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When the re-launch architects of India Legal began framing the editorial parameters of this magazine three years ago—in January 2014—we struggled to come up with a tagline to define a stand-alone identity in the marketplace overflowing with me-too publications.

The founding editors had pretty much defined the scope of perspectives that would establish its singularity. What we needed was a credo we could stick to, one that would be the guiding principle for inclusion of material in the magazine.  And I think we came up with a pretty solid descriptor:  “Only the Stories That Count.”

There was a reason for that. For one, we were shaping ourselves as essentially a niche product but with an appeal to readers beyond just the legal spectrum. A hybrid identity is, in fact, an oxymoron, and yet that is what we boldly ventured out to achieve. The idea, we said in a message to our readers was to “bring you news, analyses and most incisive legal minds in the nation on matters that matter to you.”

Despite the twists and turns which are the markers of any tortuous journey, we have, I believe, now been able to walk a straight line, to stand apart from the crowd and, above all, to stand up and be counted for what we believe in. In this we have managed to earn a measure of distinction not only among our readers but also within the journalistic fraternity and the legal and judicial community.

Our organisation has also reached out to the community at large, not only through the pages of the magazine but also through seminars and partnerships. We have signed MOUs with some of the leading law universities of the world, including NLU and the OP Jindal Global University. Legal luminaries, judges, senior Supreme Court advocates, constitutional scholars, Bar Association leaders, law college professors and student toppers have regularly attended think fests in our editorial offices. One which stands out in my mind was a recent seminar at which we were honoured to felicitate the legendary Prof NR Madhava Menon at which he delivered a splendid oration.

 Our outreach has involved the creation of the unique India Legal Research Foundation (ILRF). Here is how the national news agency UNI reported one of its functions:

“The first ever conclave of India Legal on Access to Justice held in Ranchi this fortnight was a resounding success, as it was attended by Droupadi Murmu, the Governor of Jharkhand, Justice Virender Singh, the Chief Justice of the High Court of Jharkhand, Justice Anant Bijay Singh, Justice Apresh Singh, Justice Harish Chandra Mishra, Pravin H Parekh, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association and other luminaries, including bureaucrats and lawyers.

Seasons Greetings and Justice for All from the India Legal and APN team

Seasons Greetings and Justice for All from the India Legal and APN team

“The conclave discussed how justice to all was a must as it was a fundamental right….

“Participants said that there are various causes for unequal justice, including lack of infrastructure, shortage of judges, rising pendency, administrative lapses like shoddy police investigation, presence of a criminal-politician nexus, under-trial prisoners not being able to secure bail even after many years in jail and so on.

“Governor Murmu said that access to justice was a human rights concept based on dharma was familiar in ancient India. The state in ancient India was neither sacerdotal, nor paternalistic. The concept of dharma was multi-dimensional. It was embraced and sustained in a compassionate sweep. It gave birth to both human rights and laws to safeguard them.

“Stressing on the link between poverty and lack of knowledge of law, she said law education should become part of our curriculum so that justice becomes accessible to all.

“She congratulated the India Legal Research Foundation (ILRF) for its bold initiative to make justice accessible to all.

“Jharkhand Chief Justice Virender Singh noted the importance of this method of case disposal in jurisprudence and underscored how it would go a long way in reducing the already-humongous caseload on Indian judges and make way for speedy justice.

“A judiciary where access is gagged and the institutions which are responsible do nothing to remove the obstacles ceases to be an independent system,” he said.

It was an occasion of great pride for the India Legal editorial team and its sister concern APN News

Trying to make sense of how the rule of law, natural justice, judicial precedents, case histories, judicial activism and accountability impact the day-to-day functioning of modern India has given India Legal credibility and greater outreach.

Trying to make sense of how the rule of law, natural justice, judicial precedents, case histories, judicial activism and accountability impacts the day-to-day functioning of modern India, “ has given a stand-alone magazine like India Legal credibility, greater outreach and confidence to expand its horizons,” remarked Business Standard, quoting liberally from a leading news agency review.

In describing the magazine, I have repeatedly said that the publication is not for, of, and by lawyers, even though this community is now increasingly involved in its content creation, but, is about justice, exposing corruption and charlatans, taking a critical stance on legal matters of national and constitutional importance.

I have repeatedly said that India Legal is not for, of, and by lawyers. It is about justice, exposing corruption and taking a critical stance on legal matters of national and constitutional importance.

It is with some pride that I quote a review of our performance as it appeared in several news sites: “Since its inception India Legal has been on top of all recent news breaks, covering them from the legal angle, giving them special perspective.”

A review of our last year-end special issue concluded: “It is, therefore, no surprise that its year-end special has aptly been titled “The Best of India Legal-2015” and features 15 issues that in the eyes of its editorial and reporting staff best reflects its goal of pursuing “current affairs, investigations and controversies with a solid legal angle that would be a special interest not only to lawyers and judges”, which it sees as its core audience, but also to “general readers, MPs, politicians, students, diplomats and think tanks.”

“The India Legal year-ender is indeed an intellectual treat.” 

I believe the current issue, India Legal 2016, not only lives up to but exceeds that standard.

A happy new year, and above all, peace with justice to all.

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