"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well."

-Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Basic Structure Doctrine - 40th year

Today marks the 40th year of Basic Structure Doctrine. The Hindu carries a write up by Arvind P. Datar. Bar and Bench had published an interview of Sri. Keshavanda Bharti a year back. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

NLSIR Symposium: Mapping the Future of Commercial Arbitration in India

Symposium Announcement from NLSIR:

The National Law School of India Review (NLSIR) - the flagship journal of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore is pleased to announce the VIth NLSIR Symposium on “Mapping the Future of Commercial Arbitration in India” scheduled to be held on May 18 and 19, 2013 at the NLSIU campus. The last three years have witnessed dynamic shifts in the law and practice of Arbitration in India. While there have been steps in the right direction, an unwieldy system continues to weigh down practitioners. Four years after first delving into the nuances of commercial arbitration in India, the Symposium hopes to assess the development of Arbitration law over the last few years.

Confirmed speakers for the symposium include renowned legal luminaries such as Hon’ble Mr. Justice (Retd.) S U Kamdar (Former Justice, Bombay High Court), Mr. Anirudh Krishnan (Advocate, Madras High Court), Mr. Ashwin Shanker (Advocate, Bombay High Court) Mr. Aditya Sondhi (Advocate, Karnataka High Court), Mr. Ajay Thomas (Registrar, London Court of International Arbitration, India), Mr. Vivekananda N. (Head (South Asia) & Counsel, Singapore International Arbitration Centre), Mr. Nangavaram Rajah (Nani Palkhivala Arbitration Centre), Mr. Promod Nair (Partner, J Sagar Associates), Mr. Shreyas Jayasimha (Partner, AZB & Partners), amongst others.

This year, the discussions will be divided into four panels:

Session I: The Implications of BALCO on Arbitration Practice
(Forenoon, May 18, 2013, Saturday)

Session II: Revisiting the Expansive Role of the Indian Judiciary and its Implications (Afternoon, May 18, 2013, Saturday)

Session III: Determining the Governing Law of the Arbitration Agreement – Arsanovia and Beyond
(Forenoon, May 19, 2013, Sunday)

Session IV: The Way Forward: A Call for Institutional Arbitration?
(Afternoon, May 19, 2013, Sunday)

Registration fee for those who make an advance payment/bank transfer is Rs. 500 for students and Rs. 1000 for others. All those interested are requested to register at:

The registration fee for those who register at the venue is Rs. 750 for students and Rs. 1250 for others.

For more details including the concept note and future updates please visit:

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For further information, please contact Ashwita Ambast (Chief Editor): +91-9986478265; Sahil Kher (Deputy Chief Editor): +91-9739265715 or email us at

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pot Calling the Kettle Black- An aside on Bhullar

Bhullar has been in focus recently for different reasons. Effect of delay in execution of capital punishment, pardoning power of the President and Governor, judicial review of the order of the President/Governor, being the prominent aspects. The distinguishing feature of Bhullar who was denied commutation from the cases where delay in execution was a permissive ground for commutation by judiciary, is the nature of offenses he was charged with. The court in unequivocal terms held that a terrorist deserves no mercy. The court's reasoning here (see para 40) seems pedestrian when it argue that by annihilating the human rights of many, the terrorist expunge his inalienable human rights and therefore deserves no pardon. 

The court rejects the plea on the ground that it does not find the President's order reviewable as it does not fall within the parameters of review laid down in holding precedents. The question in the petition was not on the quality of President's order but the quantity of time it took, which resulted in denial of his fundamental and human rights. Court dodged this issue by the judgmental stand it took in the paragraph mentioned earlier. 

What struck me while reading this judgment is another observation made by the judges on the delay in taking decisions in petitions for pardon. To quote the court "... the statistics ... show that between 1950 and 2009, over 300 mercy petitions were filed of which 214 were accepted by the President and the sentence of death was commuted into life imprisonment. 69 petitions were rejected by the President. ... However, about 18 petitions filed between 1999 and 2011 remained pending for a period ranging from 1 year to 13 years." Judges call this delay 'disturbing phenomena'. I took this opportunity to glance through the statistics of pendency of litigation, which is predicted to touch exponential figure of 15 crores by 2040. It could be argued that it is an exaggerated figure, even then, the past year's statistics does not give any confidence in the judiciary's efficiency to deal with its own affaires. I am tempted to ask " Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (Luke 6:41)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Novartis Judgment

Supreme Court of India yesterday (01/04/13) delivered the much awaited Novartis judgment.  Responses of some of the pharma groups here. Find the Hindu's editorial here. Novartis response may be read here. Activists lauded the decision.