Friday, September 25, 2015

Raj Kumar (SJD 2011), Michael Davis Speak at Law and Liberty Conference in Delhi

Professor Raj Kumar (SJD 2011), Dean of the Jindal Global Law School, opened a two-day conference on law and liberty held at the O.P. Jindal Global University on 18-19 September 2015.  Professor Michael Davis gave the keynote speech.  The Financial Express reported (24 September 2015) on the event as follows:
Jindal Global Law School (JGLS) and Jindal School of Government and Public Policy (JSGP) at the O.P. Jindal Global University jointly hosted the International Conference on “Law and Liberty”. The convention was organized in collaboration with The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order and justice, a public interest legal advocacy initiative of the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) aiming at advancing laws promoting personal, social and economic liberties, and at the same time imposing limits on the powers exercised by the state, through strategic litigation and legal advocacy.
     The forum on ‘Law and liberty’, had multiple tracks addressing a host of legal issues around Liberty vs Equality, License-Permit Raj to Competition Era, Separation of Powers–Judicial Activism, Usurping Executive Powers, Individual Rights vs Minority Rights and Right to Property.
     Over sixteen eminent speakers, both from India and abroad presented at the two day conference.
     “It is not very often, that one gets to see the word, ‘liberty’ appear beside, ‘law’,” said, Dr. Parth J. Shah, President, Centre for Civil Society, Delhi, while deliberating on the oxymoron that existed in the name of the International conference on ‘Law and Liberty’. Delivering his opening remarks at the conference, Dr. Shah, further examined the history of the concept of liberty in the democratic system of governance, and said, “Around the world, liberty, equality, justice and fraternity are known to be the cornerstones of any constitutional framework, with liberty taking precedence each time.”
     Delivering the inaugural address at the conference Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU), spoke of the ideological challenges pertaining to law and liberty in the country, he said, “In India particularly, we are living in the 19th, 20th and the 21st century together, and in a situation where you are living three centuries together, you simultaneously experience a form of political and constitutional discourse for which ideology alone does not suffice, and hence arises a need to develop a more nuanced understanding of issues”. Stressing on the critical need for the legal system to assume a larger role in the political and social discourse of the country, he stated, “As lawyers and public policy academics, one of the big challenges for many of us today, is to look at how law can actually be relevant to the larger political and social discourse that is taking place, we need to develop a deeper understanding of issues relating to law and liberty and we must have a contemporary view of these issues, I am certain that this conference will help address some of the fundamental and underlying issues related to law and liberty.”
      Speaking on constitutionalism in emerging states and the challenges faced by emerging democracies, Prof. Michael Davis, Distinguished Visiting Professor, JGLS & Professor, Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong, said, “Constitutionalism is not just about development of institutions, constitutions are not just words on paper endowed with original intent, rather they are avenues for interaction and mutual consent of the core institutions of government”. Debating if the process of constitutional judicial review actually serves the purpose of constitutionalism, he said, “Scholars have long appreciated that, constitutional judicial review, not only constraints but legitimates government undertakings, while simultaneously empowering people and in many cases functioning as a guardian of core institutions.... 
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