4th All India Conference of the Indian Association of People's Lawyers
The fourth All India Conference of IAPL was being held on 24-25 June 2017 i.e. ‘Emergency day’ in the background of the recent recommendations of the Law Commission to criminalize lawyer’s strikes for abstention from court work.
Below is the introduction statement presented by Adv Sudha Bharadwaj, the Vice President of the Indian Association of People's Lawyers
The Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) was founded in 2004 with Advocate P A Sebastian as its President, The founding conference of IAPL, held in Mumbai in 2004 was attended by some 70 lawyers. The second and third All India Conferences were both held in Nagpur on 25 th and 26 th March 2006 and 8th & 9th January 2011 respectively. Justice (Retd) H. Suresh, Justice (Retd) Michael Saldhana, Justice (Retd) Rajinder Sachar, Adv. P. A. Sebastian, Adv. Dr. Mukul Sinha, Adv. Indira Jaising and Adv. Prashant Bhushan were some of the speakers who actively participated in past Conferences.
The Indian Association of People’s Lawyers is a constituent of the International Association of People’s Lawyers. International Association of People’s Lawyers has its Headquarters in the Netherlands. Its founding Congress was in 2000 in Doorn, Netherlands, which was attended by lawyer-members from Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, Colombia, Nepal, Turkey, Philippines, India and a few other countries.
Disparities notwithstanding, several lego-political problems that loom large over the world today are of global character. There is a perennial conflict between the mighty and the weak, between the oppressor and the oppressed and between the aggressor and the aggressed. Sovereignty, a historically fought and won right of the independent countries and recognized by International law as inviolate was made mincemeat when the USA attacked Iraq in 2004. It was in such a world scenario which called for the formation of the International Association of People’s Lawyers.
The Indian Association, which is a chapter of the International Association, will take up issues that are particularly important to India apart from international ones, including issues regarding struggling people, whether peasants, workers, indigenous people, women, whichever section they may be. We approach such organizations and find out what legal problems they face and do their cases inside & outside courts as circumstances demand. IAPL has as its members lawyers, law students and para-legals who believe in and work towards creation of a just and egalitarian society and provide legal support to people’s struggles to live with human dignity. We invite all likeminded people to join the organization to strengthen this human struggle. IAPL does not receive any finances from funding agencies. It is only through members’ and well-wishers’ contributions that its activities are conducted.
The fourth All India Conference of IAPL was being held on 24-25 June 2017 i.e. ‘Emergency day’ in the background of the recent recommendations of the Law Commission to criminalize lawyer’s strikes for abstention from court work. The right to strike flows from the fundamental right to association and protest. Like most of the oppressed sections in India, the right to protest and collectively bargain is being criminalized and gradually eroded. Draconian legislations such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Sedition, Armed Forces Special Powers Act and various Public Security Acts are being used to suppress the struggling people and dissenting voices. Thousands of such people’s activists, lawyers or Human Right Defenders have been labeled as ‘terrorists’ or ‘anti-Nationals’ and incarcerated under such Acts. On the other hand State Surveillance has been steadily increasing. In the name of ‘National security’, the citizen’s right to privacy is being systematically curtailed. The blatant example is the UID (Aadhaar) project which forces the citizen into choicelessness, destroying the idea of consent, while the State assumes power over the body and data of every person, for Corporate interest to exploit. All signs of a new Emergency.
Adv Sudha Bharadwaj
Vice President, IAPL