Thursday, October 20, 2016

Frames of reference..

K. Kannan on triple talaq laws in India and in several Muslim-majority countries: Frames of reference: The thicket of legal dialogues on the validity of triple talaq conceals the result of churnings that have already taken place in our courts on this subject. The renewed debate has come through a quest

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Organ Donation - Imperatives for preparing the whole family

Organ Donation - Two unusual cases

Organ donations come with different types of problems, We have two examples here: one, where the spouse was objecting to donation of a portion of liver by her husband to his father and two, a person wanting to donate his body immediately for research, when the hospital declined on the ground that a living person cannot donate his own body. The results in these judicial decisions have been reasonably predictable. 

 The Andhra Pradesh High Court confronted a curious situation in Suma Kiran Malena v Secretary Medical and Health and others (2007),where the wife of the donor filed a writ petition challenging the decision of her husband to donate a portion of the liver to his father, who was reportedly suffering from decompensated cirrhosis of liver, an incurable HCV-related liver function. The Court rejected the petition as not maintainable, holding that no legal right existed for the wife to prevent her husband’s decision! The court ruled that case had been filed on two wrong assumptions: that her husband’s affection towards his parent should be subservient to the marital relationship between him and the petitioner, and that he could not donate his organs without her consent. Though the case was lost, it signals an important aspect that has to be factored at all times that consent for transplant is desirable of all members of the family, by counselling and if need be, by persuasion, if the individual donor has already signified his consent. 

By no stretch of imagination can the Act that makes possible organ donation be taken as allowing someone else’s life to be taken to save one’s own. In C.A. Thomas Master v. Union of India (UOI ) and Ors (2000)  the petitioner claimed that he had approached some of the medical institutions under the control of the state government, including the District Hospital, Thirssur, seeking help to facilitate his voluntary death and for donation of his organs, including the heart, kidneys, and eyes. His request was not taken seriously and he was told that none of the hospitals under the state government had such facilities to enable the petitioner to voluntarily cause his death, which would not be suicide. The petitioner therefore approached the high court of Kerala for the issuance of a writ of mandamus commanding the respondents to start ‘Mahaprasthana Kendra’ or voluntary death clinics in each district Hospital so as to facilitate voluntary death and donation of bodily organs as well as their transplantation. There was a further prayer for a direction to the respondents to appoint a commission to study the practice of voluntary death in ancient India and to suggest methods for its practice in the context of  environmental changes and technological advancement. The petitioner also prayed for a direction to the respondents to set apart funds and set up infrastructure for assisting voluntary organizations that are willing to facilitate voluntary deaths and the donation of bodily organs. The court said that in the absence of any legislation, and in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in Gian Kaur’s case upholding the provision in the IPC making the attempt to suicide as an offence, no distinction could be made between suicide as ordinarily understood and the right to voluntarily end one’s life as distinguished by the petitioner. Now even an attempt to suicide has been de-criminalised by repealing s 309 IPC, but the effect would be the same. The doctor cannot be commanded to take away the life of a healthy person only in order to facilitate organ donation.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

A tricky debate on abortion

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Hello, do you hear me?

This is no Adele's music! A promise is being redeemed. Watch this space for resumption of posts!
Certain things are changed. The contents of this blog are not going to be non-judgmental. It is time for critical appraisals and taking positions on several vital legal issues. The title of the blog page is therefore changed.
Get set.

Friday, September 11, 2009

To Blog; or not to blog!

The captioned question is in some way in the same league as Hamlet's existential dilemma of 'To be, or not to be; that is the question';…To suffer in the mind, 'the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune', answers the 'to be' query; or 'take arms against a sea of troubles by opposing them, to die; to sleep' would resolve the 'not to be' choice.

A sitting judge does not speak otherwise through his judgments. He shall not take positions in the public domain on any issue that is likely to come before him in court that may ultimately compromise on his impartiality.

Do not judges make public speeches or attend seminars, express their views and enter into debates? Do they not write articles in print media on legal issues? Public speeches pale into thin air. If they are captured in human ears, they shall be but stored in forgetful memory. If they get into print, they shall be trashed by passage of time. If they are recorded in magnetic tapes or digitized, they shall likewise be consumed to oblivion in due course. In any event, they shall not cause ripples beyond the immediate vicinity of persons who happen to hear the judges speak or read and forget what they read.

Posting a material in the web carries a certain aura of invincibility, a powerful permanence and an inevitable global presence. So long as this blog was read only in a few homes by the compulsive surfers who may have chanced to land on this web page, all seemed well. Suddenly things have changed for the better or the worse.

There is a person who asks me whether any mother would feel comfortable about bringing a case seeking for custody, if anyone knew my alleged 'gender bias'? There is another person who wants a legal advice. There is another person who wants to post his comment that contains a personal innuendo against a celebrity. I may keep the debate open ended and not take positions; not get judgmental, but even if one person doubts my impartiality, I would have done the institution of judiciary incalculable harm. I have sworn to upholding the constitutional values and I shall not be seen to swerve an inch from my oath of office.

Not on one occasion have I used first person singular in all my posts. I meant to be impersonal about the contents expressed, but I realize, some may even suspect that there is a deceit in the tenor. Sentences could be constructed in passive voice, but still I may have unwittingly employed my personal predilections. Time has come to wind up. What I had written as a last piece bidding good bye to my weekly edits in the law journal that I was editing when I was still a lawyer, seems relevant here, with some minor modifications.

Gilda Radner, an Emmy Award winner and an American Comedienne, who died at 42 with ovarian cancer said, "I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next." I do not know where I have arrived; where I have led you or if I have led you anywhere at all. My tryst with my blogs is over. Some readers have asked me, if there is any other judge in the whole world who blogs. There is also incidentally a reminder that somewhere, the propriety is breached. I began all this when I was an editor of a law journal, continued with it, as a shy bride would walk to the marriage pandal. Now I hang up my boots. I went through with it, with good intentions to constantly kindle your interest to stay put with what is happening in the legal world.

Am I glad, it is all over?


Am I sad that it is over now?


What is good in a goodbye, if it is not a first-rate experience? As Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan say in Annie, a Hollywood Musical, 'How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard!'

'A goodbye isn't painful unless you're never going to say hello again'. I will move over to other tasks and come back again someday to say, Hello!