Cornell Law School conducting fact-based study on issues like CAA, NRC

Police stop protestors during their march against the amended Citizenship Act, NRC and NPR, near Jamia Nagar in New Delhi

The Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens in India are among the several sensitive legal issues which have drawn the attention of the Cornell Law School for conducting a fact-based study on them.

The US-based Ivy League law school, which launched its Cornell India Law Centre here early this month, is dedicated to promoting the study of Indian law and policy within the US legal academy.

Although there are centres on China's law, Africa's law, and European law at US law schools, there has not been significant focus on the study of Indian law among US legal scholars.

Sital Kalantry, faculty director of the centre and clinical professor of law, told PTI that another goal of the Cornell India Law Centre is to foster collaboration between Indian law schools, legal professionals, judges and their counterparts in the US.

Kalantry said the Centre is working on summarising important Indian Supreme Court cases such as on the Aadhaar scheme, decriminalisation of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, verdict in the Sabarimala case and the surrogacy law.

The faculty director said the Centre is also keenly watching the developments on CAA, NRC and establishment of foreign tribunals in Assam keeping in mind the need to conduct fact-based evaluations of these contentious issues.

"We hope to use empirical and other legal methodologies to inform law and public policy in India, including debate about the CAA and NRC," Kalantry said.

She said Cornell India Law Centre is the first centre of any American law school in India that examines Indian law across all substantive areas.

There is a MoU between the Centre and Jindal Global University for a pilot project on dual degree programmes allowing students to earn Indian and American law degrees in six years.

The Centre was formally inaugurated on February 7 in the presence of former Supreme Court judge Justice (retd) A K Sikri, Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice Gita Mittal and senior advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

The Cornell India Law Centre was launched in the United States on September 26, 2019 with a lecture by Richard Verma, vice chairman and partner at the Asia Group and former US ambassador to India.

Kalantry said though the Centre does not have a physical space in India, it is collaborating with many Indian legal institutions and has entered into partnership with some law institutes like the Kolkata-based West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences.

She said there has been a good response to the Centre's initiative and in the last two years, former Chief Justice of India Justice (retd) T S Thakur, Justice (retd) J Chelameswar and other judges of the Indian Supreme Court have visited the Cornell India Law Centre.

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