All posts by Avani Tiwari

Breakup: Is it always negative? Or is it how we make it?

The very thought of losing someone you love is heartbreaking. But change is meant to happen. It is the rule of the universe. There are some changes that are completely out of our control, where we can do nothing about how it happens. For example death of someone you love. But there are and will be situations where you can actually play a vital role in shaping the change.

I have written a poem on one such change in my life. I learnt that “it will be happy, if you want it to be. This poem is about a different kind of happy ending, not the cliche ones we see in movies. Life isn’t the way movies shows it to be. Hope you find this poem inspirational and in future acknowledge the pain and think how you can make it better. Remember: you and only you can make yourself happy. Even when you believe that a specific person is giving you happiness, its not them, its you, because you want them to. You choose how you want to live and that does not mean that you won’t get into trouble. Getting hurt, experiencing pain, any kind of loss, might not be in your hands but how you react to it, how you want to overcome it is surely in your hands.

A different kind of happy ending

I fell in love with the way you cared,
Even though I was immensely scared,
Cause all the ones I had known, left me alone,
Then all I got to hear was that, I am made of stone,
But you seemed different,
Kindness, selflessness and patience was all I could see,
“Epitome” , I presumed you to be
No you were not perfect, but you were all that I needed,
When every night my heart bleeded,
I pushed you away but you didn’t leave,
Cause ‘a pashmina of love’ you wanted to weave,
I fell for you deeper and deeper ,
But didn’t realize that the relationship was getting steeper and steeper,
I wanted to understand you and give my all,
But didn’t understand why you had started building a wall,
Those eyes that once couldn’t stop looking at mine,
Somehow didn’t find enough time,
I reckoned you were busy,
But couldn’t help feeling dizzy,
Cause it had been a long time I had been on my own,
Waiting for your text, I used to sleep holding my phone,
I realized, the construction of the wall was complete,
Cause your feelings for me had become obsolete,
But your happiness was all I prayed for,
And didn’t wanted to make my heart sore,
I left you and tried to move on,
But my heart was all torn,
I somehow gathered courage and worked on become strong,
Thought by then you would have forgotten me, but I was wrong,
You called me and wanted to talk to me all night,
And made my dark heart all bright,
You said you missed me, and how you would have kissed me,
But what all you said after that somehow pissed me,
You said we are a different world, and I want it to be happy,
Don’t mind whatever I said, because my thoughts had become scrappy,
Somewhere we both were wrong,
We acted as if we were high on bong,
We couldn’t make it last long, but lets proove the world wrong,
Lets make it the best breakup,
So that we are happy and peaceful when we wake up.

Legality of the Lockdown

On 24 March, 2020, our hon’ble Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi declared 21 days lockdown which kept on extending further as the number of COVID 19 cases in India kept on increasing. Certain guidelines were laid down at both, centre and the state levels. As you would have observed that there were instances where some state governments issued guidelines in addition to what was issued by by the central government. Ever wondered whether imposing such a lockdown was legal or not? Well, by the time you get to the end of this article you will have a basic understanding of how it works. So keep reading.

The legality of such actions taken at different levels can be derived from the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (DMA) which aims “to provide for the effective management of disasters and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”

The Act provides for the establishment of Disaster Management Authorities at the Centre, State and District levels of which the Prime Minister, Chief Minister and the District Magistrate/Collector/Deputy
Commissioner respectively shall be the ex-officio Chairperson. Such authorities have the responsibility for laying down the policies, plans and guidelines for ensuring timely and effective response to disaster. But how does the law define the term “disaster”? Is the term “lockdown” defined in Indian Law? If yes, what does it mean and if no how and who gets to decide what it means? These are some of the obvious questions that might arise.

It is to be noted that, although, the term “Lockdown” has not been defined under Indian Law, it can be elucidated from the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1987 which “gives power to centre and state governments to take necessary actions to contain the outbreak of an epidemic even if such steps are not mentioned in the law practice or theory.” As we all know that scientists from around the world have still not found a credible vaccine for the same and considering India’s health care facilities, there would not have been enough resources to treat people if the number of people affected would have become large. Since the novel coronavirus is contagious, lockdown was a need of the hour to contain its outbreak.

But as mentioned earlier, the lockdown was inposed under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 , so it is essential to understand the meaning of the term “Disaster” which is defined as

a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or gave occurrence in any area arising from natural or man made causes, or by accident or negligence, which results in substantial loss of life or human suffering or damage to, and destruction of, property, or damage to, or degradation of, environment, and is of such a nature or mangnitude as to beyond the coping capacity of the community of the affected area.”

Section 2 (d), Disaster Management Act, 2005

Technically, if one goes by the definition, COVID-19 does not fall within the definition of “disaster” as per the Act, as it is a pandemic, not any calamity, mishap or catastrophe. So, as per the definition, lockdown which was imposed to contain its outbreak, cannot be imposed under the Act. But that happened; it was imposed under the Disaster Management Act. You might be by now contemplating as to how did that happen? How is that legal?

This was possible because the Ministry of Home Affairs declared COVID-19 as a “notified disaster” thus bringing it within the purview of section 2(d). This was done to increase the scope of its administrative powers so that quick actions could be taken.

You might also be aware that any action taken by the government must be in consonance with the Indian Constitution and some of you might have suffered from the restrictions on movement as a consequence of the lockdown. You might already have some idea about the fundamental rights that are guaranteed to every citizen by the Constitution of India. Yes, you are right! I am talking about Article 19 in Part III of the Indian Constitution. Many might have felt that the lockdown infringed their right to assemble peacefully wothout arms [Article 19 (1) (b) )] ; right to move freely throughout the territory of India [Article 19 (1) (d)] ; right to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business [Article 19 (1) (g)]. Many of you might thus say that its against the constitution, hence, illegal. But it is important to note that, these rights aren’t absolute, they are subject to reasonable restrictions as per the latter part of the Article. Hence, lockdown being a reasonable restriction, for public health and safety, is legal.

Artificial Intelligence in Legal Process Outsourcing

Will AI be the next big disruption in the Legal Scenario amidst COVID 19 crisis?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a simulation of human intelligence programmed in computers to mimic human thinking and actions. Whereas, Legal Process Outsourcing (LPO) is process in which legal firms, publishing or corporate houses hire an onshore or offshore legal firm or a legal service provider company for their in-house legal works which are voluminous, reiterating, taxing and routine.

AI is the new buzzword which is slowly permeating the Indian Legal System. It is expected to have a significant impact by solving the major problem of “access to justice” in the system by mitigating the problem of inability to secure legal representation by vast majority of individuals and businesses. It will reduce costs and time involved in high-volume low-value work resulting in cheaper services.

Traditional law firm model is no longer aligned with customer expectation, hence, demand for law firm services are flat while that of legal services is still increasing. Lately, the legal industry has started to recognize the fact that technology shall be preferred over labour arbitrage. Legal expertise clubbed with process management and technology is essential for effective delivery of legal services. AI will enable firms providing LPO services to make best of everything by incorporating latest technology. It can be used in reviewing and standardizing documents, due diligence, transactional practices, cross-border contract drafting, judgement prediction, risk assessment etc. It will help in improving quality, efficiency, accuracy and cost of work by streamlining its workforce, saving money spent on providing salaries to such workforce and spending it on AI tools. It will save time spent on mundane, routine work so that lawyer’s role is limited to core functions that are beyond the scope of AI.

Legal Professionals believe that AI will replace their jobs resulting in large scale unemployment, however, it will only alter the way services are delivered by them, redefine tasks and functions as well as business models defining them. It is to be noted that it will only compress the case disposition time helping them improve client access and quality of legal solutions provided in optimum time. As rightly said by Michio Kaku, a noted theoretical physicist and futurist,

“The job market of the future will consist of those jobs that robots cannot perform.”

Michio Kaku, American theoritical physicist, futurist and popularizer of science.

Despite numerous advantages, AI is uncommon in the Indian Legal Industry as compared to other sectors and countries because it requires a comprehensive legal database which is in the nasent stages in the Indian Judicial Scenario. Another drawback is the integration of continuously developing information and digitalization of infotmation (i.e. feeding them into the system ) which is a time intensive process. Not only this, AI models have also failed to explain the outcomes predicted by it.

Every new technological idea has its pros and cons along with a section of people retaliating its implementation. What needs to be considered is whether a few disadvantages, some of which are difficult but not impossible to overcome in the current Indian Legal System, are sufficient to compromise with the greater benefits that AI has to offer in mitigating the key problem of “access to justice” in the Indian Legal Scenario.