IDIA

Bask into the Glory of this IDIA Scholar — Sheetal Kumari

Early Years

My name is Sheetal Kumari. I come from a tribal community and belong to a lower-middle-class family. I live in a small village in Kanke, Ranchi. I live with my mother and father and have 2 sisters. I passed my tenth exam from Cambrian Public School and my twelfth from Ursuline Intermediate College, Ranchi.

Background

I come from a community that is socially and economically backward. There is lack of awareness amongst the community members about the basic rights and duties of the citizens. This is the reason I wanted to pursue legal education so that I can work towards ensuring that all members can exercise their legal rights better by spreading awareness. There are very few girl children in my community who are getting a higher education and they are usually married at a very early age. I witnessed this kind of situation in my own village where girls are married at a very young age.

Legal Education

Thus, I want to get a legal education to fight for their rights. I know that our government provides many facilities for the betterment of our community but very few people get these benefits as they are not aware and also not very educated. So I want to spread awareness and make the people aware of their rights.

Preparation for CLAT

My father, Rajan Ram is a security guard in NUSRL, Ranchi and through the students of this college my father got to know about IDIA and he told me about this. Later I used to come to NUSRL as a trainee and many of the students helped me in preparing for CLAT. They used to give me the study material of CLAT free of cost through which I have gained a lot of knowledge about this exam. When exams were coming soon they also sent me to CLAT coaching without any fees which help me a lot in cracking CLAT.

Initially, I was very nervous on giving law entrance exam but because of the hard work of my teachers and IDIA trainees, they gave me the confidence to crack this. They taught me how to manage time and accuracy in the exam and by following their guidance, I cracked the exam and when I received the results of the exam I was very happy and satisfied. My parents were also happy with my results. All my relatives came to congratulate me and gave their blessings for my bright and better future. But I was worried about studying in a national law university where students come from high-class backgrounds. Through IDIA I got admission to NUSRL.

College Life

When I got admitted to the University I felt very lucky to get this opportunity to study in this college. The college campus is very good and the food is also very tasty. I have made 4-5 friends and they are very helpful in nature. My classmates are also very helpful. Faculty members are also very helpful and cooperative in nature. They help us in developing our overall personality. I am very enthusiastic about the coming five years and I want to get the best education and lots of good experience and opportunities in the coming years. This college has given me excellent facilities and an environment to study – exactly what I need to succeed in life.


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: https://www.idialaw.org/

Get in touch with them here: info@idialaw.org


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Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: While deciding the instant custody matter, S.C. Gupte, J., held that as per the provisions of Section 6 of Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956, it is a mother who is the natural guardian of an illegitimate child (whether boy or girl) and a father’s claim only comes in second to mother’s.

As per the facts of the instant case, the dispute revolved around the custody of a minor son of the petitioner and the respondent, born out of wedlock. The petitioner (biological father) via his counsel Aditya Pratap, challenged the Order passed by the Family Court, Pune which had awarded the custody to the respondent (biological mother). The petitioner contended that the respondent has cut-off his access to the child and that she is mentally and emotionally unfit to take custody of the child. The petitioner further submitted that the respondent intends to take away the boy to New Zealand; hence she has applied for visa. The respondent via her counsel Abhishek Pungliya, contended that the petitioner had abandoned her during her pregnancy; refused to acknowledge their marriage which allegedly took place in 2009. The respondent also claimed that the petitioner inflicted physical and mental torture upon her so that the child may get miscarried. The respondent further submitted that since his birth and till date, it is the respondent alone who has brought up the child. It was pointed out that the child suffers from autism spectrum disorder; hence he has always been under exclusive care of the respondent whereas the petitioner never had any affection or association with the child. Regarding the respondent’s relocation to New Zealand, it was submitted that both the mother and the child are the citizens of New Zealand and since the country is free from the current Covid-19 pandemic, hence it is a safe haven for her son.

Perusing the contentions of the parties and the Order given by the Family Court, the Court observed that the petitioner could not sufficiently establish the mental instability of the respondent, as the materials presented by him does not establish the respondent’s unsoundness of mind, prima facie. Deliberating upon the validity of the Order passed by the Family Court, the Bench noted that the Family Court had correctly taken into account all the relevant circumstances and materials on record; its view is certainly a possible view, which a Court of law might well take.

The impugned Order has fairly and adequately addressed prima facie merits of the case as also the question of balance of convenience. Regarding the petitioner’s claims, the Court noted that he denied any matrimonial relationship between himself and the respondent, and thereby, legitimacy to the minor child. The child, who is a special child, has been taken care of and looked after by the respondent mother ever since his birth. It is therefore the mother who has an indefeasible legal right to his natural guardianship over the petitioner. [Dharmesh Vasantrai Shah v. Renuka Prakash Tiwari, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 697 , decided on 09-06-2020]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Central Information Commission (CIC): A Single-member Bench comprising of Bimal Julka, Information Commissioner, disposed of an appeal directing the appellant to approach the appropriate forum for her grievance redressal while holding that jurisdiction of the Commission was restricted to the function of ruling on the matters pertaining to right to information.

The appellant who was not present before the Commission, vide RTI application, sought information regarding the action taken by the respondent- Life Insurance Corporation, on the representation made by her claiming insurance under policy number as mentioned in the RTI application. The CPIO (LIC) forwarded appellant’s application to the Manager, Health Insurance, for necessary action. Dissatisfied, the appellant approached the first Appellate Authority (FAA). The FAA provided a point wise response to appellant’s query. Aggrieved by the action taken by the respondent Corporation, the appellant preferred the instant appeal.

The Commission perused the record and held that FAA had provided a proper response to the query raised by the appellant in her RTI application. As for the redressal of appellant’s grievance that the action taken by the Corporation was not satisfactory, the Commission observed that the framework of the Right to Information Act 2005, restricts the jurisdiction of the Commission to provide a ruling on the issues pertaining to access to/ right to information. The Act does not allow the Commission to venture into the merits of the grievance. The Commission referred to a plethora of precedents to hold that proceedings under the RTI Act cannot be converted into proceedings for adjudication of disputes as to the correctness of the information furnished. Further, the Commission does not decide the dispute between two parties concerning their legal rights other than their right to get information in possession of a public authority. Since the appellant was not present, the Commission went on to hold that in view of the facts of the case and submission made by the respondent, no further intervention of the Commission was required. For redressal of her grievance, the appellant was directed to approach the appropriate forum. The appeal was accordingly disposed of. [M. Meenatchi v. CPIO (LIC) ,2018 SCC OnLine CIC 750, dated 11-06-2018]