INDIA – Death row convicts acquitted by Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has acquitted 3 men who were given death sentences and 3 others facing life imprisonment for the alleged murder of 5 family members and the rape of a woman and a minor. A bench consisting of judges AK Sikri, Abdul Nazeer, and MR Shah found that the prosecution conducted their investigation poorly. The bench found no forensic evidence was found to corroborate the prosecution case, and said the prosecution failed to prove the case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt. As a result, the accused have been acquitted of all charges and have been compensated 500 000 Indian Rupees each.
INDIA- Lawyer Indira Jaising shuts down AG Venugopal
Senior Advocate Indira Jaising shut down Attorney General KK Venugopal for saying she should be referred to as the wife of senior counsel Anand Grover. Jaising was disgruntled by the comment and retorted “”Mr. Attorney General you should withdraw this remark. I am a person in my own right”. She later apologized for losing her temper and explained that her and her husband did not change their names in order to maintain individuality within their relationship.
INDIA – Supreme Courts give Attorney General 10 days to set date for the meeting of Lokpal selection
The Supreme Court has asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to provide it with a possible date for the Lokpal selection within 10 days. The AG told the bench of his plans to ask the Secretary of the Department of Personnel and Training to make sure the meeting is convened as soon as possible. After directing the Centre to place on affidavit the steps to Lokpal’s appointment, the apex court expressed discontent over the tardiness of the process. The court then turned to the Attorney General to file an affidavit to explain in detail the various steps and set up a search committee to recommend possible names for the appointment.
INDIA- Corporate Lawyer Zia Mody is Business World’s most influential woman in India
Corporate lawyer Zia Mody has consistently been ranked by law journals as one of India and Asia’s best mergers and acquisitions lawyers and most powerful CEOs and commercial arbitration specialists. Her mastery is world renowned and she believes in teaching economic independence to the woman in rural areas. Today she is the founder and managing partner of AZB & Partners, which under her leadership has developed into one of India’s most prestigious law firms.
AMERICA- Huawei claims US security law is unconstitutional
Chinese tech giant Huawei is suing the United States Government for a law signed by Trump which bans all federal agents from buying its products. Huawei is challenging the constitutionality of law saying that it violates the constitutional separation of powers, denies due process and amounts to a “Bill of Attainder” that singles out a specific entity for unfair treatment. The Chinese company has been accused of cyber espionage and the US government says that the products are a threat to its security.
AMERICA- New Bill seeks to end the ban on compensated surrogacy
New York is one of the handfuls of states that ban surrogacy agreements, however, this could all change thanks to a new bill that seeks to nullify the state law and allow parents to engage in compensated surrogacy. Supporters of the bill are optimistic about its chances now that Democrats control both legislative chambers. Manhattan Democrat Brad Hoylman is the bills Senate sponsor and has two daughters who were born to surrogates.
AMERICA- Upgrading to a digital driver’s license
The testing phase of a new digital driver’s license is underway in more than a dozen states in America. The license can be accessed by law enforcement, wirelessly through Bluetooth or NFC and will allow the holder to disclose only the necessary information that is required in a specific transaction. Ian Grossman, Vice President of The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), organization is hammering out technical requirements needed for the switch to happen and estimates a widespread rollout to happen in about 5 years.
INDIA – Volkswagen ready to challenge NGT order in Supreme Court
A spokesperson for Volkswagen India has revealed the company’s plans to challenge an order issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The NGT fined Volkswagen Rs 500 crore for damaging the environment through the use of a “cheat device” in its diesel cars in India. The spokesperson claimed that all cars from the Volkswagen Group are compliant with the emission norms in India. The fine amount was adjusted to Rs 171.43 crore, and the carmaker was ordered to pay the amount in 2 months. The NGT may consider using the money to improve air quality in highly polluted areas.
INDIA – Government doubles income tax exemption limit
In a move that will benefit thousands of salaried workers, the government has announced that it has doubled the income tax exemption limit for gratuity to Rs 20 lakh. The government did not announce the date from which the exemption would be applicable. The Gratuity Act applies to all employees who work at an organization that employs 10 or more employees in a year. This follows an amendment to the law that allowed for doubling the ceiling of all employees, which became effective on March 29 2018.
INDIA – Courts and Tribunals still playing catch-up with the backlog
As of January 1, 2019, there are 57 346 pending cases before the Supreme Court. A judge to population ratio of 50 for every million was suggested by the 120th law commission report. With the current judge to population ratio in India at 19.49 for every million, judges are unable to cope with the cruel and demanding caseload. Judges deal with a ridiculous amount of cases a day and still manage to perform their duties despite inadequate infrastructure and old computer systems. More judges need to be appointed, and cases need to be managed more timely and effectively.
INDIA – Will export tariffs from U.S work?
India is no longer able to export certain goods duty-free to the U.S, President Trump has decided, after accusing the country of failing to provide “equitable and reasonable” access to its market. The decision could well have been made as a result of India’s aggressive moves against U.S tech giants, which restricted online sellers such as Amazon and strengthened the e-commerce ambitions of Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani. Since the American tariffs are relatively low for now, India is unlikely to adjust its e-commerce policy and can afford to ignore the threat to its $5.6 billion exports to the U.S.
INDIA – Church factions unite to oppose the draft law
A draft Kerala Church Bill, which proposes fair and transparent administration of church-owned funds and properties, has caused churches across denominations and sections to unite in protest. As a result, the CPI (M)- led LDF government has stated that it will not enact the bill for now. Religious leaders and church members have claimed that the state is attempting to take over the administration of the church through the proposed law. George Joseph, chairman of All-Kerala Church Action Council, says that Bishops fear transparency in managing church funds and that the protests were as a result of this fear.
INDIA – Day of disorder in UP
On Wednesday 2 roadside vendors were physically attacked by a violent gang. On the same day Bharatiya Janata Party members assaulted a young man for questioning the government’s claims with regard to jobs and education. Elsewhere in Meerut, an altercation between police and slum residents led to the police allegedly setting residents’ homes on fire. Rioting mobs set vehicles and buses alight as the disorder spread. The following day, an ironic advertisement from the state government claimed “improved law and order” and a “zero-tolerance policy” towards crime.
CANADA- Ontario pleads to update a law forbidding the cremation of radioactive human bodies
According to Curtis Caldwell, the chief scientist at the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada, the law prohibiting the cremation of patients who have received radioactive therapy is excessive and unnecessary. Cancer and radiation experts say that its time for Ontario to change the outdated law. Caldwell explained that the radioactive isotopes involved in brachytherapy have a half life of 60 days which means that the radioactive material is reduced by half every two months. He says that after two years after it has been administered, no precautions are needed.
INDIA – The Hindu newspaper may be prosecuted under the secrets act for publishing “stolen” documents
Attorney General KK Venugopal has told the Supreme Court that a criminal case may be opened against The Hindu newspaper for allegedly publishing “stolen” government documents that dealt with the purchase of 36 Rafale jets from France. N Ram, chairman of the Hindu Publishing Group, has said that the articles were published in the interest of the public. Ram also said the company has “nothing to worry about”. Violating the Official Secrets Act, which activists say violate free speech, could get you up to 14 years of imprisonment.
INDIA – Separatists held under the law which allows imprisonment without charge
Two separatist leaders in Kashmir have had their detentions extended by Indian authorities under a controversial law that allows suspects to be detained for up to two years without a charge. Police arrested Yasin Malik, one of the most influential separatist leaders in Kashmir, and Zahid Ali, spokesman for the recently banned Jamaat-e-Islami party, days after a terrorist attack that killed 40 paramilitary officers. Malik’s supporters have since gathered in protest against his detention. A senior Indian government official has stated that at least 25 other separatist leaders could be detained
UNITED KINGDOM- Assisted Dying laws in the UK
Humanists UK has been pushing to pass what they call a “compassionate, humane assisted dying law”. The Royal College of Physicians is opposed to the law, however, a recent survey showed that 4 out 5 citizens actually support the assisted dying law. With the cooperation and coordination of other organisations, this survey could be an important tool in empowering those who truly wish to make a choice about their final days.
CANADA- B.C strengthens laws to protect heritage, archaeological sites
Amendments to the Heritage Conservation Act would make it mandatory to report the discovery of objects or sites that have potential heritage value and would give government enhanced powers to refuse, amend, suspend or cancel permits it may issue. The amendments to the law form part of the government’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and would mean that people seeking to develop land would be required to complete an archaeological study on the property before receiving permits to alter sites.
INDIA- Madras HC refuses to stay the Tamil Nadu government’s financial aid scheme
A division bench of Justice S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad dismissed two petitions moved by M Karunanidhi of Villupuram and Murugesan of Vellore which sought to stay the Tamil Nadu government’s financial aid scheme. The scheme provides one-time aid of Rs 2000 to 60 lakh households that fall below the poverty line in the state however, according to the petitioners claim that the government had extended the grant to those who were above the poverty line as well. The court dismissed the plea stating that authorities had followed procedure when choosing beneficiaries of the scheme.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES- Law firm only employs women
Dubai based firm Karm Legal employs women only because they believe that they are better off working in all-women environments and claim that they can better empathize with their clients. Kokila Alagh’s motivation for hiring women only is that it is in compliance with the vision of the UAE of promoting gender parity in the workplace and enforcing women empowerment across all spheres of business. The firm was launched in August last year at the Global Legal Forum at the Peace Palace at The Hague.