Tuesday, December 8, 2015

PADS Convention on India's Criminal Justice System: December 12-13, 2015, Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi

People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism
Invites You to a Convention on

            Degradation of Criminal Justice System

Dec 12-13, 2015
Gandhi Peace Foundation, D. D. U. Marg, New Delhi

A fair, transparent and functional criminal justice system is essential for any democracy. It is necessary for the basic security of citizens, and also for creating conditions under which citizens can live a life of freedom. Unfortunately India’s criminal justice system has been undergoing a prolonged process of corruption by dominant class and caste interests. Rather than upholding justice in a fair and symmetric manner, it is often seen to be working for the powerful and the rich. 

After the victory of the BJP in the general elections of 2014, the communal manipulation of institutions of justice and police has been intensified. Within weeks of the election, selective leaks were made to derail Gopal Subramanium’s elevation to the Supreme Court. Earlier this year Public Prosecutor Ms Rohini Salian revealed that she was pressurized to soften the case against members of Hindutva terror groups accused in the Malegaon blast. Retired Sessions Judge Jyotsana Yagnik, who convicted Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi in the Naroda Patiya massacre case was targeted with threatening phone calls and letters. Prosecution witnesses in several such cases, including the 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing case, have been changing their statements. 

Such incidents indicate a systematic political attempt to undermine the autonomous functioning of the criminal justice system by pressurizing or otherwise influencing the police, investigating agencies, public prosecution and the judiciary.

Why is there such a big gap between the liberal and social-democratic promises of the Constitution of India and the reality of the criminal justice system? What specific dangers do the majoritarian and authoritarian politics of the Hindutva forces present to this system? How can democratic forces counter this process of degradation? The Convention is a means of starting a long-term debate and a program of advocacy for an impartial system of criminal justice.


Inauguration 9:30 AM, Saturday 12 Dec, 2015
Colin Gonsalves, Prof Jairus Banaji (message in absentia), Dr Manisha Sethi

Systemic Injustices and Criminalities
11:30 AM – 5 PM, 12 Dec, 2015
Role of criminal justice system during and after communal pogroms, caste atrocities, gender violence, attacks on workers, repression of Adivasis, death penalty, custodial violence,  violations of citizens' rights in Kashmir
Vrinda Grover, Adv Mohammad Shoaib, Anil Chamaria, Com Ram Niwas, Sanjay Tickoo, Karuna Nundy , Harish Dhawan
Institutional Malfunctioning
9:30 AM, Sunday 13 Dec, 2015
Internal workings of police, judiciary, anti-insurgency operations, draconian laws
Dr Vikash N Rai, Prof Nandini Sundar, Prof Ujjwal Kumar Singh, Rebecca John

Regimes of Surveillance
12 PM, 13 Dec, 2015
Technology driven threats to freedom, Internet surveillance and disenfranchisement in Asom
Dr Chinmayi Arun, Apar Gupta, Bonojeet Hussain

Practical Strategies to Defend Democracy
2 PM, 13 Dec, 2015

Open House Discussion