Objectives of the course
Lately, the Universities in India have started showing greater concern
for teaching a course on Human Rights. Human right is doubtless the major
concern of all societies, developed as well as developing. Formerly, rights
were conceived rather narrowly as mere freedom from arbitrary government
and classical constitutions provided guarantees of individual liberty or
minority Protection against the state in their constitutional bill of rights. It
was realized later, and much more so during last forty years since the end of
the Second World War that the threats to liberty, equality and justice did not
emanate from the state alone. Many nations of Asia and Africa came to
nationhood during this period. Their assertion of sovereignty challenged
many premises of international law which had been taken as established by
the developed nations. These nations had to bring about their development
and they needed capital. Foreign aid and foreign investments were invited
but these could very well lead to their second subjugation. Poverty,
ignorance, exploitation had to be fought at the global level. Development
had to come without the sacrifice of human value. A greater awareness of
human rights, not only as negative restrictions on the state but as positive
obligations for creating an environment in which man could live with dignity
was necessary. If law was to be a real instrument of social engineering, the
lawyers, judges as well as law teachers had to be informed by human rights
at the LL.M. level would essentially seek to consciencitize the future law
teachers, researchers and activists about human rights.
The focus of a course on human rights must be on the national
problems with an international or global perspective. Thoughts and ideas
cannot be parochial or national. They are universal. But their articulation
becomes meaningful only when they are seen in the context of local
experience. The course content must be informed by transformational
dimension. The study methodology must be macro at the thought level and
micro at the experience level. While we must therefore focus on the local
problems we must not let the global perspective go out of our sight. The
world community's concerns about human rights have been expressed
through various conventions and poverty, ignorance and exploitation. On the
national levels, they are contained in constitutional provisions such as
directive principles of state policy, fundamental rights, fundamental duties
and judicial, legislative as well as administrative strategies of reconstruction.
Human rights acquired much more comprehensive and wider meaning. It
requires us to take up cudgels against poverty discriminations based on
caste, colour or sex, make provisions for drinking water, population control,
conservation and preservation of natural resources, ecological balance,
protection of consumers against ruthless and profit seeking, traders or
manufacturers, provisions against hazardous industries and so on and so
forth. Human rights is an important parameter or a just society and future
lawyers must be able to assess any programme of social transformation with
reference to them.
1. Panoramic View of Human Rights
1.1 Human Rights in Non western Thought.
1.2 Awareness of Human rights during the nationalist movement.
1.3 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Constituent assembly
and Part III, Part drafting Process.
1.4 Subsequent development in International Law and the Position
in India (e.g. Convention of Social discrimination, torture,
gender discrimination, environment, and the human rights
2. Fundamental Rights Jurisprudence as Incorporating
2.1 The dichotomy of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles
2.2 The interaction between Fundamental Right and Directive
2.3 Resultant expansion of Basic Needs oriented Human Rights in
3. Right not be Subject to Torture, inhuman or
3.1 Conceptions of torture, third degree methods
3.2 "Justifications" for it.
3.3 Outlawry of torture of international and constitutional law level.
3.4 Incidence of torture in India.
3.5 Judicial attitudes.
3.6 Law Reform Proposed and pending.
4. Minority Rights
4.1 Conception of minorities Scope of protection.
4.2 The position of Minority "Woman" and their basic rights.
4.3 Communal Riots as Involving violation of Rights.
4.4 Communal Riots as Involving violation of Rights
5. Rights to development of Individuals and Nations
5.1 The UN Declaration on Right to Development, 1987.
5.2 The need for constitutional and legal changes in India from
human rights standpoint.
6. People's Participation in Protection and Promotion of
6.1 People's Union for Civil Liberty
6.1.1 People's Union for Democratic Rights
6.1.2 Mahila Dakshata Samiti.
6.1.3 Lawyers Collective.
6.1.4 Other's Group: Issue related like Chipko Bhoomi Sena,
Groups against power Dams etc.
6.1.5 Legal Profession.
6.2 Role of International NGOs.
6.2.1 Amnesty International
6.2.2 Minority Rights Groups.
6.2.3 International Bars Association, Law Asia.
6.3 Contribution of these groups to protection and promotion of
human rights in India.
7. Development Agencies and Human Rights
7.1 Major International funding agencies and their operations in
7.2 World Bank lending and resultant violation/promotion of
7.3 Should development assistance be tied to observance of human
rights. (as embodied in various UN declarations).
8. Comparative Sources of Learning
8.1 EEC Jurisprudence.
8.2 The Green Movement in Germany.
8.3 The International Peace Movement.
8.4 Models of Protection of the rights of indigenous people: New
Zealand (Maoris) Australia, Aborigines and Canada(Indians).
9.1 Free Press Its role in protecting human rights.
9.2 Right of association.
9.3 Right to due process of law.
9.4 Access and Distributive Justice.
10. Independence of the Judiciary
10.1 Role of the Legal Profession.
10.2 Judicial appointments Tenure of Judges.
10.3 Qualifications of judges.
10.4 Separation of Judiciary from executive.
11. European Convention on Human Rights
11.1 European Commission / Court of Human Rights.
11.2 Amnesty International.
11.3 PUCL , PUDR, Citizens for Democracy.
11.4 Minorities Commission.
11.5 Human Rights Commission.
11.6 Remedies Against Violation of Human Rights.