National Constitution Society Convention | IIHS, Bangalore | Welcome and Introduction

November 23, 2018

In 2018, the Centre for Law and Policy Research, Bangalore (CLPR) initiated a network of Constitution societies in schools and colleges across India to be known as the National Constitution Society (NCS). Through its institutional chapters and a central Society, it looks to critically engage with India’s constitutional inheritance.

In November 2018, CLPR organised a one-day All India National Constitution Society Convention that brought together student delegates from institutions across the country along with academics, lawyers and activists. This one-day event presented Student Delegates with the opportunity to critically engage with the history and contemporary relevance of the Indian Constitution and develop a plan to preserve, protect and promote constitutional values in the 21st century. Towards the end of the Convention, in its Plenary Session, the delegates elected the first Student Board Members for the NCS. This video includes the welcome and introduction of the event by CLPR Executive Director, Jayna Kothari.

Find the Agenda for the event below:

National Constitution Society Convention
at the Indian Institution of Human Settlements, Bangalore
23rd November 2018

08.15 am – 09.00 am: Breakfast

09.00 am – 09.15 am: Welcome and Introduction

09.15 am – 10.15 am: Session I – Why Does Indian Constitutional & Political History Matter?

The Constitution of India, 1950 was shaped by several legal and political processes through the 19th/20th century. This session will assess how an awareness of this long history of the Constitution is critical for a rigorous understanding of our contemporary moment.

Sucheta Mahajan, Professor and Chairperson, Centre for Historical Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Sudhir Krishnaswamy (Discussant), Managing Trustee, Centre for Law and Policy Research; Professor, Azim Premji University

10.15 am – 11.15 am: Session II – Supreme Court’s Push for Equality

2018 has been the year where equality cases have come the fore in the Supreme Court. This panel will explore the role of social movements and civil society actors who have initiated some key cases and assess how the Court has addressed their concerns.

Hasina Khan, Founder Member, Bebaak Collective

Akkai Padmashali, Founder, Ondede; Transgender Rights Activist

Jayna Kothari (Moderator), Executive Director, Centre for Law and Policy Research; Senior Advocate, Karnataka High Court and Supreme Court of India.

11.15 am – 11.30 am: Tea

11.30 pm – 12.30 pm: Session III – Gender and Sexuality in the Supreme Court

In 2018 the Supreme Court has contended with the tension between the individual right to equality and the rights of religious denominations to manage their religious affairs. This tension was at the core of India’s founding moment and has once again become politically dominant. This panel will explore if the Court has reconciled these tensions appropriately.

Flavia Agnes, Co-Founder, MAJLIS; Women’s Rights Lawyer

Arvind Narrain, Founding Member, Alternative Law Forum; Human Rights Lawyer and Activist

Arun Thiruvengadam (Moderator), Professor, Azim Premji University

12.30pm – 01.30 pm: Session IV – The 21st Century Indian Constitution

The Indian constitution has successfully endured the hurly burly of Indian politics for 7 decades. However, it faces significant challenges from the core and the margins of Indian political life. This panel will explore why a vital and inclusive constitutional culture is essential for the Constitution to survive the 21st Century.

Babloo Loitongbam, Executive Director, Human Rights Alert

Sanjay Jain, Associate Professor, ILS Law College

Sudhir Krishnaswamy (Moderator)

01.30 pm – 02.15 pm: Lunch

02.15 pm – 03.15 pm: Session V – A National Constitution Society for India: The Need for Student Action

Across the world students have been at the forefront of political movements for justice and progressive social change. The Constitution will need to engage young minds and aspirations to endure the 21st Century. This Panel will explore the role of a student culture in deepening the values of liberal constitutionalism in India.

Babu Mathew, Visiting Professor, National Law School of India University; Trade Union Activist

Badrinarayan Seetharaman (Discussant), Co-Founder, Gathr

03:15 pm – 03:45 pm: Tea

03.45 pm – 05.00 pm: Session VI – Organizing a National Constitutional Society: Structure and Agenda

While there have been several initiatives to create student activity to advance constitutional understanding at various academic institutions, there has been no national organization in this field. This panel will explore the relevance of a ‘National Constitutional Society’ and different models of organizational structure and potential agendas for such a society.

Vineeth Krishna, Centre for Law and Policy Research

Kruthika R, Centre for Law and Policy Research

Siddharth Chauhan, Assistant Professor, NALSAR University of Law

05.00 pm – 05.15 pm: Final Remarks and Vote of Thanks

5.15 pm – 5.45 pm: High Tea

05.45 pm – 06.45 pm: Student Delegates Plenary Session

07.15 pm – 09.00 pm: Convention Dinner