and enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi. Mr Agarwal also successfully completed a diploma course in “criminal justice” from Harvard University, United States.

His practice primarily focuses on criminal law, constitutional law and commercial arbitration. His chamber caters to all the needs of the litigants starting from legal opinion and legal drafting to presenting arguments before the court of law.

Mr Agarwal was one of the assisting counsels representing Dr Shashi Tharoor in a famous State v. Shashi Tharoor, Sessions Case (SC) No. 5/2019. He has also appeared in few pro bono cases with Senior Counsels representing Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy, Association of Victims of Meerut Fire Tragedy, etc. Mr Agarwal is currently handling few important matters relating to corruption, corporate frauds, moneylaundering and goods and services tax (GST) evasion being investigated by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Directorate General GST Intelligence (DGGI) respectively.

He has been interviewed by Khushbu Sood, EBC/SCC Online Student Ambassador who is currently pursuing law from HPNLU.


1. To begin with, if I may request you to please share with our readers something about yourself, your journey in the profession and your early years.

I am a first generation lawyer from a small town of U.P. i.e. Meerut and shifted to Delhi in 2009 to chase and fulfil my dreams. I completed my LLB from the Amity Law School, Amity University, Noida in the year 2015, and enrolled with the Bar Council of Delhi. I have also successfully completed a diploma course in “criminal justice” from Harvard University, United States.

During my law education, I explored about my deep interest in criminal law and with God’s grace, I was fortunate enough to start my professional journey with one of the stalwarts of criminal law in India Mr Vikas Pahwa, Senior Advocate. I joined his chamber as Legal Associate which provided me a great exposure as I got an opportunity to assist him in variety of high profile cases across various legal forums in Delhi as well as outside Delhi. One case which I would like to mention is State v. Shashi Tharoor, Sessions Case (SC) No. 5/2019 wherein Mr Pahwa was representing Dr Shashi Tharoor and I assisted him at the initial stage of the case. So the right guidance and mentoring in early years helped me in laying down a strong foundation of my professional career.


2.  What inclined you towards the field of legal education? Do you reckon any specific incident that made you choose law as a career?

Law is considered to be one of the noblest profession. A lawyer is the only professional who is addressed as learned. So, with the knowledge of law, it is expected from a lawyer that he/she will use that knowledge in making people aware about their legal rights and also fight on their behalf before a court of law for protecting those rights. So, being a participant in fight for protection of legal rights of the people of your country, was the biggest motivation for me to practise this profession.

There is no specific incident that made me choose law as a career. I was curious since my school days to learn about the genesis of various laws implemented in India because I feel that having deep knowledge of law makes you more socially empowered.


3.  How did you shape at the law school? Please also share your interests and motivations. How did you navigate through your career path?

At law school, apart from academic sessions and classes, the participation in moot courts, mock trials and other extracurricular activities also helped me a lot in pursuing my studies with utmost dedication and interest. Such activities used to act as a refresher/stressbuster in the hectic college schedule. I had also been in the leadership teams of various college associations like moot court society, legal entrepreneurship cell, media society, etc. Such roles helped me in developing good quality leadership skills.

I had interest in taking up challenging leadership roles since my school days. Such leadership roles not only refine your personality but also provide an opportunity to polish your communication and interaction skills. The motivation behind pursuing law as a career and taking these leadership roles was the direct opportunity of interaction with the legends and renowned Judges and senior advocates who used to visit the college on various occasions.

Further a combination of right guidance from college teachers, mentoring by fraternity seniors, support from family and strong self-belief and hard work and blessings of God and elders, together helped me in pursing my career path in an effective and efficient manner.

4. How has your experience shaped you into the professional? How has your primary interests in criminal law, constitutional law and commercial arbitration, helped you set up your chambers?

The internships across my entire law degree with various advocates, senior advocates, law firms and Judges, helped me in exploring my interest into litigation and that too especially in criminal, arbitration and constitutional law. So pursuing my internships sincerely made my journey easy to formally start practising as an advocate.

  1. Starting your own chambers is a hardworking and tiresome task, do you think it is important to have some specialisation or should there be generalist approach?


In the initial days of independent practice through your own chamber, the biggest challenge is to build your face value in the fraternity and to convince the clients about your quality of services in order to retain them. It is very hard to get the relief from the court of law for your clients. So in these initial times, your work experience during trainings and internships plays a major role.

I religiously follow all the ethical and professional practices learnt from my seniors and continue to do hard work with utmost dedication. I spend good amount of time in reading judgments and doing legal research to update my knowledge. My updated legal knowledge and awareness helped me a lot in retaining the clients.

In my opinion, in initial few years of independent practice, one should be open to take up all sort of cases like civil, criminal, arbitration, etc. Once you start building your image in one sort of matters and start gaining a good command over that particular field of law, then a chamber can think of narrowing down its practice to only that matter which falls within its area of specialisation. The specialist approach in initial days limits a lawyer within a periphery which he becomes unable to cross in future.


  1. Since your recent achievement, please share your experience of being awarded with “Top 100 Lex-Falcon Award” in LexTalk World Global Conference in Dubai for his contributions in legal industry.

This award indeed was a milestone in my professional journey. These kind of awards and recognition not only enhances your visibility in the fraternity but also motivates you to continue to contribute towards your industry. This award gave me an opportunity to take my practice at global level by making good relations with advocates and counsels across the world.


     7.   What, according to you, has changed/modified in law, both in statutes and in the society.

In my opinion, the law with passage of time has become more dynamic. With more frequent and new technological, political and global developments, the requirement of repealing old and obsolete statutes has increased and enactment of new statutes keeping in view the current situation, has become necessary. Further with the passage of time, the awareness about law and status has increased in the society. The people have become more aware about legal rights and the ways to enforce them. But in my view, this increased awareness has also resulted into increased filing of cases before courts. Therefore the onus is on lawyers to guide their clients in a correct manner in order to avoid frivolous and baseless litigations.

     8.  Not many people are familiar with the concept “exhaustion of a search”. What are your views on it?

I guess, the concept of “exhaustion of a search” is a very subjective matter and it differs from individual to individual. The stage of exhaustion of a search for a researcher will never arise until and unless his/her purpose of research is not completed and all questions are not answered.

For example: while doing a research on a law point, finding a case law is not sufficient. One should also research about any executive ordinance or government notification or any report of Law Commission or any report of Parliamentary Committees, etc. in order to have a holistic view regarding that particular law point.

  9.   What advice would you like to give students of law in a post-COVID era where students are anxious about choosing career paths?

In my opinion, this pandemic is a temporary phase which has now almost come to its end. The legal work in courts and corporates has started gaining its original pace which was there before pre-COVID era. Therefore my sincere advice to all aspiring lawyers is that instead of getting disappointed and anxious, they should use their time to enhance their legal knowledge either by reading legal books, judgments or writing articles or pursuing online internships, etc. They should focus on exploring new areas like artificial intelligence in law, etc. They can also plan to go for higher studies.

There are endless opportunities floating in this legal ocean, one just has to look and wait for it with patience and grab the same once it knocks your door. I might be sounding very bookish and non-realistic, but after spending so many years in this profession I have learnt that patience, persistence and hard work are the only ways to climb the stairs of success.

   10.  Any advice you would like to give to the readers of SCC blog? Apart from this is there anything else that you would like to share with the readers of SCC Online?

To all the aspiring lawyers which are readers of SCC blog, my sincere advice would be that whenever you join any chamber as an associate, you should spend good amount of time in that office without making any haste to start independent practice. You should focus on learning art of legal drafting, courtcraft, style of arguments, case management, etc. from your senior because none of these arts can be learnt by reading books. I still remember the exact words of my senior-cum-mentor, who trained me, that “you cannot become Ram Jethmalani in 2 or 3 years of practice. You have to be patient and give adequate time to this profession if you want to achieve success”.

Law School NewsLSAT IndiaMoot Court Announcements

Law schools organize Moot Competitions to train law students in reasoning, argument, and legal analysis. These competitions teach students to explore both sides of an argument, learn to present their conclusions coherently and improve their written and oral communication.

LSAC Global is providing this opportunity to law aspirants through the 2nd Moot Court Competition for Law Aspirants on 5th and 6th February 2022. This competition aims to provide a challenging and yet fun experience of the courtroom to law aspirants to help them develop their analytical, critical reasoning and advocacy skills without the need to have legal knowledge or any legal training. An interactive event that will provide an opportunity for participants to learn about the legal system and what it is like to be a lawyer.

The participants will be analyzing the factual matrix of the situation provided and arguing on the same.



The competition is open to all school students currently in grade 11, 12 or who are yet to be enrolled into a law school.



LSAC Global is conducting this competition with the objective of improving communication skills, critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities of law aspirants. This will help in exposing high school students to the nuances of court system in India and provide real-life experience and training in presenting relevant oral and written arguments.


Interested students can register for the event till 25th January 2022. All participants will be required to submit a Memorial on 31st January 2022 after due training is provided to them. Preliminary rounds will be conducted on 5th February 2022 for the shortlisted students and the winners of each preliminary round will qualify for the final round on 6th  February 2022. There is no registration fee for participating in this competition.


All participants who will register, successfully submit the memorials on the due date and appear for the oral rounds on the event date will be awarded a Certificate of Participation

The winners in the rounds will receive a Certificate of Merit and a medal under each of the following categories:

  • Winner
  • Runners-up
  • Best Written Argument and Memorial
  • Best Speaker

Important Dates

Registration for Moot Competition 7th October – 25th  January 2022
Mentoring/ Training Session 27th January – 29th January 2022
Memorial Submission 31st January 2022
Allotment of Sides 02nd February 2022
Preliminary Round 05th February 2022
Final Round 06th February 2022


Important Links

Moot Problem

2nd LSAC-DLI-Moot-Court-Brochure

Contact Details

For more details, please visit our website.

To register for the 2nd DLI Moot Court competition click Here.

In case you have any queries, write to

Law School NewsOthers

Amid the unprecedented situation across the country, CLAT-2021 was conducted in pen and paper mode successfully and without the news of any mishaps or violation of safety norms. Health and safety of all stakeholders of CLAT-2021 remained of a central importance for the Consortium. The team of Convenor, Prof. (Dr.) Vijender Kumar, Vice-Chancellor of MNLU Nagpur published the result within five days from the day of Test with a support of the Secretary of CNLUs Prof. (Dr.) Sudhir Krishnaswamy at the Consortium headquarters and the guidance of Executive Committee of CNLUs.

CLAT-2021 was conducted on July 23, 2021 at 147 centres in 82 cities across the country. Out of 70,277 candidates who registered, 66,887 downloaded their Admit Cards and 62,106 appeared for the Test. 147 Centres were coordinated through 24 Regional Centres, supervised by 174 Centre Superintendents, 184 Centre Observers and more than 3,500 Invigilators. All stakeholders conducting CLAT-2021 were provided with COVID Kits containing sanitizer, mask, face shield, and hand-gloves. Apart from increasing Test Centres from previous years, the Consortium had directed the Centres to accommodate less than 50% of actual seating capacity in the examination halls. The Consortium organised CLAT-2021 to ensure the health and safety of all stakeholders of CLAT-2021. The Test Centres were directed to display Seating Plans at multiple visible locations to avoid crowding and were also advised to display Flex Printed Seating Plans wherever required.



New releasesNews

Table of Contents


Indian Courts and Divorce in Muslim Personal Law- A Case of Transformative Constitutionalism for Triple Talaq

Abhishek Mishra   1

Patent Regime and Drug Pricing Regulations: An Intertwining Thread in Determining Accessibility and Affordability of Essential Medicines in India

—Uday Shankar & Nidhi Mehrotra   28

Entrenching Access to Justice Via Court Annexed ADR in Nigeria: Its Benefits and Challenges

—Ayinla, L.A. & Afolabi, Y.S.   46

Development and Environment Discourse: An Understanding with Reference to Uttar Pradesh

—Sanjay Singh  . 59

Presumptions under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012: A Jurisprudential Analysis

Kumar Askand Pandey & Shivani Tripathi   75

Take or Pay Clauses in Fuel Supply Agreements in India: An Overview

Badrinath Srinivasan   86

From Dream to Broken Relationship – Fraudulent Non – Resident Indian (NRI) Marriages in India: A Critical Study

Sangita Laha  . 109

Gender, Political Parties and Representation: A Study of Lucknow Municipal Corporation

Shailja Singh   121

Emerging Dimensions of Consumer Protection Law in India

Manoj Kumar  . 133

Unity in Diversity: Fratricidal Issues in India

Suvir Kapur  . 150

WTO’s Interpretation of GATT Article XX Chapeau: A Disguised Restriction on Environmental Measures

Sakshi Gupta  . 158

Snag of Electronic Evidence

—Vipul Vinod  . 166

A Critical Analysis of the Implication of SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) (Amendment) Regulations, 2018 on Corporate Governance in India

—Kumud Malviya  . 176

Language and Future of Legal Education: Contemporary Challenges

—Subir Kumar & Priya Vijay  . 191

Decoding the Law on Frustration of Contract: The Case of Satyabrata Ghose

—Iish Vinay & Assem Kumar Jha   200

Case Comment

The Issue of Consequential Seniority Pursuant to Reservation in Promotion in Government Services: Comment on B. K. Pavitra v. Union of India

—Manwendra Kumar Tiwari  . 211


Whether Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 is Against the Concept of Secularism: An Appraisal

—Rajneesh Kumar Yadav   220

Book Review

Disaster Management and Protection of Human Rights in India: With Special Reference to International Law and Practice by Subhradipta Sarkar

Debasis Poddar  227

New releasesNews


A Prologue

COVID-19 – Law and Policy Response in India

Vijay Kumar Singh and Shilpika Pandey — 1


Role of Virtual Learning Amidst Covid – 19: Challenges & Recommendations

Ekta Sood — 18

Moving Beyond the Rhetoric: Addressing the Issues Relating to Crisis Cartels in India

Dipali Rai and Sheena Gupta — 37

Covid – 19 Vis-À-Vis Domestic and International Law Regulating Wildlife Trade

Rama Devi Gudemela — 57

Coronavirus Pandemic in East Africa: Tanzanian and Ugandan Approaches in Legal Perspectives

Issa Babatunde Oba — 69

Scope of Intellectual Property Rights in Times of Covid: Indian Scenario

Anjana Girish — 87

Covid-19 and its Impact on Fisheries in the Bay of Bengal Region through the Lens of IUU Fishing

Tarique Faiyaz — 100

The Unkindest Cut of All – Labour Law and the Covid-19 Crisis

Karthik Shiva B — 116

Corporate Social Responsibility and Covid 19 Crisis: Analysing
the Role of Indian Companies

Rajdip Bhadra Chaudhuri — 129

The Role of Media During Covid-19: Ethical and Regulatory Challenges

Sruthi Prabhakar and Yamuna Vijayagopal — 151

Technology and Unemployment: Cause, Cure and the Future

Smriti Kanwar and Kartikeya Vashist — 170

The Corona Menace and Impact on IP Rights: Analyzing the Need for Better Decisions

Anuja Misra — 187

Rethinking Globalisation and Trade-in Covid-19 Era

Kushagra Prasad —  207

New releasesNews



1 Judicial Recusal: A Comparative Analysis

—  Priyadarshini Barua, Sarthak Makkar, Vasanthi Hariharan


17 Gender, Health and Development: What Latitude For Law In Nigeria?

— Oluwakemi Adekile

42 The Public Interest Gamble in an Anti-Dumping Inquiry Testing Indian Waters

— Ashish Chandra & Anupal Dasgupta

71 The Dilution of Article 32 Convenience over Right

— Prakhar Chauhan & Raghuveer Nath


94 Post-Divortium Shared Parenting Potentiality versus Actuality

— Owais Hasan Khan


109 Balancing the power of anti-arbitration injunction with the competence of investment tribunals: Union of India v Vodafone Group PLC United Kingdom

— Aniruddha Rajput

New releasesNews

Table of Contents

What does it Take to be a Human Being: Issues of Conferring Citizenship and Civil Rights on ‘Intelligent Machines’

Ravi Shankar Pandey 1

Victims of the Virtual Vortex: Regulating the Video Game Industry in India

Aaroha Kulkarni 18

Tackling Illegal Sports Streaming: Time to Strengthen the Copyright Regime?

Mohit Kar and Shreya Sahoo 33

To Censor or Not to Censor: Regulation of Content on OTT Media Platforms in India

Astha Pandey and Pranjal Pandey 46


Soumya Manugonda comes from Penugonda village in Telangana. She is visually impaired by birth and has completed her schooling till 10th standard from the Devnar School for the Blind, Hyderabad. She completed the studies for the 11th and 12th standard from the Sai Junior College for Visually Challenged, Hyderabad. She is a very bright student and scored 8 CGPA in tenth standard and 82% in twelfth standard in Telangana State Board. She has had very humble beginnings – her parents are farmers and she has just one younger brother.

Soumya got to know about IDIA three years ago when she was in the eleventh standard, and since then she has been preparing for the law entrance exam under the guidance of IDIA Hyderabad team. Throughout the two years of her preparation she faced many hurdles ranging from family issues, economic challenges, network issues when she went back to her village, etc. However, Soumya never lost hope and finally emerged victorious.

There were weeks when she could not study due to lack of internet and other facilities but she made sure that whatever opportunities she got, she made good use of. This particular quote by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross would sum up what Soumya has endured during this journey-

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

Our volunteers have witnessed Soumya’s growth as a deeply compassionate human being full of positivity and hope. She never once gave up. Soumya is very motivated to make a career in law and aspires to be a successful corporate lawyer one day.

She credits her success to her family, especially her mother, the IDIA team for constant guidance and her lovely teachers at Devnar and Sai Junior who made sure that she had all the facilities to concentrate on her studies.

About IDIA:

IDIA is a pan-India movement to train underprivileged students and help transform them into leading lawyers and community advocates. IDIA is premised on the notion that access to premier legal education empowers marginalized communities and helps them help themselves. IDIA selects and trains students from underprivileged backgrounds (IDIA Trainees) to crack top law entrance examinations in India. Once they are admitted to top law colleges, it provides a scholarship to these students (IDIA Scholars) that comprises financial support, training and mentorship among other things.

Read more about IDIA here:

Get in touch with them here:

SCC Online is now on Telegram and Instagram. Join our channel @scconline on Telegram and @scconline_ on Instagram and stay updated with the latest legal news from within and outside India

Read more such stories here:

IDIA Stories

New releasesNews




—Mathew Idiculla


—Gehan Gunatilleke


—Mary Kavita Dominic

Mob, Murder, Motivation: The Emergence of Hate Crime Discourse in India …………………………………………………………………………………………76

—M. Mohsin Alam Bhat

Notes from the Field

Anti-Terrorism Courts And Procedural (In)Justice: The Case Of The National Investigation Agency (Nia) Special Courts In South Chhattisgarh, India………………………………………. 109

—Shikha Pandey

New releasesNews




—Kunal Ambasta


—Kalindi Kokal

WHOSE FOREST IS IT AFTER ALL?……………………………………………………. 29

—Ujal Kumar Mookherjee and Manjeri Subin Sunder Raj


—S.N. Ghosh


—Sudip Mahapatra, Pooja Singhania and Misha Chandna


RIGHTS ISSUES – UNTYING THE KNOTS……………………………………………… 82

—Sayantan Dutta


––Vivek Krishnani

Book Review


—Amlan Mishra


A glimpse of Anand Kumar’s Journey


Anand Kumar hails from ‘Masaurhi’, a small town that is 30 kms away from Patna. He is a highly motivated and hardworking student. His father is a retired army personnel and their total monthly family income is around Rs. 19,000. He has two elder sisters, both of whom are preparing for competitive examinations, and his mother is a homemaker. Anand completed his tenth standard from the St. Mary’s School, Masaurhi (Patna), scoring a CGPA of 8 out of 10.

Since his father sought an early retirement from the army, Anand had to complete his twelfth standard from a Government school – Ram Naresh Senyai School, Kurtha where he scored 65% in his examinations. In his free time, he likes to play sports, especially cricket.

When did Anand decide that he wanted to attempt CLAT?

After his 12th standard, Anand initially started to prepare for NEET Examination due to family pressure, but after one failed attempt, he took some time off to figure out what actually suits him and that is when he came across law as a profession and decided to attempt CLAT.

Anand Kumar came to know about IDIA through one of his seniors in school who is currently studying in CNLU, Patna. He qualified among many students who gave the IDIA National Aptitude Test, and was selected as an IDIA Trainee.

According to him, law is the best subject he can study. He believes that law is an important aspect of everyone’s life and it plays an integral role in a nation’s growth and development. He is determined to study law and contribute towards the development of his community.

Anand has secured an impressive AIR 5 in CLAT 2020 with an outstanding score of 117 out of 150 and has been allotted NLSIU in the first CLAT list. The total cost of studying at NLSIU, Bangalore, inclusive of tuition, hostel and mess expenses, internship, and nominal living expenses is INR 5 lakhs for the first year. Please come forward and help Anand achieve his dream of becoming a lawyer!

For a detailed break up of Anand’s expenses, write to us at

About IDIA:

IDIA is a pan-India movement to train underprivileged students and help transform them into leading lawyers and community advocates. IDIA is premised on the notion that access to premier legal education empowers marginalized communities and helps them help themselves. IDIA selects and trains students from underprivileged backgrounds (IDIA Trainees) to crack top law entrance examinations in India. Once they are admitted to top law colleges, it provides a scholarship to these students (IDIA Scholars) that comprises financial support, training and mentorship among other things.

Read more about IDIA here:

Get in touch with them here:

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New releasesNews



India’s Electoral Legal System: Need for Structural Reform

Krishan Mahajan………………………………………………………………… 1

Elections and Election Commission of India: A Contemporary Evaluation

Afroz Alam ………………………………………………………………………..  9

Significance of the Ballot System in the Indirect Elections in India: with Special Reference of Rajya Sabha

Uday Shankar & Ashok Vardhan Adipudi …………………………………..  19

Validating Democracy through Proportional Electoral System

Ayaz Ahmad …………………………………………………………………….  38

An Integrated Approach to Resolve the Crisis of Defection in India

Chirag Balyan ………………………………………………………………….  50

First Past the Post System and its Limitations: A Case for Proportional Representation in India

Parth Sharma …………………………………………………………………..  82

Evaluating Criminal Disenfranchisement in India

Abhijit Anand & Tapan Vahal ………………………………………………..  96

Violations of Model Code of Conduct and Accountability of Election Commission of India

Neelesh Shukla & Hartej Singh Kochher ………………………………….  113

Electrising the Scourge Over Electoral Corrupt Practices

Shivani Puri & Prateek Kumar ……………………………………………..  128

E-Bonds: Code Anonymous in Indian Elections

Vrinda Bhardwaj & Kumar Mangalam ……………………………………  144

Breaking the Shackles: Recognising Election Manifestos as Legitimate Expectations

Omkar Upadhyay ……………………………………………………………..  156

Case Comments

Contextualizing Religious Politics and Elections in India: Judicial Discourse in Abhiram Singh v. C.D. Commachen

Yogesh Pratap Singh & Siddharth Panda …………………………………  173

A Missed Chance to De-Criminalise Indian Politics: A Comment on Manoj Narula v. Union of India

Nikita Pattajoshi & Swayamsiddha Mishra ……………………………….  184

Book Reviews

Navin Chawla, “Every Vote Counts: The Story of India’s Elections”

Rajat Solanki & Nidhi Chauhan …………………………………………….  195

Alok Shukla, “Ambush: Tales of the Ballot”

Deban Satyadarshi Nanda …………………………………………………..  204


Vaibhavi is a first-year B.A. LL.B (Hons.) student at Gujarat National Law University, who’s raring to show the world what she can do!

Vaibhavi’s Story in her own words

Hello. My name is Vaibhavi Rajendra Pedhavi. I belong to Nandaipada, a small village in the small town of Alibag, which is located in the coastal region of Maharashtra. Alibag is also known as mini Goa for its beauty and clean beaches. My father owns a small electronics store and he also does farming to help the family. My mother is a housewife. My parents were determined to teach their daughters well, no matter how much trouble they would face. Since childhood, I used to read storybooks on great leaders. When I came to know that Lokamanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi and many of the leaders were lawyers, I saw law as a profession with great respect. When I was in school, I used to read a lot of Marathi books. I was also interested in classical music. I represented my school in many elocution competitions as well.

I also loved to read newspapers during my school years. Since newspapers were not available at my home, I used to go to my uncle’s house to read them. By reading books and newspapers, I was gradually becoming aware of the wrongs in society. As well as I understood the gap between urban and rural areas. The concepts of ‘India’ and ‘Bharat’ were completely different from one another. In my village, people are struggling for one meal in a day and on the other hand tourists who used to come to visit and enjoy at Alibag used to waste a lot of food even without thinking. These factors motivated me to work towards positive social changes in society.

Incident that triggered her to pursue Law

When I was in tenth grade, an event happened which completely changed my life. As we are Kolis (fishermen), our main occupation has been fishing since a long time. Even my great-grandfather, grandfather and still my many relatives are doing this business for their livelihood. My uncle was also a fisherman. Yes, I am saying ‘was’. In 2016, a tragic accident happened in a boat and he died on the spot on the boat. His son was only 7 years old at that time and suddenly all the responsibilities of his son came to my aunt.

Since no one in our family was aware of the government procedures in such circumstances, we could not approach anywhere. And at this moment I realized the importance of law and of a good education. After scoring good marks in class 10, I decided to study for law entrance examination. I decided to go to Pune as there were more opportunities there and I could learn a lot of things there. Initially, my parents were opposed to my decision because they could not afford my hostel fees and other expenses. But after seeing my sincere desire they managed my fees from somewhere and that decision really changed my life and became the turning point.

The culture was really different there and I had never studied using computers in my whole life before. People used to talk to each other in English. Sometimes I really wondered, how were they able to talk in English! Our village school was totally different from Pune’s college.

Role of IDIA in Vaibhavi’s life

One day, IDIA Pune Chapter conducted a sensitization program in our college. They introduced us to many opportunities available after pursuing law and they conducted an exam through which they were going to select some students who were really interested in law as a career and they were going to sponsor the educational expenses. As I was really interested in law from the beginning, I performed well in the preliminary test and after an interview, I was selected as an IDIA trainee.

All volunteers from the IDIA team really supported me throughout the year. They took my personal classes every day (apart from Career Launcher classes) and they also conducted mock tests every month. As I had difficulty in understanding legal knowledge in English,  Atharv Dada from IDIA used to explain to me in Marathi. He even made a timetable for my daily work. Liji didi, Apoorva didi, Soumyashree didi, Madhura didi and all volunteers really explained to me each and every topic of the syllabus. I really think that I am here only because of these people. I cannot imagine what would have happened without them.

When my CLAT results were declared, I did not even know whether my results were bad or good! But finally, Soumyashree Didi called me and said, “Congratulations, Vaibhavi!” I asked her “Marks thik hain kya?” Are my marks okay?, and she said, “Yes”! And I felt really very happy because my dream was coming true. I got enrolled in GNLU soon thereafter.

Aim: ‘A Ray of Hope’ for Villagers

The journey of these 5 years has just begun. The journey will give me the most memorable 5 years of my life. These years will teach me many new things, both good and bad. But the final decision will be mine – to choose what is good for me. After exploring these five years, I want to work especially for rural people. I want to create opportunities for education in rural area. I want the villagers to realize that living in rural India can be a better option than moving to urban areas; the only thing here is that you need to provide them with ‘a ray of hope’ so they can grow by their own will and abilities.

About IDIA:

IDIA is a pan-India movement to train underprivileged students and help transform them into leading lawyers and community advocates. IDIA is premised on the notion that access to premier legal education empowers marginalized communities and helps them help themselves. IDIA selects and trains students from underprivileged backgrounds (IDIA Trainees) to crack top law entrance examinations in India. Once they are admitted to top law colleges, it provides a scholarship to these students (IDIA Scholars) that comprises financial support, training and mentorship among other things.

Read more about IDIA here:

Get in touch with them here:

SCC Online is now on Telegram and Instagram. Join our channel @scconline on Telegram and @scconline_ on Instagram and stay updated with the latest legal news from within and outside India

Law School NewsOthers

Timings for NLAT Undergraduate Exam Announced

The NLSIU authorities have announced that the NLAT will be conducted in three batches on September 12. Candidates will be informed about their batch 24 hours in advance of the exam. The timings of the three batches are given below:

Batch 1:

Reporting time: 12:00 pm

Exam Start time: 12:30 pm

Batch 2:

Reporting time: 1.45 pm

Exam Start time: 2.15 pm

Batch 3:

Reporting time: 3:30 pm

Exam Start time: 4:00 pm

15 minutes extra will be given to PWD Candidates as per notification released earlier

Simulation Test Details Notified

NLSIU has informed that candidates may receive a different batch time for the Simulation Test which is to be held on September 11th than for the actual NLAT examination. This is a measure to prevent malpractice. Candidates are requested to check the batch timings for the Simulation Test and for the actual NLAT examination carefully.[1]

List of Test Centres Increased

List of test centres has increased from 14 to 35, this has been notified in the FAQ section of the NLS website under the heading ‘test centres’[2]



Also read

NLAT to be conducted in three sessions

Facing backlash on social media, NLSIU is devising ways to make NLAT 2020 more accessible for candidates

NLSIU all set to conduct separate entrance test for the academic year 2020-21, CLAT scores not to be considered 

Technical requirements for NLSIU’s NLAT exam to be held on 12th September

NLAT| Latest Press Releases by NLSIU, including instructions for PWD candidates [Key Highlights]

Hot Off The PressLaw School NewsNewsOthers

The NLAT will be conducted in three sessions. This was updated in the  FAQ section of the official website .

The new insertion states that:

“UG NLAT 2020 will be conducted in three sessions in line with other large examinations. It is possible that in spite of all efforts to maintain equivalence among various question papers, the difficulty level of the question papers administered in different sessions may not exactly be the same.”

To resolve this issue, NLAT has come up with the following solution

“To overcome this, a Normalization procedure will be used to compile law scores across batches and ensure a level playing field where candidates are neither benefited nor disadvantaged due to the difficulty level of the exam.”

NLAT is yet to notify the timings of the UG exam.

NLAT has notified the protocol for monitoring the exam, NLAT is a home based test except for students who opt to take it at a centre. The notification states the following

  1. The proctor will verify the identity of candidates by checking government IDs. In case of PWD candidates both candidate’s and scribe’s identity will be verified. In case of impersonation, the proctor will not allow the impersonator to start the exam.
  2. In case the candidate is in inappropriate surroundings or seems to be getting external help  Proctors will send this type of messages to such candidates:

a. “Please sweep the camera in a circle around the place you are taking the assessment” and / or: “Please tilt the device/ keyboard you are using for the assessment”.

b. Candidates to show a 360-degree view of the entire room by turning on a webcam (laptops/desktops) or front/ selfie camera (as directed by proctor) (mobile devices)/ tilt the device/ keyboard, as instructed.

If any unauthorized person is found then proctor can terminate the exam immediately. Candidates will get 45 seconds to reply to proctor’s instructions, failing which the exam will be terminated. Additional 10 seconds can be granted at proctor’s discretion.

  1. Candidates will be logged out of exam after 5 attempts of trying to switch window ie. trying to access any other window except the test window.
  2. If the candidate’s face cannot be detected, then a warning will be sent and if the candidate does not reappear within 45 seconds then his exam will be terminated. If the candidate is talking or making gestures, then also warning will be given and exam terminated if the student does not comply.
  3. If any other person or device is detected in vicinity then a warning will be sent and if the person does not leave immediately or that device is removed  then the exam will be terminated.
  4. If the candidate is seen wearing headphones, earphones or bluetooth devices then a warning will be sent and the exam terminated if the candidate does not comply. These devices can be plugged in for microphone purposes but the candidate should not be wearing them
  5. If there are simultaneous login attempts from various devices

a. Proctor will observe picture of candidates from all devices

b. If observed that someone other than the candidate is logging in then the exam will be terminated immediately.

c. If the same person is observed in all devices, the proctor will notify the super proctor who will seek clarification and disqualify upon his discretion.

In case of situations such as internet failure/ power failure, the assessment system may permit the candidate to continue answering the question paper in events of internet failure; however, this is subject to the Proctor’s discretion, and subject to the candidate’s system re-connecting to the examination interface within the time and in the manner stipulated in the on-screen instructions and the Candidate Manual which will be provided to candidates in advance of the exam

The entire notification can be read here.

Also read

Facing backlash on social media, NLSIU is devising ways to make NLAT 2020 more accessible for candidates

NLSIU all set to conduct separate entrance test for the academic year 2020-21, CLAT scores not to be considered 

Technical requirements for NLSIU’s NLAT exam to be held on 12th September

NLAT| Latest Press Releases by NLSIU, including instructions for PWD candidates [Key Highlights]

Hot Off The PressLaw School NewsNewsOthers

There have been many press releases by NLAT authorities over the past few days. For your convenience we have summarized the main points below:

Press Release Dated 4th September

● Preparations for CLAT 2020 started in November 2019. Consortium being based out of NLSIU, CLAT Secretariat and NLSIU played a key role in conceptualizing the new exam pattern. The team played a key role in developing sample questions and study modules. NLSIU provided extensive technological, logistical and administrative support and will continue to do so for smooth functioning of CLAT.
● CLAT was repeatedly postponed five times because of the COVID pandemic. The last date finalised for CLAT was 28th September which was too late for NLSIU as it follows a trimester system. If they could not finalise the admissions by the end of September it would result in a Zero year.
● To avoid a zero year, NLSIU came up with NLAT, a home based computer test, capped at a nominal fee of Rs 150/-, and testing on the same subjects as CLAT. To ensure integrity of NLAT, a combination of technological, artificial intelligence proctoring and human proctoring would be put in use. NLSIU is committed to holding a fair, accessible and safe admission process.

Read the full Press Release here

Press Release Dated 6th September

● NLSIU had on several occasions provided options for conduct of CLAT 2020 to the Consortium. The options were (1) Carving out exceptions to NLUs to conduct their own entrance test (2) allowing CLAT to be conducted in 2 or more series (3) Allowing for individual NLUs to conduct an examination, permitting CLAT-enrolled candidates to appear for a separate examination without any registration. Consortium rejected these options. The decision to postpone CLAT from 7th to 28th September, was not taken unanimously, therefore NLSIU had no option but to introduce NLAT to avoid a Zero Year.
● On 4th September, the consortium requested NLSIU to reconsider its decision stating that is violative of Clause 15.3.3 of the Consortium Bye-Laws and if NLSIU were to stick to its decision, it would be removed from the Consortium. NLSIU responded stating that under MOA and bye-laws the General Body had no legal authority to remove NLSIU from the Consortium. On 5th September, the Consortium held a meeting that the Vice Chancellor of NLSIU was in derogation of the Bye-Laws and the Objectives of the Consortium. This press release has not yet been formally received by NLSIU.
● The faculty and executive committee of NLSIU unanimously resolved and authorized the University, and the Vice Chancellor to conduct the NLAT due to the repeated postponement of CLAT. NLSIU affirms that the University, and its Vice Chancellor, have not violated the Consortium Bye-Laws. They have not acted in any manner that gives rise to any potential for a conflict of interest and therefore claims made by the Consortium in its Press Release dated 6th September have no legal basis. However, given the statements of the Consortium in its Press Release, NLSIU, and its Vice Chancellor, have no alternative but to completely disassociate from CLAT 2020.
● NLSIU confirms that it is fully committed to delivering NLAT 2020 on time and in a student friendly manner.

Read the full Press Release here

Instructions for persons with disabilities appearing for NLAT

NLSIU has released certain instructions for people with disabilities who wish to appear for the NLAT exam.

● PWD candidates with visual impairment, cerebral palsy and locomotor disability (Both Arms affected) are entitled to avail services of a scribe.
● PWD candidates with other types of benchmark disabilities are also eligible for a scribe provided they submit requisite medical certificates as instructed under Appendix 1
● Candidates will have to choose their own scribe who should be at least Class 10th pass and his maximum educational qualification should not exceed the candidate’s own qualifications. Candidates should submit a Letter of Intent as instructed under Appendix 2.
● All candidates must fill in the necessary fields in the ‘Reservations Tab’ of their Application Form and upload it into Admissions Portal.
● All PWD candidates with benchmark disabilities shall be provided additional time of 15 minutes to complete the NLAT. This includes PWD candidates who avail the services of a scribe.

Also read

NLSIU all set to conduct separate entrance test for the academic year 2020-21, CLAT scores not to be considered 

Technical requirements for NLSIU’s NLAT exam to be held on 12th September

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Anand Venkatesh, J., urged the Bar Council of India to amend its Rule 5 in order to ensure that the candidates who complete their Higher Secondary and UG through the regular course alone are made eligible to participate for selection in the 5-year course or 3-year law course, as the case may be.

The instant petition sought a direction to respondents with regard to the admission of the petitioner in the 3-year LL.B degree course during the academic year 2019-2020.

The petitioner applied for the three years L.L.B. Degree Course under the MBC category and the petitioner on obtaining necessary cut off marks.

Petitioner at the time of counselling was informed that he was not eligible to be considered for selection on the ground that he did not satisfy requirements laid under Rule 5 of the Bar Council of India Rules. Hence the present petition was filed.

What does Rule 5 of the Bar Council of India talk about?

Rule 5 of the Bar Council of India Rules makes it very clear that an applicant must graduate through a regular programme conducted by a University for the purpose of being considered for admission in the 3 year Law Course.

However, the proviso, which should be considered as an exception to the main Rule, expands the eligibility. The proviso makes it clear that even the applicants who have obtained Higher Secondary or Under Graduation through Distance Education will also be eligible for admission for the 5-year course or the 3-year course, as the case may be.

Further, it has been added that a person who has not completed 10th cannot qualify for 10+2, a person who has not completed 10+2 cannot qualify for UG and a person who has not completed UG cannot qualify for PG. This is the literal meaning for the explanation appended to Rule 5 of Bar Council of India Rules

Court made the observation that as per the existing Rules, the petitioner is eligible for being considered as a candidate for the 3 year B.L Course subject to the condition that the petitioner again participates in the selection for the academic year 2020-2021 and obtains necessary cut off marks.

Bench while disposing of the petition also stated that,

Necessary changes in Rule 5 should be made to ensure that the candidates who complete their Higher Secondary and UG through the regular course alone are made eligible to participate for selection in the 5 year course or 3 year course, as the case may be.

In the absence of the same, persons who have not even gone to the regular school or college will get into a law college for the first time in their life and that may not be a healthy trend to maintain the quality of education in Law.

The Bar Council of India should seriously take this suggestion into consideration and make necessary changes to the Rule.

[M. Krishnakumar v. Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University, 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 2017, decided on 19-08-2020]


Here’s the story of Biswajit Shil, an IDIA Scholar:


My name is Biswajit Shil and I am studying at the WB National University of Juridical Sciences. I did my schooling from Ramakrishna Mission Blind Boys Academy. I belong to the South Dinajpur district of West Bengal. I belong to a middle-class Bengali family.

My father is a farmer and a small businessman and my mother is a housewife. We are three brothers and one sister. Two of us are visually challenged. From my childhood, I am fighting against my physical disability and because of this, I had to face various kinds of problems in my life. Due to my disability, I also felt sad at times. From the beginning of my educational life, I was in a boarding school. After leaving home, I learned, socializing, how to overcome my disability, how to adjust with the other people and how to present myself in front of the society.

I can recall that I was neglected by some people before starting my education but they also appreciate me at present. Now I feel proud of myself because I am more eligible than many people of the society in spite of being physically disabled.

Preparation for CLAT

I am fond of listening to and playing music. I learned to play the violin in my school. I am fond of reading stories and novels as well. The role of IDIA in my life is incomparable and it is like a blessing of God on me. A sensitization programme was conducted by IDIA in our school. I was impressed by law as a meaningful career option and therefore I attended INAT for becoming an IDIA trainee. I did not do well in the first attempt and I was disappointed. I appeared again the second time and I got selected as an IDIA trainee. For preparing for CLAT, IDIA provided me training through admission to a coaching center. The IDIA members of NUJS also guided me with great care. Then I appeared for CLAT and got admission to the WB National University of Juridical Sciences.

Law School & the Hurdles

After coming to law school, I faced many kinds of problems. For instance, I come from a Bengali medium school and as such, the English language is a big issue for me. I do not know English well. For being a good lawyer, writing skills must be good, but I feel that my writing skills are very poor. I am determined to improve the same. My communication skills are not so good, as a result, I feel difficult to participate in the class properly. I cannot complete my everyday lessons in time. I face difficulties in doing my projects work as well. Apart from this, I cannot access the online database independently because I have low knowledge of computers. So, I am unable to do research work properly. As I cannot use hard copy material, I have to take the help of technology. Therefore, I feel I must take computer training.

IDIA Volunteers

After the classes, if I feel any difficulties, IDIA volunteers are eager to help me as much as they can. After coming to law school my confidence level has increased a lot. I hope that I can improve myself and I will be able to reach my goals in life of becoming a good lawyer and most importantly, a good human being.

About IDIA:

IDIA is a pan-India movement to train underprivileged students and help transform them into leading lawyers and community advocates. IDIA is premised on the notion that access to premier legal education empowers marginalized communities and helps them help themselves. IDIA selects and trains students from underprivileged backgrounds (IDIA Trainees) to crack top law entrance examinations in India. Once they are admitted to top law colleges, it provides a scholarship to these students (IDIA Scholars) that comprises financial support, training and mentorship among other things.

Read more about IDIA here:

Get in touch with them here:

SCC Online is now on Telegram and Instagram. Join our channel @scconline on Telegram and @scconline_ on Instagram and stay updated with the latest legal news from within and outside India


IDIA Scholar Jitendra Majhi, who got admission into National Law University Odisha, shares his story with us. Here’s about his journey to the law school (in his own words):

I am from a small tribal village called Renu, which is situated in the Gajapati district of Odisha. I belong to ‘Kandha’ tribe, which is known for its hunting style in Odisha. My family includes my father, my mother, my grandmother and my five siblings. Two of my sisters are married. My mother is very brave and is my inspiration. She is a homemaker and a farmer. My mother uses all the money that she earns for sustaining the family. She is supported by one of my elder sisters who is married and teaches in a government school. During summer vacations, me and my siblings also work to earn some money.

I did my schooling from Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), which is for the tribal students. It is situated in Bhubaneswar. I got education and all other facilities free of cost there. My mother, who is herself illiterate, did my admission in KISS.

My mother is the inspiration for me to choose law as a career. I also wanted to pursue legal education, because I feel I can understand our society better through it. Legal education is necessary not only for becoming a good lawyer but also for becoming a well-aware citizen. There is no lawyer in my village or in my Gram Panchayat. Due to the absence of legal experts in our village, people from my village and from nearby villages face a lot of problems. That’s the reason I decided to become the first lawyer of my village. I want to lead my community in the future.

I came to know about IDIA when members of the IDIA Odisha Chapter came to our school and introduced us to law as a career option. They conducted a test for selecting IDIA trainees. I secured the highest marks amongst all the students who sat for the exam. Subsequently, IDIA provided me with some study material and started to teach me for the Common Law Admission Test. They were very friendly to me during my training period. When my class 12 exams were over, they took me to the National Law University Odisha, where they trained me for CLAT and AILET. All IDIA volunteers were very generous and friendly. They never made me feel that I come from an underprivileged background.

After completing my training, I appeared for the CLAT and AILET, which were my first competitive exams. I was very nervous. I was wondering about many things. How will I search for my name and room at the centre? How will I sit with people from more privileged backgrounds? At the time the CLAT result was published, I was in my village where network connectivity is a big issue. I always tried to be in touch with Raju (my social mentor at IDIA) by climbing the highest point in our village area to catch the signal. I became the first law student in my village. I also became the first student of my Panchayat to pursue legal education at a National Law University!

Jitendra had quite a few expectations before joining NLUO and he said – “I expected to meet with people from all over India in the university. I also expected that the university will provide me opportunities that I did not get earlier in my life and to hone my talents and skills. I also expected that I will learn different languages like English, Hindi, and more, and I will also gain knowledge about different cultures and traditions. I am very happy with the university and all my expectations are actually being met here.”

During his first semester vacation, he interned with the NGO Zenith Legal in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh where he worked on many legal aid causes such as manual scavenging and with victims of silicosis. He also made a presentation on “Tribal Rights”.

About IDIA:

IDIA is a pan-India movement to train underprivileged students and help transform them into leading lawyers and community advocates. IDIA is premised on the notion that access to premier legal education empowers marginalized communities and helps them help themselves. IDIA selects and trains students from underprivileged backgrounds (IDIA Trainees) to crack top law entrance examinations in India. Once they are admitted to top law colleges, it provides a scholarship to these students (IDIA Scholars) that comprises financial support, training and mentorship among other things.

Read more about IDIA here:

Get in touch with them here:

SCC Online is now on Telegram and Instagram. Join our channel @scconline on Telegram and @scconline_ on Instagram and stay updated with the latest legal news from within and outside India