Legal Updates

16th July to 31st July
Issue 28
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  • International Court of Justice delivers verdict in the case of Mr. Kulbhushan Jadhav
The International Court of Justice ordered a stay on the execution of Mr. Kulbhushan Jadav and directed Pakistan to provide effective review and reconsideration of his death sentence. The Court held that Pakistan violated its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), 1963 by not informing Mr. Jadhav of his right to consular access. The Court instructed Pakistan to grant Indian officials consular access to Mr. Jadhav and be allowed to arrange for his legal representation in Court. Mr. Jadhav was arrested by Pakistan in 2016 for suspected involvement in conducting subversive activities in Baluchistan. Since the judgment, Pakistan has agreed to comply with the terms of the verdict.

Further Reading:
  1. Kallol Bhattacharjee, Pakistan must review Kulbhushan Jadhav’s death sentence, rules International Court of Justice, The Hindu (July 17, 2019).
  2. Siddharth Varadarajan, Beyond the Hurrahs, Eight Takeaways from the ICJ Ruling on Kulbhushan Jadav, The Wire (July 18, 2019).
  3. The Wire Staff, ICJ Effect: Pakistan Informs Kulbhushan Jadhav of His Rights to Consular Access, The Wire (July 19, 2019).
  4. Aarishi Tirkey, The Kulbhushan Jadhav verdict: A certain win, with uncertain outcomes, ORF (July 19, 2019). 
  5. Devirupa Mitra, Explainer/Kulbhushan Jadhav Case: The Legal Arguments, The Wire (July 17, 2019).
  6. Khwaja Ahmad Hosain, For Pakistan, the ICJ’s Jadhav ruling Calls For Critical Self-Evaluation, The Wire (July 29, 2019).
  7. Srinivas Burra, India Should Review Its Own Systems in Light of ICJ’s Kulbhushan Jadhav Judgment, The Wire (July 30, 2019).
  8. Abhimanyu George Jain, Does India Meet the Legal Standards It Demanded from Pakistan in the Jadhav case, The Wire (July 31, 2019).
  9. Nayanima Basu, Over 10 days since ICJ’s Kulbhushan Jadav verdict, but no word from Pakistan on consular access, The Print (July 30, 2019).
  • Parliament passes controversial RTI amendment bill
The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by Parliament amidst strong resistance to the bill. The amendment purportedly seeks to give the central government control over salaries, tenure, and terms and conditions of service of the Information Commissioners. Prominent opposition like Indian National Congress, Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party expressed concerns over possible subversion of the Information Commission and consequent elimination of democratic accountability in the country. Information Commissions have been tasked with the responsibility of promoting transparency and accountability in the working of the government. Previously, Information Commissioners had fixed salary and tenure ensuring that they could carry out their functions autonomously.

Further Reading:
  1. Special Correspondent, Lok Sabha passes Bill amending RTI Act amidst strong objection from Opposition, The Hindu (July 22, 2019).
  2. Farheen Ahmad, Anmolam, Subverting the RTI regime, The Hindu (July 23, 2019).
  3. Navneet R., Opinion | Critics of RTI amendment crying foul without much justifiable reason, Livemint (July 30, 2019).
  4. SayantanBera, Five ways to save the spirit of RTI, Livemint (July 29, 2019).
  5. BadriRaina, Amending the RTI Act Is About Cutting Troublesome Citizens Down to Size, The Wire (July 24, 2019).
  6. VenkateshNayak, RTI Amendment, Bill 2018: Contradicts GOI's 2017 policy for Other Tribunals, Law Commission's views and Article 14 of the Constitution, Commonwealth Human Rights  Initiative (July 30, 2018).
  7. Yashovardhan Azad and M Sridhar Acharyulu, RTI: A Bill that may kill a right, Hindustan Times (July 22, 2019).
  8. Alok Prasanna Kumar, The True Dangers of the RTI (Amendment) Bill, Economic and Political Weekly (July 27, 2019).
  • The Triple Talaq bill comes into force
The Parliament passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, and the President assented to it, bringing the Bill into force. The Bill had been tabled in the Parliament in 2017 as well, immediately after a 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court held the practice of triple talaq to be unconstitutional. While the 2017 bill was passed by the Lok Sabha, it failed in the Rajya Sabha. However, the practice of triple talaq was subsequently criminalized by way of an ordinance. The present bill has faced opposition from various parties on grounds that there was no point in criminalizing a practice that has already been struck down by the Supreme Court, and that marriage under Muslim law is a civil contract and should not be turned into a criminal law. All India Muslim Personal Law Board has said that it will challenge the bill in the Supreme Court.

Further Reading:
  1. India Today Web Desk, History made, triple talaq bill passed by Parliament, India Today (July 30, 2019).
  2. Pinaki Chakraborty, Triple talaq bill: Key things to know, The Times of India (July 30, 2019).
  3. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019, PRS Legislative Research.
  4. ET Bureau, ET View: Passage of Triple Talaq Bill a moment of great import for India’s legislative history, The Economic Times (July 31, 2019).
  5. PTI, Send triple talaq bill to select committee, says Oppn in RS, India Today (July 30, 2019).
  6. Scroll Staff, Triple talaq bill is a ‘complete charade’ and against minorities, say civil society members, (July 31, 2019).
  7. Mohammad Sajjad, View: Triple Talaq bill fails to address the crucial aspect of 'maintenance', The Economic Times (August 1, 2019).
  • The Transgender Rights bill introduced in Lok Sabha
The government introduced the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019 in the Lok Sabha. The bill makes a departure from the one that was tabled in the Parliament last year by doing away with the requirement of appearing before a screening committee to be declared a transgender and by decriminalizing beggary (by transgenders). The bill was first introduced in the Parliament in 2016 in light of the Supreme Court judgment in National Legal Service Authority v. Union of India recognizing people’s right to self-perceived gender identity. However, the draft bill fell short of the expectations of the stakeholders involved, and hence it was referred to the standing committee on Social Justice and Empowerment. The committee suggested changes such as broadening the definition of “transgender person”, making provisions for their civil rights of marriage, divorce and adoption, decriminalizing beggary by them etc. In light of the committee’s report, an amended bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in 2018. However, the 2018 bill again faced widespread criticism, resulting in the introduction of the present bill.

Further Reading:
  1. Nidhi Sharma, Transgender Rights Bill introduced in Lok Sabha, may be taken up next week, The Economic Times (July 20, 2019).
  2. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, PRS Legislative Research.
  3. EDT, India: Transgender Bill Raises Rights Concerns, Human Rights Watch (July 23, 2019).
  4. ‘Trans Bill Fails to Protect Trans People’: Human Rights Orgs, The Quint (July 23, 2019).
  5. Grace Banu, Five reasons why the LGBTQIA+ community finds the Transgender Bill 2018 offensive and undemocratic, Indian Express (December 27, 2019).
  6. Rohan Abraham, All you need to know about the Transgender Persons Bill, 2016, the Hindu (November 30, 2017).
  • The Supreme Court extends the NRC deadline to 31 August 2019
The Supreme Court extended the deadline for publishing the final draft of Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) till August 31, 2019. This is the seventh time the deadline has been extended. The first notification by the Centre in 2013 fixed March 31, 2017 as the deadline, but after a series of extensions, the deadline was finally set at July 31, 2019 until the recent order by the Supreme Court extended it further by a month. However, the court rejected the joint plea of Centre and Assam government for reverification of 20% of the draft NRC as it felt that the same was not needed.  A report by the NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela indicated that 27% of the draft has already been reverified. Assam is the only state having an NRC. It was first prepared in 1951, and is being updated now to identify illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries, especially Bangladesh. Those who are not included in the NRC may face deportation or jail.

Further Reading:
  1., SC extends Assam NRS deadline to August 31, rejects pleas for 20% sample re-verification, The Times of India (July 23, 2019).
  2. Faizan Mustafa, Who is a citizen — in Assam, India?, The Indian Express (June 6, 2018).
  3. TT Bureau, Everything you want to know about the NRC, The Telegraph (July 30, 2019).
  4. Kalpana Sharma, The many hurdles in proving citizenship, The Hindu (July 17, 2019).
  5. Editorial, Inclusion over exclusion: on Assam NRC, The Hindu (July 20, 2019).
  6. Sruthysagar Yamunan, How the Supreme Court's hardline stance on citizenship deepened the flaws in Assam’s NRC, (July 31, 2019).
  7. Rajeev Bhattacharyya, Why the Deadline For Final NRC Draft Should be Extended Beyond July 31, News18 (July 21, 2019).
  8. Makhan Saikia, Citizenship Bill: What troubles Assam?, The Pioneer (January 13, 2019).
  • Bombay High Court quashes clearances granted to a 14,000-crore road project

A division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice N.M. Jamdar invalidated a host of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances given to an INR 14,000 crore coastal road project. Clearances were granted by three bodies – the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), Expert Assessment Committee (EAC) under the Ministry of Environment and Forest, and the Ministry of Environment and Forest. The proposed project sought to connect Marine Drive in south Mumbai to Borivali in north Mumbai through a coastal road which would have shortened travel from two hours to forty minutes. The Court, after exhaustively examining the record, held that approvals were granted without the backing of scientific studies detailing the impacts of the project and hence should be quashed. Furthermore, the Supreme Court refused to stay the order of the Bombay High Court.

Further Reading:
  1. Scroll Staff, Bombay High Court quashes CRZ clearance for coastal road project, says environmental nod is required, (July 16, 2019).
  2. Japnam Bindra, Mumbai coastal road project: SC refuses to stay HC’s decision quashing CRZ clearance, Livemint (July 27, 2019).
  3. TNN, Bombay HC halts Costal Road project, says green clearances illegal, The Times of India (July 17, 2019).
  4. Shweta Wagh and Hussain Indorewala, Why the Bombay High Court Decisively Stopped the Coastal Road Project, The Wire (July 25, 2019).
  5. Nitish Kashyap, Coastal Road Project, Bombay HC Sets Aside CRZ 2011 Clearance granted by MCZMA, MOEF and EAC to South Section, (July 16, 2019).
  6. Sowmiya Ashok, What the new Coastal Regulation Zone draft says, how it differs from the earlier version, The Indian Express (April 23, 2018).
  • European Court of Justice rules that companies using Facebook ‘like’ button are responsible for user information

The European Court of Justice ruled that companies embedding Facebook’s ‘like’ option to increase visibility of the companies’ goods on Facebook are bound to seek user consent before transferring user’s personal data to Facebook. Under data protection regulations of the European Union, any information of a user (data subject) such as name, location and identities of the user cannot be processed until consent has been obtained from the user. The Court held that operators of websites with Facebook’s like button must obtain prior consent of its visitors with respect to the collection and transmission of data.

Further Reading:
  1. Keegan Boyle, EU court: companies liable for embedding Facebook like button on website, Jurist (July 30, 2019).
  2. Foo Yun Chee, Companies using Facebook 'Like' button liable for data: EU court, Reuters (July 29, 2019).
  3. Catalin Cimpanu, EU Court of Justice ruling may spell the death of social like and share buttons, ZDNet (July 29, 2019).
  4. Susanna Lindroos-Hovinheimo, Who controls our data? The legal reasoning of the European Court of Justice in Wirtschaftsakademie Schleswig-Holstein and Tietosuojavaltuutettu v Jehovantodistajat, Taylor and Francis Online (May 25, 2019).
Governing Islam by Julia Stephens: A Response from Jhuma Sen
By Jhuma Sen
In this review, Jhuma Sen looks into Stephens' observation of the religious/secular divide and the role that the Courts have placed into the same. Further, exploring the "colonial women litigants" and looking at transformation vis women's rights under Hindu Law and Muslim Law.
Read More
Governing Islam by Julia Stephens: A Response from Professor Jeffrey Redding
By Jeffrey A. Redding
In this review, Jeffrey Redding looks at Stephens' historical analysis of the legal operationalization of secularism in colonial South Asia and her conclusion regarding the secularism dilemma, and the troubled pasts and presents of the same.
Read More
We thank Kanu Garg and Jonathan Rajan 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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