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Legal Updates

16th November to 30th November
{2018}
Issue 16
Hi, welcome to our legal newsletter, we publish this newsletter fortnightly.
  • Delhi Court awards 1st death sentence in the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots case
Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Pandey recognized that incidents like the anti-Sikh riots attempt to destroy the fabric of trust between communities. In that light, he sentenced one convict to death, while awarding life imprisonment to another. These convictions are a result of the re-opening of investigation by the SIT (Special Investigation Team) after the case was closed by the Delhi Police in 1994 due to the lack of evidence. This SIT was constituted in 2015 by the Home Ministry of India to probe 186 cases related to these riots, which led to a fresh charge sheet being filed in 2017. The verdict has been welcomed by political parties and leaders as well as the victims of the riots.

Further Reading:
  1. PTI, Breaking: Delhi Court Awards First Death Sentence in Anti-Sikh Riots Case, LiveLaw.in (November 20, 2018).
  2. Richa Banka, 1984 riots: One sentenced to death, another to life for killing two Sikhs, Hindustan Times (November 20, 2018).
  3. Scroll Staff, 1984 anti-Sikh riots: Man sentenced to death in murder case, another gets life sentence, Scroll.in (November 20, 2018).
  4. Express Web Desk, 1984 anti-Sikh riots: SC gives nod to two-member SIT to probe cases, The Indian Express (December 4, 2018).
  • NGT imposes fines on various governments for non-compliance
The National Green Tribunal has imposed fines worth several crores on State and City governments for failure to comply with orders and directions to curb environmental pollution. The fines range from about fifty crores on governments of Punjab and Karnataka, to about five crores on the Delhi Jal Board and West Bengal Government. Whether this is bound to bring in better compliance on the part of governments is yet to be seen.

Further Reading:
  1. Gitanjali Nain Gill, Environmental Justice in India: The National Green Tribunal and Expert Members, Transnational Environmental Law (April 2016)
  2. Prerna Singh Bindra, We Don’t Just Have An Environmental Crisis, But A Govt In Denial As Well, IndiaSpend (February 18, 2018)
  3. Madhulika Verma, Can India bear cost of Government’s apathy & inaction on air pollution? Green Peace (October 12, 2018)
  4. Report on environmental compliance and enforcement in India, United States Environmental Protection Agency (December 2005)
  5. Manju Menon & Kanchi Kohli, Environmental Regulation in India - Moving ‘Forward’ in the Old Direction, Economic and Political Weekly (December 15, 2015)
  6. Shashwat Pandey, Does India Require Environmental Super-Regulator: A Critical Analysis of the Extant and Innovate, Procedia Earth and Planetary Science (2015)
  • Justice Kurian Joseph retires from the Supreme Court of India
Justice Kurian Joseph retired on 29th November 2018 after serving as a Supreme Court judge for almost five years. He has delivered landmark judgments on important issues like the Triple Talaq and NJAC. He was also one of the four senior judges of the Supreme Court who had held a press conference in January 2018 that raised questions about the powers of the Chief Justice of India. Justice Joseph began his career as a practicing lawyer in the Kerala High Court in 1979, and at the age of 42 years, he became the youngest advocate in Kerala to be designated as a Senior Advocate. He served as the Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court before being elevated to the Supreme Court in 2013.

Further Reading:
  1. HT Correspondent, Justice Kurian Joseph retires from Supreme Court after five-and-a-half-year tenure, Hindustan Times (November 30, 2018).
  2. Scroll Staff, Supreme Court Justice Kurian Joseph retires, Scroll.in (November 29, 2018).
  3. Krishnadas Rajagopal, Judges are appointed to uphold the Constitution and not their faith: Justice Kurian Joseph, The Hindu (December 5, 2018).
  4. Tanvi Patel, India’s ‘Passionate, Compassionate’ Judge Retires: 5 Landmark Judgments by Justice Kurian Joseph, The Better India (November 30, 2018).
  5. Ashok Kini, Day After His Retirement, SC Appoints Justice Kurian Joseph As Mediator In A Case Pending In SC Since 2005, LiveLaw.in (December 3, 2018).
  6. The Wire Staff, We thought the ex-CJI was under ‘External Influences’ : Kurian Joseph, The Wire (December 3, 2018).
  • India observed Constitution Day on 26th November
Law Day or the Constitution Day was celebrated on 26th November to mark the day on which the Indian Constitution was adopted by our Constituent Assembly. The celebration was in consonance with a notification issued by the Union Government on 19th November 2015 which provided for 26th November 2015 to be observed as the 1st Law Day. A day-long programme was organized in the Supreme Court. The event was attended by judges as well as political leaders like Ravi Shankar Prasad and Venkaiah Naidu. Remarkably, the day marked the release of the Constitution in Braille so as to make it accessible to visually impaired people.

Further Reading:
  1. Express Web Desk, Constitution Day 2018: Why and how is it celebrated?, The Indian Express (November 26, 2018).
  2. FirstPost Staff, Constitution Day 2018: Duty to save Samvidhan a shared initiative between judiciary, executive and legislative, says President Ram Nath Kovind, FirstPost (November 26, 2018).
  3. Mehal Jain, Constitution Is An Integral Part Of Lives Of People, Voice Of The Marginalized And The Prudence Of Majority: CJI Gogoi, LiveLaw.in (November 26, 2018).
  4. PTI, Govt has nothing to do with Constitution Day celebrations, says CJI, The Times of India (November 26, 2018).
  5. Apoorva Mandhani, On Constitution Day, Justice Bobde Remembers 15 Female Members Of Constituent Assembly, Says They’re Not Given Enough Credit, Livelaw.in (November 27, 2018).
  • U.S. States of Ohio and Mississippi deliberate on controversial laws on abortion
The Senate of Midwestern U.S. State of Ohio passed the Heartbeat Bill which sought to ban abortions after the heartbeat of the fetus is heard, which medical experts claim can be as early as six weeks into the pregnancy. The Bill has been opposed by many medical experts as well as proponents of pro-choice school of thought since many women are unaware about their pregnancy in the first six weeks. This makes it nearly impossible to take the crucial decision to keep the baby or abort the fetus. The Bill also poses a threat to the settled position taken by the American Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. On the other hand, a Mississippi law that banned abortion after 15 weeks of gestation was blocked by Federal Judge Carlton Reeves, who observed that the State chose to pass the law knowing that it was unconstitutional merely to fulfil a decade-long campaign and thus, it could not stand on any grounds.

Further Reading:
  1. Christina Caron, Ohio House Passes Bill to Criminalize Abortions of Fetuses With a Heartbeat, The New York Times (November 16, 2018).
  2. Erin McCarthy Holliday, Ohio House approves abortion ‘heartbeat bill’, Jurist (November 16, 2018).
  3. Kellie L. Copeland, Ohio lawmakers need to consider the serious implications of their heartbeat bill vote for Ohio women and reproductive freedoms (Opinion), Cleveland (December 5, 2018).
  4. Rachel Sklar, Why the 'Heartbeat Law' should worry you, CNN (December 10, 2016).
  5. US Judge blocks Mississippi 15-week abortion ban, BBC (November 21, 2018).
  6. Emanuella Grinberg, Judge notes 'sad irony' of men deciding abortion rights as he strikes Mississippi's abortion law, CNN (November 21, 2018).
  7. A J Willingham & Jen Christensen, The abortion debate is more complex than you think, CNN (June 27, 2016).
  • Mexico, Canada, US leaders sign the United States Mexico Canada Agreement
Leaders from United States, Mexico and Canada signed a new trade deal on November 30th. The new agreement is set to replace the 24 year-old North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (the NAFTA). Donald Trump has for long criticised NAFTA, which he had sought to replace since taking office. The agreement includes newer chapters such as digital trade, intellectual property, anti-corruption, among others over and above the existing chapters on labour, tariff schedules, etc.

Further Reading:
  1. Heather Long, U.S., Canada and Mexico just reached a sweeping new NAFTA deal, Washington Post (October 1, 2018)
  2. Sheng Lu, New NAFTA 2.0 – The devil is in the detail, Just Style (October 12, 2018)
  3. Alan Rappeport, The Making of a New Nafta: The Canada Letter, New York Times (October 1, 2018)
  4. Lamine Hardaway, Birgit Matthiesen & David Hamill, New NAFTA: implications on US financial services industry, International Law Office (December 7, 2018)
  5. Lawrence Ashery, The 'New NAFTA' and How It Will Affect Intellectual Property Law, The Legal Intelligence (October 23, 2018)
  6. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Trump’s new trade deal is better for workers than NAFTA was, Vox (November 30, 2018)
ICYMI
Ghost Report in Rafale deal
By Tarunabh Khaitan
This short post analyses the judgement by the Supreme Court of India regarding the Rafale deal and it's apparent reliance on an allegedly non-existent report.
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We thank Bhavisha Sharma and Vishal Rakhecha for their assistance in collating the data, and Benjamin Vanlalvena for designing this newsletter.
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