iThought National Legal Essay Competition

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Law making is a process for all citizens to participate and especially for jurists, such as Judges, Lawyers, Law Teachers or Law Student. The Independent Thought Essay Competition is aimed to achieve this critical purpose. This online legal essay competition is being conducted every year since 2012. Through this competition, we  reach out to all leading law Schools in India have been able  to  generate curiosity in every law school student to question and re-think the role  that lawyers and Jurist can play in restoring and upholding the rights of children.

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Introduction

Incidents in recent times highlighted the malaise of child abuse in the Indian society. Child abuse is a phenomenon of undermining the dignity of child as an individual and a member of society. The neglected influence of child on political landscape of the country raises a debate about the obligations of childcare and protection. Traditionally, childcare and protection is understood under the domain of families and communities. Law as a tool to ensure social restructuring and to build a civilized society must address the issue of child abuse in all earnest and sincerity. The pernicious effect of child abuse will rob the effect of development and destroy the progress of the society. Legal instruments are required to address the issues and challenges of child abuse by considering the child as a subject matter of right and not a matter of paternal care.
In this background, iThought attempted to ignite socio-legal mind to examine efficacy and efficiency of the existing legal regime relating to child abuse and also to highlight the need of a new legal regime, if any, to ensure a status of child in a legal framework in addition to parental care at home.

Winners of 2012


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[accordion title=”” open1st=”0″ openAll=”0″ style=””][accordion_item title=”2nd iThought Legal Essay Competition, 2013″]1. Introduction
The topic for the 2013 legal essay competition was “Age of Criminal Responsibility”. This issue bears extreme social relevance in light of the current happenings in the NCR region and all over the country. The ‘Nirbhaya Case’ had generated strong discussion for revisiting and broadening the age range for fixing criminal responsibility for serious criminal offences by Juveniles. Recent debates and discussions amongst public and legal forums have suggested lowering the age of Juveniles in case of serious offences, and having these Juvenile offenders tried in the criminal courts under normal criminal justice system and not under the Juvenile Justice Act. The larger question remains as to whether such step would really act as a deterrent or have serious ramifications on crime prevention.
We are confronted by the question of having a threshold age limit with which to fix criminal culpability. Our basic premise of culpability and its relation to age stands on qualitative moral judgment. The question of threshold age determination for criminal culpability is difficult as demonstrated though lot of cases worldwide.
The case of Juvenile Age revision requires careful consideration and thinking. It’s a valid concern that many of the Juvenile offenders are difficult to reform even with provision of best of the services. A provision to deter these children from making bigger offences needs to be carefully examined. Within the ambit of this essay competition, iThought had aimed to ignite the nation’s developing socio-legal minds into examining the efficacy and efficiency of the current laws on the Age of Criminal Responsibility and also highlight the need, if any, for a new legal regime to combat the issue.

Winners of 2013


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[accordion title=”” open1st=”0″ openAll=”0″ style=””][accordion_item title=”3rd iThought Legal Essay Competition, 2014″]1. Introduction
In recent times, the lawmakers have been able to bring in sweeping reforms to the sexual assault provisions within the existing penal law of the country. Progressive restructuring of law on rape attracted acclaim across the society. However, the reconstruction of the law had refused to address the criminality of the sexual conduct of a man committed during his conjugal life when the age of the wife is more than 15 years but less than 18. The amendment in the rape law had failed to bring every situation of sexual assault within same category by continuing the differentiation between marital and non-marital rape. Such discrimination based on the personal status defied the mandate of equality enshrined in the Constitution and constitutes two different categories, penal and non-penal, of sexual assault. The maintenance of status quo in the field led to a debate on ever-changing opinion on woman in the society.
Sexual relationship with a married child below 18 years had been under a confused legal regime. While the primary law governing child marriages prohibits such marriages, but it doesn’t declare them “void ab initio” and also remains silent on sexual relationships. On the other hand, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 declares “sexual assault by a relative even through marriage” as an aggravated offence under Section 5. Motivated by the need to generate enlightened opinion and debate on this legal dilemma, iThought chose the topic of ‘Marital Rapes in Prohibited Child Marriages’ as the essay topic for 2014.

Winners of 2014


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Winners of 2015

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[accordion title=”” open1st=”0″ openAll=”0″ style=””][accordion_item title=”5th iThought Legal Essay Competition, 2016″]1. Introduction
In India 1.67% of the 0-19 population has a disability. 35.29% of all people living with disabilities are children. Only 1% of children with disabilities have access to school and one third of most disabilities are preventable. According to Census 2011, among the five types of disabilities (i.e: seeing, movement, hearing, speech and mental) on which data has been collected, total population of people with mental disability counts for 10.3%.
Children with disabilities are one of the most marginalized and excluded groups. Facing daily discrimination in the form of negative attitudes, they are effectively barred from realizing their rights to healthcare, education, and even survival. Children with disabilities face discrimination not only in services but also in the justice system as they are often not considered credible witnesses.
Though mental health has been added into census 2011, but ensuring the required services to this category is still a huge challenge. It has been recommended by the experts that if early identification and intervention will be done of children with mental disability; they will be self-sustained on their own. But the apathy is that instead of list of acts, rules & regulations, policy and program on disability mental health is still an area with less attention. The Mental Health Care Bill, 2013 and the Rights of Persons with Disability Bill, 2012 are still pending in the Parliament. This delay is depriving lakhs of children with special needs (CWSN) and care givers of their entitlements and social dignity.

The 2016 edition of Independent Thought Annual Legal Essay Competition attempts to bring together 2 of the least understood and even less discussed issues of our society viz Mental Health and Child Rights and hopes to generate discussion on the proverbial elephants in our

Winners of 2016

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