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Alternative Law Forum


March 2015

How AAP could decriminalise homosexuality in the


National Capital Region [ Part I ]
AAP's landslide victory in New Delhi has meant a reopening of
shrinking democratic space. But a robust democracy itself
doesn't guarantee checks against majoritarianism, and so it is
significant that AAP's Delhi manifesto makes explicit its support of minority rights. The
party's 70 point plan includes a commitment towards development and equality for all
minorities as well as ensuring the rights of the marginalised.
Does this mean a possible end to 377 in the Nation's Capital?
Read the article

How AAP could decriminalise homosexuality in the


National Capital Region [Part II]
When an AAP member of parliament raised the issue of Section
377 in the Lok Sabha, he was informed that
since the matter was sub judice before the Supreme Court, no action would be taken
upon it by Parliament. Since a curative petition on the subject remains pending before the
Court, technically the issue remains sub judice. The Supreme Court, while re-instating
Section 377, expressly invited the parliament to change it via legislation, if it so desired.
With its overwhelming majority in the Delhi Assembly, the AAP is now in a position to
accept the Court's invitation. Read the article

Internet.org comes to India


Last week, India became the sixth country to see the launch
of Internet.org, the outcome of a Facebook tie-up with Anil
Ambani's Reliance Communications. Internet.org is a service that promises to bring
the internet to you for free. But of course, you need a Reliance mobile connection to
get that access. Plus the Internet.org app brings to you not the internet, but only a
limited partof the internet, which directly challenges the net neutrality principle.
Read Smarika Kumar's full article

The Shreya Singhal Verdict: Consequences beyond Sec. 66A


and the internet
The campaign against 66A is not the first instance of
individuals and organizations coming together to fight
censorship in India, and yet it seems like it demonstrates a new
kind of networked activism and mobilization around free
speech issues..

Read Lawrence Liang's full article

How Internet.org presents an opportunity to rethink


Freedom of Speech
The app presents an opportunity for internet access (The stated
objective ambitiously being internet access for the two thirds of
the world not connected to the internet).But because it offers
access to only limited services and content on the internet and
not to others, it is also seen as a violation of net neutrality.

Read Smarika Kumar's full article

Another glimpse into our bigoted moral majority


The government aligned itself with around 40 countries (including Russia, Pakistan, Iran
and others) to vote against benefits for same-sex partners of UN staff. Most people won't
be too concerned about this. It affects only UN employees - a tiny fraction of the world's
population - so what's the problem here? And we will say, as my colleagues in the
Alternative Law Forum and Lawyers Collective are fond of saying: The question is not,
what are two men or two women doing in their bedroom? The question is, what are you
doing in their bedroom? The question is, what is the law doing in their bedroom? The
question is, what is the government doing in their bedroom? ...Read more

SC has set a high threshold for tolerance: Lawrence Liang


Tuesday marked a landmark in the fight for free speech in our country, as the Supreme
Court struck down the contentious section 66A of the Information Technology Act of
2000. The section, which was introduced through an amendment in 2009, penalized those
who wrote messages online that could be deemed as being false or grossly offensive.
However, the apex court turned down a plea to strike down sections 69A (procedure for
blocking websites) and 79 (exemption from liability of intermediaries) of the same law.

Lawrence Liang, a lawyer who co-founded the Alternative Law Forum in Bengaluru, a
fellow at the Centre for Internet and Society, and author of The Public is Watching: Sex,
Laws and Videotape and A Guide to Open Content Licenses, spoke in an interview on the
wide-ranging implications of the judgement.
Read More

MY OPINION - Govt must ensure all people get unhindered access:


Vinay Sreenivasa
A few years ago, when some members of Hasiru Usiru wanted to have a meeting in Traffic
Park on St Marks Road, the guard asked us to leave because the park closes at 6pm.
This park had been handed over to a realty group which then fixed timings for the park.
Then there are parks where even the keys are with the resident welfare association and
not BBMP.
Read More

Human Rights Lawyering Course at NLSIU


Darshana Mitra, Arvind Narrain, Gowthaman Ranganathan with Santanu Chakraborty and
Saumya Uma ran a course on the principles and practices of human rights lawyering. The
course dealt with India's tradition of human rights lawyering, the courtroom is one of the
many forums through which human rights concerns are voiced, rights contested,
accountability attributed and norms created. Human rights lawyers play a vital role in
translating the experiences and demands of grassroots communities into law, thereby giving
abstract notions such as dignity, rights and equality invaluable content.

UNDP Consultation on LGBTI Rights and Health in the Asia-Pacific


Region
Danish Sheikh attended a UNDP Consultation on LGBTI Rights and Health in the AsiaPacific Region at Bangkok from Feb 25-27. The dialogue brought together national human
rights institutions, civil society representatives and individual experts in reflecting on
advances achieved in the past decade, and future challenges to LGBTI Rights with a focus on
education, health, employment, family and law reform.

Gender and Anti-Discrimination Laws at the Department of English,


Christ University

Danish Sheikh presented on Gender and Anti-Discrimination Laws at the Department of


English, Christ University on March 3.The talk focused on how fragmented the laws dealing
with gender discrimination in particular, and anti-discrimination in general are, and

proposed a move towards a comprehensive intersectional law that would take on board
multiple identities.

Alternative Law Forum with collaborative Networks and Organisations


Sex Work, Decriminalization and Labour Rights
Karnataka Sex Workers Union (KSWU) and Sangama had a discussion among human rights
activists on 'Sex Work, Decriminalization and Labour Rights'. Recently, the Kannada poet
and writer Nadoja K. S. Nisar Ahmed urged the state government to legalise sex work; this
statement provoked widespread debate in media and in civil society - many members of the
Karnataka Sex Worker Union (KSWU), women's rights activists, human rights activists,
progressive thinkers and many others took part in the discussions. The discussions were
very polarised, often missing the nuances about the existing laws criminalizing various
aspects of sex work and their impact on sex workers. Read More
International Women`s Day Seminar and Rally
Karnataka State Forum Against Atrocities on Women was formed with the dream of building
a vibrant and democratic society by like-minded women's organizations and civil society
groups who keep their faith in the principles of equality, social justice, democracy and
secularism. The organization is committed to bringing together women in the spirit of
sisterhood and fight injustice. Read more
Consultation on "Responding to Contemporary Challenges to Secularism in India"
The Alternative Law Forum with The Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive
Policy, NLSIU held a consultation that recognised the contemporary moment, marked as it is
by acceleration of the process of neo-liberalisation as well as deepening of the politics of
communalisation. It placed the various issues which affect the secular character of India in
this context. The dimensions of the crisis confronting the idea of a secular India as well as
the way groups have sought to mobilize the law in responding to the multiple challenges to
the idea of a secular state. ... Read More
A State of Emergency
People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) held a memorial lecture by Gopalkrishna Gandhi on
the state of emergency is provided for under the Constitution of India. Read More

Want your research, activism and strategic


experience to reach a dynamic audience?
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piece in an intimate space?


We are your Alternative!
Write to us at contact@altlawforum.org with the
subject line 'Friday Forums'

Talks that took place in February and March 2015

20 February - Danish Sheikh on


Conversations Around a Comprehensive
Anti-Discrimination Law
27 February -' Escape Artist' - A Poetry
Reading by Sridala Swami
13 March - Critique on National Health Policy
(NHP) 2015 by Karnataka Janaarogya
Chaluvali (KJC)
27 March - Lawrence Liang and Gautam
Bhatia on the 66 A judgement

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Alternative Law Forum 2015


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