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Newsletter on Indian and International Legal Affairs An initiative of RMN Foundation humanitarian organization  VOL. I | ISSUE 2 | October 2018   

Legal Directions Law Simplified  By Rakesh Raman 

Photo: Rashtrapati Bhavan

Ranjan Gogoi Inherits Stained Legacy at Supreme Court of India The  President  of  India  has  appointed  Justice  Ranjan  Gogoi  as  the  Chief  Justice  of  India.  He  assumed  the  office  on  October  3,  2018  after  the  retirement of Justice Dipak Misra. Gogoi – who  has  become  the  46th  Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India – has a mammoth task at hand  to clean the image of Indian judiciary which was sullied during Misra’s tenure.  In  April,  64  Rajya  Sabha  MPs  of  different  political  parties  had  submitted  a  notice  to  remove  Misra  from  his  position  on  5  charges  of  misconduct.  The  step  was  taken after the controversial  decision​ on judge B. H. Loya’s death delivered by the Supreme Court.  There  have  also  been  internal  rumblings  resulting  in  open  discord  amongst  judges  in  the  Supreme  Court.  This  was  manifested  when  four  senior-most  judges  held  a  press  conference on  January  12,  2018  where  they  publicly  expressed  their  disquiet  about  the  manner  in  which  the  Chief Justice Misra was exercising his powers. Gogoi was among the four dissenters.    

Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. October 2018



IN THIS ISSUE H​ow to Make Smart Legal Contracts  W​ho Receives the Highest U.S. Judicial Honor Award  L​egal Corpus Linguistics Technology Platform  S​upreme Court Judgment on Aadhaar  D​igital Neva Connects Legislatures and Citizens  P​ending Cases in the Courts of India  R​eport on Access to Justice Commissions  M​arketing Techniques for Solo Legal Practitioners  C​orruption Research Project of National Law University Delhi  A​sia Pro Bono Conference  UN Human Rights Report on India  Consultative Paper on Indian Politics       

Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. October 2018


UNESCO Launches Education for Justice Initiative The  Education  for  Justice  (E4J)  initiative  seeks  to  prevent  crime  and  promote  a  culture  of  lawfulness through education activities designed for primary, secondary, and tertiary levels.   These  activities  are  being implemented in the framework of UNESCO's ongoing work relating to  Global  Citizenship  Education  and  are  designed  to  support  the  Education  for  Justice  (E4J)  initiative,  a  component  of  UNODC's  Global  Programme  for  the  Implementation  of  the  Doha  Declaration.  

Photo: UN 

The partnership directly contributes to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 4 (in  particular  target  4.7) and 16, calling for quality education and the building of peace, justice, and  strong institutions.  These  activities  will  help  educators  teach  the  next generation to better understand and address  problems  that  can  undermine  the rule of law and encourage students to actively engage in their  communities and future professions in this regard. 

Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. October 2018


Accord Project to Help Law Firms Make Smart Legal Contracts The  Accord  Project  is  a  community  initiative  to  develop an industry-led specification and open  source  technology  for  smart  legal  contracts.  It  is  based  on  industry-driven  requirements  for  transactional  legal  practice  and  dispute  resolution  and  counts  leading  enterprise  blockchain  platforms  such  IBM  Blockchain,  R3's  Corda,  Symbiont,  and  Sweetbridge  amongst  its  partners  and collaborators.  The  Accord  Project  is  the  organization  for  the  development  of  techno-legal  specifications  for  smart  legal  contracts  and  distributed  ledger  applications  in  the  legal  industry.  The  purpose  of  the  Project  is  to  enable  lawyers,  law  firms,  trade  associations,  and  corporates  to  help  establish  open implementations for the future of contracting.   The  Project  operates  in  collaboration  with  IEEE,  the International Association for Contract and  Commercial  Management,  Hyperledger,  R3,  Decentralized  Identity  Foundation,  and  a  number  of leading trade associations, industry and standards organizations, and leading law firms.  

Judge Breyer to Receive the Highest U.S. Judicial Honor Award Judge  Charles  R.  Breyer  of  the  U.S.  District  Court  for  the  Northern  District  of  California  will  be  the  recipient  of  the  prestigious  34th  Annual  Devitt  Award,  said  to  be  the  highest  honor bestowed upon Article III federal judge.    The  ceremony  and  celebration  will  take  place  on  November  7,  2018  at the Supreme Court of the United States in the presence  of the Supreme Court Justices and 100 invited guests.   As  brother  of  Justice  Stephen  Breyer,  this  is  the  first  time that  a relation of any Justice of the Supreme Court will receive the Devitt.  Justice  Anthony  M.  Kennedy  chaired  this  year's  selection  committee  which  included  Judge  Raymond  Kethledge  of  the  United  States  Court  of  Appeals  for  the  Sixth  Circuit  and  Judge Lucy  Koh  of  the  United  States  District  Court  for  the  Northern  District  of  California.  The  committee  deliberated  over  two  days  in  New  York  City  along  with  the  award  sponsor,  the  Dwight  D.  Opperman Foundation executives. ​Photo: The Dwight D. Opperman Foundation 

Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. October 2018


BYU Law Launches Legal Corpus Linguistics Technology Platform BYU  Law,  a  leading  national  law  school  in  the  U.S.,  has  announced  the  launch  of  its  Law  and  Corpus  Linguistics  Technology  Platform,  including  three  new  and  historically  significant  corpora.  This  first-of-its-kind platform for the legal community aims to advance the field of law  and  corpus  linguistics,  a  methodology  that  uses  naturally  occurring  language  in  large  collections of texts called "corpora" to help determine the meaning of words and phrases.  The  Law  and  Corpus  Linguistics Technology Platform features a user-friendly interface offering  the  ability  to  search  these  groundbreaking  corpora  by  terms  and  phrases  with  filters  for  year,  primary  author,  genre  (legal  or  non-legal  document,  court  proceeding,  speech,  diary  entry,  novel,  etc.)  and  source.  The  corpora  also support collocation searches, which enable the user to  gain powerful insights into word meanings and relationships between words. 

Supreme Court of India Upholds the Validity of Aadhaar In  its  1,448-page  verdict  delivered  on  September  26,  the  Supreme  Court  of  India  observed that  the  national  identification  scheme  Aadhaar  is  needed  in  the  country,  as  it  empowers  the  underprivileged sections of the society.  Upholding  the  validity  of ​Aadhaar in a four-one majority judgment, the court allowed the use of  Aadhaar  for  access  to  government  welfare  schemes.  However,  it  put  certain  limitations  on  the  use of Aadhaar biometric data collected from more than one billion citizens of India.  Now  Aadhaar  will  not  be  mandatory  for  bank  accounts,  mobile  phone  connections,  and  school  admissions.  The  court  judgment  added  that  citizens  will  have  to  link  Aadhaar  number  to  their  PAN (Permanent Account Number) for filing tax returns.  The  court’s  verdict  came  in  response  to  27  petitions  that  had  challenged  the  validity  of  Aadhaar.  The  bench  headed  by  Chief  Justice  Dipak  Misra  pronounced  that  Aadhaar  would  be  voluntary,  while  the  users  will  have  the  option  to  exit.  According  to  the  judgment,  no  person  will  be  denied  the  benefits  of  social  welfare  schemes  even  when  their  Aadhaar  details  are  not  authenticated.  It  is  said  that  Section  57  of  the  Aadhaar  Act  2016  which  allows  private  companies  and  third-party  entities  to  collect  Aadhaar  data  to  provide  consumer  services has been struck down  as unconstitutional. 

Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. October 2018


The court  also  read  down  Section  33(1)  to  grant  individuals  an  opportunity  of  being  heard  before  disclosure  of  their  information.  It  also  has  struck  down  Section  33(2)  altogether  which  means  that now Aadhaar data cannot be shared with security agencies in the name of upholding  national security. 

Aadhaar in India. Photo: UIDAI 

Moreover, in  consonance  with  its  landmark  judgment  on  privacy  last  year,  the  court  also ruled  that  authentication  record  should  not  include  metadata  and  records  cannot  be  kept  beyond  a  period of six months, reducing the time period from 5 years.  Aadhaar  is  a  12-digit  individual  identification  number  issued  by  the  Unique  Identification  Authority  of  India  (UIDAI)  on  behalf  of  the  Government  of  India.  This  number  serves  as  an  optional proof of identity and address, anywhere in India.   

What is the International Court of Justice? The  International  Court  of  Justice  (ICJ)  is  the  principal  judicial  organ  of  the  United  Nations.  It  was  established  by  the  United  Nations  Charter,  signed  in 1945 at San Francisco (United States),  and began work in 1946 in the Peace Palace, The Hague (Netherlands).  The  Court,  which  is  composed  of  15  judges,  has  a  dual  role:  in  accordance  with  international  law,  settling  legal  disputes between States submitted to it by them and giving advisory opinions 

Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. October 2018


on legal  matters  referred  to  it  by  duly  authorized  United  Nations  organs  and  specialized  agencies.   Only  States  are  eligible  to  appear  before  the  Court  in  contentious  cases.  At  present,  this  basically  means  the  192  United  Nations  Member  States.  The  Court  has  no  jurisdiction  to  deal  with  applications  from  individuals,  non-governmental  organizations, corporations or any other  private  entity.  It  cannot  provide them with legal counselling or help them in their dealings with  the authorities of any State whatever.  However,  a  State  may  take  up  the  case  of  one  of  its  nationals  and  invoke against another State  the  wrongs  which  its  national  claims  to  have  suffered  at  the  hands  of  the  latter;  the  dispute  then becomes one between States. The official languages of the ​Court​ are English and French.  Courtesy: ICJ 

Digital Neva to Bring Legislatures Closer to Indian Citizens India’s  Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs organized a two-day orientation workshop on National  e-Vidhan  Application  (NeVA)  in  Delhi.  This  was  the  first  workshop  on  NeVA,  which  aims  to  make  all  the  Legislatures  of  the  country  paperless  by  making  the  proceedings  of  the  Houses  digital.   It  is  an  attempt  to  provide  the  information  about  the  functioning  of  House  to  the  common  citizen  at  the  click  of  a  button.  The  iOS  and  Google  app  of  NeVA  along  with  the NeVA website  will  act  as  a  repository  of  data  related  to  the  business  of  all  Legislatures  in  the  country  in  a  uniform manner.  NeVA  is  expected  to  bring  Legislatures  closer  to  citizens,  thereby  taking  a  decisive  step  in  achievement  of  substantive  democracy.  Once  the  program  is  operational,  details  of  5,379  Members from the 40 Legislatures will be uploaded on the portal.   A  total  of  113,337  questions,  25,662  notices,  1,708  Bills,  515  committee  reports  and  10,043  papers from the Legislatures will become available in public domain on NeVA app and website.  Addressing  the  gathering  of  over  200  delegates  from  29  States  and  Union  Territories,  representing  36  Legislatures  across  the  country,  minister  Vijay  Goel  congratulated  the  team  of  Union  Ministry  of  Parliamentary  affairs  for  spearheading  the  NeVA  initiative  as  well  as  the  Assembly of Himachal Pradesh for taking the lead in adopting digitization. 

Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. October 2018


Pending Cases in the Courts of India While  the  administration  has  completely  collapsed,  the  Indian  politicians  and  bureaucrats  do  not  take  decisions  to  resolve  public  problems.  They  keep  throwing  written  public  complaints  from one desk to another.   Consequently,  the  harassed  citizens  are left with no other option but to approach the courts. As  courts are always overcrowded, their decisions are either inordinately delayed or lack justice.  Today,  there  are  nearly  33  million  (3.3  crore)  pending  cases  in  different  courts  of  India.  Of  these,  2.84  crore  cases  are  in  the  subordinate  courts,  43  lakh  are  in  the High Courts, and about  58,000 in the Supreme Court.    Pending Cases in the Courts of India  Subordinate Courts 

High Courts

Supreme Court




Total: 33,000,000  

Report Released on Access to Justice Commissions The  American  Bar  Association  (ABA)  Resource  Center  for  Access  to  Justice  Initiatives  has  announced  the  release  of  a  first-of-its-kind  report​ examining access to justice commissions nationwide.   It  offers  an  in-depth  analysis  of  their  structures,  activities,  staffing,  and funding, as well as best-practice recommendations.  The  Resource  Center  for  Access  to  Justice  (ATJ)  Initiatives  serves  judicial,  private  bar,  and  legal  aid  leaders  who  work  together  to  provide  people  of  low  and  modest  income  with  meaningful  access  to  their justice systems. 

Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. October 2018


The Center  supports  the  growth  and  development  of  state-based  Access  to  Justice  Commissions.  It  also  collects  and  analyzes  data  on  the various sources of funding for civil legal  aid. 

Write for Legal Directions Newsletter    RMN  Foundation  has  launched  ​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:  Students from all across the world  are also invited to ​participate​ as volunteers in this project. 

Lawyer Marketing: A Playbook for One-Attorney Shop 

Client  Acquisition  Strategies  for  the  Solo  Practitioner:  This  marketing  guide  promises  to  help  solo practitioners get new clients with innovative client acquisition strategies.   

    The  topics  in  the  ​playbook  include  website  creation  to  attract  new  clients,  gaining  your  prospect's  trust  online,  creating  a  face-to-face  experience  to  close  the  deals,  and  working  without any staff.   

Justice Department Hosts Cybersecurity Industry Event   The  U.S.  Justice  Department’s  Criminal  Division  hosted  a  cybersecurity  roundtable  discussion  on  the  challenges  in  handling  data  breach  investigations.  Assistant  Attorney  General  Brian  A. 

Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. October 2018


Benczkowski of  the  Criminal  Division  delivered  opening  remarks  and  served  as  moderator  for  the event.     Deputy  Attorney  General  Rod  J.  Rosenstein,  Assistant  Attorney  General  John  C.  Demers  of the  Department’s  National  Security  Division  and  officials  from  the  FBI,  U.S.  Secret  Service,  the  White  House’s  National  Security  Council  and  U.S.  Department  of  Homeland  Security  also  delivered remarks at the event.      In  February  of  this  year,  Attorney  General  Jeff  Sessions  had  established  a  Cyber-Digital  Task  Force,  which  published  its  first  report  in July. The report provides a comprehensive assessment  of  the  cyber-enabled  threats  confronting  the  nation,  and  catalogs  ways  in  which  the  Justice  Department combats those threats, including by partnering with the private sector.    “Public-private  partnerships  addressing  cybercrime  play  a  critical  role  in  our  efforts  to  hold  criminals accountable for data breaches,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.    

Cybersecurity Roundtable Discussion: Photo: Justice Department 

As  part  of  the  event,  the  Cybersecurity  Unit  released  a  new  document  providing  even  more  comprehensive  guidance  that  reflects  input  the  Unit  received  during  its  outreach  efforts.  The  revised  guidance  addresses  new  issues  like  working  with  incident  response  firms,  cloud  computing, ransomware, and information sharing.   


Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. October 2018


National Law University Delhi Launches Corruption Research Project The  Centre  for  Transparency  and  Accountability  in  Governance  (CTAG),  National  Law  University,  Delhi  -  in  collaboration  with  the  humanitarian  organization  RMN  Foundation  - has  launched a ​research project​ to compile an exclusive report on corruption in India.   The  unique  selling  proposition  (USP)  of  this  report  will be to sensitize different stakeholders in  India  and  abroad  about  the  limitations  of  the  Indian  governments  in  deploying  information-driven  processes  to  deal  with  corruption,  although  it  will  also  cover  traditional  aspects. You  are  invited  to  join  the  project  as  volunteers  to  manage  its  diverse  activities  such  as  research, public relations, content creation, data management, project monitoring, and so on. It  will  be  a  4-month  project  beginning  October  2018.  ​Last  date  to  apply​:  October  15,  2018.  Candidates  can  contact  Mr.  Rakesh  Raman,  founder,  RMN  Foundation  (Email: with their contact details and a brief profile. 

Annual Conference on EU Criminal Justice 2018 Organized  by  the Academy of European Law, the annual conference will be held on October 18 -  19,  2018.  It  will  allow  legal  practitioners to learn current developments and future initiatives in  the field of EU criminal justice.   Top  representatives  of  EU  institutions,  academics,  and  experts  will  discuss  the  key  aspects  related to freedom, security, and justice.  Contact  Academy of European Law  Metzer Allee 4  Trier, 54295, Germany. Email: 

2018 Asia Pro Bono Conference The  Asia  Pro  Bono  Conference  (APBC)  is  a  key  event  in  the  region  for  stakeholders to develop,  explore  and  share  pro  bono  initiatives and projects that strengthen access to justice in Asia and  internationally. This year, the APBC will be held in Hong Kong from October 25 - 27, 2018. 

Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. October 2018


Contact Association of Corporate Counsel  ACC Hong Kong Secretariat. Email: 

UN Report Condemns Indian Government for Attacks on NGOs  The  UN  Human  Rights  organization  has  released  a  report  that  has  criticized  the  Indian  government  for  its  attacks  on  human  rights  defenders  and  non-governmental  organizations  (NGOs).  The  report  reveals  various  cases  of  reprisal  by  the  government  as  a  revenge  to  NGOs’  cooperation  with  the  UN  Human  Rights  Committee.  Civil  society  organizations  human  rights  defenders, NGOs and civil society groups from nearly 40 States are named in the report. 

UN Human Rights Report 

“The horrendous  impact  on  the  victim  and  their  families  aside,  reprisals  against  people  for  cooperating  with  the  UN  sends  a  chilling  message  to  others  of  what  will  happen  if  they  do  the 

Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. October 2018


same thing,”  Assistant-Secretary-General  for  Human  Rights  Andrew  Gilmour  said  in  September.  Echoing  the UN Secretary-General’s conclusions in the ​report​, Gilmour reaffirmed that “Any act  of  intimidation  or  reprisal  for  cooperation  with  the  United  Nations  is  unacceptable  and  runs  contrary to the principles of the Organization, and much more can be done, by all of us.”     


D​espite some  progress  in  poverty  reduction,  growing  inequality  is  a  global  challenge.  We  must tackle the root causes, including laws that discriminate and marginalize.    ~ United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres   

P​overty, gender  inequalities,  bonded  labor,  trafficking, displacement of refugees are some of  the  challenges  to  human  rights  protection.  There  is a need of creating widespread awareness  of  the  public  and  strengthening  constitutional  and  legal  provisions  which  thereby  provide  extensive system of checks and balances.     ~ Justice H. L. Dattu, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India   

India: A Democracy or Parliamentary Dictatorship? A  new  consultative  paper  -  that  you  can  ​download  -  states  that  in  its  current  deformed  form, 

the democracy  in  India  has  taken  the  shape  of  parliamentary  dictatorship.  Now  there  is a need  to  create  a  system  that  can  usher  in  an  egalitarian  society.  Among  its  other  findings,  it  says  a 

Legal Directions: Newsletter on International Legal Affairs by RMN Foundation. October 2018


major paradox  in  the  elections is that majority of the voters don’t elect but they reject the party  that forms the government.  According  to  the  ​paper​,  people  elect  the  candidates  without  analyzing  their  capabilities  and  then  keep  complaining  during  their  tenures  till  the  next  elections.  Today,  India  is  the  largest  country  in  the  world  that  is  struggling  to protect the democratic fiber in the nation because the  country is facing a severe leadership crisis. 

Meet the Editor    The  editor  of  this  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  over  7  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.    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.    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 October 2018  

Legal Directions – a monthly newsletter on Indian and international legal affairs – has covered a slew of issues in the global legal ecosyst...

Legal Directions October 2018  

Legal Directions – a monthly newsletter on Indian and international legal affairs – has covered a slew of issues in the global legal ecosyst...