Indian Courts and International Law

Date and Time

May 6, 2011

11:30 am to 1:00 pm


The Centre for Policy Research is hosting a discussion on Indian Courts and International Law  led by Dr V G Hegde, Associate Professor, Centre for International Legal Studies, School of International Studies, JNU, on Friday, the 6th of May. This seminar is part of the International Law Seminar Series organized by the Group of International Lawyers in Delhi (GUILD), anchored at CPR. Dr Hegde will discuss the continually evolving approach of the Indian Courts towards international law. Initially, the Indian constitutional framework provided a flexible basis for the application and use of international law, the reasons for which could be seen in the socio-political context of India as a developing country. India, for its part, continued to argue that it remained essentially at the periphery of the mainstream international law, as it had no role in formulating some of the basic principles of international law. For the Indian courts the first substantive encounter with international law emerges in the context of several territorial-related issues. The socio-political context forms the next phase, for the Indian courts to have recourse to diverse international legal norms relating to the environment and human rights and applying them as a persuasive tool. Later, the development context brings a complex array of commercial, environmental, and other related international legal norms into the Indian legal system. For Indian courts, in the present context, the correct sourcing and identification of international legal norms and their application remain a huge challenge. The majority of the legal systems of developing countries for varied historical reasons continue to treat international law as an exotic legal tool to be used sparingly, perhaps only to broaden the interpretation of or sustain a comparable domestic legal norm. Speaker’s Biography:  Dr V.G.Hegde is currently an Associate Professor at the Centre for International Legal Studies (CILS), School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU), New Delhi 110 067 (India). Dr. Hegde previously held the position of Legal Officer at the Asian African Legal Consultative Committee (AALCC), now Asian African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO). Thereafter, he joined the Legal and Treaties Division of the Ministry of External Affairs and worked as Senior Legal Officer till he joined JNU in August 2004. He was part of the Indian negotiating team on several bilateral investment and Trade Agreements. He has also worked on WTO issues, particularly on dispute settlement and Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). He was a member of the Working Group on Arbitration and E-Commerce constituted under the auspices of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNICTRAL). He has also worked on the negotiating positions concerning India’s bilateral and multilateral watercourse agreements. His doctoral work was on Developing Countries and The Evolving Regime of Intellectual Property Rights. He has worked on various aspects of intellectual property rights such as Indian Patent System and the Paris Convention on Industrial Property, IPRs and Patenting of Life forms, Critique of the TRIPs Formulations and Its Implications on the Indian Patent System. Many of his writings have been published in various national and international legal journals.  Dr Hegde is also a visiting faculty to the National Law Schools of Bangalore and Kolkota, Indian Law Institute and the Indian Society of International Law. He has also been invited by the National Judicial Academy as their resource person to deal with the issues of interrelationship between international law and municipal law within the specific context of Indian Higher Judiciary.   He is a life member of the Indian Society of International Law (ISIL) and has also been the Member of its Governing Council. He is also a Member of the Editorial Board of the Indian Journal of International Law (IJIL)