INDIA- Rafale documents possibly stolen by public servants
On Wednesday Attorney General KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court that papers regarding the prices of the Rafale fighter jets were stolen and given to the Hindu Newspaper for publishing. Venugopal told the court that those who stole the documents were in violation of the Official Secrets Act, however, according to senior advocate Prashant Bhushan the documents were open under the Right To Information. The Attorney General assured the Court that investigation into the missing documents were already underway.
INDIA – Mumbai civic chief summoned by Bombay High Court
Mumbai civic chief Ajoy Mehta has been issued a notice by the Bombay High Court that requires him to be present in court at 3 pm on Friday to explain “why action should not be taken against him for interfering with justice”. It was revealed that BMC coerced 25 employees into withdrawing a petition for promotion by promising them an appointment in 2016. The bench present said the case is “squarely covered in promissory estoppel”, which is a legal principle where a promise is enforceable by law when such a promise was relied on in good faith by the person to whom it was made.
AMERICA – More than 76,000 migrants cross in a month, the border at “breaking point”
It seems the Trump administration’s aggressive policies have been ineffective in discouraging new migration to the United States, with unauthorized entries across the southwest border nearly doubling in the last year. While new migrants continue to arrive at a rate of about 2000 a day, officers and medical staff at the border are completely overwhelmed and the detention systems were not built to house the thousands of migrants who are crammed inside of them. Kevin K. McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said the situation is a “border security and humanitarian crisis”.
INDIA – Bombay High Court quashes an order that suspended sentences of 11 cops
A Maharashtra government order that suspended the sentences of 11 police officers who were given life sentences has been revoked by the Bombay High Court. The government decision to suspend the convictions of the 11 men was challenged in the High Court by the brother of Ramnarayan Gupta, who said the suspensions were illegal and bad in law. The government decision was quashed on Wednesday by a division bench of justices B P Dharmadhikari and Revati Mohite Dere, who found the decision “perverse” and “unsustainable in law”.
AMERICA – Second judge joins the fight to overturn male-only draft
A second judge has granted a legal challenge to the military’s male-only draft policy. A 21-year-old woman from New Jersey, who was denied registration twice by the Selective Service, filed a lawsuit that was approved by U.S District Judge Esther Salas and thus opening the door to a court order that could alter the current draft registration process that has been in effect since 1980. This comes 11 days after a Texas judge declared the male-only draft unconstitutional, but since the judge dint not grant an injunction, the Selective Service still only accept registrations from males.
AUSTRALIA – How Australia became the Defamation capital of the World?
Australia’s oppressive and needlessly complex defamation laws make it extremely difficult for reporters to write important, China-related stories out of fear of defamation suits. Australia’s is the most China-dependent economy in the developed world, with a third of all its exports going to China. Since there are no explicit constitutional laws that ensure freedom of speech, defamation laws in Australia tend to favour reputation over the right to expression. These laws favour those with financial power, and if they are not reviewed, they will ultimately damage Australia’s democracy.
INDIA- Menaka Guruswamy takes the law into her own hands
Menaka Guruswamy is one of India’s top Constitutional Law experts and was instrumental in the abolishment of the law that made homosexuality illegal in India. She was also influential in defending a provision in the Right to Education Act which ordered private schools to admit underprivileged students and has also fought to ensure a minimum tenure of 3 years in a post for all civil servants. At age 44 Guruswamy, dubbed an “Iron Lady” and intellectual, now has 6 lawyers working under her and spends her time writing books and teaching.
INDIA-Supreme Court hears plea against a law that asks estranged couples to reunite
According to two students from the Gujarat National Law University, the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and Section 22 of the Special Marriage Act are allegedly unconstitutional. The law empowers courts to ask distanced couples to “cohabit” and engage in sexual intercourse in order to prevent a breakdown in the marriage. According to the petition, the provisions violate the right to privacy, individual autonomy and individual dignity all of which are guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
UNITED KINGDOM – Momentum hit with £16,700 fine ‘multiple electoral law breaches’
The Momentum group registered as a non-party campaigner during the June 2017 general election and submitted a spending return to the commission in September 2017. A watchdog noted a “number of issues” which led to the launch of an investigation in November of the same year. The investigation led to a hefty £12,150 fine for failing to submit an accurate and complete spending return, a £2,700 fine for omitting reportable donations from a post-poll donation report, and 2 smaller fines for minor offences. Laura Parker, the spokesperson for Momentum, said the offenses were minor and the fines disproportionate and claimed the errors were typical of a new organization.
INDIA – Arnab Goswami’s plea to quash order against him rejected by Delhi High Court
Arnab Goswami and the Republic TV’s petition, that sought to revoke a court order to register a First Information Report against them, has been rejected by the Delhi High Court. The High Court was not the appropriate platform to challenge the order, Justice Najmi Waziri, while suggesting the petitioners approach a sessions court to challenge the magistrate’s order. The order was based on a complaint filed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, in connection with his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death. After being charged with abetting suicide, Tharoor has blasted Goswami’s news channel for making derogatory remarks about him, opening criminal and civil defamation suits against Goswami.
INDIA- Uttarakhand NLU to be set up in the near future
The Devabhumi or “Land of the Gods” will soon have its own National Law University. According to reports, India’s youngest NLU will take Rs 26 crore to set up and will be located 50 kilometers away from Dehradun city. After an 8-year delay, the state finally welcomes the introduction of its own NLU.
CANADA – Did Justin Trudeau break the law?
It’s evident that Canadians are unhappy about Justin Trudeau allegedly interfering with the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. Rocco Galati, Toronto-based lawyer, told the National Post, “he and his staff… were obstructing a legal proceeding”, but since he did not explicitly interfere with case, one could argue that all of his actions were part of his ministerial duties. The Prime Minister can legally dismiss and appoint any cabinet member at will. It is likely that Trudeau would be prosecuted for obstruction if this situation took place in the U.S, yet the Supreme Court of Canada might still find his actions unconstitutional.
INDIA- Laws attempt to curb Ponzi schemes
The banning of the Unregulated Deposit Scheme Ordinance is being looked into as an attempt to prevent fraudsters from swindling innocent investors through ponzi schemes. The banning of the Ordinance would ultimately become an Act, and will address the many regulatory issues of the Reserve Bank of India and related administrative branches. An advisory from the Deloitte tax and regulatory team stated that by providing a framework for a redressal mechanism, the Ordinance would begin to restrict illegal deposit-taking activities.
INDIA- How a change in law has made election candidates more accountable
Amendments to Form 26 have made it mandatory for all election candidates to reveal their income-tax returns for the last 5-years. Form 26 is an affidavit that must be submitted along with the candidate’s nomination papers and obliges them to give information about their assets, liabilities, educational qualifications and any criminal convictions or pending cases. The objective behind all of this is to allow voters to make more informed decisions, and prevent those with questionable backgrounds being elected into Parliament.
INDIA- HC dismisses plea to restrain jurist from appearing in SC where his son is a judge
In a petition filed by an advocate, Mathews J Nedumpara which sought to restrain senior advocate Fali S Nariman from appearing in the Supreme Court was dismissed by Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao. The petition sought to transfer judges of High Courts where their relatives practice as lawyers, to other high courts, however, the plea was rejected. According to the bench, this was a legislative issue and the court could do nothing about it.
INDIA- Supreme Court to look into plea against laws for restitution of conjugal rights
A petition filed by two Gujarat National Law University students challenged the validity of Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955; Section 22 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954; and Order 21, Rules 32 and 33 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 which provide courts with power to pass an order for restitution of conjugal rights of estranged couples. According to the students, these provisions were “steeped in a patriarchal gender stereotype”. The students claim that “there exists no compelling interest for the state to interfere in matters related to conjugal rights”.
AMERICA – FDA tests confirm asbestos in make-up from Claire’s and Justice
On Tuesday the Food and Drug Association confirmed the presence of asbestos in cosmetic products from tween retailers Claire’s and Justice. This confirms reports from last year that led to the recall of several products. The FDA reported that 3 products from Claire’s and one from Justice contained asbestos. After initially refusing to recall the products, claiming the test results showed significant errors, Claire’s removed the three products from their stores. Exposure to asbestos could lead to cancers and tumours on the internal organs.
INDIA- High Court warns Delhi Traffic Cops to “Stop Chatting” and do their jobs
The Delhi High Court has criticized the Delhi Traffic Police for deploying traffic cops who ignored violations because they were too busy “chatting”. The HC stated that it expects the traffic police who are deployed onto the roads to be active and perform their duties rather than to stand around and chat. The bench comprising of Justices G S Sistani and Jyoti Singh ordered the CP to sensitize his officers who were displaying red-flag behaviour while on duty.
INDIA- Phillip Morris accused of circumventing FDI ban
Phillip Morris International, the owner of the world famous Malboro cigarette brand, has indirectly been paying manufacturing costs to its Indian partner Godfrey Phillips, which could be a violation of India’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rules. In 2010 the Indian government prohibited FDI in cigarette manufacturing to curb smoking across the country, however, dozens of internal company documents show that Phillip Morris has indirectly been paying for manufacturing of their cigarettes in India for almost 9 years. Former Indian enforcement officials believe that this is a violation of FDI rules while Philip Morris’ director for corporate affairs in India, R. Venkatesh says that all arrangements are in compliance with India’s FDI regulations.
AMERICA – Congressional Democrats take aim at Trump immigration policy
Four simultaneous committee hearings will analyze and deconstruct the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy on immigration that has led to the separation of 2800 migrant families and the conditions of Border Patrol facilities among several other controversial moves. Recently, a 7-year-old Guatemalan died after crossing the border from shock and dehydration while in U.S custody. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McAleenan as well as Homeland Security’s inspector general are expected to testify at the hearings.