The judicial system worldwide has been construed for the primary reason of safeguarding the rights and liberties of the peoples of the world. But the most basic element of these rights are basic human rights. But how are they safeguarded? What do Human Rights entail? And essentially, what is Human Rights Law? Madhura Sansare delves into the details of this career option
Since the days of the lndus Valley Civilization, lndian culture has been the product of a synthesis of diverse cultures and religions that came into contact with the enormous lndian sub continent over a very long stretch of time. The lndian concept perceives the individual, the society and the universe as an organic whole. In such a diverse country, human rights form a judicial perspective has always been a complicated issue.
It was for this reason, that the Indian judicial system has always been kept separate from the executive. The independence of the judiciary was one of the outstanding features of the Hindu judicial system. Even during the days of Hindu monarchy, the administration of justice always remained separate from the executive. It was, as a rille, independent both in form and spirit. It was the Hindu judicial system that first realized and recognized the importance of the separation of the judiciary from the executive and gave this fundamental principle a practical shape and form.
India was a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A number of fundamental rights guaranteed the individuals in Part Ill of the lndian Constitution are similar to the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The judicially enforceable fundamental rights that encompass all seminal civil and political rights and some of the rights of minorities are enshrined in the Constitution. These include the right to equality, the right to freedom, the right against exploitation, the right to freedom of religion, cultural and educational rights and the right to Constitutional remedies.
Fundamental rights differ from ordinary rights in the sense that the former are inviolable. No law or administrative order can abridge or take them away. Any law, which violates any of the fundamental right, is void. The Supreme Court of lndia recognises these fundamental rights as ‘Natural Rights’ or ‘Human Rights’. Though a part of the Indian Law System, Human Rights is such a vast topic, that it can very easily make up an entire sub-section of law study on its own, to the point where one can make a career as a human rights lawyer. But be careful, the abhorations and the criminial acts against human rights are far and plenty, specially in India, and a strong stomach is the primary criterion required off someone hoping to pursue this career.
Following the foray into the vast subject of human rights, Surabhi Chatterjee, who is a Research Fellow at TISS, talks about the specifics of Human Rights Law in India
Can you give us more information about the field in more depth? What categories fall under Human Rights Law?
Human Rights Law involves working towards an equal and just society. It includes fighting for the rights of those who were denied their basic, fundamental rights, and challenging laws and policies that go against the ethos of the constitution. It also includes advocacy to bring about social justice.
Categories that fall in Human Rights law include Women Rights, Child rights, Labour rights, Rights of Sexual Minorities, Rights of marginalised communities, Access to Justice , Criminal Justice System, Conflict law, Police Brutalities, Freedom of Speech and Expression and a lot more.
What university and course would you suggest to someone pursuing to make a career in this field in India?
After a 5 year BA. LLB (Bachelors of Arts and Law) degree from Symbiosis Law School, Pune, I have done a Masters in Law (LLM.) in Access to Justice in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. It is a new course (started 3 years back), and the first of its kind in India.
The 5 year graduation law courses in India hardly touch upon the subject of human rights, which is why I believe it is important to get educated in the field of human rights.
What career prospects can one look forward to as a graduate in Human Rights Law?
You could always litigate under a lawyer who takes up human rights cases. That would be a great learning opportunity, where you will learn about court procedures and how the law plays out in courts. Also, as I mentioned, there are many other organisations in the field of public policy and advocacy which require lawyers in their teams. You can also choose to become an academician, by teaching or pursuing research in an institution. Several jobs in forms of fellowships, research assistants, and other such research grants are also given in Institutions. That could be another option.
Volume 5 Issue 5