Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pharmacists can't be forced to give "morning after pills" if they have religious objections: Illinois appellate court

An interesting ruling came in from the Illinois appellate court stating that the state cannot force pharmacies and pharmacists to sell "morning after pills" if they have religious objections. Many have hailed this as a great victory for religious freedom and for pro-life health professionals. 

The Huffington Post has reported the details relating to this story here.  If a court in India gave a judgement like this, can you imagine the hue and cry that would have been raised particularly the usual bouts of outrage on social media sites? Now that would be highly entertaining for lawyers and everyone in general, isn't it? 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Children's Rights under Indian Laws: How you can get cracking

Everywhere I go, I like to observe how children behave. A happy child is so hard to find these days because their world has fast become an imitation of the adult world. Today's kids are dressed up in the most expensive branded clothes, playing on tech savvy gadgets and even wearing make up to school. 

Children's Rights: Who is a Happy Child?
Several decades ago, one would have defined a happy child as one who has a happy and secure childhood. Today, that definition would draw glares from cynics.

But there is one law that I strongly believe that every Indian can implement and make it happen no matter what the circumstances are.

Children's Rights: Ten Steps to get Cracking for their well-being and happiness
1. You can put your foot down and say a strong "NO" to child labor. Walk out of shops where children are made to work. Do not employ children to look after your own children. You are behaving no differently from an employer of child labor then.

2. If there is a child who is being put to work, try and make contact with the parents and persuade them to send the child to a school. 

3. You could help raise funds if you team up with like minded friends and all of you can pool in for the child's school expenses without burning your savings. 

4. Go through the websites of the Women and Child Development ministries both Central and State. Jot down some of the key points so that you are aware of children's rights especially those that are beneficial for under privileged children. 

5. Don't expect journalists and politicians to whip up solutions for problems that you can also pitch in to tackle. Research a little on the Integrated Child Protection Scheme, the Mid day Meals scheme, the Charters on the Rights of the Child and so on. These provide valuable information on many facets that can help improve the lives of underprivileged children.  

6. Check out the Web to find out more about Juvenile Justice Boards, Child Welfare Committees and the Legal Services Authorities Act. 

7. You could get in touch with NGOs or associations that are keen to work and help improve the livles of underprivileged children. 

8. Alternatively, once you are aware of the laws, you can step up efforts to bring together a community of likeminded well-to-do aprents who want to volunteer for such initiatives. You could volunteer to teach children who have difficulties in reading, writing and speaking. 

9. You can also contact children's rights activists and organizations if you want to be more involved with helping underprivileged children.

10. Most importantly, look around your neighborhood and see what you want to improve there before you head out to far places. There may be an orphanage nearby that needs good clothes for their children and you could probably get cracking on organizing it. You could even sponsor medical check ups for the children who need medical attention. Whatever you do, decide to do it with an open, happy mind.

Children's rights are many, so are laws. But all of it bears fruit only if every one of us can pitch in and do something valuable for those children who are made to work. There is no better way to contribute to the well being and happiness of all children of this nation. 

Last but not the least, buy a copy of Oliver Twist  and read it. You will get an idea of what I am talking about. It's your duty and mine to make India 'a shining place' for all children.

Do you feel strongly about a specific issue that would incite you to come forward and form a community for it? That'd be interesting to know about. Do share your thoughts pls.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

TP Kelu Nambiar: The Passing Away of a Masterful Legal Wizard

Growing up, one always heard with anticipation the court room sagas of  TP Kelu Nambiar. His illustrious career is well known, so is his legal expertise. It wouldn't be incorrect to say that Kelu Nambiar was more than a lawyer to most Keralites.In one way or the other, every one had either heard about him, read about him or knew about his courtroom wizardry.To many, he was a terror in the court room, a masterful legal wizard who demonstrated the craft of ‘advocacy’ in all its finest facets. 

I knew him personally because my father knew him well. Nambiar sir was some one I grew up seeing. I used to see him very often and therefore, it is difficult to express in words about his demise. In my memories, what flashes to my mind: little knick-knacks that he would hand out to me affectionately like an uncle would to nephews and nieces.

Judges say many things about his expertise and that his clarity coupled with his boldness had been his greatest strengths. Many young lawyers would sit back, watch and take notes of Kelu Nambiar in action. His dialogues, his engagement with the Bar and the Bench and even his legal submissions - all of it demonstrated a dynamic edge, breathing life into the legal position of any case he was representing. 
There are also those who say he had a very short temperament and was egoistic with clients. However, I am not personally aware of it. As I mentioned before, he was like a loving uncle to me. 

Among the few books that I treasure in my collection, there is the book written by him. It has advice to young lawyers and was published by the Kerala Bar Council. This is a gem of a book that will inspire and guide the generation of lawyers to come. I treasure it.
Newspapers reported that "His demise is a shocking blow to the legal profession and to the court as a democratic institution." His illustrious career and decades of thoroughness in the field of litigation deserve more than a passing mention in print.  

I have no words to say more because it would be too personal. Rest in Peace, sir.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How important is your doctor's handwriting?

According to a recent news report by Zee News online, the Maharashtra government is all set to help the medical fraternity in the state to create awareness about handwriting legibility amongst doctors. 

The purpose of this initiative is to prevent prescription errors due to sloppy writing. This will also help to check pharmaceutical malpractices and any possible legal hassles that may be likely. 

Take out your doctor's prescription and try making sense of it. Readability is an issue or perhaps it is sloppy writing. 

Every time you see a prescription that is difficult to read, you almost rely on the pharmacist to dig out its real name and meaning. You may not even know if the pharmacist substitutes it with something else. Can you imagine what this can lead to in smaller towns and villages where the people may not  understand the prescribed drug? 

More states should emulate this move and Medical Councils should spearhead initiatives like this that are beneficial for the public.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Foreign University Immigration scams hit Indian students hardest

There has been furore among Indian students and their families, following the London Metropolitan University's (LMU) licence being revoked by the UK Border Agency, making it legally impossible for LMU to authorize Tier 4 visas to international students, including those from India. 

Immigration Scam at London Metropolitan University

A report by The Guardian titled "London Metropolitan University is there to educate, not police" states that the UK Border Agency's sponsorship system permits universities "to accept international students on to their courses on condition that they enforce immigration controls." As per existing laws, all these affected students who have been registered with the university have to leave within 60 days unless they find a place in another institution that can sponsor them for visas.

Immigration Scam and Petition for Amnesty of terminated International Students

The Guardian has also reported that a petition for an amnesty of these terminated international students has been called for urging that the students should be allowed to complete their studies while the problems in LMU are being sorted out. However, the role of any University including that of LMU is to educate, not police - a perspective that is being agreed on by most educational as well as legal experts.

Media reports Indian students are hit hardest by this immigration scam

Several media reports suggest that the hardest hit students are most likely to be the Indians. Though many of these students are well aware of immigration scams, few research into the foreign institutions they apply for with a well founded, objective approach. The focus on the possibility of immigration scam goes largely ignored. 

From any perspective, it is unjust that these international students who have already cleared all processes to gain admission at a well established institution in the UK will now have their dreams dashed. These students and their families are now in a state of panic because there is no clear idea as to what the transition is going to be like. The way forward looks vague and bleak prospects loom large.

Metro Cities in India looking to become 'French Riviera'?

Increasingly, metropolitan cities in India are becoming more Western in terms of their lifestyle, employment opportunities, education facilities and so on. Look at metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru among others. 

Metro Cities in India become hubs for niche market areas 
You are likely to find an increasing number of 'niche market' areas in these cities that cater to the super rich socialites who don't want to be clubbed with the city's more obvious 'middle class.'

On Twitter, I read a tweet by @primaveron stating 'South Bombay feels like the French Riviera! So many foreigners! And marvellous weather!'

In Delhi, you can visit GK 2, Defence Colony and Khan market that continue to attract most foreigners who are visiting the city. It also attracts the increasingly affluent crop of Indians who don't worry about buying outrageously expensive 'organic' spices like turmeric, coriander powder and so on from Fabindia, an elite retail outlet that caters to the subtly emerging preferences of foreigners who look to take back something 'ethnic' from India and also cater to affluent Indian preferences. You also have the very posh area called Sunder Nagar that houses the rich, the famous and the infamous. 

But where do the poor in the Metro cities live? They continue to live in the outskirts of the cities where slums fester, the gutters spill over and are not cleaned for years and their children continue to live in terrible squalor because no one really cares. That is the ugly side of nearly every metro city in India.

City of Kochi gets its share for niche shopping and fine dining 
In Kerala, the constant flow of Gulf money has spilled over and become visible in its peoples'  obsession to build double storeyed, palatial looking houses. Fine dining restaurants are fast becoming a rage too. In the city of Kochi, for example, you have specific shopping areas and restaurants that are frequented mostly by the affluent class. 

A recent addition to the city of Kochi is the Bay Pride Mall on Marine Drive that attracts children, youths and families from either affluent families or those with an NRI background.The Oberon Mall is also another recent example of how affluence is fast paving the way for 'niche market' areas in Kochi which has still not been recognized as a 'metro city.' 

My question to you is this: Whichever part of the world you are from, how do you relate to the emergence of 'niche market' areas? Whom do they typically attract? What makes them popular in the region that you come from? Do they cater to a different kind of super luxury lifestyle adapters? 

If you could give some names and details as I have mentioned here, that would be interesting information too.