Law Critical Digest: 6.12.11
1. The Hindu carries a review of Andhyarujina’s fascinating book on the Basic Structure Doctrine. It praises the author’s efforts to bring to light the murky and somewhat morally ambiguous manner in which the Kesavananda case was decided but also points out the many silences about the merits of the case itself and its borrowing of Seervai’s critique in The Inside Story I made a somewhat similar argument as regards the book and its gaps, but focussing also on critiquing the argument against the Basic Structure in this piece.
2. Dahlia Lithwick takes aim at two controversial provisions of the National Defence Authorization Act as approved by the United States Senate that effectively allows indefinite detention of anyone in the US in military custody. A Presidential veto is likely but the “War on Terror” is once again taking the US down a dark and dangerous road. Read: “Military Police State“. Also, Shiv’s piece echoing some of Lithwick’s concerns on “us” and “them” and the language of terror is here.
3. The very conception of a lawyer in India is impossible without him or her wearing a gown and bands. Yet, the UK Supreme Court is doing away with the mandatory requirement of gowns and the wigs for lawyers appearing before it. In contrast, the Bombay High Court, after a recent incident, now requires litigants also to dress “soberly” and “modestly”. Dhananjaya Mahaptra explores this in “Dress code for litigants? Bombay high court believes so” Personally, I can’t see why the Supreme Court or the High Courts cannot do away with the Black Gown and Black coat requirement during summer months though some High Courts don’t require gowns during the summer months.
4. The Internet is ablaze with outrage over the entertainment industry promoted “Stop Online Piracy Act” or SOPA that threatens to cut off large chunks of the internet in the interests of stopping “piracy”. Naturally, the best take-down of the legislation has been done by supreme satirist Stephen Colbert (that’s pronounced Coal-bear for the uninitiated) in this video.
5….and finally, Parliament does not have the sole prerogative on law making or heated debate descending into name calling and wild personal allegations – apparently senior counsel of the Supreme Court are just as capable of the latter. For a vivid eyewitness account of Ram Jethmalani, Indira Jaising and Gopal Subramanium engaging in verbal duel (or is it a truel?) during a hearing, read “SC Brickbats“