Speaker 1 - Asso. Prof. (Dr.) Jeet Singh Maan, Associate Professor of Law, National Law University, Delhi.
Topic: "Transparency in Governance"
Our duty as a student of good governance is to study the laws and examine them. Transparency cannot be enforced unless there is accountability and democracy cannot survive without both. The various components of good governance include consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, participatory, rule of law, responsive, equitable, and inclusive, Effective and Efficient. The mandate of Supreme Court judgments in 1975 and 1982, held right to information as an integral part of right to life and the right to know, as being derived from the concept of freedom of speech. According to him, transparency deals with openness and open governance. All actions that are performed must be available in the public domain and must be subject to public scrutiny.
Further he discussed how RTI as a tool has helped to ensure transparency like in CBSE v Aditya Bandyopadhyay case which gave applicants the right to access to answer sheets, question papers and can question the evaluation process. He further highlighted the shortcomings of the RTI act as it although deals with proactive disclosure of information as well as detective measures but does not talk about the classification of information nor deal with any grievance redressal mechanism. He further discussed the relationship between RTI and Corruption. If the information is available in the public domain, then parties can question that, and public authorities will be very vigilant before indulging in any kind of corruption which serves as a preventive measure. One should be personally accountable and not vicariously accountable and Private Institutions be also included under these acts to ensure transparency.
The self-governance is the best form of governance rather than blaming others for any kind of failure and we must follow the dharma of life. If we follow ethical values and are transparent, follow the rule of law, then we do not need any kind of law.
Speaker 2 - Prof. (Dr.) M.K. Bhandari, CEO and Director at Infinity Law tech Educational Services Online Academy, Hyderabad.
Topic: "Legal Aspects of Cryptocurrency and Block Chain"
The importance of technology has taken a next step during the pandemic when the foundation of every country has shaken including health care system. It is helping us to stay connected. He explained the invention and evolution of the Blockchain technology, being invented in 2008 by an unknown genius known as "Satoshi Nakamoto", who was the first to publish a Bitcoin White Paper, which marked the beginning of blockchain.
According to him, the Blockchain is a decentralised digital ledger, which is transparent, verifiable and is auditable. The data is distributed between multiple nodes and all those who are parties to the blockchain have access to the data. Since the data has a particular hash and any change in the data will change the hash making it non-verifiable, has created a trust-based system.
With the help of a detailed diagram, the working of blockchain was explained and its different variations like currency, smart contracts, DAPPS etc. He emphasised certain areas, their problems and how blockchain can help mitigate the problems like the use of blockchain by Governments to protect vital Govt. infrastructure against cyber-attacks and hacks. On cryptocurrency, he stated that it is a digital currency represented by mathematical algorithms and generated through the process of mining (proof or work) on blocks of nodes also known as the "Internet of money". With Bitcoin being the first creation of blockchain technology, there are currently almost nearly 5000 cryptocurrencies in existence. He further explained the classification of Cryptocurrency around the globe and its taxability.
In absence of effective regulation on cryptocurrency, certain crimes like money laundering, theft of bitcoin, terror funding, narco terror funding, ransomware attacks, crypto exchange hacks, crypto Heists etc. are committed all over the world.
Hence to act and create effective laws to regulate cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and everything is required as in the absence, Indian crypto trade companies are shifting to other friendly Crypto business countries, thereby leading to a loss of revenue and opportunities.
Speaker 3 - Prof. (Dr.) R. Venkata Rao, Director, VIPS and Former Vice Chancellor, National Law School of India University, Bangalore.
Topic: "Constitutional Torts: Prospect and Retrospect"
The session started with touch about constitutionalism. He referred to the Principles of Constitutionalism given by the author “Barber” in his book. Constitutionalism can be understood in negative or positive terms. On Barber’s account, constitutionalism can be broken down into distinct principles, and these principles can be related to a certain account of the state.
A constitutional tort is primarily a judicial instrument that makes the state vicariously responsible for the actions of its servants. In the case that any constitutional rights are breached, legal action is necessary to get a legal remedy in the form of damages. The sole exception is that there is no liability if the act performed is done in the exercise of sovereign duties. The genesis of the Constitutional Act can be traced to the period when the popular mediaeval statement, 'The King can do no wrong' began to lose its acceptance in the eyes of the public. With the arrival and growth of new democracies and industries after the 18th century, it became necessary to subject activities done with official power to judicial examination so that people who were harmed may receive justice promptly.
Further differentiation between constitutional tort and the tort that as we understand in the traditional sense was discussed. The expression is normally applied to explain the breach of the constitution and should not be equated with traditional tort. The forum in constitutional tort is also completely different. In constitutional tort, there must be a breach of the constitution and there must be parallel procedural wrongs.
In concluding remarks, he stressed on the importance of referring to the 42-page consultation paper by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution on the liability of the state in tort, to get an in-depth understanding of the subject.