President, Law Minister, CJI prescribes mediation to check case pendency
On 9 April 2022, during the inaugural event of the two-day national conference on "Mediation and Information Technology" in Gujarat in the presence of the Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana, President Ram Nath Kovind said the concept of mediation is yet to find widespread acceptance, and bottlenecks such as lack of domain experts and suitable infrastructure need to be addressed on priority to help a wider population benefit from the tool of mediation. On the same issue, Law Minister Rijiju emphasised the need for “teamwork” between the executive and the judiciary, while CJI Ramana advocated for an “active effort” by courts to “make negotiations and mediation mandatory as part of case management”.
Rijiju further added that the Mediation Bill was now before the Parliament’s Standing Committee of Law and Justice for deliberations, and is taking a very good shape. The Government’s goal was to ensure that people should not wait for formal litigation to get justice.
CJI Ramana echoed that lok adalats, gram adalats and mediation centres have the “potential to transform the legal landscape of India by providing millions of people a platform to settle their grievances” and that “imbibing effective alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms into the judicial process can reduce pendency, and allow the litigants a degree of control over the dispute resolution process and its outcome”. He further added that legal regulations have failed to keep pace with advancements in technology, CJI Ramana cautioned that he expects litigation in technological areas to only go up. “Technological developments such as cryptocurrency data protection, encryption, and artificial intelligence have caused courts and law enforcement agencies to engage in novel issues. With the passage of time, there is a possibility of increasing litigation on these issues,” he said.
‘Jersey’ movie copyright infringement case
Shahid Kapoor-starrer Jersey is facing legal issues a few days before its premiere. Writer Rupesh Jaiswal has filed a case against the film for infringement of copyright over its story. Jaiswal registered his script in 2007 under the title The Wall. Jaiswal now claims that both the Telugu version of the film as well as the Shahid Kapoor-starrer have plagiarized everything from the concept, story, and idea of his script. The Telugu version was released in the year 2019, and the remake is now set to release on April 22, 2022.
Jaiswal stated that his rights have been violated under the copyright act and the defendants ought to cease and desist from any further propagation of the plagiarised versions of the story.
After hearing arguments advanced by both the parties, Justice Riyaz Chagla noted that there was a substantial delay by the plaintiff in approaching the High Court. The court said that prima facie a notice issued by Jersey's producers in an industry magazine before it took the rights of the Telugu film appeared valid since the plaintiff was from the industry. On 13 April 2022, The Bombay High Court refused to stay the release of Shahid Kapoor starrer "Jersey" for copyright infringement.
Finland and Sweden to join NATO
According to the United States officials, NATO membership for both Nordic countries was "a topic of conversation and multiple sessions" during talks between the alliance's foreign ministers attended by Sweden and Finland.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which it says aims among other things to degrade Ukraine's military potential and prevent it from becoming a bridgehead for a NATO attack, has prompted the two Nordic countries to consider joining the U.S.-led alliance.
Since the invasion began on Feb 24, 2022, public opinion polls commissioned by Finnish media outlets have shown a swift U-turn with the majority of Finns now favoring joining NATO.
Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto said that Finland will clarify next steps in the coming weeks regarding a possible decision to seek NATO membership. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said that if Finland and Sweden joined NATO then Russia would have to "rebalance the situation" with its own measures.
UK Prime Minister and Chancellor fined for violating rules during Covid lockdown
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were fined by the police for breaching COVID lockdown laws. A fixed penalty notice has been issued. PM Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak received notification of fines after the investigation was conducted by the Metropolitan police into parties that took place in Downing Street during the COVID lockdown period, in June 2020.
As a result, Mr. Johnson became the UK’s first serving Prime Minister to be sanctioned for breaking the law. All three apologised, but opposition MPs say the PM and Chancellor must quit. Nearly all cabinet ministers have publicly backed Johnson and Sunak, stating that they were delivering for Britain on many fronts. This has created political tension in the country.
The fines come as a part of an investigation by the Metropolitan Police into illegal parties held in Downing Street and across Whitehall during the covid lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. The force is looking into 12 parties overall and has already issued more than 50 fines, with more expected to come.