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Freaky Friday / Issue 67

Legally India newsletter
Legally India newsletter

This controversy-packed week all of India lived in fear of Friday, awaiting the verdict in the 60-year-old Ayodhya land title dispute.

With the violence following the 1992 demolition of the Babri mosque still fresh in mind, the government passed a nationwide ban on bulk phone messages and Karnataka shut down its schools, as the country’s media coverage continued scaling up. Then, only yesterday, the Supreme Court gave a merciful and anti-climactic reprieve, postponing the judgment until next week, no doubt with one eye on the looming Commonwealth Games. And those will, of course, be a challenge in themselves.

Conversely, the fight by Prashanth Bhushan against the ‘corrupt’ judiciary stepped up a notch, as the advocate decided to name the former Chief Justices he thought had acted questionably.

Instead of the Babri verdict, just in today then Luthra & Luthra bravely ventured further into the IP space with a star IP enforcement team from Anand & Anand. There is definitely money in intellectual property and the corporate firms want in on it, duking it out with the venerable IP powerhouses.

Another week, another partner at Khaitan & Co, which surely must be breaking speed records with its expansion and the number of UK and US returnees now in its partnership ranks. The latest hire comes from Clifford Chance, with senior associate Devidas Banerji joining as Mumbai’s second full-time banking partner. And hiring banking talent from abroad definitely makes sense in this space that has historically been neglected by Indian lawyers (and banks) and is dominated by Anglo-Saxon law standard documents.

A delayed start to the week by the Bar Council of India (BCI) and its extension of the all India bar exam deadline by a month, pushing it dangerously close to the exam date itself.

It is understood that despite a rise in online applications over the past days, significantly less than 10,000 lawyers-to-be out of roughly 50-60,000 who graduated in 2010 have so far applied to take the exam. But that is just one thing on the BCI’s plate.

For one, it made waves by the publication of its minutes of three previous meetings, at which it struck off more than 50 law colleges.

Intriguingly, apart from the full list of bad schools that also includes one national law school, the minutes also reference an alleged attempt by a college to bribe the BCI chairman Gopal Subramanium. The solicitor general seemingly then made it a point not just to strike off the college but also black-list its promoters from ever running a law school again.

With so much blood in the air it will come as little surprise that two law schools in Andhra Pradesh have already filed writ petitions trying to challenge their de-recognition.

On the other hand, the BCI had not yet found time for applying for inclusion in the UK’s Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), although assurances are given that the process is now on the fast-track.

For those wanting to stay closer to the core of the Indian legal system, somewhat good news: the Supreme Court has hiked the stipends paid for judicial clerks to Rs 25,000 per month – although that is still considerably below what even many of smaller corporate houses pay though more than what many advocates shell out. Find out more about the judicial clerkship in the story and comments plus please help to update the Legallypedia entry on judicial clerkships to help others wanting to take the path.

Finally, in that ultimate preparation for real court room battle, the Mooting Premier League (MPL) season 2 is almost ready to go full-steam ahead, as SOEL Chennai won the Surana & Surana International Minority Rights moot over Nuals Kochi.

Next week certainly won't be quiet but here's to hoping that conflict will stay firmly in courtrooms, mock or otherwise.

Legally news wire
Deals and case feed
Blogs of the week
Comment of the week

“To check corruption, we need to identify and expose the corrupt… We request the SC to review the current appointment system. Either take over the responsibility of removal as well or constitute National and State Judicial Councils involving legislature, executive and judiciary, bar included as well,” comment #4 by Santokh Singh Sahi.

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