Press Releases Archive


The first session of the Indian Democracy at Work Conference 2021 on Rule of Law saw a distinguished panel deliberate on ways of addressing the numerous challenges of modern policing. Shri K. Padmanabhaiah, Former Union Home Secretary, was the chair for the session, with him the panelists were Smt. Maja Daruwala - Senior Advisor, Commonwealth Human Rights, Shri Kamal Kumar, Former Director SVP National Police Academy, Mr Raj S Kohli, Chief Superintendent, Metropolitan Police London, Shri. Jacob Punoose, former DGP of Kerala and State Police Chief and Shri. V. N. Rai, former DGP of Uttar Pradesh. 

Shri Padmanabiah began his address by stating that the police are tasked with the duty of enforcing the Rule of Law, failing which any state would regress to the status of a failed state. On the other hand, excessive use of force and coercion would turn the state to a police state. He then proceeded to give an overview on the experience of police reforms in India and broad areas in a dire need for reform. He continually appreciated the police reforms done in Kerala and suggested that every police force in the country learn from them. Smt. Maja Daruwalaspoke next on the issue of the public’s perception of the police, elucidating the pressing issue with references from various reports on policing. She stated that increasing negative perceptions must be immediately addressed. Shri Kamal Kumar highlighted the essential requisites of a modern police force that a vibrant democracy like India urgently requires. He also illustrated the issue of the inhuman and unenviable working condition of the police in India and that they should be immediately improved. Mr Raj S Kohli spoke about the differences between Indian Police and the police of the United Kingdom. He asked an important question in "we never ask the people how they want to be policed". Shri. Jacob Punoose started out by talking about how fear can never be a source of policing, rather the basis for policing should be co-operation and friendliness. He went on to emphasise that police should be friendly with the people firstly, which would be reciprocated by the people. He shared his experiences in community policing in the state of Kerala. Shri. V. N. Rai, former DGP of Uttar Pradesh, spoke about how the most essential parts of policing in recruitment and training are being neglected. Excess political interference and arbitrary transfers of police personnel makes policing job difficult.

The Second session of the Indian Democracy at Work Conference 2021 on Rule of Law saw a distinguished panel deliberate on ways of addressing the numerous challenges of modern policing. Smt. Aruna Bahuguna, Former Director of National Police Academy is the chair for the session, with her the panelists are Dr. Gandhi P.C. Kaza - Senior Advisor, founder of Truth Labs and prominent forensic expert, Shri M. Mahender Reddy DGP of Telangana State, Shri.Mohit Rao, Independent Journalist, and Dr. Vipin Mudgal, Director of Common Cause.

Smt. Aruna Bahuguna started with Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence has a big role to play. Mr. Mohit Rao mentioned that police response to large unrest was mostly political and that the technological applications of police are mostly in urban and it is not being used in rural areas as much.  He also talked about contamination of crime scenes and mishandling of investigations.  Dr. Gandhi, top forensic expert shared his experiences on forensic investigations and expressed displeasure on the lack of budget, equipment and resources to tackle investigations and said that some cases are investigated for many years.

Sunday, February 21, 2021 - 13:23


The much-awaited conference on ‘Rule of Law’ was flagged off today with its impressive inaugural session.  The inaugural session was attended by Shri M.N. Venkatachaliah, former Chief Justice of India, Shri. D.V. Subba Rao, former governor of RBI, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayana, former IAS and founder of Lok Satta movement, Prof. B. Rajasekhar, pro-vice chancellor of Hyderabad Central University, Prof. Ashwini Chhattre, Director of Bharathi Institute of Public Policy of Indiana School of Business.  

Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan started that Rule of Law was chosen as the theme for the conference with great optimism. A rational and pragmatic solution for the challenges plaguing the Indian judicial system can be found, and for that citizens must strive to be a part of the solution, and not a part of the problem. The aim of the conference is to bring together all stakeholders to find workable solutions and recognize that the striving for the impossible best is the enemy of the possible good. 

Justice Venkatachaliah stated that looking at the arrears in courts points to deeper malaise in the country and such miscarriage of justice is not witnessed in advanced countries.  He also added that approximately Rs. 2 lakh crores of equivalent is lost in the judicial process as wasteful man hours.  Another important point he made was that many courts have less clarity on laws and statutes. 

Dr. Subba Rao congratulated Foundation for Democratic Reforms for bringing out Advocacy paper 'Rule of Law' in the public discussion. He laid the context of how economic progress and Rule of law is interconnected and the former is only possible with the support of the later. He gave the example of how Singapore, Japan, Korea became prosperous in the last century. The speaker emphasizes that rule of law is a prerequisite for economic growth in any country. The speaker pointed out numerous incidents in which we encounter absence of rule of law.

Prof. Rajasekhar supported Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan’s point regarding the need to find optimistic, pragmatic, and practical solutions, and the need to focus on the practical aspect as the impossible best is often the enemy of the possible good that can be done. 

Professor Chhatre started by congratulating Indian Democracy at Work for creating a common platform which will host more than 60 distinguished speakers over a period of week on the theme of 'Rule of Law' in India. He also stated that despite the conference being held virtually, it didn’t hold us back in terms of energy and enthusiasm to participate in this conference. He also extended thanks to all the panels and participants.

Sunday, February 21, 2021 - 13:15

IDAW Conference Schedule

DAY 1: 20 February 2021 Saturday  
Inaugural Ceremony and Keynote Address 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM Livestream Shri Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah, Former Chief Justice of India

Dr. Duvvuri Subbarao, Former Governor, Reserve Bank of India

Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, General Secretary, Foundation for Democratic Reforms

Prof. B. Raja Shekhar, Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of Hyderabad

Prof. Rajendra Srivastava, Dean, Indian School of Business

Session 1A: Addressing Challenges of Modern Policing
1. Enhancing the strength of police force and quality of police recruitment and training
2. Reducing the burden on police force and improving professionalism through specialization of functions
3. Institutionalizing community policing
11:00 AM - 1:30 PM Chair - Shri K. Padmanabhaiah, Chairman, Administrative Staff College of India

Shri Kamal Kumar, Former Director, SVP National Police Academy

Mr. Raj S. Kohli, Chief Superintendent, Metropolitan Police, London

Smt. Maja Daruwala, Sr. Advisor, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

Shri Jacob Punnoose, IPS (Retd.)

Shri Vibhuti Narain Rai, IPS (Retd.)

Session 1B: Addressing Challenges of Modern Policing
1. Improving forensic infrastructure for crime investigation
2. Strengthening police mobility, communications and enhancing computerization in policing functions
3. Minimizing the use of force in crowd control
5:00 PM - 7:30 PM Chair - Smt. Aruna Bahuguna, Former Director, SVP National Police Academy

Dr. Vipul Mudgal, Director, Common Cause

Shri Mohit Rao, Journalist

Dr. Gandhi P.C. Kaza, Founder Chairman, Truth Labs

Shri M. Mahender Reddy, Director General of Police, Telangana

DAY 2: 21 February 2021 Sunday  
Session 2: Strengthening Investigation and Prosecution
1. Strengthening crime investigation - Separating investigation of crimes above a threshold from law and order functions
2. Empowering prosecution to drive the investigation - Increasing the number of prosecutors, establishing independence and competence of prosecution
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM Chair - Justice B.S. Chauhan, Chairman, 21st Law Commission of India

Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, General Secretary, Foundation for Democratic Reforms

Shri C. Anjaneya Reddy, IPS (Retd.)

Shri D. R. Karthikeyan, Former Director, Central Bureau of Investigation

Shri Justice M.L. Tahaliyani, Former Judge, Bombay High Court

Session 3: Criminal Procedural Reforms
1. Implementing recommendations of the ‘Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System’ (Malimath Committee)
2. Removing procedural constraints on investigating officers
3. Reforming prisons - processing of under trial prisoners and enhancing prison infrastructure
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Chair - Shri P. S. Ramamohan Rao, IPS (Retd.), Former Governor, Tamil Nadu

Shri G. Kishan Reddy, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Government of India

Dr. Ranbir Singh, Founder and former Vice-Chancellor, NALSAR Hyderabad and NLU Delhi

Dr. MR Ahmed, Former Inspector General of Prisons, Andhra Pradesh

Day 3: 22 February 2021 Monday  
Conversation on Extraordinary Law 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM Chair - Prof Kham Khan Suan Hausing, Professor, University of Hyderabad

Prof. Ujjwal Kumar Singh, University of Delhi

Shri Karnam Aravinda Rao, IPS (Retd.)

Day 4: 23 February 2021 Tuesday  
Conversation on - Weaponization of Fake News: A Big Threat to Democracy? 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM Moderator - Mr. Abhinandan Sekhri, Co-founder,

Smt. Rema Rajeshwari, IPS

Mr. Carlos Hernández-Echevarría Head of Public Policy & Institutional Development,

Day 5: 24 February 2021 Wednesday  
Conversation on Women's Safety 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM To be finalised
Day 6: 25 February 2021 Thursday  
Conversation on Setting up Systems to deal with Cybercrime 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM To be finalised
Day 7: 26 February 2021 Friday  
Rule of Law & Economic Growth 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM Chair - Shri R.N. Bhaskar, Senior Business Journalist

Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Former Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of India

Dr. Arvind Virmani, Chairman, Foundation for Economic Growth and Welfare

Shri Pradeep S. Mehta, Founder Secretary General, Consumer Unity & Trust Society

Day 8: 27 February 2021 Saturday  
Session 4: Civil Procedural Reforms
1. Institutionalizing case management in civil courts
2. Mitigating challenges in the functioning of Commercial Courts
3. Updating pecuniary jurisdictions of civil courts
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM Chair - Shri N. L. Rajah, Senior Advocate, Madras High Court

Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Vice-Chancellor, NLSIU, Bengaluru

Smt. Justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi,
Former Judge, Bombay High Court

Mr. Hiram E. Chodosh, President, Claremont McKenna College, USA

Session 5: Speedy Justice in Trial Courts
1. Establishing local courts in rural and urban areas
2. Building capacity - Increasing the judge to population ratio and strengthening use of technology and court administration
Clearing arrears in trial courts
4. Reinforcing the authority of the trial courts - contempt of court and perjury provisions
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM Chair - Justice G. Raghuram, Director, National Judicial Academy

Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, General Secretary, Foundation for Democratic Reforms

Shri Justice R. C. Chavan, Vice Chairman, E-Committee of Supreme Court

Shri Atul Kaushik, Chief of Party, Asia Foundation

Day 9: 28 February 2021 Sunday  
Session 6: Strengthening the Role of Constitutional Courts
1. Clearing pendency in the High Courts
2. Establishing permanent Constitutional Benches
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM Chair - Shri Justice Madan B. Lokur, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India

Shri V. Sudhish Pai, Advocate and Author

Shri Alok Prassana Kumar, Co-Founder, Vidhi Legal Policy, Karnataka

Ms. Cathy Catterson, Former Clerk of Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, USA

Session 7: Judicial Standards and Accountability
1. Creating an All-India Judicial Service
2. Utilising Article 235 effectively to ensure quality of the subordinate judiciary
3. Outlining national judicial standards and accountability mechanisms for the higher judiciary
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM Chair - Shri Justice B. N. Srikrishna, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India

Shri Justice Jasti Chelameswar, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India

Dr. G. Mohan Gopal, Former Director, National Judicial Academy

Shri Harish Narasappa, Co-founder Daksh

Rule of Law for the 21st Century
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Chair - Shri Justice Kurian Joseph, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India

Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, General Secretary, Foundation for Democratic Reforms

Shri Prithviraj Chavan, Former Chief Minister, Maharashtra

Prof. K.C. Suri, Professor, University of Hyderabad

Prof. Ashwini Chhatre, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Indian School of Business

Sunday, February 21, 2021 - 13:09