About the Conference
The Himachal Pradesh National Law University, Shimla in collaboration with the Institute of Correctional Administration, Chandigarh announces an International Conference on “Restorative Justice and the Challenges of Twenty-First Century” on Thursday, the 22nd of October 2020.
If nothing else, the twentieth and the ongoing twenty-first century have witnessed great upheavals in realms of ideas and practice that have tremendously reshaped social relations, institutional and organisational cultures. Especially after the sweeping impacts of globalisation that have taken over the world, it has become of utmost necessity to pause for a moment and reflect on the fundamentals of our legal and political institutions. Growing crime rates and ever- growing prison populations, widespread malnutrition and hunger, underdevelopment and unemployment, sexual violence against women and children, exploitation of various kinds and so many other scenes of gross injustice bring cleavages inherent in the modern liberal episteme to the fore. Crisis laden institutions such as the judiciary, therefore, need to relook at the idea and the conceptualisation and modes of justice delivery as it has governed their raison détre thus far.
A spark of hope and positive reconciliation between tradition and modernity has recently been offered by scholars and practitioners who have been thinking and writing about Restorative Justice- a dimension of justice delivery mechanism which in the contemporary episteme has only received scant attention- especially in developing countries such as India. The Seminar is an open invitation to experts, practitioners, thinkers, jurists and academicians to come together and participate in this event to pave new pathways that would allow us all to think afresh about alternatives to the conventional models of justice delivery and punishment.
About the Organising Institutions
The Himachal Pradesh National Law University, Shimla was established by an Act of the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha in the year 2016 (Act 16 of 2016). In the four years of its foundation, HPNLU, Shimla has seen tremendous growth and has undertaken a good number of innovative measures to enhance the academic potential of its faculty members, students and research scholars. Led by the visionary scholar of law, the Vice-Chancellor Professor (Dr) Nishtha Jaswal, the University has been very proactive in organising a series of events encompassing a wide spectrum of socio-legal issues. Despite the spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown, HPNLU, Shimla has been at the forefront of using digital platforms to raise awareness about issues as far spread as Fundamental Duties, Reproductive Rights of Women, Human Rights and Access to Justice etc.
The Institute of Correctional Administration, Chandigarh started functioning from the year 1989 with full financial assistance from the Central Government. It has been actively involved in imparting training to prison and police officers of the country and also conducting various research activities. During the year 2018, ICA conducted 22 courses/workshops in which 500 officers were trained. The Institute has also undertaken various research projects on Prison Administration and Human Rights. Human Rights is an important area of concern and finds its due importance in the training programmes. The ICA has been actively involved in organising online programmes and has initiated very crucial debates and discussions about issues concerning Prison Administration, Gender and Human Rights and looking for alternatives to conventional modes of justice.
According to the European Forum for Restorative Justice (EFRJ) has worked for the or the last twenty years “to connect people to restore just relations”. The EFRJ defines Restorative Justice as
“An approach of addressing harm or the risk of harm through engaging all those affected in coming to a common understanding and agreement on how the harm or wrongdoing can be repaired and justice achieved”.
According to Tim Chapman, Chair of the EFRJ’s Board:
“Restorative Justice matters because respect for human dignity matters, solidarity within diverse societies matter, justice matters and truth matters”
Another international organisation working in this area – Restorative Justice International (RJI) states that its mission is to:
“Reform our justice systems in ways that restore, heal and transform victims, offenders & communities”
Other organisations working in the area of raising awareness about Restorative Justice are Restorative Practices International (RPI), Peace of the Circle and the Resolution Institute. The Asian Pacific Forum for Restorative Justice (APFRJ) too, have been working tirelessly to draw the attention of concerned parties of the criminal justice system towards Restorative Justice.
The stated belief of these organisations is that Restorative Justice must be incorporated into our public policies since justice systems are impacted by legislation written and supported by public officials. As advocates of evidence-based research supporting the use of Restorative Justice, they argue for a victim-driven model of justice which seeks to restore crime victims, as much as possible, as well as communities injured by crime while urging offender accountability.
Social Action Foundation for Equity (SAFE) is a registered society and is associated with the promotion of Human Rights with a special focus on critical societal issues, gender justice, child rights and reintegration of offenders and restorative justice. It also organizes legal awareness camps, holds seminars and disseminates knowledge. It works for the reforms in the Criminal Justice System through research and legal activism.
Restorative Justice in the Indian Context
Recent juridical and legislative trends in India have begun to show early signs of the recognition of victims’ participation in the criminal justice machinery. Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 in the last decade have ignited hope and interest in the victimological dimensions of justice delivery in India. However, there have been judgments in which Indian courts have been ambiguous about the ambits of victimhood and the modus operandi of compensatory mechanisms. This has left us with much to be desired in strengthening the restorative ideal as it must be weaved into our legal fabric.
Objectives of the Conference
In line with these observations, the proposed Conference invites papers from academicians and practitioners from fields as diverse as jurisprudence, advocacy and judiciary, academics, policing and prison administration, sociologists, psychologists, and criminologists. Papers may be centered around any or more of the following themes:
- The need and relevance for Restorative Justice in today’s world with a special reference to the Indian context.
- Exploring the theoretical grounds and challenges of Restorative Justice.
- Challenges of implementing the ideal of restoration for the legislature, judiciary, and the executive.
- Psycho-social dimensions of harm and victim-offender relationships, Trauma, and Healing.
- Hate crimes, sexual violence against women and children and Restorative Justice.
- The roadmap for establishing a more efficient judicial system that is sensitive to the idea of restoration.
The Conference shall be attended by distinguished speakers and scholars from various countries such as Sri Lanka, Australia and European countries. Participants will be each speaking about their respective areas of work and the challenges they have faced to be able to arrive at a comprehensive, collective understanding of the various dimensions of Restorative Justice.
Note for Contributors
Complete papers accompanied with a 250-word long abstract may be sent to [email protected] latest by the 15th of October, 2020. Word limit of individual papers is 4000-7000 words. Authors of selected papers will be intimated accordingly.
Event schedule and other details will be provided to selected speakers and presenters in due course.
Selected Papers shall be published in form of a book on Restorative Justice. You are also requested to forward this invitation to others who may be interested.
Chanchal Kumar Singh
Assistant Professor of Law, HPNLU, Shimla
Assistant Professor of Sociology, HPNLU, Shimla
 See, The Code of Criminal Procedure Amendment Act 2008, Act No. 5 of 2009. (Sections 2 wa (definition of a victim), 357 and 357 A (provision for compensation to victims of a crime).
For more details, refer HPNLU ICA International Conference on Restorative Justice
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