Legal Updates

1st August to 15th August
Issue 29
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  • Article 370 of Indian Constitution amended vide Presidential Order, J&K reorganized into two UTs
On 5 August, Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah announced to the Rajya Sabha that Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, containing special provisions for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), had been amended vide Presidential Order C.O. 272, and introduced a statutory resolution to recognize the same. The Order also abrogated Article 35A of the Constitution, which provided for the category of “permanent residents” of J&K, and allowed the state legislature to confer such permanent residents certain rights and privileges. Meanwhile, the J&K Reorganisation Act 2019 was passed by Parliament and given Presidential assent. The Act reorganizes the state into the UT of J&K (with legislature) and the UT of Ladakh (without legislature), which will come into force on 31 October 2019. The major changes were announced after days of speculation due to increasing security restrictions in the Valley.

Further Reading:
  1. Chittkrishna Thakkar & Siddharth Sunil, Kashmir, the Constitution and Article 370: An explainer, Law and Other Things (August 8, 2019)
  2. Rohan Venkataramakrishnan, Explainer: How BJP is proposing to change Jammu & Kashmir and what that means, Scroll (August 5, 2019)
  3. Manavi Kapur, A timeline of key events that shaped the unique identity of Kashmir within India, Quartz (August 6, 2019)
  4. Gautam Bhatia, The Article 370 Amendments: Key legal issues, Indian Constitutional Law and Philosophy (August 5, 2019)
  5. AG Noorani, Kashmir: Murder of Insaniyat, Frontline (Print Edition August 30, 2019)
  6. Ram Madhav, Correcting a historic blunder, The Indian Express (August 6, 2019)
  7. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, The story of Indian democracy written in blood and betrayal, The Indian Express (August 6, 2019)
  8. Fact-finding report, Silenced at gunpoint: A report on the current situation in Kashmir, The Polis Project (August 10, 2019)
  9. Vijayta Lalwani, View from Ladakh: How do residents of Leh, Kargil feel about decision to scrap J&K special status?, Scroll (August 7, 2019)
  10. PTI, Kashmiri Pandits hail amendment of Article 370, The Hindu (August 5, 2019)
  11. Kallol Bhattacharjee, Kashmir returning to UNSC raises several legal questions, The Hindu (August 15, 2019)
  • President assents to Bill to increase the number of Judges in the Supreme Court
President Ram Nath Kovind signs off the Bill to amend the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act,1956 to increase the number of judges from 30 to 33, excluding the Chief Justice of India. This step has been taken due to the increase in number of pending cases in the Supreme Court and due to the inability of the Court to constitute enough Constitutional Benches. Earlier in June, Chief Justice of India Gogoi had written a letter to the Prime Minister, seeking an increase in the strength of the judges in the Supreme Court and raising the age of retirement for judges of the High Courts.

Further Reading:
  1. Bar & Bench, Supreme Court to now have 34 Judges: President assents to Bill to increase strength, Bar & Bench (August 12, 2019).
  2. Editorial, Bigger and better: On number of Supreme Court judges, The Hindu (August 05, 2019).
  3. Sanjeev Nayyar, Efficient judicial system shall improve the ease of doing business, Financial Express (July 15, 2019).
  4. The Wire Analysis, Why CJI Gogoi's Proposal to Increase the Supreme Court's Strength Is Misplaced, The Wire (June 26, 2019)
  • Amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) come into force
The amendments to the UAPA, which allow the government to declare individuals as “terrorists” and seize their properties, have come into effect after receiving the President’s assent. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019 also provides for putting travel ban on such individuals once they are declared as terrorists. The Act give powers to the Director General of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to attach properties acquired from proceeds of terrorism. Before the amendments to the law, the NIA had to take prior permission from the respective state police chiefs to attach the proceeds of terrorism.

Further Reading:
  1. Shardul Gopujkar, Amid opposition concerns, the UAPA amendment bill is passed, The Leaflet (July 25, 2019).
  2. Apurva Vishwanath, Explained: What are the UAPA amendments? When is an individual designated a ‘terrorist’? The Indian Express (August 04, 2019).
  3. Manu Sebastian, UAPA Amendment : Why Giving Govt Power To Declare Individuals 'Terrorists' Is Problematic?, Live Law (July 28, 2019).
  4. G.S. Bajpai, UAPA: The law terrorises, Deccan Herald (August 13, 2019).
  5. Bhamati Sivapalan, In Illustrations: A Brief History of India's National Security Laws, The Wire (July 27, 2019).
  • Parliament passes the National Medical Commission Bill, 2019.
The National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 passed by the Parliament seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and replace the Medical Council of India (MCI) with a National Medical Commission (NMC). Section 32 of the Bill enables the NMC to give license to practise medicine as ‘Community Health Provider’ to anyone who is ‘connected with modern scientific medical profession who qualifies such criteria as may be specified by regulations’. Government has justified the provision by saying that it would tackle the acute shortage of doctors in rural areas. Questions have also been raised about the weak nature of the NMC, whose only 5 members out of 25 will be elected and the rest would either be government officials or those nominated by the government.

Further Reading:
  1. LiveLaw News Network, Parliament Passes National Medical Commission Bill Amidst Protests From Doctors, Live Law (August 01, 2019)
  2. Amitabh Kant, Curing the system, The Indian Express (August 15, 2019)
  3. Sanchita Sharma, Why Rajya Sabha passing National Medical Commission bill is a good thing | Opinion, Hindustan Times (August 14, 2019).
  4. Sumant Narain, Writing out a clean Bill on health, The Hindu (August 14, 2019).
  5. Sambit Dash, What’s NEXT for the NMC Bill? Confusion, The Wire (August 08, 2019).
  • Supreme Court begins with the daily hearing of the Ayodhya issue after mediation fails
A Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi began the day-to-day hearing of the Ayodhya title dispute cases. The mediation panel had already expressed in its report that the Hindu and the Muslim parties have not been able to find a solution to the vexatious dispute. This development happened after one of the plaintiffs from the Hindu side in the dispute filed an application for early hearing of the appeals of merit.

Further Reading:
  1. Live Law News Network, Ayodhya-Babri Title Dispute : SC Says Mediation Attempts Failed; To Hear Appeals From August 6 , Live Law (August 02, 2019).
  2. The Staff, All you need to know about Ayodhya land dispute case, The Leaflet (August 09, 2019).
  3. Editorial, A just way, The Indian Express (August 06, 2019).
  4. Khabar Lahariya, The many voices of Ayodhya, The Wire (May 24, 2019).
  5. Krishnadas Rajagopal, Ayodhya hearing: Supreme Court poses queries to Hindu parties’ counsel, The Hindu (August 14, 2019).
  • Parliament passes major legislations during Monsoon session

The Parliament of India passed several important legislations during its monsoon session, between 17 July and 7 August 2019. The Consumer Protection Bill 2019, replacing the Consumer Protection Act 1986, was passed with a view to strengthen consumer rights. The Act establishes the Central Consumer Protection Authority, a national regulator for consumer protection. The Code on Wages 2019 was passed by Parliament. It seeks to regulate wage and bonus payments in industry, trade, business and manufacturing sectors. The Code subsumes the Payment of Wages Act 1936, the Minimum Wages Act 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act 1965 and the Equal Remuneration Act 1976. Parliament passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2019, which makes sexual offences against children gender-neutral, provides for the death penalty for serious crimes and includes child pornography as a crime under the Act. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill 2019, also passed by Parliament, seeks to address gaps and inconsistencies in insolvency resolution timelines and payments received by operational creditors, among other things.

Further Reading:
  1. Akshita Saxena, Highlights of Parliament Monsoon Session 2019, Live Law (August 8, 2019)
  2. The Staff, Parliament passes Consumer Protection Bill, DD News (August 6, 2019)
  3. Tishampati Sen & Riddhi Sancheti, Understanding the Consumer Protection Bill 2019, Live Law (August 7, 2019)
  4. The Staff, Parliament passes Code on Wages for workers, Live Law (August 3, 2019)
  5. Prerna Katiyar, What Code on Wages means for the 50 crore workers it aims to benefit, The Economic Times (August 4, 2019)
“Rubber-band” Secularism: How Islamic and Hindu majoritarianism repurpose colonial legal governance
By Julia Stephens
In the conclusive post of the round-table book discussion, Professor Julia Stephens writes a response to the reviews for “Governing Islam: Law, Empire and Secularism in South Asia”. While analyzing the responses to her book, she simultaneously traces the paradigm of colonial secularism in the contemporary world
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Governing Islam by Julia Stephens: A Response from Dr. Geetanjali Srikantan
By Geetanjali Srikantan
In this piece, the author analyses Julia Stephens’ book through the lens of theories of numerous thinkers. The author discusses the British perception of Mughal law, the philosophy driving the differentiation of Islamic and Hindu law among other themes.
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Kashmir, the Constitution and Article 370: an Explainer
By Chittkrishna Thakkar and Siddharth Sunil
This piece seeks to explain how Jammu & Kashmir’s constitutional status has changed in light of the recent developments and its possible repercussions
Read More
We thank Raghunandan Sriram and Anushree Verma for their assistance in collating the data, and Benjamin Vanlalvena for designing this newsletter.
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Law and Other Things · NALSAR University of Law · Hyderabad, 500101 · India

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