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14 March 2014

The New Delhi Bar Association’s “Holi Milan” celebrations inside Delhi’s Patiala House district court complex turned into a “show of flesh” when some male advocates joined hired dance girls performing on stage as part of the ceremony, reported The Hindu, no less.

Union law minister Kapil Sibal, who was the chief guest at the event, had already recited his two poems and left the venue by the time the controversial “sleaze show” began, while newly-elected Delhi High Court Bar Association president Rajiv Khosla announced a “helpline for lawyers” at the function.

The Hindu, publishing a blurry snapshot of the dance show featuring, apparently, a woman in tights, a sequinned skirt and a short sari blouse, quoted a female lawyer present as saying: “It was on the verge of obscenity. That some of the male members of our fraternity were clearly enjoying the show of flesh – unmindful of our presence – was disconcerting; more so because it was within the court premises which is also our workspace and during working hours.”

10 March 2014

An in-depth look at issues and data in the difficult journey of the Women's Reservation Bill in India [The 545: A Brief History (Or The Lack Thereof) Of Women In Parliament]

24 February 2014

First female judge elevated from Goa: North Goa Principal and District and Sessions Judge Anuja Prabhudessai is set to become the first Goan judge who is a woman to be elevated to the Bombay high court. Once in her two-decade-long judicial career she was suspended for using her discretion in awarding compensation in a motor vehicle accident claim petition, but was later cleared of all her charges and reinstated [Hindu]

Gurgaon’s hi fi tower of justice: Gurgaon is set to get a nine-storey building costing Rs 225 crore with 55 planned courtrooms and provision for 15 more, a single window care centre for all legal issues, a centralised complaint filing system, a library and a bar room with a seating capacity of 1,500, a separate bar room for women, 20 mediation centres and a separate block for facilities such as the post office and bank [TOI]

SC says Guj & Orissa HC can hear PIL against its judge residences: The Supreme Court returned a writ petition challenging illegal allotment of residential plots to high court judges of Gujarat and Orissa, holding that the even though the petition is against sitting judges of those high courts, that is no reason not to file it before those high courts [Telegraph India]

RamJet fell but not injured: 90 year old criminal law veteran Ram Jethmalani suffered a fall in Chennai on Friday but was discharged from the hospital in a few hours [TOI]

Karnataka lawyers hunger strike for KAT bench: Karnataka high court’s Dharwad bench advocates association yesterday launched a hunger strike for a permanent bench of the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal in North Karnataka [DNA India]

Telangana judicial vacancies postponed: “The Telangana High Court Advocates’ Committee on Thursday requested the President, prime minister and chief justice of India to direct the authorities concerned not to fill up the vacancies of judges in the Andhra Pradesh High Court till bifurcation of the state”, reported the [New Indian Express]

24 February 2014

Andhra Pradesh high court justice G Rohini’s name has been recommended for elevation to Delhi high court as its chief justice, making her the first woman chief justice at the high court, reported the Express.

Nine out of 40 sitting judges at the Delhi HC are women. The first ever woman to become chief justice of any HC in India was justice Leila Seth who was elevated from the Delhi high court to serve as chief at Himachal HC.

Rohini’s judicial career began in 2001 at Andhra Pradesh high court which is also the alma mater of justice NV Ramana who was elevated from being chief at the Delhi HC to the Supreme Court last week.

21 February 2014

Women not on topAmarchand Mangaldas emerged as the large law firm with the highest ratio of female lawyers ranked by the 2014 Chambers and Partners lawyer directory, while J Sagar Associates (JSA) and Trilegal came lowest with as few as 6 per cent of senior female lawyers.

13 February 2014

The Bombay high court, hot on the heels of the Delhi high court that designated three new senior advocates, has named 11 advocates to become seniors, though none of them were women.

17 July 2013

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the Bombay high court’s decision to strike down the ban on dance bars in Maharashtra, holding that “the cure is worse than the disease” and that safety measures and improvement in working conditions of the dancers was the solution, reported the Hindustan Times.

Now bars, restaurants, and hotels can obtain police licenses to hold dance performances on their premises. The Maharashtra police had expressed fears of increase in crime rate in letting the bars stay open, as they were “dens of anti-social elements”.

Writing a separate concurring opinion, Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir observed:

“The right to practise a trade or profession and the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 (of Constitution) are, by their very nature, intermingled with each other, but in a situation like the present one, such right cannot be equated with unrestricted freedom like a run-away horse... it would be better to treat the cause than to blame the effect and to completely discontinue the livelihood of a large section of women, eking out an existence by dancing in bars, who will be left to the mercy of other forms of exploitation.”

03 May 2013

Chetan ‘Porny’ Bhagat: Gujarat high court chief justice’s bench dubs Chetan Bhagat’s book pornographic after reading a passage on riots in open court, which contained “abuses”. The CJ commented: “The language doesn't look decent. A chaste writer cannot write this stuff.” [TOI]

Madras, vacancy: Madras high court potentially faces one-third roster vacancy after retirements, two state law officers and/or others might ascend in six months. [TOI]

Gopal ADR fail: Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium recommends a constitutional body – the National Judicial Commission for Performance & Audit of the Judicial System - to aid the high courts. He notes that “fixation of [pendency reduction] targets” for judges is a roadblock to justice, and the promotion of alternate dispute resolution is a failure of the justice system [Hindu]

200% Rs 20 stamp hike: Madras HC clears the way for increased advocates welfare stamp fee to be affixed with the vakalatnama – the memo of appearance. Tamil Nadu advocates are now to affix a stamp of Rs 30 instead of Rs 10 [DC]

All-woman law offices: Udaya PS Menon and Associates is Coimbatore’s only all-women law firm with seven women advocates was set up in 2000. The founder Udaya Menon explains reason behind founding the firm: “It was very difficult for me to explain at home why I had to spend so much time with my male colleagues!” [Hindu]

CLAT chat: What’s in store for CLATaspirants? NLSIU Bangalore students chalk it out. “You will find a small bunch of bright, attentive, confident people who will not hesitate in challenging your beliefs and will expect you to argue out every position you take on a certain issue.” [HT]

Engineering Law Schoolites? SC advocate and NLSIU 2001 grad criticises the “narrow worldview” of NLSIU administrators who, according to him, curtail diversification of student interests by imposing on them the belief that legal academia and advocacy are the only professional ways in which the grads can become “social engineers” [DH]

19 April 2013

Four female Nalsar Hyderabad students were filmed outside a pub with the footage later edited by local television media into allegedly defamatory broadcasts. A week on, the girls have launched online protest campaigns against voyeuristic journalism, and garnered mainstream media support. 

Newslaundry summarised the events so far and spoke to the bureau chief of ABN Andhra Jyoti – one of the involved channels.

Newslaundry: What was the story you had in mind?

Shivaprasad: Of course, the pub was running after 10 o clock. Everything that happened was against the law.

Newslaundry: How was it against the law?

Shivaprasad: It is wrong for them to drink and stand outside. Why should they stand outside? Nothing personal against the girls, but you shouldn’t stand on the road at midnight dressed like that. Our main concern is for safety of the girls.

Newslaundry: Then where should they stand?

Shivaprasad: They should not stand like that. They should go straight into the cab and go home.

Newslaundry: So, you think it was a highly unsafe situation?

Shivaprasad: When the media reached there, the girls are safer, if the media is not there, then it’s a problem.

11 April 2013

Historic apex sistren: Justices GS Misra and Ranjana Desai are set to be the first two female judges to sit together in the Supreme Court, ever, tomorrow [@CourtWitness1]

Your NRI Honour: Subject to confirmation, Sri Srinivasan could become first Indian-American federal judge and even rise to the US Supreme Court, speculates TOI.

Cracking a nut: Police says Delhi property lawyer Baljeet Singh Sehrawat conspired in Bhardwaj killing [TOI]

Linguistic appeal: The languages of Indian courts discussed, as CM calls for Tamil in Madras court [The Economist]

PH bound: As Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri is likely to ascend to the apex court tomorrow taking the strength to 29 with only two vacancies, sources have floated that the Delhi high court’s most senior judge, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, could take up the post of Punjab and Haryana high court chief justice left vacant by Sikri [Hindustan Times].

4 permanence: Additional New Delhi high court judges Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, Valmiki J Mehta, Vinay Kumar Jain and Indermeet Kaur Kochhar elevated to permanent status [PTI]

Legally heroic: Feature on making of the film Shahid about hero lawyer and activist Shahid Azmi who was murdered in 2010 at the age of 38 [The Big Indian Picture]

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]

08 March 2013

Lotika Sarkar (photo via FeministIndia.com)

Prof Lotika Sarkar, 4 January 1923 to 23 February 2013

05 March 2013

Delhi high courtExclusive: The High Court of Delhi has today designated four new senior advocates. Two of the new seniors are women, and all four have less than 25 years of practicing experience.

27 February 2013

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill 2012, was yesterday passed by the upper house of the Parliament, almost six months after it was signed off by the Lok Sabha.

13 December 2012

India’s first woman additional solicitor general Indira Jaising wrote to the law minister Ashwini Kumar criticising the government’s decision to drop several “competent” woman lawyers from the panel of advocates for handling government litigation in the Supreme Court.

She also wrote to chief justice of India Altamas Kabir requesting for the provision of crèche facilities in the Supreme Court for the toddlers of practicing women lawyers.

Excerpts from Jaising’s letter to Kumar:

This can only send a very wrong message to the (legal) profession as a whole and to women in particular that there is no place for them in the profession. Even otherwise, the perception among people is that only those with powerful godfathers or godmothers (of which there may be very few) can progress in the profession

Several women I know who have assisted me competently have been dropped from the panels with no notice or appreciable reason

I recognize that 'merit' and 'competence' must be the guiding principles in making appointments and selection, but it is a matter of common knowledge that 'merit' itself is not a neutral word but a social construct, which tends to entrench the privilege of the privileged. [TOI]

23 November 2012

Salaries of lawyers - Mint

Exclusive: The second part of Legally India’s salary survey analysis is out in print in Mint today, and coupled with personal interviews and additional research, revealed huge discrepancies between salaries even within the same firm at the more senior levels. Click through to read the analysis.

17 October 2012

Editorial: Bangalore’s police, media and educators have shown themselves at their worst in the past days, appearing intent to keep slinging mud on a law school student who was allegedly the victim of a violent sex crime.

12 October 2012

'The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986 – a law which was enacted to curb lewd depiction of women in advertisements and publications – will soon be amended with harsher penalties.

First conviction will invite three years of imprisonment and a fine ranging between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh. Second-time offenders may be jailed for two to seven years, and asked to pay a fine between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh.

Sending pornographic multimedia messages and emails may invite a jail term for a maximum period of three years.

The law will cover audio-visual media and material in electronic form, and police officials of the rank of inspector or above will be allowed to carry out search and seizure operations in complaints.

Priti Nair, director at advertising agency Curry Nation, said the development was “quite worrying”.

This will open a Pandora’s box as now you can misconstrue anything to be indecent.

There should be guidelines or parameters that define “indecent”, else the amendments can, at best, be described as “blurry”. What constitutes “indecent” is subjective.

The industry also opposed the idea of gender discrimination regarding “indecency”. Mahesh Murthy said under the law male nudity was acceptable while an informational video on childbirth could be banned.