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Legal Updates

1st January to 15th January
{2019}
Issue 19
Hi, welcome to our legal newsletter, we publish this newsletter fortnightly.
  • Constitutional Amendment providing 10% reservations for the poor from the upper castes passed by the Parliament
Both houses of the Parliament passed the Constitution (One hundred and twenty-fourth amendment) Act, 2019 that provides 10% reservations in the public employment and higher education for economically weaker persons from the upper castes. This will be in addition to the existing reservations for SC,ST and OBC, which means reservations  will cross the 50% cap set by the Supreme Court in Indira Sawhney. The amendment adds a clause to Article 15 and Article 16, allowing the State to make “special provision for advancement of any economically weaker sections of the society”. The amendment has been challenged in the Supreme Court for violating the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

Further Reading:
  1. Special Correspondent, 10% quota becomes law, The Hindu (January 12, 2019).
  2. Express News Service, NGO moves Supreme Court against 10% quota Bill, The Indian Express (January 14, 2019).
  3. Vikas Pathak, The Hindu Explains: The new 10% quota, its implications and more, The Hindu (January 8, 2019).
  4. The Wire Analysis, Quota for Economically Backward Flies in the Face of Constitutional Principles, The Wire (January 8, 2019).
  5. PTI, 10% quota for poorer sections doesn't violate basic structure of Constitution: Jaitley,Economic Times (January 11, 2019).
  • SC reinstates Alok Verma as CBI Director and within 48 hours, High Level Panel sacks him
The Supreme Court set aside orders of the Central government and Central Vigilance Commission that divested Alok Verma from the post of CBI director. The Apex court reinstated Alok Verma as CBI chief but prohibited him from making any major policy decisions till the decision by a high powered committee which selects and appoints CBI directors, and that this committee should meet within one week from the date of the decision. This committee comprising of Narendra Modi, Justice A.K. Sikri (CJI Nominee) and Mallikarjun Kharge, by a 2:1 majority, sacked Alok Verma from the CBI post in view of an adverse CVC report and allegations of corruption and doubtful integrity. He was consequently transferred to the post of Director General of fire services, civil defense and home guards. Thereafter, Mr. Verma resigned and stated that no natural justice was followed as he wasn’t heard. Further, allegations were made that there was a connection between the panel’s decision and nomination of Justice Sikri to Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT), due to which Justice Sikri withdraw his consent to a month old offer.
Interestingly, Justice Patnaik, who was monitoring the CVC probe against Mr. Verma said that no evidence of corruption was found against Verma and decision to remove him was hasty.

Further Reading:
  1. Rohan Venkataramakrishnan, The Daily Fix: Everything about AlokVerma’s sacking from the CBI is under question, Scroll.in (January 14, 2019).
  2. The Wire Staff, All You Need to Know About the CBI Tussle, The Wire (January 11, 2019).
  3. Mehal Jain, Breaking : SC Reinstates Alok Verma As CBI Director; Orders Of CVC & DoPT Quashed, Live Law (January 8, 2019).
  4. The Wire Staff, With 2:1 Majority, CBI Chief Alok Verma Sacked By High-Level Panel Led By Modi, The Wire (January 11, 2019).
  5. Devesh. K. Pandey, Ex CBI chief AlokVerma resigns from service, says he be deemed superannuated from Friday, The Hindu (January 11, 2019).
  6. Ritu Sarin, ‘Pained’ over linking of London Assignment to CBI decision, Justice Sikri pulls out, The Indian Express (January 14, 2019).
  7. Manu Sabastian, “No evidence of corruption against Alok Verma”, Justice Patnaik Speaks Out Against High Powered Committee, Live Law (January 12th, 2019).
  • Single Judge of the Delhi High Court to decide on Monsanto’s patent claim: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court set aside a decision of the division bench of the Delhi High Court that had summarily invalidated Monsanto’s patent on Bt cotton without the benefit of a full-fledged trial and remanded the matter to the trial court. The division bench had held that the patent fell within the exclusion mentioned under Section 3(j) of the Patents Act, 1970 and was thus, unpatentable. The Supreme Court bench of Justices Rohinton F. Nariman and Navin Sinha restored the order of the Single Judge of the Delhi High Court, allowing seed companies to use Monsanto’s patented technology upon payment of royalties in accordance with the CSPCO rate. The suit relates back to a case filed by Monsanto against Nuziveedu Seeds and its subsidiaries for selling Bt cotton seeds using its patented technology despite termination of a license agreement.

Further Reading:
  1. Krishnadas Rajagopal, Supreme Court backs Monsanto on GM cotton patents, The Hindu (January 8, 2019).
  2. The Wire Staff, What the Supreme Court Said in its Bt Cotton Judgement, The Wire (January 9, 2019).
  3. Shamnad Basheer, From trial court to Supreme Court and back, the Monsanto patent battle is far from over, The Print (January 11, 2019).
  4. Prashant Reddy, Supreme Court Saves Monsanto From Its Own “Incomprehensible” Legal Strategy, SpicyIP (January 8, 2019).
  5. Shivani Saxena, The Chaos That The Monsanto Patent Battle Has Become, Bloomberg Quint (January 11, 2019).
  • Lok Sabha passes The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016
The Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which makes illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship. The Bill also relaxes the condition for acquisition of citizenship by naturalization for these categories of people. It has been severely criticized as some stakeholders claim that the inclusion of six religious communities in the Bill would violate Article 14 of the Constitution. Further, it has been asserted that the Bill may be in conflict with Assam Accord as well as the National Register of Citizens being updated. As the Bill is still under consideration of the Parliament,the Supreme Court refused to intervene in a petition that sought to quash a series of subordinate laws notified by the government which allowed naturalisation of illegal migrants belonging to the six specified religions.

Further Reading:
  1. Special Correspondent, Lok Sabha passes Citizenship Bill amidst Congress walkout, The Hindu (January 8, 2019).
  2. Legal Correspondent, Supreme Court refuses to intervene now in citizenship issue, The Hindu (January 14, 2019).
  3. Shaswati Das, Why citizenship amendment bill has created a row, LiveMint (January 16, 2019).
  4. Abir Phukan, Citizenship Bill: Legislative Chaos or Amnesia?, The Wire (January 12, 2019).
  5. Editorial, Mass messaging: on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, The Hindu (January 10, 2019).
  6. Apurva Thakur, Why the Citizenship Amendment Bill Goes Against the Basic Tenets of the Constitution, Economic and Political Weekly (March 31, 2018).
We thank Gayatri Gupta and Chittkrishna Thakkar for their assistance in collating the data, and Benjamin Vanlalvena for designing this newsletter.
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