06.11.20 – 13.11.20

Hello, this past week has seen several developments ranging from the Supreme Court halting the enforcement of the Antrix Arbitral Award to the President of Kosovo being indicted on war crimes. Happy Reading!

Greetings! We are pleased to present ‘TeLawgram’, our new weekly segment focussing on events of legal importance – in India and elsewhere. For your ease, we will be providing a brief summary of events, as well as a reading list that explores different points of view. With TeLawgram, we hope to both inform readers and expand the debate. Feel free to peruse our Call for Papers and Webinars Section. Happy Reading!

Week 7

CfPs and Seminars


SC halts enforcement of Antrix Arbitral Award

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court ruled that the dispute concerning the enforcement of the $1.2 arbitral award between ISRO’s commercial arm, Antrix Corp. Ltd. and Devas Multimedia Pvt. Ltd. will be heard by the Delhi High Court. Antrix and Devas entered into a contract in 2005 for the allotment of an S-Band spectrum. Devas approached the International Chamber of Commerce since Antrix terminated the contract citing a policy change as a force majeure event. Devas received an arbitral award in its favour and filed an application for its enforcement under Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act before the Delhi High Court. Antrix, on the other hand, filed an application under the same section before the Bangalore City Civil Court to restrain Devas from enforcing the award. A two-judge bench of the Delhi High Court held that the petition was not maintainable before them. In 2018, the Supreme Court stayed the proceedings before the Bangalore City Civil Court. In its latest judgement pertaining to  this dispute, the Supreme Court ruled that objections to the enforcement of the award under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act would have to be heard. The Court transferred the petition to the Delhi High Court.

Suggested Readings: 

  1. The Supreme Court’s order can be found here. 
  2. Devas Mauritius Ltd. v. Republic of India, PCA Case No. 2013-09, Award on Jurisidiction and Merits,
  3. Nidhi Gupta, Saving Face or Upholding Rule of Law: Reflections on Antrix Corp Ltd. v. Devas Multimedia P. Ltd. (Arbitration Petition No. 20 of 2011, Decided on May 10, 2013), 2 Indian J. Arb. L. 59 (2013).
  4. Sai Anukaran & Niyati Rawal, The Negative Affect of Negative Effective of Kompetenz-Kompetenz on International Arbitration: Notes from the Devas v. Antrix Saga (Jun.9, 2020),
  5. Sukanya Acharya, The Dichotomous Investor-State Relations: A Critical Analysis of the Devas BIT Arbitration, 8 Online Interdisciplinary Research Journal 54. 
  6. Rajvansh Singh, Antrix: A Case of Misinterpretation (Jan.25, 2019),  

The SC grants bail to journalist Arnab Gowsami overruling the Bombay HC’s decision

The Supreme Court granted bail to the Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV, Arnab Goswami on 11th November 2020. Goswami was arrested on November 4th for allegedly abetting the suicides of Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik, directors of an interior design company, in 2018. Earlier this week, the High Court of Bombay rejected Goswami’s petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus. The High Court held that Goswami had an alternate remedy for bail available under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and observed that there was a need to exercise judicial restraint when such a remedy is available. A two-judge vacation bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indira Banerjee overruled the decision of the Bombay High Court and observed that the State had failed to make out a prima facie case for abetment to suicide since the suicides took place due to the financial difficulties of the deceased.

Suggested readings:

  1. The Bombay High Court’s decision can be found here
  2. The Supreme Court’s judgement can be found here
  3. Caleb Foote, The Coming Constitutional Crisis in Bail:II, 113 U. PA. L. Rev. 1125 (1965). 
  4. Abhinav Sekhri, Restrictive Bail Conditions in Indian Criminal Procedure: Lessons from History (Jun.10, 2019),
  5. Abhinav Sekhri, The Complex World of Bail in India’s Criminal Justice System (Feb.2, 2020),

The Himachal Pradesh HC says that the conduct of minor ought to be taken into account while granting bail to the rape accused

The High Court of Himachal Pradesh granted bail to a twenty-year-old, accused of raping a minor girl on the grounds that the victim had consented to the sexual intercourse. The Court was considering the bail application filed in the matter of Rohit Sharma v State of Himachal Pradesh. The accused charged under Sections 363, 366A & 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), Section 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) and Section 3 of the SC & ST Act, sought bail alleging false accusations. He claimed that the family of the victim forced her to lodge a false complaint to break their relationship. The Court observed that the minor girl has consented to coitus with the accused. No facts have established anything to the contrary.  POCSO Act defines a child to be below the age of 18. Therefore, the victim could not have given consent for sexual intercourse for the age of consent is 18. But, the Court held that her conduct is sufficient to grant bail to the petitioner. The Court added that the evidence does not justify further incarceration of the accused and he is entitled for bail.

Suggested Readings:

  1.    The Order can be found here.
  2.  A similar stance has been taken by the Madras High Court. Read Order here.
  3. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, No. 32, Acts of Parliament, 2012.
  4. Veenashree Anchan, Navaneetham Janardhana, John Vijay Sagar Kommu, POCSO Act, 2012: Consensual Sex as a Matter of Tug of War Between Developmental Need and Legal Obligation for the Adolescents in India (Oct 19, 2020).
  5. Lina Acca Mathew, Right to Sexual Autonomy of Children—Implications of the UNCRC upon the Indian Law on the Age of Consent (May 7, 2019).
  6. Kaushiki, Law prohibiting sexual offences against children sparks controversy over age of consent (June 13, 2012) 
  7. 240th Report on The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill, 2011, Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development (2011).

Kerala HC held the contentious Sections 29 and 30 of the POCSO Act to be constitutional

The High Court of Kerala upheld the constitutionality of the much-contested provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act), Sections 29 and 30. These sections impose a reverse burden of proof on the accused overriding the presumption of innocence.

The single bench of the High Court held that these provisions are in accordance with Articles 14, 20(3) and 21 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, the Court rejected the arguments raised by the Petitioners. The Court observed while considering the writ petition Justin@Renjith v. Union of India that it is not rare for the statutes to impose a limited burden on the accused to establish facts specifically to his knowledge. The Court held that Article 15 (3) provides special protection to children. Therefore, the POCSO Act passes the test of intelligible differentia and thereby upholds Article 14.

Further to bring evidence within the mischief of Art.20(3), it must be shown that the accused was under a compulsion to give evidence. Compulsion in this context must mean duress.  Moreover, the petitioners argued that these provisions took away the right to presumption of innocence under Article 21. In this regard, the Court observed that the provisions do not take away the obligation of the prosecution to establish the foundational facts.

Suggested Readings:

  1. The judgment can be found here.
  2. Find the link to a similar update on TeLawgram here.
  3. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, No. 32, Acts of Parliament, 2012.
  4. Abinand Lagisetti, Reverse Onus Clauses: Validity, Regulation and the Correlation with Death Penalty (May 4, 2020),
  5. Kavya Lalchandani, Constitutionality of Reverse Onus Clauses Under POCSO Act (July 13, 2019),
  6. Nirmalya Chaudhuri, Dilution of the Presumption of Innocence Principle in India (Feb. 15, 2020),

Patna HC suggests that Courts are swayed by the notion that women victims merit greater reparation

The High Court of Patna while acquitting a death row prisoner in the matter of State of Bihar v. Niranjan@ Alakh Deo Kumar, held that the paternalistic attitude of society towards women, who are always considered as a helpless victim, must not hinder in the process of deciding the quantum of sentencing.

The Trial Court used circumstantial evidence against the accused and convicted him for committing an offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The accused was sentenced to capital punishment. The Trial Court has ascribed the fact that the victim is an unmarried woman who was taken “advantage” of as an aggravating factor. Such a stance reflects the paternalistic notion of society towards women. The High Court noted that the Trial Court heavily erred in attributing the motive of the crime as an aggravating circumstance. The High Court while citing the Apex Court in Mukesh v. NCT, observed that to ensure justice the courts ought to impose punishment that befits the crime. Even if the crime was brutal, the standard of proof for a death sentence is essentially raised from the standard of proof applied for a conviction. The Court observed that since the case is purely based on circumstantial evidence and ‘residual doubt’ remains, it automatically becomes a mitigating circumstance for commutation of the death penalty. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court set aside the Order for conviction and sentencing.

Suggested Readings

  1. The judgment can be found here.
  2. Mukesh v. State for NCT of Delhi, CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 607-608 OF 2017.
  3. Merrin Muhammed Ashraf, Need for Mitigation Investigation in Death Penalty Cases in India: A Step to Ensure Individualized Sentencing (Aug 18, 2020),,disturbance%2C%20probability%20of%20reformation%20etc.&text=While%20circumstances%20pertaining%20to%20the,motive%2C%20culpability%20of%20accused%20etc
  4. Ashna D, Death Penalty Law in India: A Case of Consistent Inconsistencies (July 2020),
  5. The International Center for Transitional Justice, Can Reparations Help Fight Discrimination Against Women? The International Center for Transitional Justice (Sept 29, 2019),


Kosovo President Hashim Thaci indicted on war crimes

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Special Prosecutor’s Office indicted President Hashim Thaci for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the 1990s-armed conflict against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) for Kosovo’s independence. Thaci was indicted on crimes of persecution, imprisonment, illegal or arbitrary arrest and detention, other inhumane acts, cruel treatment, torture, murder, and enforced disappearance of persons, that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) committed against opponents. Opponents included persons who were  perceived to have been collaborating with FRY authorities, not supporting the KLA, and persons of Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities. Thaci held a leadership position with the KLA.

Thaci is currently in custody at the Detention Facilities of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague.. KLA leadership members Kadri Veseli, Rexhep Selimi, Jakup Krasniqi were also indicted for the same crimes and transferred to detention facilities in The Hague.

During a special swearing-in ceremony in Kosovo on November 5th, Vjosa Osmani officially became the Acting President of Kosovo. Osmani is the second woman to serve as Head of State out of post-war Kosovo’s six presidents.

Suggested Readings:

  1. Find a copy of the document of indictment here.
  2. Human Rights Watch, Legal Standards and the Kosovo Conflict,
  3. Amnesty International, Kosovo: Time for EULEX to prioritize war crimes, EUR 70/004 (2012).
  4. Human Rights Watch, UNDER ORDERS War Crimes in Kosovo, (2001).
  5. Antonio Cassese, When May Senior State Officials Be Tried for International Crimes? Some Comments on the Congo v Belgium Case, 13 EJIL 4 ed. 853 – 875 (2002).
  6. Mawada Siddig Yousif Abu-Agla, Head of State Immunity in International Law, University of Khartoum (2010).
  7. Salvatore Zappala, Do Heads of State in Office Enjoy Immunity from Jurisdiction for International Crimes? The Gaddafi Case Before the French Cour de Cassation, 12 EJIL 2 ed. 595 – 612 (2001).
  8.  Steven Freeland, A Prosecution Too Far? Reflections on the Accountability of Heads of  State Under International  Criminal Law, 41 VUWLR 179 – 204 (2010).
  9. Mary M. Penrose, It’s Good to Be the King: Prosecuting Heads of State and Former Heads of State under International Law, 39 Colum. J. Transnat’l L. 193 (2000).

New Zealand Supreme Court grants extradition of Megaupload founder to US

The Supreme Court of New Zealand ruled on November 4th that the US may extradite German-Finnish internet entrepreneur and political activist Kim Dotcom to face criminal copyright-related charges. In 2005, Dotcom founded a business which comprised of various companies providing cloud storage and file-sharing capability for internet users. The US alleged that one of those companies, Megaupload, encouraged third parties to upload digital files that infringed copyright, which could then be shared. The US further alleged that Dotcom and three others knew that Megaupload users were uploading infringing material but nonetheless incentivized this and profited from it.

Dotcom was arrested in 2012 after armed police, at the request of the FBI, raided his Auckland mansion by a helicopter. US prosecutors allege that Megaupload facilitated business which caused copyright holders to lose in excess of US$500 million.  As a result, the US requested the extradition of Dotcom and his co-accused to face trial for conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering, criminal copyright infringement and wire fraud.

The Court’s order granted the US’s request but also provided Dotcom the opportunity to challenge the decision through judicial review. Should Dotcom choose to identify that there are issues which remain outstanding in the judicial review proceedings, the Court directed him to file them by November 25.

Suggested Readings:

  1. Find a copy of the order here.
  2. Click here to view the extradition treaty between New Zealand and the USA.
  3. LOC, New Zealand: High Court Finds Megaupload Founder Eligible for Extradition, (Feb. 22, 2017),
  4. D. Palmer & I.J. Warren, Global Policing and the Case of Kim Dotcom, 2(3) IICJ  106 – 119 (2013).
  5. R.R. Amsterdam & I.P. Rothken, Megaupload the Copyright Lobby and the Future of Digital Rights; The United States v. You (Kim Dotcom).
  6. Department of Justice, Justice Department Charges Leaders of Megaupload with Widespread Online Copyright Infringement, (Jan. 19, 2012),
  7. Daniel Levin et al, MEGAUPLOAD AND CRIMINAL CHARGES, 4 Revista Española de Relaciones Internacionales 23- 47.

UAE cancels leniency for honour killings

The UAE government on November 7th announced that it will cancel lenient penalties for honour killings and will introduce other progressive policies. In a statement released by his Government, President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan approved amendments to personal status, civil transactions, the penal code and criminal procedural laws.

“Based on the UAE’s solid commitment to protecting women’s rights, amendments to the Penal Code and Criminal Procedural law have repealed the article giving reduced (lenient) sentence in what is called ‘honour crimes,’” the UAE President announced.

Honour crimes will henceforth be treated as normal murder cases. Additionally, residents can choose not to apply sharia law, but can instead apply inheritance laws in each case.  Under sharia law, women would receive half the inheritance of men, and they can be excluded from inheriting property. Other acts will be decriminalized, such as consensual sex outside of marriage and consuming alcohol. Judges and prosecutors will now define these acts.

Suggested Readings:

  1. Emirates News Agency, President approves amendments to Personal Status, Civil Transactions, Penal Code, Criminal Procedural laws, (Nov. 07, 2020),
  2. Dr Ahmed Aly Khedr, UPDATE: Overview of United Arab Emirates Legal System, (Jan. 2018),
  3. Butti Sultan Butti Ali Al-Muhairi, The Development of the UAE Legal System and Unification with the Judicial System, 11/2 Arab Law Quarterly 116-160 (1996).
  4. Barbora Vránová, The Position of Islamic Law in the Legal System of the United Arab Emirates, Metropolitan University Prague, International Relations and European Studies (2017).

Italy lower house approves bill protecting LGBTQ+ community, women and disabled people from violence

Italy’s lower house passed a bill on November 4th that extends anti-discrimination protection to women, disabled people and members of the LGBTQ+ community, making violence against these groups a hate crime. Existing hate crime legislation only protects people from racial, religious and ethnic discrimination. Under this law, people convicted of hate crimes against these newly protected groups could face up to four years in prison. The bill also proposes an awareness campaign in schools and provides increased funding for anti-discrimination organizations.

Recent instances of violence against queer and trans Italians spurred the legislation. In June, a 25-year-old student was hospitalized after being assaulted by seven people while holding hands with his partner. In September, 22-year-old Maria Paola Gaglione was killed by her brother Michele Antonio who disapproved of her relationship with Ciro Migliore, a trans man.

Far-right and religious groups oppose the bill, claiming that it would limit freedom of expression. They argue that the law already does enough to protect people from “violent or intolerant behaviour.” Italy has been resistant to pro-LGBTQ+ policies. It approved same-sex civil unions in 2016, but same-sex marriage is still prohibited.  The bill now seeks approval from the upper house.

Suggested Readings:

  1. Reuters, Italy’s lower house of parliament approves bill protecting LGBT+ community, (Nov. 04, 2020),
  2. Rosamund Shreeves, The rights of LGBTI people in the European Union, PE 637.950  European Parliamentary Research Service (May 2019).
  3. The social situation concerning homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in Italy, Danish Institute for Human Rights (March 2009).
  4. Lasio & Serri, The Italian public debate on same-sex civil unions and lesbian and gay parenting. Sexualities, (2017).
  5. Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People in Europe and Central Asia 2020, Brussels: ILGA-Europe (2020).

European Union publishes guidelines on fixing international data transfers

The European Union’s European Data Protection Board (EDPB) published recommendations on the supplementary measures that businesses must take when transferring personal data outside the European Economic Area (EEA). The recommendations were brought in to ensure compliance with EU’s standards of personal data protection. They are relevant for businesses relying on the standard contractual clauses in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), binding corporate entities to adhere to appropriate safeguards while transferring personal data outside the EEA.

The 38-pages of guidance follows the landmark judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the ‘Schrems II’ ruling, which invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield, assuring that personal data is protected wherever it goes. The Court asserted that protections should not be undermined when personal data is transferred outside the EEA. The recommendations mean that personal data from the EU cannot be transferred to jurisdictions requiring access to unencrypted personal data. The EDPB recommends exporters to understand the nature of the data transfers and to verify transfer tools relied upon. 

Suggested Readings:

  1. Find the recommendations here.
  2. Find the Schrems II ruling here.
  3. Mayer Brown, European Data Protection Board publishes recommendations on the supplementary measures to be taken for international personal data transfers from Europe (Nov. 12, 2020),
  4. Deniz Gungor & Ayse Turgul, European Union: Invalidation Of “Privacy Shield Pact” On Data Transfers Between European Union And The United States (Sept. 30, 2020),
  5. Information Commissioner’s Office, International Transfers (Last visited Nov. 14, 2020),

Hungary introduces legislation to ban adoption for same- sex couples

Hungary’s government drafted legislation banning adoption by same-sex couples. Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government, the nationalist Fidesz party, also proposed a constitutional amendment mandating children to be raised with a Christian interpretation of gender roles.  The government, which has increased anti- LGBTQ rhetoric during the pandemic, believes that the Bill increases children’s rights during adoption. 

Justice Minister Judit Varga submitted the legislative amendments to the Parliament. The amendments intend to educate people about the true Christian values of Hungary, which are regarded as the basis of Hungary’s Constitutional principles. The Fidesz party argues that traditional families are threatened world wide by liberal ideologists and it is therefore pertinent to assure that the definition of a family is deemed as the union between a husband and wife. Even though same-sex marriages are illegal in Hungary, adoption was possible on the application by a partner. The new law only permits a single person to adopt with the special permission of the Minister in charge of family affairs. The amendment therefore, is also considered an attack on single-parent families. 

Suggested Readings: 

  1. Hungary, ILGA- Europe Annual Review (2013), (last visited Nov 14, 2020). 
  2. Hungarian LGBT Alliance, Transvanilla Transgender Association, Háttér Society, Budapest Pride & Labrisz Lesbian Association, LGBTQI Rights in Hungary (Last visited Nov. 14, 2020),
  3.  Reka Csaba, Roland Reiner & Integrity Lab, The Attitude of Hungarian Society Towards Same-Sex Marriage (Dec. 15, 2016),
  4. Becky Prager, The Hungarian Ban on Gender Studies and its Implications for Democratic Freedom (last visited Nov.13, 2020),
  5. Danish Institute for Human Rights, The Social Situation Concerning Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation in Hungary (March, 2009),
  6. Judit Takács, Limiting Queer Reproduction in Hungary, 20 Journal of Women’s Studies 68 (2018).

European Parliament approves limits on exports of surveillance technology 

The European Parliament approved a law limiting the export of surveillance technologies that have the potential of violating human rights. The rules were reviewed and agreed by the Parliament and Council negotiators. The rules govern the export of ‘dual use goods’, that includes software and technology which can be repurposed to be used in ways violating human rights. Such products, which may also have legitimate uses, can be used to aid repressive regimes, criminal interests and domestic abusers.  The new law requires the endorsement of the International Trade Committee and the assent of the Council before it can come into effect. 

A 2018 report by Parliament negotiators revealed EU contribution to human rights abuses through certain surveillance and intrusion technologies exported from the EU. Taking into consideration the risks posed by dual use goods such as drones, high-performance computers and certain chemicals, criterias to grant or reject export licenses have been included in the new rules. The rules do not completely ban exports of these technologies, but strengthens disclosure requirements. European companies will have to apply for government licenses to export certain products and meet the criterias to ensure products do not pose risks to human rights. EU countries will also have to be more transparent by publicly disclosing details about the export licenses they grant. The rules can also be quickly changed to cover emerging technologies. 

Suggested Readings:

  1. Amnesty International, Out Of Control: Failing Eu Laws For Digital Surveillance Export (Sept. 21, 2020),
  2. European Parliament, Dual use goods: Parliament and EU ministers agree on new EU export rules (Nov. 9, 2020),
  3. Fabian Bohnenberger, The Proliferation of Cyber- Surveillance Technologies: Challenges and Prospects for Strengthened Export Controls, 3 Strategic Trade Review 81. 
  4. Coalition Against Unlawful Surveillance Exports, 2020. A Critical Opportunity: Bringing Surveillance Technologies Within The EU Dual-Use Regulation. Available at: <> (Nov 14,2020).

CfPs and Seminars

Call for Papers (India)

  • NUALS’ Centre for Competition Law and Policy, invites submissions for the 1st Volume of its Competition Law e-Newsletter. The deadline for submission is 9th December, 2020.
  • Hidayatulla National Law University invites submissions on the theme Constitution@70, marking the document’s 70th anniversary. The deadline for submission is 20th December, 2020. 

Call for Papers (International)

  • The Polish Yearbook of International Law invites submissions to its jubilee volume relating to public and private international law and EU law.  The deadline for submission is 31st January, 2020

Webinars (India)

  • National Law University, Delhi & the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India are conducting a webinar on Access to Legal Aid for Undertrials on 28th November, 2020. Prior registration is required.

Webinars (International)

The Centre for Intellectual Property Rights at NUALS has recently launched IPpetite, a column dedicated to IP updates from around the world.

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