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Legally Wired

09 February 2016

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

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.

04 June 2013

Neglected juveniles: Delhi HC directs that all Delhi jails will have a welfare officer, after noting that only 5 Delhi jails out of 11 have them. The absence of welfare officers and one social worker to work with each Special Juvenile Police Unit in the city has led to imprisonment of juvenile offenders in adult jails [Express]

Judge on marriage U/A: Karnataka HC justice K Sreedhar Rao observes that movies and IPL cricket matches are ruining the lives of youth who are not mature enough to be married at the current legally marriageable age of 18 for girls and 21 for boys. He considers raising the age limits while hearing two habeas corpus petitions to produce girls who had eloped with boys [NIE]

White collar advocates: Supreme Court justice BS Chauhan says: “India has become a haven for white collar criminals, who are advocated by ‘giant’ lawyers. If quality justice cannot be ensured to people, it is better to abolish the judicial system” [HT]

Taping court trials: Law minister Kapil Sibal to discuss audio recording options for trial court proceedings, with chief justices of high courts across the country. Sibal said: “In other countries, proceedings of trial courts are audio-recorded but not in India.... What the judge is saying, witness is saying, cross examination is saying, how work is taking place, nobody knows although the courts are public places.” [HT]

10 April 2013

XXII HC: Arunachal Pradesh will soon get its own high court, in addition to the state’s prevalent “Kebang system” covering panchayat areas’ judicial needs [ET]

Judge Academy VIIetc: Himachal Pradesh will set up a Rs 37 crore state judicial academy to “prepare well-trained and qualified managerial cadre officers to manage judiciary at all level” [TOI]

Constables lawyered: After harassing a Madras HC senior advocate’s junior on Marina beach, two police constables were booked under the IPC and the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act [TOI]

Article 5001: Claiming a “constitutional right”, Haryana demanded a high court separate from the High Court of Punjab & Haryana and to distribute judges equally between Punjab and Haryana at the SC and HC judges mega conference [Samay Live]

Navi vakeel: New Bombay Advocates Welfare Association’s PIL over delayed Belapur court construction wins direction to state chief secretary to meet advocate associations and chart a timetable for improvement of lawyers' facilities [Indian Express]

Registering lethargy: National Human Rights Commission demands action against “lethargic” Madras HC registrar general; his delay in a disbursement of compensation allegedly led to the suicide of parents of a deceased victim [Hindu]

Load shedding: CJI Kabir urges HC chief justices to double their subordinate judiciary strengths and boost support staff by the same amount. However, the Allahabad HC, for example, can support only 87 judges as opposed to its sanctioned strength of 160 [NVO News]

Colossal Hnlu: The Times reports on HNLU Raipur’s first annual fest – Colossal - briefly [TOI]

28 March 2013

A unified regulator – the Unified Financial Agency (UFA) - for markets, insurance, commodities, pensions, and eventually banking, also subsuming the SEBI, SAT, IRDA, PFRDA, and FMC and merging the RBI with it, was proposed on Friday [BS]

US Supreme Court may partially strike down law denying legally married gay couples full marital rights, though the verdict of the nine-judge bench is not likely before June even as final arguments draw to a close [Express]

Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Subordinate Legislation lambasted the government for the ambigious Section 66A of the IT Act and Intermediary Guidelines. The committee suggested that evidence of foreign websites refusing to honour Indian laws should be made public [TOI]

Family of late Delhi HC judge Jagjit Singh – a judge of the HC for 11 years until 1975 – obtains their medical entitlement under the HC Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Act after a protracted legal battle [India Today]

Bombay HC directs Goa to file 151 FIRs containing illegal mining charges against former ministers, mining company owners and state officials [Hindu]

26 March 2013

Networking company Ericsson is suing Indian handset maker Micromax for Rs 100 crore in the Delhi high court over ‘standards-essential’ patents [Economic Times]

Supreme Court to answer why it uses Yatodharma Stato Jaya tagline under the Lion Capital of Ashoka logo, rather than Satyamev Jayate national emblem tagline [Indian Express]

‘Why does parliament believe that marital rape still not a crime?’ asks WSJ

Little & Co partner J Kapadia  gets Priyanka Chopra’s Zanjeer film trailer banned by Bombay high court vs Naik Naik & Co [Mumbai Mirror]

Shanti Bhushan joins Katju in fighting for Sanjay Dutt, criticises SC decision to send actor to jail for gun possession, arguing that right to private defence is protected in the constitution [The Hindu]

22 March 2013

Anti-rape law passed Rajya Sabha in only two hours with promises to remove loopholes later: Rape remains gender specific crime, age of consent remains 18, death sentences in some cases & more [Hindu on bill’s passage / TOI on substance of law]

Italy has promised to return its two marines, who were accused of killing two Indian fishermen but absconded despite the Italian ambassador’s contrary promise to the Supreme Court of India. Indian law minister Ashwani Kumar claimed that the Italians’ decision “vindicated India's diplomacy” and promised that the “the Indian judiciary will render justice according to law to all, including the marines” [ZeeNews].

Lawyers react to Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt five year prison sentence for arms position reactions [TOI]; The lawyers involved: Farhana Shah, the “only female lawyer who represented many for free”, Majeed Memon, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and now Bombay high court judge Pramod Kode [TOI]

Andhra Pradesh government will challenge Supreme Court’s order that allowed SKS microfinance operating in the state [Livemint]

21 March 2013

Advocate general of Kerala has admitted a criminal contempt petition against Mavelikkara Bar Association’s office bearers, for obstructing advocate Sam Varghese from attending court during the 11 and 12 July all-India strike called by the BCI [TOI]

Subroto-Roy’s Sahara group is facing a writ petition in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad HC for its 17 March full-page advertisement “denigrating” SEBI and retired SC justice BN Agrawal [Moneylife]

SC sentences Bollywood actor and 1993 Bombay blasts accused Sanjay Dutt to five years imprisonment under the Arms Act, after he was acquitted under the now defunct anti-terror law TADA [ET]

20 March 2013

The Gujarat high court (HC) has stayed the advocates association-suspension of the lone lawyer who defied the Bar Council of India (BCI) strike and was allegedly beaten by other advocates in court, and later suspended from the HC advocates association. His colleague's PIL heard by chief justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya asserted that the lawyers’ strike was illegal [TOI]

Indian IP lawyer Kalyan Kankanala has authored legal-fiction thriller Road Humps and Sidewalks. The NLSIU Bangalore PhD-holder follows in legal-thriller-novelist and NLS-grad Aditya Sudarshan’s footsteps with this Grisham-esque attempt [Spicy IP/Book review on IP Kat/Plot on YouTube]

SC’s landmark Gowde v Chandrashekhar decision may be reversed, benefitting politician Ashok Chavan - infamous from the ‘paid news scandal’ - if the Union law ministry’s argument is accepted that the Election Commission cannot disqualify a person for failure to lodge correct accounts of election expenses [Hindu]

A Patiala House Delhi district court advocate allegedly gang-raped the 25-year-old wife of his divorce case client in his chamber with his client, the client’s brother and the advocate’s clerk [Firstpost]

19 March 2013

MHRD notified the Copyright Rules 2013 corresponding to the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2012. Fee for registration of copyright has been increased under the new rules, among other things [PIB]

US law professor appealing to Delhi HC for audio-visual recording of court proceedings, ends up misbehaving with presiding justice VK Shali after he was obstructed from recording his own proceedings on phone [Express]

CBI booked Bharti Airtel, Essar, and Vodafone India for criminal conspiracy under the IPC and under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI special court has summoned them for their alleged involvement in additional spectrum allocation in 2002 [Hindu BL/Reality Views/Outlook]

Cabinet decision to raise consensual sex age from 16 to 18 draws more flak as turning a blind eye to women’s rights [WSJ]

The story of what allegedly happens inside Tihar Jail Delhi, through Nilanjan Kumar – the falsely implicated suspect of a Delhi gang rape whose claim for Rs 4.5 crore in compensation for his time in Tihar is pending in the Delhi HC [NY Times]

German pharma giant Bayer has filed against Mumbai-based Glenmark in US federal court to stop it from selling a generic version of a skin disorder medicine [Law]

18 March 2013

The Supreme Court has extended the travel ban on the Italian ambassador, who is now represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi in his fight to justify why the Italian marines were not returned to India to face charges of killing to Indian fishermen [WSJ / Lawyer Satvik Varma's opinion column on why diplomatic immunity may not apply]

Juvenile Justice Board Pune disposes of all but 15 out of 1,848 cases before it with 133 convictions in a single sitting on 16 September 2012. On appeal of a convicted juvenile, Bombay HC asks principal district judge to examine files of all 133 [DNA India]

14 March 2013

Supreme Court bench headed by CJI Kabir restrains Italian ambassador from leaving India to explain why broken undertaking and why accused marines won’t return to India [BBC]

Eight students of Government Law College Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu arrested after burning effigies of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sri Lankan President, causing further student protests [The Hindu]

Alleged 2011 Delhi HC bomber now also charged with waging war against country, which carries death [Jagran]

12 March 2013

Rajya Sabha passes SEBI (Amendment) Bill allowing high court judges to be appointed to head the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT0. Presently SAT can only be headed by Supreme Court judges and high court chief justices [New Indian Express]

Maharashtra lawyers “protest the baton charge on lawyers in Jaipur and Chandigarh” by abstaining from work. 70 per cent advocates in the Bombay HC and 90 per cent in trial courts did not show up yesterday. “Work was paralysed’ in Delhi HC due to Delhi lawyers’ strike [BS/Daily Bhaskar]

Just before the release of their upcoming Bollywood legal dramedy Jolly LLB, film leads Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani visit Mumbai law colleges to hear lawyers’ grievances. To solve lawyers’ minimum wage, credit card and amenity woes they submitted a “three-point memorandum” to the law minister who called it “a great service to the problem that we have been trying to solve” [Indian Express]

Law ministry considers proposing replacement for the collegium system of appointment of judges, details of new system not known yet [PTI]

11 March 2013

Gujarat High Court Advocates Association (GHCAA) forwarded a resolution to the President of India protesting against the judges' collegium decision to allegedly supersede Gujarat HC Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya in SC elevations [Daily Pioneer]

Supreme Court advocate Rajeev Dhawan proposes fixes to case pendency: shrink SC’s jurisdiction, create regional appeals courts, increase judicial strength, the "Katju solution" of hatchet disposal, slashing the apex court’s work by 67% [India Today]

08 March 2013

Law min Ashwani Kumar warns that profession's standards have been falling [ET]

Bombay HC will now permit only women judicial officers to work on cases involving sex crimes, according to latest circular [Mid Day]

Andhra Pradesh HC chief justice musical chairs: CJ PC Ghose officiated until yesterday, sworn in at SC today. Justice V Eswaraiah officiated today and retired. Justice NV Ramana will be acting CJ from Monday until permanent CJ [TOI]

Delhi HC reverses Dec 16 rape fast-track court order, allows CD-recorded deposition of sole witness of incident in evidence [Deccan Herald]

SC takes suo moto cognizance of police brutality against civilians in Punjab and Bihar after several newspaper reports of cops beating a girl [SC order]

Mint profiles 'the descendants' of India Inc: AZB co-founder Zia Mody's 26-year-old daughter diverges from mother's footsteps with a "plate full" of business gigs [Mint]

07 March 2013

Jaipur lawyers protest at Rajasthan HC for long-pending housing project and personal allowance demands, while Chandigarh lawyers protest at the Punjab & Haryana HC to  support of 20 advocates against whom a case was registered for manhandling a cop [Deccan Herald]

Over 3 crore cases pend across all Indian courts, with 66,569 in the Supreme Court alone as of 31 January 2013, said the government [New Indian Express/Business Standard]

Law minister considers enacting provisions to empanel Indian law firms as international arbitrators [Indlaw news]

Moneyed Delhi neighbourhood Lutyens’ Delhi’s bungalows are being sold much below their market prices in court auctions, because of their owners embroiled in litigation [ET]

Are judges taking too many holidays or not? asks column [The Hindu]

Bombay HC has disposed of SEBI’s plea that chief information commissioner (CIC) cannot force it to disclose names in a Reliance Industries insider trading case [The Hindu Businessline]