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21 October 2016
Legally Wired

SC serves notice on state, centre to probe cow vigilantism: “A number of PILs were filed by political leaders and activists in High Courts across the states and in Supreme Court demanding strong action against the cow vigilantes. One such PIL was filed by Congress leader Tehseen S Poonawalla in Supreme Court in August this year.”– Indian Express

Clifford Chance to test applicants with video game: Details not disclosed, but “… the game tests the tenacity and perseverance of potential trainees, as well as how they respond under pressure…  The video game is expected to be rolled out to trainee candidates next year if the trial is a success. It will run alongside the firm’s existing psychometric tests.” – Lawyer2b (requires free registration to read in full)

Sahara tells SC it will deposit Rs 200 cr: “The hearing has been advanced on the request of the Sahara Group after its senior counsel Kapil Sibal made a mention on Thursday before the bench of Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar… Seeking that the hearing be advanced from October 24 to October 21, Mr Sibal told the court that Rs. 200 crore that the Sahara Group was to deposit by October 23 would be deposited on Friday.” –  NDTV

Could the CCI throw a spanner into the plans of Flipkart, Amazon, Ola, Uber and MakeMyTrip? – “The point is not that webcompanies have engaged in unfair practices. On the contrary, in the race for acquiring customers, they have slashed prices to an extent that consumers have never had it so good. Still, the digital business as a whole and some Internet companies have become big enough and important enough to warrant the CCI’s attention. Particularly, if there are more M&As, as is likely. ‘The argument that online business is still nascent and can therefore be ignored may not hold water in every sector. It’s growing very fast and many sectors are touched by it. So, at some point, the CCI may soon look at Internet businesses closely,’ said Avimukt Dar, partner, IndusLaw, a law firm.” – Mint

How lax IP laws fuel an open source-ish part of the Shenzhen economic miracle #MakeInChina: “The shanzhai era in consumer electronics gradually faded as incomes rose and brand-name smartphones became more affordable. But it enforced a culture of knowledge-sharing among manufacturers, wherein no single product design is sacred. Lindtner compares the culture of Shenzhen’s manufacturing ecosystem to the open-source movement among software developers. Much like how programmers will freely share code for others to improve upon, Shenzhen manufacturers now see hardware and product design as something that can be borrowed freely and altered. Success in business comes down to speed and execution, not necessarily originality.” – Quartz

How a court case and circumstances conspired to help MakeMyTrip and Ibibo find each other: “Then, as luck would have it, the service tax case in early January brought Kalra, his team and Ibibo’s co-founder Kashyap together. The two were fighting for the same cause, and against the Director General of Central Excise Intelligence that had forced the online travel firms to pay service tax that it claimed they owed, on risk of arrest. (Indeed, one MakeMyTrip executive was arrested).” - Mint

18 October 2016
Legally Wired

Cauvery saga continues, SC ordesr 2,000 cusecs released: “On Monday, a high-level panel suggested doing away with ‘outdated and unscientific water application techniques’ to resolve the Cauvery wrangle, saying both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were facing water shortage, creating unemployment and financial hardship for the people.” – Times of India

By: Legally India

SC rejects BCCI ask for review petition of Lodha reforms: “The BCCI and its senior lawyer Kapil Sibal would have banked on the scheduled hearing of the Supreme Court review petition on Tuesday, but instead faced a setback with the apex court dismissing the board's review of an order passed on July 18.” - Times of India

SC looks into Delhi garbage: “’I have seen some TV reports in which it was pointed out that people are dying (due to lack of garbage disposal). What are you doing,’ a bench led by Justice Madan B Lokur asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who was appearing for the Delhi Chief Secretary.” – Indian Express

SC rejects challenge to special 2G court jurisdiction: “A bench of Justices JS Khehar and Arun Mishra also rejected one of the petitions of South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd, an accused in the case, in which it had claimed that Aircel-Maxis case was not related to 2G spectrum scam. During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who was appearing for the firm, argued that “procedural right” of the accused to approach the high court against the interlocutory order of the special 2G court must be kept intact.” - Indian Express

US judge takes off robe to restrain defendant in court room: “’Tase his a– right now!’ McBain shouted, as he threw off his judge’s robe, ran over to the two men and then physically helped pin Larson to the ground. Throughout the scuffle, Larson is heard cursing periodically.” – Washington Post

Was Justice Gautam Patel’s popular IndiGo order too funny? “Some might argue that the mere presence of humour ridicules the parties and therefore, should be completely avoided. I submit that this is an unreasonable stance to take, as it strips judges of the opportunity make use of the advantages of humour (outlined above). Hence, a reasonable stance seems to be to strictly avoid humour in cases of life and death, and to avoid, in all cases, that kind of humour that derives itself out of making fun of parties directly.” – SpicyIP / The Order

SC holds not rape as victim was sexually active, did not scream and “betrays somewhat submissive and consensual disposition”: “Is it rape only when the victim screams and fights back? A Supreme Court verdict calls for a debate” – Scroll / Times of India

India has as many undertrials as Barbados has people: “As many as 122,056 undertrial prisoners (43%) have been detained for more than six months to more than five years by the end of 2014. Many of them have remained in prison for more than the period of punishment they would have got had they been convicted.” - India Spend

13 October 2016
Legally Wired

NYT's beautiful smackdown of Donald Trump defamation notice: Reputation already shot, so nothing left to lower (Ps: Bring it on): The New York Times has responded rather cleverly to the legal notice of US presidential hopeful Donald Trump, which was fired off by one of New York’s most feared litigators, Marc E Kasowitz.

The Times’ general counsel, David McCraw wrote: “The essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one's reputation. Mr. Trump has bragged about his non-consensual sexual touching of women. He has bragged about intruding on beauty pageant contestants in their dressing rooms. He acquiesced to a radio host's request to discuss Mr. Trump's own daughter as a 'piece of ass.' Multiple women not mentioned in our article have publicly come forward to report on Mr. Trump's unwanted advances. Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.”

McCraw also said the paper stood by the story and that it “welcome[d] the opportunity to have a court set [Trump] straight” - New York Times response to Trump / Trump’s legal notice / Original NYT article alleging Trump sexually harassed them

UP lawyers strike for 100 days per year: “As per the data obtained from the National Judicial Grid, Uttar Pradesh has over 53 lakh cases pending till date, which accounts for nearly a quarter of total pendency in all states taken together. Trial courts generally work for an average of 250 days a year after discounting weekly and religious holidays. With another 100 days disrupted due to strikes, the staggering number of pending cases comes as no surprise.” – Newslaundry

…and in some district courts, strikes go on for 140 days per year: “The five-year data is an eye-opener. In Muzaffarnagar, a total of 753 days was lost due to lawyers' strike, which means an average of 150 days a year. In Aligarh, it was 697 days (140 days a year), Agra 696 days (140 days every year), Faizabad 693 days, Sultanpur 603 days, Moradabad 596 days, Mathura 591 days, Ghaziabad 573 days, Balrampur 560 days and Chandauli 524 days. - Economic Times

Muslim law board unhappy with Law Commission looking into Uniform Civil Code: “The Law Commission is not functioning like an independent body, it is engaging in illegal activities and acting like the government’s agent. Therefore, we have decided to boycott the questionnaire sent by the Law Commission,” says the The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) - The Quint / Law Commission questionnaire

BCI’s revived age limit restriction puts Kerala in a fix: “Meanwhile, the commissioner of entrance exams (CEE) that conducts the qualifying exam for admission to law colleges in the state is in a fix. ‘We have already conducted the entrance exam and the merit list is out. As per the prospectus, there is no age limit fixed. If we suddenly bring in an upper age limit, then it can be challenged in court,’ said a CEE official. - Times of India

Lower courts may lack ‘expertise’ to judge in colourful language, says SC Justice AK Sikri: “Make it (evocative language) a tool, but don’t be swallowed by it. Judges at the lower level should avoid it as they may not have the expertise. A judgement should be said in a perfect manner,” he said. - India Today

Denying sex to husband is mental cruelty and grounds for divorce, says HC again: “In view [of] the foregoing discussion, we are of the considered view that the husband has fully established that he was subjected to mental cruelty by the wife by denying sex to him for a long period despite living under the same roof, without any justification and though she was not suffering from any physical disability,” the Delhi high court bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani, said. – PTI

Despite SC (and Marathi movie Court), still no compensation for manual scavengers: “Two-and-a-half years after the Supreme Court directed the State governments to provide compensation to the families of all manual scavengers who have died clearing sewers since 1993, the Tamil Nadu government has yet to compensate 119 such deaths.” – The Hindu

09 February 2016
Legally Wired

TERI Pachauri: RK Pachauri, accused of sexual harassment by a former colleague, has returned to TERI in a new role created just for him - executive vice chairman - after a decision by the governing body. (India Today).

Many decade-old cases pending in lower courts: More than 10 per cent of 2,00,60,998 (2 crore) pending lower court cases have been unsettled for longer than 10 years, according to data from the law ministry’s new National Judicial Data Grid, while 41 per cent of cases have been pending for less than two years (PTI).

SC rejects Arunachal Pradesh rebel plea against a Gauhati high court decision upholding the then speaker’s decision to accept their resignations: Senior advocate L Nageshwar Rao, appearing for two rebel MLAs, unsuccessfully told the Supreme Court: “I have never seen such kind of resignation letters in my whole life where the maker cannot take it back. The language of the resignation letters warranted an inquiry by the Speaker. The letters were written under duress and coercion.” (The Hindu).

Headley talks: Terrorist David Headley’s deposition before a special court continued into its second day today over video conferencing, telling judge GA Sanap and special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam about how he was not paid by any terrorist outfits to assist in the Mumbai 2008 terror attacks (The Hindu).

Haji Ali woman ban: Bombay high court reserves judgment on banning women from entering inner sanctum of Haji Ali Gurgah in Mumbai (Indian Express).

Justice Rakesh Ranjan Prasad transferred from Jharkhand high court to Manipur high court (PIB).

Google capture failed: A US federal judge threw out a proposed class-action lawsuit against Google alleging fraud for wasting seconds of time of people signing up for a free Gmail account, because half the two-word CAPTCHA does not actually need to be solved... (Ars Technica).

22 July 2015
Legally Wired

Senior general counsel (GC) could earn Rs 80 - 300+ lakh per annum, revealed a recruiter, adding that generally pay in-house was still lower than in private practice.

Meanwhile our feature in Mint revealed that GCs may not be the only ones holding the purse strings though when it comes to the bitter fight initiated by law firm lawyers against chartered accountants (CAs): if the CFO is powerful in a company, they’re more likely to brief a CA firm than a law firm, claimed one GC.

Likewise, we spoke to a bunch of CAs, GCs and law firm partners about whether it was fair for Society of Indian Law Firms (Silf) to go after the CA firms for transactional advice, which may or may not be legal.

Read: Lawyers vs CAs: Who would win a professional death match?

Also, the Supreme Court is in the throes of a series of death penalty appeals and petitions. Ram Jethmalani clashed with SG Ranjit Kumar over the commutation of the Rajiv Gandhi assassins’ death penalties before a constitution bench.

Things were quicker for Yakub Memon, whose curative petition failed in the Supreme Court yesterday, which means that the accountant to 1993 Mumbai bombers could get executed on 30 July (unless death penalty lawyers can rely on young jurisprudence or create a new loophole at the 11th hour).

Memon’s public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam celebrated the judgment, though Saurav Datta wrote earlier that day in The Quint that Nikam regularly lied, played to the media and otherwise behaves in a manner unbefitting a public prosecutor.

Sadly, new research data has confirmed that the death penalty is a deadly tax on poverty – more than 75% of death row inmates are poor or disadvantaged in India’s birth lottery.

Oh, and there’s a new round of indefinite strikes in the Delhi district courts about – yes, you guessed it - the increase in their pecuniary jurisdiction, which Parliament might get around to passing today.

Finally, ML Sharma – who recently unconditionally grovelled before the Supreme Court to file PILs again - has picked up the mandate for the Salman Khan victim’s mother’s transfer petition, reported the Indian Express. Sharma will try to move the Bollywood actor’s appeal from the Mumbai to the Delhi high court, because Maharashtrian judges allegedly love bhai too much.

21 July 2015
Legally Wired

Phoenix partner Kartikeya Singh is to become deputy GC at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, as Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas has completed another lateral hire in Mumbai with former Prism co-founder Yogesh Chande joining from Economic Laws Practice (ELP).

Meanwhile, AZB turned out to have been the most active firm in private equity in the past 6 months…

In the Maggi mess saga now in the Bombay high court, Nestle’s counsel Iqbal Chagla, instructed by Shardul Amarchand, is alleging overreach by the regulator, according to the Business Standard.

And in jobs: Rainmaker seeks an in-house entrepreneur

25 August 2014
Legally Wired

SCBA tea at 4 on SC Rules: The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) will meet at 4:10pm today to discuss the new Supreme Court Rules and some of the minor tweaks regarding A4 paper and other concessions made by the Chief Justice of India (CJI), including putting “in abeyance” two examples of AoR misconduct (absence without justifiable cause and failure to submit appearance slip), and that excess court fees will be refunded if the committee decides to undo the new raised fees. [Meeting notification] / [Background note to meeting] / [SC Rules 2013]

How Bombay profits from & criminalises homelessness: Though over 100,000 homeless persons live in Mumbai as the “backbone of the city economy”, many facets of their existence are still criminalised Mumbai Boss

Madras HC steps in for Swamy: The Madras high court has continued the stay on a Singapore defamation case against BJP politician Subramanian Swamy, which was launched by a Chennai-based consultancy firm’s Singaporean subsidiary, which objected to a press conference by Swamy. The consultancy filed the case to “arm-twist Swamy from proceeding further in his action of unearthing scams”, held Justice RS Ramanathan, and continued the stay on the Singapore proceedings [PTI]

22 August 2014
Legally Wired

Shiv Sena force feeders not PIL material: A Delhi high court bench of chief justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath have declined to hear public interest litigation (PIL) to disqualify 11 Shiv Sena MPs who allegedly force-fed a Muslim member of canteen staff over Ramadan as a way of protesting about the bad quality of food. The bench said that the petitioner had not provided enough evidence to show it was a PIL. [PTI]

NaMo lotus symbol selfie did not violate election code: Narendra Modi did not violate election rules when he tweeted a selfie on 30 April with the BJP’s election symbol near an election booth, decided a metropolitan magistrate, since the lotus symbol was part of his attire and the interaction with the press was not pre-planned [PTI]

22 August 2014
Legally Wired

Senior counsel Fali Nariman has added another to the four public interest litigations (PILs) against the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), which will be heard on Monday.

Together with advocate Subhash Sharma, he claimed that the constitutional amendment “severely affects and damages the basic structure of the Constitution viz the independence of the judiciary” and gives “unbridled power” to parliament, reported the Indian Express.

Allowing for any two out of three non-judicial members of the NJAC to scuttle appointments would take away from primacy of the opinion of the three senior Supreme Court judges on the NJAC. The law was counter to the nine-judge constitution bench judgment in the so-called Second Judges case - one of three cases that was fundamental in the establishment of the collegium system.

21 August 2014
Legally Wired

Governor files petition against NaMo for pushing out governors: Uttarakhand Governor Aziz Qureshi has filed a writ under Articles 155 and 156(1) of the Constitution against Narendra Modi and his government for pushing him (and other governors) out of their constitutional positions. He will be arguing before a three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha, that he could only be sacked by the president and with valid cause because a governor is not an employee of the Union government. [Indian Express]

CBI court grants A Raja, business bigwigs bail in 2G-Kalaignar TV case: A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court has granted Rs 5 lakh bail to politicians A Raja, Kanimozhi, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables directors Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Bollywood producer Karim Morani and P Amirtham in a money laundering case related to the 2G scam. The case alleges that Rs 200 crore were paid to Kalaignar TV, owned by the DMK party, to grant telecom licences to companies of the DB Group [Indian Express]

Death of planning commission, long live NDRC? What would the new planning commission mooted by Narendra Modi look like, experts speculate in [Mint]

BCI chairman should sit on JAC, says Rajiv Khosla: Delhi High Court Bar Association’s (DHCBA) president Rajiv Kohosla has said he wants the Bar Council of India (BCI) chairman to have a seat on the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), several days after parliament passed the NJAC Act.

SC PIL looks into coaching centres: Centre tells Supreme Court that it can’t regulate private entrance coaching centres for engineering, medicine or other subjects, in a PIL filed by the CPI(M) party’s student wing [The Hindu]

Court orders police to free Manipur hunger striker again: Manipur East sessions court released the world’s longest hunger striker Irom Sharmila from jail for what her captors allege is an attempt to commit suicide by hunger strike. However, in the last 13 years and nine months, she had often been released by the courts and arrested again by the police for continuing with her hunger strike against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, reported [Scroll]

SC sweeps aside SCBA petition vs new SC Rules: The Supreme Court has refused the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) plea before it to amend the new Supreme Court Rules 2013 that were set to come into force on 19 August, which were allegedly introduced without consultation with the bar [The Hindu]

Bus accident victim gets Rs 12 lakh compensation in tribunal: The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) in UP awarded the damages against the bus driver, DTC and the insurance company for causing 60 per cent disability in the plaintiff’s left leg [PTI]

Faizan Mustafa wins something: Nalsar Hyderabad vice chancellor wins South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) award for best law teacher that was decided by a “high-powered jury”, reported [The Hindu] and others. It will be conferred by the law minister in future.

18 July 2014
Legally Wired

Chief Justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha said that senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, who recently withdrew from the process to become a Supreme Court judge after government leaks about his suitability, should be the special public prosecutor in the Coalgate scam cases, reported the PTI.

Lodha, who had expressed his regrets about Subramanium's withdrawal from the judgeship process, told the bar appearing before him and two other judges: "If I failed in something you [lawyers appearing in the matter] persuade [Subramanium]... We want a person of impeccable integrity and fine legal mind."

12 May 2014
Legally Wired

The Supreme Court will hear a petition against the Tamil Nadu bar council, which allegedly issued show cause notices to 400 lawyers and began removing graduates who completed their LLB degrees after they were 30 years old.

The petition by a group of graduates calling themselves the TN LLB Advocates Association, who studied for their LLB degrees outside of Tamil Nadu, claims that the Bar Council of India (BCI) had abolished the rule prescribing a maximum age limit of 30 on LLB students in 2013.

Justices SJ Mukhopadhaya and Ranjan Gogoi issued notice to the Tamil Nadu bar council and 30 law colleges in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The Tamil Nadu bar council locked horns with the BCI over the controversial rule in December, passing a resolution to reenforce the age limit. Apparently more than 1,000 grads could be affected by the bar council's actions. [New Indian Express]

29 April 2014
Legally Wired

The Supreme Court of India has appointed ex Australian high court judge Michael Hudson McHugh to preside over the $1.8bn arbitration between the government and Reliance Industries (RIL) relating to the KG basin.

Supreme Court Justice SS Nijjar had originally picked ex-Australian Supreme Court judge James Spigelman in late March but several days later withdrew his suggestion because Spigelman was on a list of preferred arbitrators of Reliance.

Reliance counsel Harish Salve had requested a foreign arbitrator, while the oil ministry was rooting for an Indian head arbitrator. [PTI] [2 April: SC U-turns]