Public Interest Lawyering at IDIA

A conference room with a video playing on screens. Some people are sitting on a stage. The chairs are filled with audience.

P-PIL (Promoting Public Interest Lawyering), an informal initiative that has, over the years, striven to further the cause of public interest through the instrumentality of the law, will now be formally housed out of IDIA. Read more about P-PIL.

Introduction

Introduction to P-PIL

P-PIL was created as an informal network of lawyers and law students by late Professor (Dr.) Shamnad Basheer (then, a Professor of WB NUJS, Kolkata) to further the cause of public interest through the instrumentality of the law.

What distinguished P-PIL from various other public interest outfits was the synergistic pairing of law students and lawyers to achieve shared public interest outcomes. In India, at least, there is a significant disconnect between legal academia and the legal profession. P-PIL was meant to bridge this huge gap and also engender some experiential learning for law students, many of whom had no exposure to practical training whilst in law school.

Read more about the range of issues were taken up by P-PIL in the past.

  • Helping track sailors who went missing on the high seas, owing to a ruthless network of middlemen who sold them to foreign ships that exploited their labour under minimal regulatory oversight. Unfortunately, we did not get too far and managed to bring home only one dead body across to the grieving parents in India to perform last rites etc. For more details, see here.
  • Formulating a disability friendly policy for the conduct of leading law entrance examinations such as CLAT (Common Law Admissions Test) to secure effective access to education for students with disabilities, particularly those that are visually impaired. For more details, see here.
  • A public interest litigation (PIL) before the Hon’ble Madras High Court arguing that the current structure of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) was unconstitutional, in view of the fact that the Executive had predominant control over appointments etc. The court agreed with our petition and immediately ordered the government to make all appointments in accordance with the law of the land, and to ensure that the judiciary had pre-eminence in all appointments to the tribunal; and that it was moored on. For more details, see here.
  • A PIL taking issue with the fact that the Indian patent office was refusing to furnish information under the terms of the Right to Information Act, 2005.  The petition argued that the RTI provisions should trump the rather meagre provisions for information dispensation under the Patents Act. For more details, see here.
  • Submission of an exhaustive report on Parallel Imports vis-à-vis the Indian Copyright Law to the respective Parliamentary Standing Committee. For more details, see here.
  • A comprehensive impleadment petition in the landmark Delhi University photocopy case that marked a spectacular victory for access to education in India. For more details, see here.
CLAT

1. Arbitrary Exclusion of Donnie from GNLU
Status: Completed
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2. CLAT Catastrophe:
Status: Ongoing
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3. Arbitrary Age Limit:
Status: Completed
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Disability Rights

1. Effective access to education for disabled
Start Date: 2012
Status: Completed
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2. Blind Justice?
Status: Completed
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Tribunalization

1. Filed a PIL to challenge the constitutionality of IPAB
Start Date: 2011
Current Status: Completed
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Right to Privacy

1. Filed a petition before the Delhi High Court highlighting Aadhaar data breaches
Status: Ongoing
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Access to Knowledge

1. Intervened in a suit filed to ban on course-packs in schools & colleges
Start Date: 2012
Status: Completed
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2. Submitted a report to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Parallel Imports
Start Date: 2011
Status: Completed
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Right to Information

1. RTI Act v. Patents Act
Start Date: 2014
Current Status: In Progress
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Others

1. Forced eviction of slum dwellers in Belaghata, Kolkata
Status: Ongoing
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