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National News

High Court Appointments

Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah from Madras High Court has been transferred to Delhi High Court with effect from 11th May.

Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha, Judge of Rajasthan High Court has been appointed as the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court with effect from the date he assumes charge in his office.

Justice A.K. Ganguly has been made Chief Justice of Madras High Court and assumed charge on 19th May.

The two new Additional judges are appointed for the Madhya Pradesh High Court. Shrimati Sushma Shrivastav and Shri Chandra Sinho are appointed in that order of seniority for a period of one year with effect from 15.02.2008.

President gives nod for Finance Bill Act, 2008

President of India, Pratibha Patil gave her assent to the Finance Act, 2008(1 of 2008) on the 10th May. The Government has issued seven notifications related to service tax and certain provisions relating to the levy of service tax in the Finance Act, 2008 shall come into force from a date to be notified. The act is published as Act No. 18 of 2008 dated 10th May 2008.

Target exceeds in recovering arrears of revenue for this financial year by CBEC

The Central Board Excise & Custom (CBEC) has approached a new technique for recovering arrears known as Tax Recovery Cell (TAR) and by which they have exceeded by 42% of the target fixed for financial year 2007-08 for recovering arrears of revenue. The amount targeted to be collected was for Rs. 3550 crore, where the department has collected Rs. 5035 crore. The Task-Force adopted is headed by the officer of the rank of Chief Commissioner and is assisted by the nodal officers stationed at six different locations across the country.

Election committee of SC resigns

With the annual election contested recently of Supreme Court Bar Association marred by accusations of breach of code of conduct by candidates, the three-member election committee has decided to resign for the abuse and threatening they faced for embarking on a fact finding mission on numerous complaints of electoral malpractices. The election committee is headed by solicitor-general Vahanvati and senior advocates U.U. Lalit and Shashi Upadhyay (who has already resigned).

New bill on property rights for women in Sikkim

With the elections coming ahead, the Sikkim Democratic Front government has proposed a new bill on equal property rights for women. The new proposed legislation proposed gives 50 per cent of a man's properties to his wife on divorce and it would be enacted in the upcoming session of the legislative assembly. The government also decided to issue notification that would provide equal rights to sons and daughters in the properties and assets of their parents. The step is taken to strengthen and empower the female gender and also to eradicate the discrimination among male and female children in terms of inheritance rights.

Government stocks on Auction

The government of India has announced for sale (re-issue), which will be conducted by the Reserve Bank of India through a price-based auction using multiple methods. The result would be declared by May 23rd and the payment will be done on May 26th.

Conflict of ideas between DoT and TRAI over MNP

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommendation of a single centralised agency for offering Mobile Number Portability (MNP) solutions across India is opposed by the Department of Telecom (DoT). DoT is looking for the option of selecting four Mobile Number Portability Operators on a regional basis.

SC stays Madras HC order

The vacation bench comprising Justice C K Thakker and L S Panta gave a stay order on a Madras High Court judgment of March 20th regarding increased posts reserved for SCs, STs and OBC in the top bureaucracy beyond the specified 50% limit. A large number of candidates whose names are in list are in high possibility of being thrown out of the list when it will be revised again.

New legal service sector in India

International Indian Bar Association (IIBA) had organised an international conference for discussing opening of legal services sector in India. The approach of legal profession in India needs to be commercial, liberal and global.

Liberalising legal services for benefit of India

With the legal profession getting globalised, there is growing pressure to open up the sector in India. In the current economic scenario, liberalising the legal services market would benefit India according to Ms Bridget Prentice, Member of Parliament and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, UK. This would help for more opportunities in Indian lawyers. For details see Business Line May 9th 2008.


International News

New laws for marriage in California

The California Supreme Court in a major victory case has given full federal legal protection of marriage to same-sex couples by allowing same-sex marriages in state of California after state of Massachusetts. Though this ruling of Supreme Court would have only national implication but other US states like Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Vermont permit same-sex civil unions that grant largely the same rights. The case has come along as a marked judgment in the history as it provides the gay couples the same substantive constitutional rights as it guarantees opposite-sex couples.

EU plans policy on food crisis with Britain and France

European Union is planning to shake up its existing agriculture policy for the on going problem of food crisis. The proposal was made by the European Commission for a new worked agriculture policy to lift output in the face of food crisis. The proposals are likely to ensure a fierce debate, but still the European Union's executive arm has already had to water down an early plan to cap hand-outs to the biggest farms in the face of British and German criticism. The draft of the policy focuses on phasing out milk quotas and scrapping rules on keeping land fallow in order to encourage more production. The other member states, led by Britain, want the EU to shake up the subsidy system even more, much to the horror of France, Europe's leading agriculture power.

Pressure up by lawyers for sacked judges in Pakistan

The Pakistan Bar Council and the Supreme Court Bar Association warned the government to reinstate the judges sacked by the President Pervez Musharraf. The pressure has stepped up by the Pakistan's influential lawyers and they have warned the government for a long march and other protest from June 10th. The senior leader of the ruling Pakistan People's party and also the Supreme Court Bar Association president said that the movement is not to destabilise the government but just wanted the government to deliver its commitment to reinstate the deposed judges.

Media goes more liberal in Pakistan

The Pakistan Supreme Court withdrew a blanket ban on entire media, which came from the prior restrictive order by Justice Nawaz Abbasi to get court stories approved from court officials before publishing or telecasting. The order on entire electronic and print media came after a channel reported about his meeting with interior secretary and some other judges against the back drop of current judicial crisis on the question of restoration of deposed judges.

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