Newsletter on Indian and International Legal Affairs An initiative of RMN Foundation humanitarian organization VOL. II | ISSUE 2 | February 2019
Legal Directions Law Simplified By Rakesh Raman
Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro. Photo: UNODC
Main Stories in This Issue - Supreme Court Directs to Form Lokpal - Online Course on Environmental Law - Role of English in the Legal Profession - Free eCourts Services in India - Artificial Intelligence in Justice System
- Sextortion in the Judiciary - DNA Technology Regulation Bill - Van Jones to Lead REFORM Alliance - Debates on Supreme Court Judgments - Criminal Court to Release Laurent Gbagbo
Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. February 2019 2
No Debates on Supreme Court Judgments in Parliament As per Article 105, Houses of Parliament are masters of their powers and privileges. India’s Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Vijay Goel, stated in Rajya Sabha in January that no debate will take place in the Parliament about the judges and court judgments. Goel was giving a written reply to a question on debates in Parliament on judgments of Supreme Court.
The Minister said as per Article 121 of the Constitution of India, "No discussion shall take place in Parliament with respect to the conduct of any Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court in the discharge of their duties except upon a motion for presenting an address to the President praying for the removal of the Judge.” He further stated that as per Article 118 of the Constitution, each House of Parliament may make rules regulating, subject to the provisions of the Constitution, its procedure and conduct of its Business. Discussions in Rajya Sabha are governed by Rules of Procedure and conduct of Business in the Council of States and Directions by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha. As per Article 105, Houses of Parliament are masters of their powers and privileges. As such this question relates to the proceedings of the Parliament and inadmissible under rule 47(2), (viii), (xviii), and (xx). However, as per record of this Ministry no discussion on such subject has taken place during the last three years, Goel added.
Exposing and Preventing Sextortion in the Judiciary The main barrier to the effective fight against sextortion is the victims' fear of exposing perpetrators. By Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro. Courtesy: UNODC Sextortion, as defined by the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ), is the abuse of power to obtain a sexual benefit or advantage. As such, it is a form of corruption in which sex, rather than money, is the currency of the bribe.
It is not limited to certain countries or sectors, and can be found wherever those entrusted with power lack integrity and try to sexually exploit those who are vulnerable and dependent on their power.
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The IAWJ has succinctly explained the principle underlying sextortion as follows: what distinguishes sextortion from other types of sexually abusive conduct is that it has both a sexual component and a corruption component.
Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro. Photo: UNODC The sexual component of sextortion arises from a request - whether implicit or explicit - to engage in any kind of unwanted sexual activity, ranging from sexual intercourse to exposing private body parts. The corruption component stems from the person demanding the sexual favor occupying a position of authority, which they abuse by seeking to exact, or by accepting, a sexual favor in exchange for exercising the power entrusted to them. In other words, the perpetrator exercises their authority for their own gain. It is important to recognize that sextortion violates fundamental ethical standards, because even if an act may not technically constitute a violation of a penal law, people in authority should still not misuse their power by seducing subordinates and individuals over whom they exercise authority, or by enticing them to grant them sexual favors.
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The main barrier to the effective fight against sextortion is the victims' fear of exposing perpetrators, fearing possible reprisals which could include a demotion, the withholding of benefits, or even the loss of their job. Moreover, lawyers may refuse to represent the victims of judges for similar reasons, fearing it may adversely affect their practice of law before the courts. Raising awareness by introducing the term into public dialogue, and by holding perpetrators accountable, will help us on the path to ending sextortion in the judiciary. You can click here to read the full article. Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro served as the first female Chief Justice for the Supreme Court of the Philippines and is the former President of the International Association of Women Judges.
Supreme Court Directs Indian Govt to Form Anti-Corruption Body Lokpal The Lokpal Act envisages establishment of Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to investigate cases of corruption against public servants. India’s Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions said on January 30 that the first meeting of the search committee for recommending a panel of names for appointment as Chairperson and Members of the Lokpal was held on 29th January, 2019. It was stated that all the members of the committee were present during the meeting. According to the government statement, the committee decided to invite applications / nominations from eligible persons to be considered for the position of Chairperson and Members of Lokpal through an advertisement at the earliest. The committee will meet again within a fortnight to carry on further deliberations. While the government had been delaying the constitution of Lokpal, the meeting was held because the Supreme Court of India has set up a February-end deadline for shortlisting the candidates for the appointment as Chairperson and Members of Lokpal by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi-led selection committee. The eight-member search committee formed to select members of the anti-corruption ombudsman (Lokpal) is headed by former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai. The Lokpal Act, which envisages establishment of Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to investigate cases of corruption against public servants, was passed in 2013.
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While Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge was taken as a “special invitee” in the selection committee, he has been repeatedly boycotting the meeting with the demand that he should be made a formal member of the committee. Kharge has urged the government to amend the Lokpal Act through an ordinance to include the leader of the single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha in the selection committee. According to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, only the leader of the opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha is a
member of the selection committee and since Kharge does not have that status, he is not a part of the panel. A party should have at least 55 seats or 10 percent of the strength of the Lok Sabha for its leader to get the LoP status. Congress is the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha but its leader could not be given the LoP status as it does not have the requisite number of seats to get that status. The other members in the Lokpal selection committee - headed by the PM – are Lok Sabha speaker, leader of the opposition (LoP), the chief justice of India or a judge nominated by the chief justice, and a jurist nominated by the President or any other member. President Ram Nath Kovind had nominated Mukul Rohatgi, former Attorney General of India as the jurist member of the committee.
Role of English in the Legal Profession A research paper highlights the risks of language limitations in the Indian judiciary and argues that the Indian courts are not yet ready to work in English language. As the English language used in Indian courts is mostly incorrect, the onus is on law schools to properly educate the students so they could survive in the communications-driven world. A research paper highlights the risks of language limitations in the Indian judiciary and argues that the Indian courts are not yet ready to work in English language. With the help of various examples, the paper reveals that the language used in Indian courts is so bad that it is not possible to make heads or tails of the text written in the court documents, including petitions and orders. The language flaws include grammatical errors, convoluted sentences, semantic problems, wrong connotations, ambiguous phrases, and gender bias.
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The paper also suggests a number of solutions to overcome the language problems. It says that at present the Indian law colleges and universities are not properly equipped to teach English to students. However, these institutes must start dedicated English academic centers to teach the language systematically.
The courts should set up dedicated content management departments to ensure language correctness and consistency in legal documents. Similarly, courts should make proper arrangements to impart English training to judges and court staff.
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Technology can also be helpful in future, as the courts and legal professionals can use artificial intelligence to create legal documents. The paper further suggests that the whole language reformation must start with the creation of style guides to produce content-grade English. You can click here to download the consultative paper.
DNA Regulation Bill Will Violate Right to Privacy: Congress Government says that the Bill will add value in empowering the criminal justice delivery system by enabling the application of DNA evidence. According to the Government of India, the Lok Sabha passed “The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill - 2019” on January 8. The Bill has been formulated recognizing the need for regulation of the use and application of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology for establishing identity of missing persons, victims, offenders, undertrials, and unknown deceased persons.
However, the opposition party Congress has condemned the Bill saying that it will violate the
citizens’ right to privacy. “The DNA Regulation Bill passed by the BJP government violates our Fundamental Right to Privacy by failing to provide safeguards for the protection of citizens' data,” Congress said. According to the government, the purpose of this Bill is to expand the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country. The government argues that the utility of DNA based technologies for solving crimes, and to identify missing persons, is well recognized across the world. By providing for the mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA laboratories, the Bill seeks to ensure that with the proposed expanded use of this technology in the country, there is also
the assurance that the DNA test results are reliable, and the data remains protected from misuse or abuse in terms of the privacy rights of citizens. The key components of this Bill include: establishment of a DNA Regulatory Board; accreditation of DNA laboratories undertaking DNA testing, analysing, etc., and the establishment of the National and Regional DNA Data Banks, as envisaged in the Bill, will assist in forensic investigations.
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This will aid in scientific upgradation and streamlining of the DNA testing activities in the country with appropriate inputs from the DNA Regulatory Board which would be set up for the purpose, the government said.
The government statement adds that the Bill will add value in empowering the criminal justice delivery system by enabling the application of DNA evidence, which is considered the gold standard in crime investigations.
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LLM in Environmental Law Offered Online It will include courses on Climate Change, Energy Law, Environmental Law, Wildlife Law, and Public Lands. Lewis & Clark Law School is offering its Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law LLM via distance-learning, and is now accepting applications for the Fall 2019 Cohort. The online course builds on the law school's post-JD (Juris Doctor degree) environmental law Master's program, which is designed for attorneys interested in increasing their knowledge, and who want to more effectively practice in today's global legal environment. Lewis & Clark's LLM will include courses on Climate Change, Energy Law, Environmental Law, Wildlife Law, and Public Lands. The courses will integrate
advanced online learning methods, such as self-paced and interactive video lectures and virtual online office hours each week with faculty, with the ability for students to discuss and collaborate online. Download and Read RMN Publications TechWise Today
The Integrity Bulletin
Criminal Court to Release Former President Laurent Gbagbo Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé were facing charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Côte d'Ivoire. Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC), by majority, Judge Herrera Carbuccia dissenting, found on 16 January 2019 that there were no exceptional circumstances preventing the release of Mr Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Charles Blé Goudé from ICC detention following their acquittal on 15 January. The ICC Prosecutor may appeal this decision. It would be then for the Appeals Chamber to decide whether or not to maintain Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé in ICC custody. The Chamber directed the ICC Registrar to obtain the necessary assurances from Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé and their respective lead counsel in ensuring the return of Mr Gbagbo and/or Mr Blé Goudé, if and when their presence at the seat of the Court is requested.
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The ICC Registrar will make the necessary logistical, organizational, and diplomatic arrangements for the release of Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé; the location of their release shall depend on their observations and on the agreement of the concerned State(s).
Mr Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Charles Blé Goudé in Courtroom I at the seat of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands on 15 January 2019 Photo: ICC-CPI Mr Gbagbo and Mr Blé Goudé were facing charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Côte d'Ivoire in 2010 and 2011.
Write for Legal Directions Newsletter
RMN Foundation publishes Legal Directions which is a monthly newsletter on Indian and
international legal affairs. Currently, the newsletter project is being managed by Mr. Rakesh Raman who is a national award-winning journalist and founder of RMN Foundation. Legal Directions i nvites legal professionals, advocates, teachers, and students to contribute their editorial articles for the newsletter. You may please submit the articles with your brief profile to Mr. Rakesh Raman (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Students from all across the world are also invited to participate as volunteers in this project.
Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. February 2019 11
Download Previous Issues of Legal Directions September 2018
Criminal Justice Reform: Van Jones to Lead REFORM Alliance Jones will continue to appear occasionally on CNN and host his bimonthly weekend program on CNN, The Van Jones Show. The REFORM Alliance announced on January 23 that renowned activist and TV personality Van Jones will serve as the organization's Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The REFORM Alliance is a newly established organization that is committed to advancing criminal justice reform and eliminating outdated laws that perpetuate injustice, starting with probation and parole. In his role with the REFORM Alliance, Jones will oversee the implementation of the organization's mission to drastically reduce the number of people who are under control of the criminal justice system while keeping communities safe by changing laws and public opinion. "This is the opportunity of a lifetime," Jones said. "I have spent my entire adult life preparing myself to help lead an initiative of this magnitude. I'm looking forward to working with this powerful group of founders to disrupt the status quo and shift the criminal justice system landscape for generations to come." REFORM is backed by a bi-partisan and diverse group of sports, entertainment, and business leaders. A Yale-educated attorney, Jones has spent nearly 25 years laboring on social change causes, with a recurring focus on criminal justice issues. Jones will continue to appear occasionally on CNN and host his bimonthly weekend program on CNN, The Van Jones Show.
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Using Artificial Intelligence to Improve Justice System Research shows that digital algorithms are poised to bring more knowledge and transparency to the justice system. Although the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the legal ecosystem is in its infancy, AI has myriad applications in the legal domain. In order to remove the human subjectivity and incompetence
the judicial systems,
computer scientists are increasingly using advanced information technology (IT) tools in the legal profession.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its use with Machine
(ML) are among the
contemporary technologies that have proved their utility in the emerging justice system. The application of AI has already produced robot lawyers and chatbots that interact with humans to help them present their cases in traditional courts. But now research shows that digital algorithms are poised to bring more knowledge and transparency to the justice system, as the conventional court judgments given by judges will be supported by the dedicated AI expert systems. Recently, the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) and the Courts Administration of the Latvia organized a conference on “Artificial Intelligence at the Service of the Judiciary” in Riga (Latvia).
The conference brought together representatives of the academic world, justice professionals, judicial institutions from different European countries to explore how AI can be used to support the work of legal professionals and courts and ensure a better quality of justice. Now, the Council of Europe has adopted the first European Ethical Charter on the use of AI in judicial systems.
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Appeal for Donations RMN Foundation - the publisher of Legal Directions newsletter - is a humanitarian organization that was formed in May 2015 as an educational and public charitable Trust for
the benefit of humanity at large. It is registered with the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi at New Delhi, India. Currently, all the activities of RMN Foundation are being managed single-handedly (without any support) by RMN Foundation founder Rakesh Raman who had left his job a few years ago to run this charity. As RMN Foundation has embarked upon some major humanitarian projects during the past over 3 years, now it needs a significant amount of funds in the form of donations to expand the scope of its activities.
Individual Indian donors can help RMN Foundation with their contributions using the following bank details: Bank Name: ICICI Bank Bank Branch: HL Square, Plot No. 6, Sector 5 (MLU), Dwarka, New Delhi 110 075 Account Number: 025005004368 Account Name: RMN Foundation Type of Account: Current IFSC Code: ICIC0000250
Common Service Centres to Deliver Free eCourts Services India’s Department of Justice has decided to deliver free eCourts services through Common Service Centres. Court case information such as judicial proceedings, decisions, case registration, cause list, case status, daily orders, and final judgments of all computerized district and subordinate courts of the country will now be available across all Common Service Centres (CSCs) in the country. The Government of India had initiated the second phase of the eCourts project as one of the National e-Governance projects, in August, 2015 with an outlay of Rs. 1670 crores. India’s
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Ministry of Law & Justice said on January 24 that 16845 district and subordinate courts have been IT-enabled.
PM Narendra Modi addressing at the event marking the introduction of digital filing as a step toward paperless Supreme Court, in New Delhi on May 10, 2017 (file photo) The eCourts project works under the guidance of the e-Committee of Supreme Court of India in computerizing district and subordinate courts of the country through installation of case information software, hardware, and local area network in courts. They are also being connected on Wide Area Network through a dedicated network offering bandwidth of up to 100 Mbps. According to the Ministry of Law & Justice, the eCourts services have now been rolled out through SMS, email, web, mobile app, etc. benefiting millions of litigants and advocates. In order to provide efficient and time-bound access to the Courts services to litigant public, who are on the other side of the digital divide and don’t have access to internet, the Department of Justice has decided to deliver eCourts services to them through around 2 lakh (200,000) CSCs. The rural reach of the CSC's is extensive, envisaging a minimum of one CSC in each Gram Panchayat, thus enabling eCourts services to reach all corners of the country.
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The collaboration between Department of Justice and CSCs would thus mean that litigants can access easily and readily the case status information available on eCourts database from any CSC. The eCourts database contains case information of over 10 crore (100 million) cases and more than 7 crore (70 million) orders / judgments. To ensure affordability, the Department of Justice has decided not to charge any fee from the customers for eCourts-related services delivered through CSCs. However, CSCs have been authorized to charge Rs. 5 for any of the 23 services available on Courts portal. Printing charges will be Rs. 5 per page, if it is more than one page.
Meet the Editor
The editor of Legal Directions newsletter Rakesh Raman is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. Besides working at senior editorial positions with leading media companies, he was writing an exclusive edit-page column regularly for The Financial Express (a daily business newspaper of The Indian Express Group). Nowadays, for the past about 8 years, he has been running his own global news services on different subjects. He also has formed a free Education and Career Counselling Center for deserving children at a poor J.J. Colony in Dwarka, New Delhi under his NGO – RMN Foundation.
He runs an exclusive community-driven anti-corruption social service “Clean House” to help the suffering residents of Delhi raise their voice against the growing corruption and injustice. He also creates and distributes a number of digital publications that cover areas such as technology, law, environment, education, corruption and transparency.
He has created a comprehensive online information service to educate the Indian voters for the upcoming Lok Sabha election scheduled to happen in 2019. Earlier, he had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development.
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Collaboration with Legal Directions Project The Legal Directions newsletter is being published by RMN Foundation. It is being circulated among the top UN agencies, legal professionals, law colleges / universities, law-enforcement agencies, civil society organizations, social activists, and others in India and abroad. RMN Foundation is looking for sponsors and collaborators across the world who can help us expand the legal content activity around Legal Directions. Contact
Rakesh Raman Founder RMN Foundation 463, DPS Apts., Plot No. 16, Sector 4, Dwarka, Phase I New Delhi 110 078, INDIA Contact by email
Legal Directions is a monthly newsletter on Indian and international legal affairs. It carries news, opinion articles, book reviews, intervi...
Published on Feb 6, 2019
Legal Directions is a monthly newsletter on Indian and international legal affairs. It carries news, opinion articles, book reviews, intervi...