Legal Updates

1st May to 15th May
Issue 23
Hi, welcome to our legal newsletter, we publish this newsletter fortnightly.
  • Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhardeclared an international terrorist
On 1 May 2019, Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar was designated as a “terrorist” by the Security Council 1267 Committee, after China withdrew its prior objections to the same. Azhar has thus been officially listed in the United Nations Sanctions list. The reasons given for sanctioning Azhar included his association with the terror outfit Al-Qaeda and his participation in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities of terror. The listing is a victory for India in a decade-old diplomatic battle, as it would mean a travel ban, arms embargo and asset freeze on Azhar.

Further Reading:
  1. Sriram Lakshman, Suhasini Haidar, UN designates JeM chief Masood Azhar as global terrorist, The Hindu (May 1, 2019)
  2. Editorial, After Azhar, The Indian Express (May 3, 2019)
  3. Prakash Katoch, India’s misplaced euphoria over Masood Azhar, Asia Times (May 7, 2019)
  4. Asad Hashim, Profile: What is Jaish-e-Muhammad, Al Jazeera (May 2, 2019)
  5. Suhasini Haidar, Who is Masood Azhar, and why did India release him in 1999?, The Hindu (February 23, 2019)
  • Chief Justices appointed for Chhattisgarh, Karnataka High Courts
Justice PR Ramachandra Menon and Justice AbayShreeniwas Oka were appointed to the Chhattisgarh and Karnataka High Courts respectively. Justice PR Ramachandra Menon took oath as Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court, which had fallen vacant after the resignation of Chief Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi. Meanwhile, Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka was sworn in as the new Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, taking over from Acting Chief Justice Lingappa Narayana Swamy.

Further Reading:
  1. PTI, Justice Ramachandra Menon sworn in as Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh, Business Standard (May 6, 2019)
  2. The Staff, Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka takes oath as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, The New Indian Express (May 10, 2019)
  3. Suhrith Parthasarathy, Criteria for the courts: on the appointment of judges, The Hindu (November 20, 2018)
  4. Hemant Singh, What is the Collegium System and how it works?, Jagran Josh (May 9, 2019)
  • Singapore Parliament passes anti-fake news bill
Singapore’s Parliament passed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill by a vote of 72-9. The law bans false communications as determined by the government on any online platform, on the grounds of “public interest.” The law provides neither guidance nor does it outline clear standards on how to determine which statements may be taken down. Human rights organizations have condemned the Bill for restricting freedom of speech and open discussion online, giving the Singapore government power to single-handedly decide what is “true” and what is “false”.

Further Reading:
  1. Tessa Wong, Singapore fake news law polices chats and social media platforms, BBC News (May 9, 2019)
  2. Emma Charlton, Fake news: What it is, and how to spot it, World Economic Forum (March 6, 2019)
  3. The Staff, Factbox: ‘Fake News’ laws around the world, Reuters (April 2, 2019)
  4. The Staff, Singapore: Free Expression Targeted, Human Rights Watch (January 17, 2019)
  5. Sanjana Varghese, A huge study into the impact of fake news has surprising results, Wired (January 28,  2019)
  • Iran ends compliance with 2015 nuclear deal
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran will no longer limit the use of its enriched uranium and produced heavy water, thus ending its compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The announcement was made exactly one year after US President Donald Trump abandoned the entire agreement in May 2018, which limited Iran’s capacity in producing nuclear fuel for 15 years in exchange for the lifting of crippling oil and financial sanctions on the country.

Further Reading:
  1. The Staff, Iran nuclear deal: Tehran may increase uranium enrichment, BBC News (May 8, 2019)
  2. Reuters, Europe sees China and India as last hope to save Iran nuclear deal, but expects it to collapse, Firspost (May 10, 2019)
  3. The Staff, Iran nuclear deal: Key details, BBC News (May 7, 2019)
  4.  Zack Beauchamp, Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, explained, Vox (May 8, 2018)
  5. Jonathan Tirone, Iran’s Nuclear Program, Bloomberg (May 9, 2019)
  • NCDRC to examine whether student of an institution is a 'consumer' or not
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has referred the question whether a "student" of an educational institution is a "consumer" or not, as defined in the Consumer Protection Act 1986, to a three-member bench for examination. The matters before the NCDRC were filed by a group of students against the Vinayaka Mission University, held guilty of misrepresenting to MBBS aspirants about its “affiliation” to Thailand University. Previous benches of the NCDRC have held that a student of an educational institution is not a "consumer, since an educational institution does not provide a "service" as defined under the Act. As a result of this, students have lost the benefit of a cost-effective forum for the redressal of their grievances.

Further Reading:
  1. Shayesta Nazir, Larger bench of NCRDC to examine whether student of an institution is a consumer or not, Live Law (May 12, 2019)
  2. The Staff, What is the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Official Website of NCDRD
  3. Amarjot Kaur, Education not a consumer dispute, says commission, The Tribune (March 5, 2019)
  4. The Staff, Services under the Consumer Protection Act, Legal Service India
  5. Sudarshna Thapa, Can You Sue An Educational Institution Under Consumer Protection Act?, I Pleaders (May 3, 2018)
  6. Rebecca Furtado, All you need to know about Consumer Protection Laws in India, I Pleaders (September 13, 2016)
  • SC upholds constitutional validity of reservation in promotion for SC, ST staff
The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of the Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (to the Posts in the Civil Services of the State)Act 2018. The said enactment provided for consequential seniority to persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes promoted under the reservation policy of the State of Karnataka. The Reservation Act 2018 is a valid exercise of the enabling power conferred by Article 16 (4A) of the Constitution, the bench added, while reasoning that “it does not amount to a usurpation of judicial power by the state legislature.”

Further Reading:
  1. Ashok Kini, SC upholds constitutional validity of 2018 Karnataka law granting reservation in promotion for SC-ST staff, Live Law (May 10, 2019)
  2. Gautam Bhatia, Reservations in promotions and the idea of efficiency: BK Pavitra v. Union of India, Indian Constitutional Law and Philosophy (May 10, 2019)
  3. Faizan Mustafa, Explained: “Efficiency” and promotion quota, The Indian Express (May 21, 2019)
  4. The Staff, Explainer: Significance of the Supreme Court’s nod to reservation in promotions, The Wire (May 12, 2019)
  5. Anurag Bhaskar, Supreme Court just destroyed the ‘merit’ argument upper castes use to oppose reservations, The Print (May 16, 2019)
  6. Sandipan Deb, Opinion | The new Supreme Court definition of merit is confusing, Live Mint (May 17, 2019)
  • Supreme Court allows conditional release of declared foreigners in Assam’s detention centres
A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna ordered the conditional release of “declared foreigners” who had been living in detention centres in Assam for more than three years awaiting deportation. This order has been passed on a petition which was originally filed by social activist Harsh Mander highlighting the appalling conditions in the detention centres. The SC order outlines five conditions for release, including bond amount, verifiable address, biometrics data, notification of any change in address to the police and presentation before Foreigners Tribunals in case of violation of any of the conditions.

Further Reading:
  1. The Staff, SC allows conditional release of declared foreigners languishing in Assam’s detention centres, The Leaflet (May 11, 2019)
  2. Aman Wadud, “Foreigners” in Assam tribunals are just unlucky Indians fighting cruel paperwork demands, The Print (May 17, 2019)
  3. Ipsita Chakravarty, Road to Citizens Register: A timeline showing the milestones in Assam’s history from 1947 to 2018, Scroll (August 6, 2018)
  4. The Staff, A report and documentary on Assam’s detention centres, Amnesty International India
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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