Sunday, June 28, 2015

School could not be compelled to give admission: Madras High Court

The Madras High Court today ruled that a school management could not be compelled to admit a student if it is not satisfied with the pupil’s character and discipline even though he or she is meritorious. Dismissing a petition filed by the father of a girl who scored 489 out of 500 in the class X examination, seeking a direction to the school management to admit his daughter in class XI, Justice S Vaidhyanathan said the school authorities were right in denying admission for her girl, who was allegedly” disobedient and disrespectful”.

“Teachers are the best judges” to evaluate the character of a student and not parents, the judge said. ”Education was the panacea for all the evils in the world, but education without moral values and behaviour will definitely vouchsafe reversal attitude. Knowledge was not given but earned and character was not granted but cultivated over the years,” the court observed.

The court could not compel the management to admit the girl as the school had stated that their institution was known for integrity, discipline, values and virtues. If the student got admission on the court orders, she would not feel comfortable. There would not be a healthy atmosphere in the school for both the student and the teachers, the judge said.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Mexico’s top court quietly legalizes gay marriage

A court has decreed that it is unconstitutional for Mexican states to bar same-sex marriages. Whilst no official legislation has been brought forward in parliament to introduce marriage for gay and bisexual couples, the court ruling represents a precedent which will require courts throughout the country to follow suit. This means that same-sex marriage has effectively been legalized throughout Mexico. 

Estefania Vela, a legal scholar at a Mexico City university told the New York Times of the ruling: "Without a doubt, gay marriage is legal everywhere. If a same-sex couple comes along and the code says marriage is between a man and a woman and for the purposes of reproduction, the court says, 'Ignore it, marriage is for two people'." 

The Supreme Court in Mexico has legalizedsame-sex marriage in a landmark legal ruling. 

US Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage is legal across the United States

The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the US Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry in a historic triumph for the American gay rights movement.

The court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution's guarantees of due process and equal protection under the law mean that states cannot ban same-sex marriages. With the ruling, gay marriage will become legal in all 50 states.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing on behalf of the court, said that the hope of gay people intending to marry "is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."

There are currently 13 state bans in place, while another state, Alabama, has contested a court ruling that lifted the ban there.

The ruling is the Supreme Court's most important expansion of marriage rights in the United States since its landmark 1967 ruling in the case Loving v. Virginia that struck down state laws barring interracial marriages.

Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

North Korea appears to have blocked Instagram

North Korea has apparently blocked access to Instagram within its borders, jeopardizing one of the most popular ways for journalists and foreigners to document life in the hermetic country. As the Associated Press reports, users who open Instagram on the Koryolink 3G network have reported seeing a message that reads: "Warning! You can't connect to this website because it’s in blacklist site." A warning in Korean adds that the site contains "harmful content."

The AP reports that the photo-sharing app was still usable on some mobile devices despite the warning, but posting photos or viewing user profiles was impossible on other devices connected to the 3G network. The warnings have also appeared when accessing Instagram on desktop computers with LAN cable connections.

It's not clear what spurred the apparent blacklisting. Koryolink, North Korea's only 3G operator, says it wasn't notified of a change in policy, and the government has yet to issue a statement on the matter. There is speculation that the Instagram block may be a response to a fire that erupted this month at a popular hotel in Pyongyang. The incident wasn't reported by North Korea's state-run media, though images spread across social media.

The new income tax return forms

If you have capital gains or foreign assets or are seeking treaty benefits, you will have to file detailed income-tax returns, though you don't have to give details of foreign travel. The new income tax return forms, notified on Monday for assessment year 2015-16, are, however, much simpler in many respects. These do away with the requirement of mentioning one's dormant bank accounts. However, one's passport number has to be provided. For active accounts, one need not state the balance; IFSC codes will suffice.

Earlier, the had taken flak for coming out with complicated income tax return forms.

While notifying the forms, the I-T department bifurcated the ITR-2. Earlier, those with capital gains, foreign assets and income, seeking treaty benefits, and with more than one property had to file this form. However, now, those with more than one property have to file ITR-2A, while the others will have to file ITR 2. Those with capital gains have to mention the rate being applied for to arrive at the tax liability, as well as past capital gains, if tax wasn't imposed on those.

Madras HC grants rapist bail for 'mediation'

In July 2012, a mahila court in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu found a man called V Mohan guilty of raping a minor girl. Besides imposing a Rs 2 lakh fine, the court also sentenced him to seven years in prison.

The victim was an orphan who was living with her adoptive mother. She had become pregnant after the rape and had delivered a child in July 2009.

After the mahila court verdict, Mohan appealed to the Madras High Court for bail.

And in a shocking verdict which is probably a new low for the judiciary, the Madras High Court judge Justice P Devadass granted interim bail to the accused on the condition that he go to the mediation centre attached to the High Court to settle the matter with the victim under the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR).

The judge also said Rs 1 lakh should be deposited as fine by Mohan and it should be kept in the Indian Bank, Thittakudi, Cuddalore District as a fixed deposit in the girl's name.

According to the verdict, the punishment for the rape of a minor is as follows: Deposit Rs 1 lakh in the victim's name and mediate with the victim who was sexually abused to reach a compromise.

Australia introduces laws to strip citizenship from terrorists

Dual nationals who help terrorists could automatically lose their Australian citizenship even if they have never stepped foot out of the country under new laws introduced to parliament on Wednesday.

Immigration minister Peter Dutton introduced legislation to amend the Citizenship Act as fears grow about the number of Australians fighting with jihadist groups and concern about the threat at home from radicalised individuals.

It specifies three mechanisms and a series of grounds which could lead to an Australian, even if born in the country, being stripped of their citizenship.

They include a person convicted of a terrorist act by an Australian court and anyone found to be engaged in terrorist activity.

It also extends an existing provision covering fighting for the armed forces of a country at war with Australia to also cover fighting for a terrorist organisation.

There are currently 20 such groups on Canberra's list of terrorist organisations.

"This bill emphasises the central importance of allegiances to Australia into the concept of citizenship," Dutton said in introducing the legislation.

"Citizenship is to be treasured. It's a common bond that unites us all, whether we were born here or chose to make Australia our home.

"The world has changed so our laws should change accordingly," he added.

Dutton said citizenship could be lost for not only engaging in terrorist acts but providing or receiving training linked to terrorism, as well as recruiting or financing for jihadist groups.

But he stressed that noone would lose citizenship unless they were also a national of another country as this would render them stateless and be in violation of the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

"Automatic loss of citizenship will be triggered whether the conduct takes place inside or outside Australia," he added. "The loss of citizenship will be immediate, upon the person engaging in the relevant conduct."

It was initially planned that Dutton himself would have the power to take away citizenship, without trial or conviction, but this has been dumped after advice that it would be unconstitutional.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Indian nurses may be forced to leave UK

Over 30,000 nurses from India and other non-European countries employed with Britain's state-funded National Health Service (NHS) may be forced to leave the UK under new immigration rules.
The UK's Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has warned that a new salary threshold of £35,000 a year could hit more than 30,000 nursing staff from non-European nations.
India is the second-largest supplier of nursing staff to the country after the Philippines, with over 15,000 fulfilling nursing shortages within the NHS.
"The immigration rules will cause chaos for the NHS and other care services. At a time when demand is increasing, the UK is perversely making it harder to employ staff from overseas," said RCN general secretary Peter Carter.
The Conservative party-led government is planning to introduce new stricter requirements for non-European migrants, including a minimum pay bar for workers, which means they would have to leave the UK after six years if they are not earning at least £35,000 per annum.
The cut-off date for the new rules has been set at 2011, meaning the first batch of nurses earning less will be sent home in 2017. "The UK will be sending away nurses who have contributed to the health service for six years. Losing their skills and knowledge and then having to start the cycle again and recruit to replace them is completely illogical," said Dr Carter.
An NHS staff nurse who trained in Belgaum, Sandeep Duggani, warned that NHS Trusts are continuing their hiring drive in India despite this impending job insecurity. "I don't think they realise they will have to leave their jobs after six years. It's very sad. I have done all these training courses and now, after six years, I have to go back," Duggani (29) said.
The UK Home Office claims the new rules would help reduce demand for migrant labour. The move is part of the government's effort to control net migration into Britain but RCN warns that by 2017 more than 3,300 NHS nurses could be affected.
Nurses in the UK on average earn salaries of between 21,000 and 28,000 pounds a year. Due to cuts to nurse-training places, trusts are being forced into relying on overseas recruitment as well as temporary staff.
The RCN says the only long-term solution is to train more nurses in the UK, but in the interim, foreign nurses will be required to fill the gap. Employers had had four years to prepare for the changes, a Home Office spokesperson said, adding "There are exemptions to this threshold where the UK has a shortage".

Friday, June 19, 2015

Petition against Tendulkar's Bharat Ratna admitted by Madhya Pradesh HC

The Madhya Pradesh High Court has admitted a petition seeking stripping of the Bharat Ratna awarded to cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar for allegedly using the "fame" of the honour in "earning money by endorsing commercial products".

A high court bench comprising Chief Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice K K Trivedi on Thursday issued a directive to Assistant Solicitor General to find out if there are any Supreme Court guidelines (do's and dont's) for Bharat Ratna awardees and get back to it in a week's time.

The petitioner V K Naswah, a resident of Bhopal, stated that Sachin is a popular figure as has accomplished many a world record in the game of cricket for the country.

Naswah accused Sachin of exploiting the "fame" of the highest civilian award to promote commercial products and earn money which he said was against the dignity, legacy, and tenets of the highest civilian award.

Naswah said that Sachin should return the award on moral ground and if he fails to do so the central government should strip him of the honour.

Sachin recommends more than 12 brands including Aviva Life Insurance, Boost (malt-based nutrition drink), MRF, Luminous and realtor Amit Enterprises.

Can’t be allowed to re-appear in exam on ground of being

The Delhi High Court has upheld cancellation of admission of a student to third year of an under-graduation course at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU), saying there is no question of giving him another chance only on the ground of being a Scheduled Caste.

“In the instant case, since the appellant was found ineligible after second academic break, his admission stood automatically cancelled. Therefore, there is no question of any further chance only on the ground of being an SC/ST,” a division bench of Justices Mukta Gupta and V P Vaish said.

Dismissing the plea of Gourav Joshiya, who was pursuing Bachelor of Technology from Amity School of Engineering and Technology, the bench said he was ineligible for admission to third year as he could not clear the previous four semesters.

It upheld the single judge order refusing another chance to the student for clearing the exams and said the opportunity would have been given to him if he had been able to satisfy the necessary eligibility criteria.

“To attain an egalitarian society, we have to urgently remove socio-economic inequalities. Therefore, in order to promote these weaker sections of the society an educational institution must take all endeavours by providing any form of additional assistance in order to bring them up at par with general category students.

“The appeal of the appellant may have been allowed on this ground alone, if he would have been able to satisfy necessary eligibility criteria for continuance of his admission with the respondents,” it said.

Gourav had challenged a single judge order of May 25, 2015 denying him a chance to re-appear in the examinations to get admitted to the third year.

In his appeal, the student, who got admitted to the college in 2010, had claimed he had sent a mercy application to the university’s committee concerned in October 2014, but through a notification on November 7, 2014, it was rejected and his admission was also cancelled.

He had contended that the single judge has misconceived that he had to appear in 10 papers in May-June 2015, whereas he had to appear in five.

The university, however, said there was delay in filing the writ petition by the student as he filed it in April 2015, but the admission was cancelled in November 2014.

It also told the court that during academic year 2012-13 and 2013-14, the appellant had reappeared in the failed papers of first year and second year but could not clear them and hence failed to secure minimum credits for promotion to third year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Student denied admission as his SSC is not from the state

A student, who cleared his SSC exams in Gujarat and HSC from Maharashtra, has approached the Bombay High Court after his online application form for admission to an engineering course was not accepted.
Justice Anoop Mohta and Justice V L Achliya observed, “Why should there be an insistence on passing SSC from Maharashtra. It is unjust to hold it against a student just because his education was from some other state.” The court, while adjourning the hearing on the petition to Wednesday, has directed the government to clarify its stand on the rules.
The 17-year-old student has scored 96% in the SSC exams given in Gujarat and 94.3% in HSC in Maharashtra. Advocate M Vashi appearing for the student said, “The student was born in Mumbai and cleared his HSC exams in Maharashtra. This compulsion for a SSC certificate from the state board is unfair.”
The petition filed by the student requests for directions to the authorities to allow him to participate in the admissions process that closes on June 18.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

India 2nd on list of forced marriage cases in UK

India has emerged second after Pakistan in terms of countries of origin where British nationals are forced into marriage, a crime in the UK.

Forced marriage was criminalised under British law exactly one year ago and the UK's Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) said it had handled cases involving a range of different countries including Pakistan (38.3 per cent), India (7.8 per cent), Bangladesh (7.1 per cent), Afghanistan (3 per cent), Somalia (1.6 per cent), Turkey (1.1 per cent), Sri Lanka (1.1 per cent), Iran (1 per cent) and Iraq (0.7 per cent).

"We made forced marriage a crime to better protect victims and send a clear message that this brutal practice is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the UK. We also hope that criminalisation will act as a deterrent," said Karen Bradley, UK minister for preventing abuse and exploitation.

Monday, June 15, 2015

AIPMT 2015: Supreme Court cancels test, orders fresh dates

The Supreme Court on Monday cancelled the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) in the wake of grave irregularities in conducting the exam on May 3.

A bench led by Justice R K Agrawala ordered the CBSE and all other authorities to conduct the exam afresh within four weeks from today.

It asked all the educational institutions and other agencies to lend cooperation so as to avert any further delay in conducting the exam.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Maggi ban: No immediate relief for Nestlé India

The Bombay high court on Friday refused to grant any immediate relief to Nestle India, which has challenged government's ban on Maggi noodles.

The high court did not pass any interim orders and did not stay the ban. Instead, the judges permitted the authorities to take all legally permissible actions for any non-compliance of the ban.

The court recorded a statement of Nestle in which the company said it is in the process of withdrawing all packets from stores across India.

HC sets deadline for Gir eco-tourism policy

Gujarat high court on Thursday directed the state chief secretary to finally notify the eco-tourism policy for Gir sanctuary by June 24 and place it before the court the next day.

The bench headed by Justice Jayant Patel refused to grant more time to the state government to finalize its policy after it failed to resolve the contradictions in the existing provisions. The court said that it had already granted one month's time to solve the issue regarding contradictions in the policy for granting permission for construction in the 2-km buffer zone around the sanctuary, which is the last abode of the Asiatic lion.

This issue arose when contradictions in the government policy were highlighted in two resolutions of June 25, 2009 by the forest and environment department, and of February 8, 2010 by the home department. While the forest department permits hospitality units built before a particular date to exist in the buffer zone, the home department issued a prohibitory order. However, the owners of hospitality units obtained NOC from local village panchayats and put up constructions.

To resolve the issue, the government formed an eight-member committee comprising secretaries, joint secretaries and commissioners from departments concerned to discuss and find solutions for regulation of eco-tourism facilities around Gir sanctuary.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Licenses of 4,470 NGOs, Including Those Funding Supreme Court Bar Association, Cancelled

In another round of action against erring non-profits, the government has cancelled the licence of another 4,470 organisations. But surprisingly, the list includes a number of top universities, Supreme Court Bar Association and the Escorts Heart Institute, which bars them from receiving foreign funds.

Other prominent organisations whose licences were cancelled under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act include Panjab University, Chandigarh, Gujarat National Law University, Gargi College, Delhi, Lady Irwin College Delhi, Vikram Sarabhai Foundation and Kabir floated by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

The Union home ministry's crackdown on the organisations comes after they were found to have engaged in irregularities including non-filing of annual returns. The associations were given a notice asking for reply, official sources said.

In April, the licences of nearly 9,000 NGOs were cancelled for alleged violation of FCRA.

In January, Greenpeace India activist Priya Pillai was offloaded from a London-bound flight by immigration officers in New Delhi airport. She was on her way to UK to address British parliamentarians.

The Delhi High Court later overturned the action and Ms Pillai's "offload" passport stamp was expunged in May.

In April, the Centre had blocked Greenpeace India's bank accounts, following which the environmental group had to seek interim relief from the Delhi High Court. The government had also ordered that funds coming from the US-based Ford Foundation should not be released by any bank to any Indian NGO without the mandatory permission from the Home Ministry.

A crisis response campaigner with Greenpeace International, Aaron Gray-Block, was denied entry into India on Saturday as his name figured in a Home Ministry "black list".

The fresh round of cancellation process of the 4,470 NGOs started on May 6 and the highest number of such voluntary organisations -- as many as 971 -- were de-registered today.

Singer Mika Singh arrested for assaulting a doctor in Delhi, granted bail

The Delhi police had registered a case against the singer on April 12, 2015 for causing hurt and wrongful restraint against the doctor at Inderpuri police station. A video of the alleged incident had become viral on some websites.

The victim Shrikant, an ophthalmologist, had suffered some internal injury in left ear due to the assault. The incident had taken place at a concert organised by the Delhi Ophthalmological Society (DOS) as a part of their three-day conference being held at the Delhi Pusa Institute Mela Ground in Inderpuri.

Mika Singh was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Helmets for 2-wheeler riders must from July 1 in TN

Two-wheeler riders in Tamil Nadu must wear helmets from July 1 or risk impounding of their driving license, according to a Madras High Court order.

Observing that it was disheartening to note that a number of precious lives are lost due to non-wearing of protective headgear, the Madras High Court today made it clear that wearing of helmets by two-wheeler riders is a must and documents including driving license must be impounded in case of failure to do so.

Justice N. Kirubakaran directed the central government, besides the Secretary, Surface Transport Ministry, to direct all states to monitor the compulsory wearing of helmets and take action.

The judge, who allowed a Civil Miscellaneous appeal, directed the Home Secretary and the Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu, to announce through the media that wearing of helmet by two-wheeler riders was compulsory from July 1.

The judge observed that it was disheartening to note that a number of precious lives were lost due to non-wearing of protective headgear as mandated under section 129 of Motor Vehicles Act 1988.

Justice Kirubakaran said neither the authorities act as per the statute nor follow directions issued in this regard.

The order was passed by the judge while allowing the appeal filed by the legal heirs of N.Kumar, a building demolition work contractor on May 2, 2011 who died in an accident while riding his two wheeler here.

The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal awarded an amount of Rs.12,23,100 towards compensation but not satisfied, the legal heirs filed the appeal.

Enhancing the compensation from Rs 12.23 lakh to Rs.20 lakh, the judge directed authorities to inform the public through the media on or before June 18 that wearing of helmet by two-wheeler riders was mandatory, adding, documents, including driving license, would be impounded in case of failure to do so.

The judge said impounded documents would be released on showing the receipt of purchase of a helmet with ISI certificate.

The court directed the central government to go into the details of the design of the helmets to provide clear visibility for the wearer of helmet.

It further directed the Home Secretary and the Tamil Nadu DGP to instal CCTV cameras at important junctions and roads, including national highways, to monitor wearing of helmet by two-wheeler riders. Those who fail to wear helmets have to be issued notice and license cancelled after inquiry, it added.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Fake degree row: Delhi law minister Jitender Singh Tomar arrested

Delhi Police on Tuesday arrested Delhi law minister Jitender Singh Tomar on charges of fabricating documents and submitting fake degree while filing nomination for the Delhi assembly polls held in February this year.

Tomar was arrested between 10.30am and 11am by south district officials.

Special commissioner (law and order) Deepak Mishra confirmed the arrest .Sources said sections of cheating and forgery have been slapped against Tomar.

"Delhi law minister has been arrested without any notice or prior information. What is BJP government doing," AAP leader Sanjay Singh asked.

"His(Jitender Tomar) case is under court's jurisdiction. The university has also filed a reply in court stating his degrees are fine," Sanjay Singh added.

Tomar's arrest comes two weeks after a Delhi Police team had gone to Munger to verify documents from a university there.

Court orders 12% compensation for flat delay

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) on Monday asked real estate major Unitech to pay buyers compensation at the rate of 12% per annum for delay in delivery of flats, overruling the builder-buyer agreement that had set the rate at 1.8% per annum.

The order came in a case filed by 24 buyers of a housing project, Vistas, in Sector 70 of Gurgaon. The buyers alleged that they had booked the flats in 2009-10 and delivery was promised in 36 months.

In his order, Justice V K Jain directed the company to pay compensation at the rate of 12% per annum on the amount paid for the period from the date of delivery originally promised to the new date. The new delivery dates promised by the company are between February 2016 and February 2018.

The NCDRC also ruled that any delay beyond the new deadline promised would draw a compensation of 18% per annum.

"In order to ensure that the opposite parties honour the revised date of delivery of possession, compensation in the form of interest at a rate higher than 12% per annum should be paid by the developer if the revised date of delivery of possession is not honoured," the judge said.

A Unitech spokesperson told TOI the company hadn't seen the order yet and would respond only after it went through it.

In its last hearing in the case on June 1, the apex consumer court had rejected Unitech counsel Sunil Goel's contention that it did not have the jurisdiction to surpass the builder-buyer agreement.

Two-finger test row: Delhi Govt drops move after facing flak

Delhi Government was today forced to issue a fresh advisory to all hospitals in the city prohibiting the 'two-finger' test on rape victims to ascertain sexual assault after a previous circular allowing the controversial procedure drew sharp attack. 

In its new advisory, the Health Department said medical professionals should not perform the 'finger test' on victims and survivors of sexual assualt while insisting that its earlier directive was misinterpretated. 

"It is now clarified and further reiterated that medical professionals should not perform the 'finger test' for ascertaining the habituation of the sexual assault victim/survivor to sexual intercourse. 

"All hospital authorities in national Capital Territory of Delhi are advised to properly adhere to the same," the 'clarificatory advisory' to Medical Superintendants of all hospitals and all Heads of Departments of Gynaecology departments in the city said. 

The government had come under attack over its earlier advisory permitting conduct of 'two-finger' test on rape victims. 

The Delhi government had on May 29 issued an advisory to its hospitals stating that Per Vaginal (PV) examination, also referred to as 'two-finger test', for rape survivors can be conducted with their consent. 

The notification provoked strong reaction from Congress and the BJP. 

The previous advisory had said, "To do away with this essential pelvic examination would amount to incomplete assessment of the survivor, which will ultimately result in injustice and low conviction rates."

It said "informed consent" of the victim should be taken before conducting the test. 

A PV test involves insertion of a finger or two into the rape survivor's private parts for assessment of internal injuries, use of force if any, noting any discharge and gathering of sample, among others. 

The two-finger test on victims of sexual assault and rape is banned as per the Union Health Ministry's guidelines. Even the Supreme Court had in 2013 noted that the test violated the victim's right to privacy.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Gujarat ATS nabs 2 person with 5000 sim cards in Ahmedabad

 Gujarat ATS has nabbed two person from Ahmedabad with about 5000 sim cards. Souces said more than 500 sim cards are pre-active and were sold to customers without proper verification. 

Gujarat police had earlier nabbed three accused from the city with such pre-active sim cards. ATS sources said they are cracking down on such elements as these sim cards are mostly used by criminals who after executing the crime dispose of the sim to avoid being located and identified. Sources said such sim cards are registered on stolen identity documents.

Minor can't be kept in protection home without consent: High Court

Even a minor cannot be forced to live in a protection home without her consent, the Allahabad High Court has observed, while directing that a girl be released from a state-run facility on Lucknow.

The Lucknow bench of justices Shabihul Hasnain and Shashi Kant gave the order on a Habeas Corpus petition filed by the girl's "husband".

The court while allowing the petition said that "even a minor cannot be forced to live in protection home without her consent" and directed that "the detenue is set at liberty".

The matter pertains to a girl who was sent to Nari Niketan in Lucknow following an order by Additional Sessions judge, Unnao, on April 22.

The girl was detained after her father claimed that she was a minor and had been lured away by a man.

The girl, however, told the court that she was 20 years old and had married the man of her own will.

Friday, June 5, 2015

India loses poultry case against US at WTO

India has lost a case at the WTO, with the World Trade Organization on Thursday ruling that Indian ban on import of poultry meat, eggs and live pigs from the US was "inconsistent" with the international norms.

India will have 12-18 months to implement this ruling, after which the US can begin exports of these products to India.

"The appellate body agreed with the panel's finding that India's AI (avian influenza) measures are inconsistent ... because they are not based on a risk assessment," WTO said.

A WTO panel last year ruled that India's ban on imports of poultry products from US was inconsistent with global norms.

After hearing India's appeal against the ruling, the appellate body on Thursday said it has "found that the panel did not, as India contended, act inconsistently".

The appellate body also upheld the panel's findings that India's AI measures are neither "based on", nor "conform to", the relevant international standard.

It also endorsed the panel's finding that India's AI measures violated global norms on the grounds that the prohibition was limited to just one country and not to all imports from any country with AI risk. India filed an appeal in January 2015 with the dispute settlement board of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Monday, June 1, 2015

US court rules in favour of Muslim woman denied job for head scarf

The US Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favour of a Muslim woman who filed a lawsuit after she was denied a job at a clothing store in Oklahoma.

On a 8-1 vote, the court handed a win to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency that sued the company on behalf of Samantha Elauf. She was denied a sales job in 2008 at an Abercrombie Kids store in Tulsa because she wore a head scarf for religious reasons.

The legal question before the court was whether Elauf was required to ask for a religious accommodation in order for the company to be sued under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which, among other things, bans employment discrimination based on religious beliefs and practices.

Elauf was wearing a head scarf, or hijab, at the job interview but did not specifically say that, as a Muslim, she wanted the company to give her a religious accommodation.

The company denied Elauf the job on the grounds that wearing the scarf violated its "look policy" for members of the sales staff, a policy intended to promote the brand's East Coast collegiate image.

Muslim groups said in a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Elauf that employment discrimination against Muslims is widespread in the United States. Often, the act of a woman wearing a head scarf is what triggers the discrimination, according to the brief.

The EEOC has reported that Muslims file more employment claims about discrimination and the failure to provide religious accommodations than any other religious group.

Groups representing Christians, Jews and Sikhs also filed court papers backing Elauf.