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Legal Updates

1st November to 15th November
{2018}
Issue 15
Hi, welcome to our legal newsletter, we publish this newsletter fortnightly.
  • Delhi High Court convicts 16 policemen in the Hashimpura massacre case
The Delhi High Court convicted sixteen former Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and police personnel and sentenced them to life imprisonment in the Hashimpura massacre of 1987. The Court overturned the Trial Court’s 2015 acquittal of the  policemen on charges of murder and other crimes. The division bench comprising Justice Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel described the massacre as a ‘targeted killing of unarmed and defenceless people’ by the police.It convicted the policemen on charges of murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy, and destruction of evidence and termed it as “another instance of custodial killings”.

Further Reading:
  1. Soibam Rocky Singh,Hashimpura massacre a case of custodial deaths, says Delhi High Court, The Hindu (October 31, 2018).
  2. Express News Service, Delayed 31 years, Hashimpura justice: 16 cops get life in jail, The Indian Express (November 2, 2018).
  3. Editorial, Hashimpura’s scars, The Indian Express (November 2, 2018).
  4. Vrinda Grover,Where prejudice is crime,The Indian Express (November 6, 2018).
  5. Editorial Board, Ending impunity: on Hashimpura massacre, The Hindu (November 1, 2018).
  6. Harsh Mander, Hashimpura: 31 years after custodial massacre of Muslims by men in uniform, justice is incomplete, Scroll.in (November 2, 2018).
  • Madras High Court stays the online sale of medicines
Justice R Mahadevan of the Madras High Court has granted an injunction restraining the unlicensed sale of medicines and drugs through e-pharmacies. This comes in response to a writ petition filed by the Tamil Nadu Chemists and Druggists Association, asking the Madras High Court to block all such websites which sell Schedule H, H1 and X medicines as this violates the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945. The Court has agreed to hear the case challenging the online sale of medicines on November 19th, 2018. Earlier in the year, the Union Health Ministry had come up with draft rules on sale of drugs by e-pharmacies in order to regulate the online sale of medicines across India.

Further Reading:
  1. Mohamed Imranullah S, Madras HC bans online sale of drugs, The Hindu (November 1, 2018).
  2. Suresh Kumar, No authority to ban online sale of medicines, government informs HC, Times of India (November 20, 2018).
  3. PTI, Health Ministry comes out with draft rules on sale of drugs by e-pharmacy, Economic Times (September 1, 2018).
  4. Teena Thacker, E-pharmacies may be regulated by Dec, Livemint (November 22, 2018).
  5. Rabindra Jhunjhunwala, Deepti Agheda, Proposed e-pharmacy amendments: Will govt align it with e-commerce rules?, Fortune India (August 22, 2018).
  6. Jyothi Datta, Race for recognition: e-pharmacies enter last leg, Business Line (September 14, 2018).
  • CCI Rejects price fixing allegations against Ola, Uber
The Competition Commission of India held that Ola and Uber do not contravene the provisions of Section 3 of the Competition Act, 2002, which pertains to anti-competitive agreements. As per Section 3, any agreement which causes or is likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect (AAE) on competition in India is deemed anti-competitive. The Commission rejected the allegations of price fixing against the app-based taxi services. The informant Samir Agrawal had alleged that the algorithmic pricing prevented riders from negotiating fares with individual drivers for rides obtained through the apps and that the drivers and the aggregators work akin to a ‘hub and spoke’ arrangement. However, the Commission opined that drivers acceding to “algorithmically determined prices” by the platforms did not amount to collusion between them.

Further Reading:
  1. PTI,CCI Rejects Price Fixing Allegations Against Ola, Uber, Bloomberg Quint (November 6, 2018).
  2. Manu Sebastian, Ola, Uber Not Fixing Prices in Violation of Competition Act: Competition Commission, LiveLaw.in (November 7, 2018).
  3. Devika, “Meeting of minds” a sine qua non for contravention of Section 3 of Competition Act; no merit in case against Ola, Uber: CCI, Scc Online (November 12, 2018).
  4. Joyjayanti Chatterjee, Would an Ola-Uber Merger in India get the Competition Commission’s Approval?, The Wire (April 29, 2018).
  • CJI observes that the CVC report against Verma is mixed, gives Verma opportunity to respond
Recently, in the ongoing high profile CBI case, the Apex court observed that the findings of the Central Vigilance Commission report against CBI Director AlokVerma are mixed , and that he should be given the time to respond. Previously, the top two officials of the CBI, Director Mr. AlokVerma and special director Rakesh Asthana, levelled corruption allegations and filed complaints against each other. Pursuant to this, the Central government ordered that both of them be sent on leave until investigation against them were complete. These orders were challenged by each of them in the Apex Court, which led to the aforesaid case. A public interest litigation was also filed by the NGO Common Cause, which challenged Verma’s removal, and alleged that this was an attempt to interfere with the independence of CBI, since preference was being given to Mr Asthana, who is closer to the Prime Minister.

Further Reading:
  1. Mehal Jain, CBI-AlokVerma Case : ‘CVC Report Against Alok Verma Mixed’, Says CJI, SC Orders To Give Copy To Verma For His Reply, LiveLaw.in (November 16, 2018).
  2. CBI Vs CBI: Crucial Hearing Tomorrow, LiveLaw.in (November 11, 2018).
  3. Poonam Agarwal, , (October 30, 2018)
  4. Mythreyee Ramesh, CBI vs. CBI: All about the Midnight Government’s Midnight order and what followed, The Quint (October 24, 2018)
  • Apex Court reserves judgment in the Rafale deal case
Recently, the Supreme Court reserved its judgement in the case of the Rafale deal. The case arose out of the petitions that alleged corruption in the Rafale deal and sought a court monitored probe into it. The petitions allege that the entire process of procurement of the Rafale jets began in 2007, and the agreement was to buy 126 aircrafts for Rs. 700 crores each, out of which 108 would be made in India. However, in 2015 after the Prime Minister’s visit to France, a new deal to directly buy 36 aircrafts for Rs. 1600 crores each was made, on the condition that 50% of the value of the contract be given to Indian Companies. The PIL alleges that the Indian government informally conveyed that Reliance be given these offset contracts and thus, the above changes were made to favour Reliance. The Centre argued that this was a sensitive matter that lies in the domain of experts, and should not be decided by judicial review. It also contended that the intergovernmental agreement with France contained a secrecy agreement wherein certain information can only be disclosed with the permission of the French government.

Further Reading:
  1. Live Law News Network, CJI-Led Bench Of SC To Consider Petitions On Rafale Deal Tomorrow, LiveLaw.in (October 30, 2018)
  2. Rakesh Sood, Decoding the Rafale Controversy, (October 16, 2018)
  3. Mehal Jain, [Rafale] [Session 1] : SC Agrees Not To Examine Pricing Details Of The Deal Now, LiveLaw.in (November 14, 2018)
  4. Mehal Jain, Rafale: This Is A Matter For Experts To Examine, Not A Case For Judicial Review : AG KK Venugopal To SC, LiveLaw.in (November 14, 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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