SOAS University of London

State responsibility, corporate complicity and conflicts over land

Usha Ramnathan
Dr Usha Ramanathan (Independent Law Researcher, Delhi)

Date: 8 March 2012Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 8 March 2012Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B104

Type of Event: Seminar

Note: Internal event not open to external attendees.

The power of the state over all land in its territory is being contested in many terrains. The handing over of land to corporations, after eviction of people leading to a phenomenon of `mass displacement', has escalated the conflict. Resistance and protest mark many sites of acquisition and transfer. These then get characterised as problems of law and order, the use of force follows, and resisters get characterised as law breakers. What is this doctrine of eminent domain that has been expanded so, which lets the state assume extraordinary powers over all land in its territory? What is the responsibility of a corporation when forced eviction occurs, there are rights violations, impoverishment results? How does a state deal with the embarrassment of being seen as violating rights of local populations while taking over land to be handed over to corporations? The Indian case study is illustrative of situations which, with regional variations, are found in many parts of our world.

Usha Ramanathan works on the jurisprudence of law, poverty and rights. She writes and speaks on issues that include the Bhopal Gas Disaster, mass displacement, eminent domain, civil liberties, beggary, criminal law, custodial institutions, the environment, judicial process. She has been tracking, and engaging with, the UID project and has written, and debated extensively, on the subject. Her work draws heavily upon non-governmental experience in its encounters with the state, a 6 year stint with a law journal as reporter from the Supreme Court of India, and engaging with matters of public policy.

Organiser: Philippe Cullet

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