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We are proud to announce that SaiU is hosting ‘War of Words’, an Interschool Debate Competition for students of grades 11 and 12. Debate, in addition to being fun, is a valuable tool which affords students with several skills such as critical thinking, research, ability to understand and see multiple perspectives, build confidence and communicate effectively. The objective of ‘War of Words’ is to provide a platform to the young minds who want their voices to be heard. Every participant will be awarded a certificate of participation. In addition to attractive prizes, the top 10 contestants will get a chance to interact with some of the best minds and leaders.

The theme of the competition is ‘Environment’. The preliminary round will be held on April 5, 2021. The grand finale will be held on April 10, 2021 from 1600 hours IST.

The following are the topics for the debate. Participants will debate ‘For’ or ‘Against’ the topic they have chosen.

1. Since the primary causes of climate change is consumption of luxurious goods and services by the rich, we need to increase taxes on the rich to such levels that dissuades them from the consumption of these goods.

2. Since indiscriminate tourism leads to environmental degradation, we must adopt a policy wherein only a limited number of persons who are able to pay the most are allowed to enter tourist locations.

3. Constructions of large dams in the Himalayan Region is essential for development of power, flood control and irrigation networks and hence they must be permitted.

4.  Humans living in forest areas pose a threat to conservation of flora & fauna and hence we must adopt a policy of evicting all forest dwellers.

5. The Developed and rich countries  have historically contributed more to carbon emissions, they  must fully pay for all costs that arise in connection with combating climate change.

6. Since the government has proven to be inefficient and incapable of maintaining and running public water utilities, they must be privatized and corporation must be allowed to run them for making profit.



• For all topics, there will be two sides – for and against, each consisting of two or three speakers.

• The competition will be held in English

• The first speaker will be from the affirmative (the ‘for’ side) which will be followed by the ‘against’ side speaker. This will be the order throughout the session for each topic.

• The order of speakers will be intimated to you at least 24 hours before the event and will not be changed.

• Each speaker will have three minutes to present their argument. The chairperson will record the time carefully. A warning bell will go off at two minutes and 30 seconds. After this, the speaker will have 30 seconds to conclude his/her point. Any extra time taken will result in negative marking.

• Interrupting a speaker is forbidden and might result in removing the said speaker. All participants must treat each other with respect.

• The organizers reserve the right to remove any candidate who engages in disruptive behavior at their discretion.

• Candidates must compose their own content. Any quotes used in the speeches must be clearly cited.

• Candidates must present the point of view of their assigned role on their assigned topic only.

• Decision criteria will be broadly based, provided the student speaks on their assigned topic, on: 1. Expression, 2. Articulation, 3. Delivery, diction and style, 4. Argument and ability to represent their point of view.

• Judges’ decisions are final and binding. Only the final results will be revealed, and no further details will be divulged. Any requests to this regard, will be treated as denied.

• The entire event is recorded. By participating in this competition, you consent that the organizers/university can use and publish the data and/or the recording or any part thereof, at their discretion.


• There will be time allocated for rebuttal. After all speakers for the said topic have presented their speeches, participants will be invited to rebut their opponents’ points. The speaker can only argue or question the opponent from the other side of the topic.

• All speakers, seeking to rebuttal, must send a message to the moderator within 30 seconds of the last speech made.

• The questioner can ask any fair, clear question to a specific opponent, that has a direct bearing on the debate. The questioner may use the period to build up any part of his own case, to tear down any part of his opposition’s case, or to ascertain facts, such as the opposition’s position on a certain issue, that can be used later in the debate.

• The questioner must confine himself to questions and not make statements, comments, or ask rhetorical questions.

• Each participant can make only one rebuttal.

• The time allocated for each argument – the rebuttal and response, is a maximum of 90 seconds. The chairperson will determine the time.

All our contestants will be judged by eminent professors of SaiU from diverse backgrounds and interests. Here are judges for the event:

Abhishek Chakravarty is an assistant professor of Law at SaiU and faculty for the Daksha Fellowship. He teaches courses on environmental regulation and sustainability. Prior to joining academia, he worked as a project manager for European Union’s Switch Asia Project in his home state of Assam in India, where he supervised the establishment of over 350 sustainable bamboo-based industries. He has also worked for the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, where he conducted extensive research on water laws and policies in India. His research interests lie in environmental law, climate change, and rights of indigenous people. He has also been a part of a six-year long indigenous peoples’ rights movement in Assam. He regularly writes opinion pieces for The Indian Express, The Print, The Jurist, Down to Earth, The Wire and several other platforms. Presently, he is also a part of the Water Law Initiative at SaiU, which aims to promote interdisciplinary research in the field of water law.

Chitra Narayan, professor of practice at SaiU and Daksha Fellowship, is an advocate and an accredited mediator in India. Previously, Chitra worked as a dispute resolution and transaction lawyer with leading law firms in the country.  She was a partner with JSA, founding partner with Vichar Partners, and a partner with Dua Associates. Chitra is also a trustee at the Foundation for Comprehensive Dispute Resolution (FCDR) Chennai. As a lawyer, she has over 25 years of experience in corporate commercial law – both in transaction advisory and dispute resolution, which she brings to support her work in mediation and conciliation.

Mahesh Menon is currently assistant professor of Law at the Daksha Fellowship and SaiU. Previously he taught at WBNUJS Kolkata and at NLSIU, Bangalore. He was also the coordinator of Centre for Child Rights at WBNUJS. He completed his masters degree in Human Rights Law from the NLSIU, Bangalore, in 2013. Following this, for a brief period of time he worked as a legal officer with the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization, where he focused on international legal issues surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict. He has also practiced law before the Courts in Cochin, focusing on civil, constitutional and administrative law. His research interests are on human rights of vulnerable groups, water & environment with a strong focus on empirical methods and the implementation of laws on ground.

Shiju M. V. is presently working at SaiU as professor. Before joining SaiU, he worked as head of the department and professor at Christ Academy Institute of Law, Bengaluru. A lawyer by training, he has done his LLB and LLM from Universities in Kerala. He completed his PhD on the topic ‘The Emerging International Competition Law: A Third World Perspective’ from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He started his teaching career at the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, and has taught subjects ranging from Constitutional Law to Labour Law and Competition Law. He joined TERI School of Advanced Studies in 2007 and was instrumental in setting up the Center for Postgraduate Legal Studies (CPLS) and was its first head. He was one of the rapporteurs for the High Level Segment of the CoP-11 of Convention on Biological Diversity. He is a member of the Green Growth and the Law Research Committee of the Green Growth Knowledge Platform – a joint initiative of the Global Green Growth Institute, OECD, World Bank and UNEP. He was part of many research projects in the field of environmental law and has published extensively on legal issues relating to environmental law, constitutional law and competition law. He is also on the editorial board of the Indian Journal of International Law and a regular contributor to the Oxford Yearbook of International Environmental Law. He is also associated with Daksha Fellowship as Adjunct Professor.

As you prepare for the competition, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Be clued in to all relevant information, arguments and evidence related to your topic! You should be able to reference what specific individuals or organizations have said about the issue.

2. Stick to the time limit. The best way to manage your time in a debate is to practice a lot. Maybe even in front of a mirror!

3. Avoid filler words. Improve your speaking skills by using simple, relatable language. Keep practicing your linguistic skills till the very last minute!

4. Enunciate your key points and give importance to pauses. The mode of delivery of your message is as important as the message itself!


1. Please ensure you have a high-speed stable internet/wifi connection ahead of the competition.

2. Use a laptop or a desktop.

3. Please be seated in a place devoid of external noise and with the light facing you, and not behind you.

4. Keep your device microphone off when it’s not your turn to speak.

5. We encourage students to try to avoid using virtual backgrounds during the online competition.

6. If you face any issue during the time of the competition, please reach out to us on +91 9150010080.

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