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freedom of speech

14 February 2014

Penguin ChickenAdvocate Lawrence Liang, part of the Bangalore-based Alternative Law Forum, has issued a legal notice to Penguin India, claiming that the publisher has violated freedom of speech laws and readers’ rights by agreeing to destroy all copies of Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus.

14 February 2014

Penguin India has released a statement, blaming section 295A of the Indian Penal Code, which bans “outraging the religious feelings of any class of citizens” with “malicious intent”.

13 February 2014

Madras HC chief Agrawal talks candidly on local turmoil: Recently elevated Madras HC chief justice RK Agrawal, at his farewell, made reference to HC justice CS Karnan barging into his chamber hurling abuse. Agrawal said that while nobody had “ever raised their voice” to him in his 37 year career, Karnan was the one exception. “I need not tell you that the events of this Court are followed throughout the country. I worry not about the personal comments, but I do get pained when I hear that innuendos are being targeted at the High Court and it is becoming the subject of public ridicule,” he said [New Indian Express] He also said that many of his colleague’s on the HC’s bench desired transfer to another high court [TOI]

Gov blocks 1299 social URLs: Government asked social networking sites to block 1,299 web addresses or URLs to comply with court orders between January 2013 and January 2014, reported the [PTI]

Gujarat prisoners UIDed: Out of total 12,123 inmates in Gujarat prisons, all Indian nationals will get Aadhar cards according to a recent HC direction to the state government [TOI]

3 Bihar district judges dismissed: The Bihar government has dismissed three district judges whose dismissal was recommended by a full court of the Patna high court, after they were “found with some women” in a Nepal hotel’s police raid [TOI]

JAC controversial clause dropped: A controversial clause debarring judges from making verbal comments against any constitutional authority during open hearings was today dropped by the Cabinet in the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, reported the [Indian Express]

12 February 2014

Kian GanzLegally India editor Kian Ganz was in an online Q&A today, fielding some excellent and insightful questions on freedom of speech for an hour from CNN-IBN’s viewers. It was fun! Do read and let us know your thoughts.

11 February 2014

The HindusIn settlement of a civil and two criminal suits brought by a religious group against Penguin Books India, the publisher has agreed to withdraw and destroy all copies of a history book on Hinduism.

10 February 2014

The chilling effect of the Delhi high court’s gag order it the Swatanter Kumar case is only the latest in a long line of examples of the media losing out in its fight to report on the judiciary, argues advocate Prashant Reddy.

29 January 2014

The Delhi high court’s order, restricting media coverage of the sexual harassment allegations against Swatanter Kumar, should give the Supreme Court cause to consider its Sahara gag order decision, argues Chinamyi Arun, research director at the Centre for Communication Governance at NLU Delhi and fellow at the CIS Bangalore.

27 January 2014

Judge in Robes After sending a takedown request for a photograph last Thursday, Karanjawala & Co, representing ex-SC judge Swatanter Kumar in a defamation case, declined to specify which parts of Legally India’s coverage relating to the case should be removed.

23 January 2014

Artist's impression Karanjawala & Co, the law firm representing Swatanter Kumar in his Rs 5 crore defamation suit, has sent Legally India a legal notice for the removal of an anonyised photograph of the ex-judge.

05 November 2013

Lawyer myths: NLSIU Bangalore grad and Singapore’s Nanyang Tech B-school lecturer Krishna Udayasankar has penned down a mythological trilogy – the Aryavarta Chronicles. Interview by [Bangalore Mirror]

TOI didn’t defame: The Times of India is off the hook for criminal defamation after the Madras HC dismissed the Tamil Nadu government’s case against the paper for a 28 March news item exposing an irregular public auction. “The court taking cognizance of a complaint against the press must follow due diligence. Before taking a prima facie view, the news item should be analysed and an attempt should be made at least to indicate the basic reasons, which would attract the offence of defamation and as to whether the news item made a reference to the government or minister with an intention to defame or tarnish the image,” said the HC judge [TOI]

SC Tarun Chatterjee to UP HRC: Former Supreme Court justice Tarun Chatterjee has been appointed as the UP state human rights commission’s chairman [Jagran Post]

Dec 16 rape confirmation: The Delhi HC has begun confirmation hearings for the death sentence reference by the Saket trial court in the 16 December Delhi gang rape case [PTI]

Law school paycheques: ET reports breathlessly that national law schools have broken the business consultancy glass ceiling with Bain Capital creating its first legal position after hiring from NLSIU Bangalore this year – also the campus from where McKinsey and Deutsche Bank have made an offer each so far. At Nalsar Hyderabad, between 25 2014 graduates hired so far the average salary is, reportedly, Rs 14.5 lakh per annum, while the highest international pay package is 40,000 pounds. The average salary at NUJS Kolkata is Rs 9 lakh per annum – marginally up from last year

07 October 2013

Karnataka govt pleader overhaul: The Karnataka government is on a warpath with its state legal team after it prepared a list of replacements for 61 out of its 73 law officers. While 36 officers resigned without putting up a fight, the rest of them is daring the state government to dismiss them [Bangalore Mirror]

India net freedoms decline most: India was the country with the greatest drop in a ‘freedom on the net’ index compiled by NGO Freedom House, though India is still ranked as “partly free” [The Register / Report via Freedom House]

Juvenile justice: Asserting that it is nearly impossible to reform juvenile repeat offenders since they know their way around legal provisions, juvenile home chief demands treating repeat offenders as adults [TOI]

Judges’ retirement age writ dismissed: The Madras high court has ruled out the possibility of a mandamus directing the government to amend the law to increase the retirement age of higher judiciary judges to 68. It dismissed the PIL seeking the writ [New Indian Express]

Lawyer protest: Kallakurichi lawyers in Tamil Nadu are going on a protest against the stalled completion of a court building in their district [New Indian Express]

Lawyers stage walk-out: The Madras Bar Association threatened to walk out of a Judicial Appointments Bill discussion with the parliamentary standing committee ‘on the advice of a member’ of the committee, after the bar association protested that it was called for the discussion on only a day’s notice [TOI]

18 September 2013

Chinmayi Arun, NLU Delhi’s research director at the centre for communication governance, senior advocate Aman Lekhi and Legally India editor Kian Ganz talk “internet laws around the world” in a panel discussion hosted by Newslaundry’s Madhu Trehan.

Should India’s IT Act be amended? Lekhi says, not really, Arun argues for adopting global human rights recommendations, Ganz says the IT Act sucks but perhaps things aren’t all that bad yet in India.

Newslaundry: Part 1 & Part 2 (around 50 minutes in total)

22 August 2013

File RTI online: Gov launches online portal for filing Right to Information (RTI) requests with 82 ministries at www.rtionline.gov.in [Firstpost]

Delhi gang-rape closings: The closing arguments in the so-called Delhi gang-rape trial will be heard today. WSJ summarises case so far.

Wikileaker sentenced: US soldier Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years prison by military tribunal for leaking top secret government documents to Wikileaks [The Guardian] The whistleblowing site later released a statement hailing the “minimum sentence” a “tactical victory” while adding that his defence team would appeal to for “due process violations during the trial” [Wikileaks]

DU, NUS alum scores BPSC: Lawyer Ritika Singh returns from corporate job in Singapore scores 16th in BPSC exam, returns to Bihar as tax officer [TOI]

Editor’s guild slams common journalist exam as ‘recipe for total state control’ [Sans serif]

24 July 2013

Media friendlier new CJI? New CJI P Sathasivam said in a speech that he was in favour of self-regulation of the media rather than strict controls [Hindu] His remarks follow both his predecessors’ significant fall-outs with the media – SH Kapadia constituted a constitutional bench into media conduct, while his successor Altamas Kabir released a six-page statement slamming two newspapers yesterday.

Arbitrary CAG challenge heard: A Delhi high court bench headed by acting chief justice BD Ahmed said it would hear two PILs challenging the central government’s allegedly arbitrary appointment of Shashi Kant Sharma as Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). Centre to respond by 8 August. [PTI]

OBC state college: The Delhi high court ruled that state-established or -affiliated universities can follow their own state’s Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservations and do not have to adhere to the Centre’s [DNA]

Sahara where art thou? The Supreme Court asked Sahara today by when it would pay refunds to its investors, following a contempt petition by Sebi over Sahara’s delays in obeying with the order [NDTV]

SC presumes against gang rape consent: Supreme Court bench of BS Chauhan and SA Bobde rule that in gang rape cases there is a presumption that there was no consent of the victim [Express / Md Iqbal & Anr. vs State of Jharkhand (Cr App 109-110 of 2011)]

Salman trial frenzy: Bollywood star Salman Khan’s culpable homicide trial started today in Mumbai sessions court. He pleaded not guilty. Turn on any TV set near you for wall-to-wall coverage [PTI]

Bear witness to Ambani: Reliance Telecom fields Mukul Rohatgi to argue before Supreme Court special 2G bench that Anil Ambani and his wife should not be called as witnesses in the 2G spectrum scam [PTI]

AP Shah for RTI: Ex Delhi HC CJ AP Shah and other high-powered signatories to a petition have urged MPs not to vote for a bill that excludes political parties from the RTI Act [PTI]

21 May 2013

No Reliance on reportage: Anil Ambani’s ADAG threatened legal action against monthly magazine Caravan while they were reporting their 11,000-word profile on attorney general Goolam Vahanvati. Delhi law firm Agarwal & Associates acted for ADAG, The Hoot published the deets.

Feel me once, shame on you: iGate chief Phaneesh Murthy sacked for sexual harassment allegation after improper relationship with subordinate and investigation by outside counsel. At his former workplace, Infosys, Murthy was also accused of harassment, which was settled for $3m [Mint]

IPL PIL: A Public interest litigation (PIL) was filed yesterday in the Supreme Court asking for a special investigation team (SIT) probe into cricketing tournament Indian Premiere League’s (IPL) irregularities, including spot fixing. The SC dismissed the PIL giving time to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to complete its investigation within 1CC5 days [PTI/ESPN Cric Info]

CCI all grown up: At the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) annual day yesterday finance minister P Chidambaram discussed the realistic possibility of the CCI soon being called upon to override decisions of other regulators [Business Today]

DoT demands promotion: The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) will invite proposals from various ministries by 9 June to give more power, resources and staff to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), according to an internal DoT memo seen by Mint

21 May 2013

Spicy IP blogger and NUJS Kolkata student Aparajita Lath was sent a letter threatening a defamation suit by the Times Publishing House, for her post that summarised the 19-year-old dispute between the Times Group and the UK’s Financial Times newspaper. [SpicyIP]

The notice threatening civil and criminal proceedings states: “Pursuant to the publication of the impugned article our Client has been contacted by several persons, inquiring about the same. Our client has been questioned and subjected to contempt and ridicule and has suffered immense prejudice and loss of goodwill, reputation, standing and goodwill in the industry.”

Spicy IP founder Shamnad Basheer responded to the notice, which was published on the Spicy IP blog:

“Aparajita’s post was based almost entirely on news stories published in Mint, a leading business paper, as you yourself admit in your notice. We’ve queried the folks at Mint, and apparently you’ve not sent them any legal notice as yet. We can only guess that you’re averse to picking people your own size.

“You also object to Aparajita’s statement that ‘this trademark saga throws light on the problems and obstacles foreign companies have to face when trying to enter the Indian market.’ Again, we assume that as a qualified lawyer, you are well aware of the distinction between an opinion and a fact. This is a fair comment/opinion expressed by Aparajita.”

In August 2012, pharma company Natco had sued Basheer for Rs 25 lakh claiming defamation.

16 May 2013

TRAI-ing new approach: On enforcing the 12 min/hour advertising cap on TV, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India head Rahul Khullar says: “I don’t have to win a fucking election. I am a regulator, I am answerable to Parliament, my job is to enforce the law. Once the regulation is issued, it is law. The telecom guys know this. The broadcasting guys are learning it late.” [Mint]

Facebook arrest: Supreme Court refuses to allow a blanket ban on arrest under Section 66 of the Information Technology Act 2000 for posting content on social networking sites, but reasserts that such arrests can only be made after permission from senior police officials [Hindu]

NLU targets: National law universities need a more rigorous curriculum, greater focus on post graduate courses, greater faculty focus on research, “higher benchmarks”, consultative regulation from the BCI, and integration of inter-disciplinary subjects argues the Hindu Businessline [HBL]

SEBI’s grey options: There are a number of options available to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) between the two extremities of being ‘reactive’ or ‘proactive’ when dealing with capital market frauds, argues former SEBI executive director Sandeep Parekh [BS]

Sibal to-do: A Delhi-based lawyer chalks a to-do list for new law minister Kapil Sibal: A constitutional amendment to change the collegium system, appointment of law officers by the judiciary instead of the executive, amendment of economic laws, and reduction in case pendency [Hindu]

10 April 2013

SCCThe Allahabad High Court (HC) and a Lucknow district court cleared Supreme Court Cases (SCC) publisher EBC to publicise its earlier court win. 

22 February 2013

Communications minister Kapil Sibal has instructed the Information Technology (IT) department to appeal against the 14 Feb Gwalior court order blocking almost 80 web pages critical of the Arindam Chaudhary owned management institute IIPM.

Sources told the Times of India that the department of telecommunication was not made a party to the order asking the Director General of Computer Emergency Response Team-India (CERT-In) to block the allegedly defamatory web pages. [TOI]

The order blocking the web pages, including one with a University Grants Commission (UGC) public notice declaring that IIPM was not a university, and others such as a tweet publishing IIPM’s financials as obtained from the registrar of companies, invited wide online-commentator outrage. [Read Medianama’s compilation of daily updates over the last week]