Thursday, January 31, 2013

Adam Liptak - the Journalist-Lawyer

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

For those of you who scour the pages of the New York Times may be familiar with Adam Liptak. His reporting on US Law and the US Supreme Court is extraordinary. I came across an insightful interview on with Mr. Liptak which made me google him to check his credentials. For example I had no idea he was a lawyer in addition to being a law journalist.  Apparently the Journalist Lawyer is now a new sub-field in this profession. More and more newspapers want the reporting on law to be done by professional lawyers like Mr. Liptak.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Imran Khan Najam Sethi Aapis Ki Baat - My take

This is a non-law related post.

Imran Khan's appearance on Najam Sethi's show shattered some of the in-vogue myths about the great man and only anchor as suave and a commentator as shrewd as Najam Sethi could have brought out the very essence of the man- a liberal progressive man who nonetheless derives his inspiration from Islam, a man who is patriotic but is not a war-monger, a man who wants Pakistan to co-exist with the rest of the world with honour, dignity and on the basis of mutual respect and a man who wants all citizens of Pakistan to live honorably regardless of their creed or personal background. For those of us who are inspired by Jinnah and Jinnah's idea of a progressive democratic egalitarian and inclusive Pakistan, this was the stuff of dreams.

Looking for a divorce lawyer? Read our blog

Not all marriages are made in heaven. With the best will on both sides, some married couples find themselves so incompatible that continuing to live together is harming them both and creating unhealthy strains on their children. It is at this point in a marriage that outside advice should be sought. Marriage counsellors, clergymen, doctors are all willing to help you.  And so are - may I add- lawyers. 

What is Reasonable Classification under Indian Law?

It is now well established that while Article 14 of the Constitution of India, 1950, forbids class legislation i.e. based on any class of persons, it does not forbid reasonable classification for the purposes of legislation. The classification may be founded on different bases, geographical or according to objects or occupations. What is necessary is that there should be a nexus between the basis of classification and the object of the Act under consideration.

Express Newspapers v. Union of India 1959 SCR 12 also reported as AIR 1958 SC 578

A similar American judgment is the Lee Optical Case. 

Pendente Lite Nihil Innovetur

It means that during a litigation nothing new should be introduced.

See Transfer of Property of Act 1882 Section 52.

What are mitigating circumstances

What are mitigating circumstances?

Events or facts that can reduce the level of blame for a person's act, but that note enough to excuse it are known as mitigating circumstances.

Suppose Jordan went to his dentist to have a tooth extracted. The procedure went awry and Jordan ended up in the hospital for six weeks, fighting a life threatening infection. When he recovered, he sued the dentist and filed a claim against him with the state board of dentistry. Although Jordan's dentist did not dispute it was mishandled, he claimed that personal problems - such as a bitter divorce - had impaired his professional skills. He provided evidence of psychological counselling to help him overcome these problems and pointed out that Jordan's complaint was the only one brought against him in 20 years of practice.

By introducing the information in the court Jordan's dentist was able to reduce the severity of punishment. 

SHOCKING: Virginia is finally going to repeal Living in Sin law

Well I'll be damned. Virginia it seems has maintained an 1870 law which forbids lewd and lascivious cohabitation by law.  In other words an archaic law stopping unmarried couples from living together in sin is going to be repealed, leaving it to adults to make their own choices.

The state of Thomas Jefferson finally has arrived in the 21st Century.

Doctrine of Political Questions

Political Question means a question relating to the policy of the state. According to the American concept of Political Question, the question is exclusively and solely within the domain and jurisdiction of the legislative and executive organs of the state. And this has been due to a policy of judicial restraint on part of the US Supreme Court.

Justice William O Douglas of the US Supreme Court said:

"The judiciary plainly has a restricted role. It does not fashion policies. It should not try to occupy the office of the executive, the legislative or the administrative. But the political question should no longer be used as a thicket behind which the judiciary retreats."

What is Executive Action under Indian Constitution

The expression executive action in Article 166 is comprehensive enough to include orders which emerge as a result of a quasi judicial decision by the Government. This requires ministerial advice. President or governor cannot proceed on his own.

Case Law reference: Automobile Transport v. Nathuram Mirdha AIR 1959 RAJ 121

Legal Notice Against Fakhra Hassan, Nighat Dad, Meera Ghani and DRF

                                                                                                                           Without Prejudice                                   
1.      Fakhra Hassan
2.      Nighat Dad
3.      Meera Ghani
4.      Digital Rights Foundation  

Via Courier/Web-Publication/Email 

Legal Notice

We act for Yasser Latif Hamdani- a lawyer and an activist for the internet transparency and freedom- (“Our Client”) who has instructed to address you as follows:

1.      That Our Client is a lawyer and an activist for, inter alia, net freedoms, access to internet for all and for women’s rights who has built his reputation through painstaking hard work and utmost integrity and sincerity of purpose.

2.      That you have engaged in certain defamatory and untrue communications with the board members of [Name of the Organization Omitted for Privacy], a leading international organization, as well as on Facebook, an international social network, with the sole intent of defaming and discrediting our Client.  In the process you also lied about the proceedings of a court case that Our Client has initiated against three individuals. It is submitted that you knowingly misrepresented the proceedings as being against Our Client when this is not true. It is further submitted that you deliberately and maliciously concocted a story regarding Our Client to hurt Our Client’s work and reputation and to ostracize Our Client internationally.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Nothing is right with Pakistan's so called "feminists"

In response to my blog post Pakistan's so called "feminists", author/novelist/blogger Bina Shah posted this response. While I thank her for her acknowledgement of my enthusiasm for women's rights, I was disappointed to read what was yet another long winded apology for why the women's movement has failed so miserably in Pakistan. The answer to that question I had already suggested in my previous blog/article. The reason why the women's movement will remain grounded for all times to come is because the so called standard bearers of the women's movement are unwilling and unable to look beyond biology and find allies. In fact I am afraid if they critically analyse their actions, they'll realize that they have a lot in common with the Mullahs. For example consider this brilliant message from an angry angry self styled Pakistani feminist, apparently in New York, addressed to me:

Law solicitor

What is a Law solicitor ?

In the English legal system, solicitors traditionally dealt with any legal matter including conducting proceedings in courts although solicitors were required to engage a barrister as advocate in a High Court or above after the profession split in two. Minor criminal cases are tried in magistrate, which constitute by far the majority of courts. More serious cases start in the Magistrates Court and may then be transferred to a higher court. The majority of civil cases are tried in county courts and are almost always handled by solicitors. Cases of higher value (£50,000.00 or above) and those of unusual complexity are tried in the High Court, and the advocates in the High Court were until recently barristers engaged by solicitors to assist. Barristers, as the other branch of the English legal profession, have traditionally carried out the functions of advocacy in the High Court and Crown Court and Court of Appeal. However, barristers have now lost this exclusivity and solicitors may now extend their advocacy to such courts. In the past, barristers did not deal with the public directly. This rigid separation no longer applies. Law solicitor with extended rights of audience may now act as advocates at all levels of the courts. Conversely, the public may now hire and in tract with a barrister directly in certain types of work without having to go to a solicitor Law first.

A case against the Cab-Rank Rule

By Gary Webber, Barrister

The "cab-rank" rule is a restriction on freedom. The solicitor may choose any barrister he likes to represent the client. The barrister has no choice. If he practises in the area concerned he must accept the brief so long as a proper fee is to be paid. At its most extreme, this rule requires a black or Jewish barrister to act for a Nazi. In most cases a barrister can be expected to act with professional detachment but in such circumstances he or she is being asked to be less than human. More mundanely, the practical effect is to require the barrister to accept work from a solicitor for whom, for a variety of possible reasons, he or she just does not wish to work.

Intellectual Property Application Fees 2013

A query has been sent to YLH&Co for its application fee schedule for IP related issues in Pakistan.

Here is our fee structure for 2013:

For Trademark protection, the standard fees we offer are

Rs. 25,000 professional fees +  Rs. 8,000 filing fee per class per trademark all inclusive.

For Copyright

Rs. 30,000 inclusive of all fees.

For Patents

Rs. 100,000 per patent application

Photographs of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pakistan's so called "Feminists"

Imagine waging a grand struggle for something for 30 odd years and still being unable to make even a small incremental change towards your goal. Pakistan’s so-called feminist movement is a story of foibles, missed opportunities, humongous egos and personal enrichment. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, a woman’s testimony is considered half that of a man in terms of financial transactions, and Hudood Laws for all intents and purposes continue to infringe upon women’s personal freedoms. The little progress that women have made, and it is pathetically little, over the last 30 years has come from outside the influence of the cabal of feminist activists. In fact, at every opportunity, these feminists have tried to bring down people who have tried to speak for women’s rights and equality from a non-gender based perspective on the basis of equality of citizenship regardless of gender.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Read this insightful blog over at Huffington Post and thought I'd share it with my readers.
Unless protestors #RemoveHate against all groups, they cannot #RemoveHate against any. That's why I always had trepidations about the Shiite sect becoming the next target -- the next Ahmadis if you will. Leading Pakistani analysts feel the same way.
So here is my unifying proposal for all Pakistani Muslims: redeem yourselves by starting a #RemoveHate Twitter campaign. You cannot change the discriminatory laws and you cannot change the school curricula -- at least not that easily. But why not, physically and literally, tear down the banners, whitewashing the graffiti and throw away the pamphlets that incite hatred or violence against any religious group?
Americans may argue to confront such hate speech with "more good speech." But here lies the rub: These banners actually incite violence by calling minorities "worthy of death" and leaving thousands dead.
These deaths -- or target killings -- are not happening in a vacuum. Just look at the anti-Ahmadi play book: First, the political arm of the Saudi funded Wahabi sect pigeonholes a minority sect as non-Muslims. This is followed by changing the public opinion and poisoning the public discourse, which manifests as hate filled banners and graffiti, and culminates into constitutional edicts and discriminatory laws.
Pakistan must undo the 1974's 2nd amendment to the constitution, the 1984 law i.e. Ord XX against Ahmadis and open up the office of the President and Prime Minister to all citizens of Pakistan as the bare minimum to save itself from dissolution and disintegration it faces today.

It can be our civil rights moment.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Software Implementation Consulting Contract

Top of Form
Bottom of Form

[ ]
[ ]
Job: Software Implementation Consulting
Date: Jan 24, 2013
Projected Completion date: xx/xx/xxxx
1. [ ] (the client hereafter) is engaging[     ], a sole proprietor, located at [            ], as an independent contractor for the specific project of developing and/or improving a World Wide website to be installed on the client's web space on a web hosting service's computer. The client hereby authorizes [                         ] to access this account, and authorizes the web hosting service to provide [                         ] with "write permission" for the client's webpage directory, cgi-bin directory, and any other directories or programs which need to be accessed for this project. The client also authorizes [                         ] to publicize their completed website to Web search engines, as well as other Web directories and indexes.

Anti-Spam Policy Sample

The YLH&Co Anti-Spam Policy

(Last updated Jan 24, 2013)
YLH&Co ( YLH ) is committed to permission-based email marketing practices, and as a result has established this no-tolerance Anti-Spam Policy. YLH will occasionally update this Anti-Spam Policy. When it does, YLH will also revise the “last update” date at the top of this Anti-Spam Policy. For changes to this policy, YLH will notify you (the customer) by placing a notice on its web site home page.

Sample Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy Statement
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2013
YLH&Co strives to offer its visitors the many advantages of Internet technology and to provide an interactive and personalized experience. We may use Personally Identifiable Information (your name, e-mail address, street address, telephone number) subject to the terms of this privacy policy. We will never sell, barter, or rent your email address to any unauthorized third party. Period."

How we gather information from users

How we collect and store information depends on the page you are visiting, the activities in which you elect to participate and the services provided. For example, you may be asked to provide information when you register for access to certain portions of our site or request certain features, such as newsletters or when you make a purchase. You may provide information when you participate in sweepstakes and contests, message boards and chat rooms, and other interactive areas of our site. Like most Web sites, our company also collects information automatically and through the use of electronic tools that may be transparent to our visitors. For example, we may log the name of your Internet Service Provider or use cookie technology to recognize you and hold information from your visit. Among other things, the cookie may store your user name and password, sparing you from having to re-enter that information each time you visit, or may control the number of times you encounter a particular advertisement while visiting our site. As we adopt additional technology, we may also gather information through other means. In certain cases, you can choose not to provide us with information, for example by setting your browser to refuse to accept cookies, but if you do you may be unable to access certain portions of the site or may be asked to re-enter your user name and password, and we may not be able to customize the site’s features according to your preferences.

Terms of Use and Service (sample)

Terms Of Use & Service




We make every effort to ensure that we accurately represent these products and services and their potential for income. Earning and Income statements made by our company and its customers are estimates of what we think you can possibly earn. There is no guarantee that you will make these levels of income and you accept the risk that the earnings and income statements differ by individual.As with any business, your results may vary, and will be based on your individual capacity, business experience, expertise, and level of desire. There are no guarantees concerning the level of success you may experience. The testimonials and examples used are exceptional results, which do not apply to the average purchaser, and are not intended to represent or guarantee that anyone will achieve the same or similar results. Each individual’s success depends on his or her background, dedication, desire and motivation.There is no assurance that examples of past earnings can be duplicated in the future. We cannot guarantee your future results and/or success. There are some unknown risks in business and on the internet that we cannot foresee which can reduce results. We are not responsible for your actions.
The use of our information, products and services should be based on your own due diligence and you agree that our company is not liable for any success or failure of your business that is directly or indirectly related to the purchase and use of our information, products and services.

© 2010-2013 YLH&Co All rights reserved.

House GOP leaders defend DOMA (UPDATED)

Lyle Denniston Reporter
Posted Tue, January 22nd, 2013 6:41 pm


Arguing that the federal government has the same power as state governments do to define marriage, the Republican members of the House of Representatives’ leadership told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act does not attempt to exclude anyone from government benefits but seeks only to define what marriage means under federal laws and programs.   It means, as the Act says, that marriage for all federal purposes is a union between one man and one woman.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pakistan's Ahmadis and the threat of genocide

LAHORE Jan 23, 2012: They are officially denounced by the state as heretics. Their places of worship are demolished.  Hardly a week goes by without one of them being murdered in cold blood.  Their children are expelled from schools. Even their dead are not spared. They are not allowed to bury their dead in a public cemetery and their special graveyards are desecrated by masked men.  The precipice at which the Ahmadis of Pakistan stand and the horrors that are likely to follow, however, are not unknown to the readers in the west, especially to the survivors of the Holocaust in Germany.

La protection des logiciels et des bases de données ie The protection of the software and the databases (French)

Nichée au carrefour du droit et de l'informatique, la propriété intellectuelle des logiciels et des bases de données est source de nombreux litiges. Sans vouloir trop approfondir une matière souvent, pour ne pas dire toujours complexe, je vous propose ici d'appréhender, fusse en surface, la protection des logiciels et des bases de données en France et à l'international.

Le logiciel est constitué de l'ensemble des programmes, des procédés et des règles, et éventuellement de la documentation, relatifs au fonctionnement d'un ensemble de données. Le logiciel est protégé par le droit d'auteur adapté aux spécificités techniques des programmes d'ordinateur. Le logiciel protégé peut être un programme de base, d'exploitation ou d'application. Cela peut être un logiciel général ou réalisé sur commande. La protection par le droit d'auteur porte sur l'architecture du logiciel, l'enchaînement des instructions, le code objet et le code source, les interfaces logiques.

Anticonceptivo oral de Bayer Natazia asociado con efectos adversos graves


Washington, DC: Natazia (valerato de estradiol valerato de estradiol y dienogest), un anticonceptivo de cuarta generación oral hecho por el gigante farmacéutico Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc, fue aprobado por la FDA el 15 de marzo de 2012, para el tratamiento del sangrado menstrual abundante que no es causado por condiciones diagnosticadas del útero. Anticonceptivo oral de Bayer Natazia asociado con efectos adversos graves

Patent Law Case to come up before US Supreme Court

Bowman v. Monsanto Co.

Docket No.Op. BelowArgumentOpinionVoteAuthorTerm
11-796Fed. Cir.Feb 19, 2013TBD TBDTBDOT 2012

Issue: Whether the Federal Circuit erred by (1) refusing to find patent exhaustion – a doctrine which eliminates the right to control or prohibit the use of an invention after an authorized sale – in patented seeds that were sold for planting; and (2) creating an exception to the doctrine of patent exhaustion for self-replicating technologies.

Equality of Marriage, Same Sex Marriage, US Supreme Court

William Eskridge and Hans Johnson

For almost two generations, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons have demanded equal treatment from the state for their committed relationships. For most of that period, American government has denied such claims, and leading politicians have disparaged them. In 1996, for example, Congress and President Clinton enacted the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the most sweeping governmental discrimination against gay people in American history. When state judges have recognized marriage equality under state constitutions, there has been a much-noted backlash against such rulings. One example was California’s Proposition 8, which in 2008 overrode marriage equality through a voter initiative amending the state constitution.

Lincoln, the film, the lawyer and Pakistanis

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

(Some spoilers- beware)

"Lincoln" v. "Gandhi"

A few days ago, I watched Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" starring amongst others the likes of Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones. It was one of the most extraordinary films I have seen in my life and what is more is that it wasn't preachy or unrealistic - quite unlike Richard Attenborough's rather mediocre film "Gandhi" which distorted history and presented the subject as an infallible saint instead of the shrewd politician, very capable of cunning and cant, that Gandhi was. Sir Ben Kingsley did a terribly unconvincing job as Gandhi but to be fair that film fails on account of a weak script and the fact that it was naked hagiography masquerading, but failing, as history. On the contrary  Lincoln was a political film about a politician who was human but whose integrity shone through even as he was fighting a grave battle for his nation. Consequently Daniel Day Lewis was superb and masterly as Abraham Lincoln. One reason for this might be that this film itself is for an increasingly aware audience in the information age, as oppose to the naive gaping and ignorant buffoons who crowded cinema halls in the early 1980s (I can only imagine how cinema goers could have reacted without the ability of doing some basic fact checking back then).

Monday, January 21, 2013

Same Sex Marriages - Article III -US Supreme Court

Understanding standing: The Court’s Article III questions in the same-sex marriage cases (VII)

On March 26 and 27, the Court will hear oral argument in the same-sex marriage cases, Hollingsworth v. Perry (the challenge to California’s Proposition 8) and United States v. Windsor (the challenge to Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act).  The first briefs in the cases will be filed tomorrow, on January 22. 

If the Court were to hold that the petitioners in Hollingsworth v. Perry the Proposition 8 initiative sponsors — do not have Article III standing to appeal, what then?  What would become of the judgments below, and of Proposition 8 more broadly?
The Supreme Court presumably would reverse and vacate the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, since the Proposition 8 proponents were also the only parties to appeal to that court from the district court judgment.  If that were to happen, the Ninth Circuit’s opinion would no longer have precedential effect that would govern future cases challenging California’s (or any other state’s) refusal to recognize same-sex marriages.  (In any event, it is likely the court of appeals will next consider the issue of same-sex marriage not in a California case but instead in a case coming up from Nevada.  Because the prohibition in Nevada law does not reverse a previous right to same-sex marriage in that state, the rationale of the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in Perry would not be directly applicable to the Nevada case, regardless of whether the Perry decision retains any precedential value.  That Nevada case will instead require the court to decide whether the Fourteenth Amendment permits Nevada to afford same-sex couples all of the benefits and responsibilities of marriage (under the moniker of “domestic partnerships”), but to deny them the status of state-sanctioned “marriage” itself.)

Modern day Pakistan and Matthew Shardlake the quintessential Lincoln's Inn Barrister


I have been reading a lawyer/murder mystery series which revolves around Matthew Shardlake, a hunchback Lincoln's Inn barrister, set between 1535-1545 at the hey day of King Henry VIII's reign which was marked with conflict between reformists (Protestants) and Catholics.  The series which is written by C J Sansom, a lawyer and a historian from the looks of it.  In many ways it is a faithful reflection of the times in Pakistan today. A lot of issues explored in the series i.e. a cynical monarch, corrupt officials, oppression of the poor, religious extremism and violence find their echo in 2013's Pakistan. Given that Pakistan inherited the British legal system, which has not been updated even after 66 years of independence, it is not hard for a Pakistani lawyer to imagine what it must have been like under King Henry Tudor's draconian times.

Levin v. United States - the Arguments

Argument recap: Could Congress be any clearer in waiving the government’s immunity?

By Kevin Amer of 

On Tuesday, January 15, the Court heard arguments in Levin v. United States, which – as discussed in our preview – presents the question whether the Gonzalez Act waived the United States’s sovereign immunity as to battery claims arising from the conduct of military medical personnel.  As the argument unfolded, it became apparent that most of the Justices would likely answer that question in the affirmative – at least if they were to treat it as an ordinary question of statutory interpretation and were not required to apply a heightened “strict construction” standard.  Thus, the government’s counsel faced the formidable task of persuading the Court not only that such a standard should apply in this case, but that the Gonzalez Act’s seemingly unambiguous waiver language does not meet it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Aisha Sarwari's speech at Faith Matters

Speech at Faith Matters Launch in Pakistan

Delivered on November 4th 2012 at Avari Hotel
I’d like to begin by thanking Faith Matters and its leadership, for inviting me to speak on this very important topic of interfaith harmony in Pakistan, and in particular between the Christian and Muslim communities. The work that is being done on this platform is commendable because we’ve got far too many examples of groups attempting to dehumanize the “other,” and very few that work on the premise that change is possible in civil society in Pakistan.

One man's Qadri, Other man's Kafir

From the Daily Times

One man's Qadri is another man's kafir — Yasser Latif Hamdani
Who amongst us will decide who is a good Muslim and who is not a good Muslim? Whose definition of Muslim will be accepted? Dr Qadri's? Or Mumtaz Qadri's?

The first and foremost thing that one must point out about the way the Qadri long march ended is that Pakistan’s constitutional and democratic system is now firmly rooted and cannot be shaken by protest marches and massing of crowds in the capital. For this, one must salute the government as well as the opposition. Credit must also be given to the government for dealing with the march without resorting to any heavy-handed tactics, while also protecting the participants of the march from any untoward activity such as a terrorist attacks.

Religious Freedom, Laws and Constitutions around the world

Justice for a few

A punishment for the poor

We’ve heard it in the movies a thousand times – “You have the right to an attorney.” But in most states there is little guarantee in most states that poor defendants will receive a competent one.
Our nation’s death penalty is littered with shocking examples of lawyers who were drunk, asleep, or completely inexperienced. Most people cannot afford a “dream team” of expensive lawyers. When court-appointed lawyers lack the experience or resources to do an effective job in a capital case, their mistakes can cost a life.

The Importance of your Will; Your Estate and Death

Your will may be the most important paper you will ever sign. It is one of your few opportunities to direct the distribution of your property amongst your survivors. Its significance depends less on the size of your estate than the kind of assets you leave and on matters you want taken care of after your death. It tells your family, business associates and the state whom you want to administer your property and other assets, to whom you want to leave them and the conditions under which people you name are to receive them. It also concerns such vital family matters as who will be the guardian of your minor children.

If you die without a will you may saddle your family with needless work and trouble, heavy administrative expenses that a will may prevent and very likely estate tax liabilities that eat up much of the money otherwise available for your family's support. For example if you or your wife fail to execute a will, the survivor might be deprived of the estate tax advantage of a full marital deduction.

Legal Protection for Investors: Securities and Exchange Commission

Both federal and state governments have departments to protect investors by requiring corporations to disclose all necessary information to help investors decide whether to buy proposed bonds, notes and stocks. These governmental departments and agencies were created because of lessons learned over many years. When you want to invest you go to the offices of an established brokerage house. Such houses are registered with the appropriate state agency and with the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington DC. Almost all brokerage houses also have departments for handling their customers orders. 

Before the creation of SEC in 1934, protection of the investor was done by the state. Many of the states adopted blue sky laws requiring registration and approval by the state agencies of the sale of securities in certain industries - such as mining and oil- where the investor had no way of checking the veracity of the facts given.

Even today these agencies work where SEC does not. The New York State Attorney General's office for example is the only governmental department that requires the filing of full information regarding the sale to residents of New York of land in other states. 

The SEC comes in when the company needs more money than it can raise locally and will have to go to an underwriter for professional assistance. The SEC supervises the daily operations of the securities markets and has a plethora of regulations to protect consumers i.e. investors. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Religious Freedom Lawsuit

Teacher Files Lawsuit Over religious Freedom

By Lou Chilelli
January 10, 2013 Updated Jan 10, 2013 at 11:52 PM EST TOWN OF CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW)
There is a dispute over religious rights in Cheektowaga. A Cheektowaga Central School District worker says the district is restricting her right to religious free speech. An anonymous complaint by a student has now lead the teacher to file a lawsuit against a school district. Lawyers for the American Freedom Law Center filed a civil rights lawsuit in Federal Court on behalf of Joelle Silver, a high school science teacher.
"In June of this past year, the school district gave her a "counseling letter" which prohibited her from displaying anything in her classroom that had any religious content or had any religious nature to it what so ever," said Robert J. Muise, a lawyer and one of the founders of the American Freedom Law Center.
The Cheektowaga Central School District was reacting to a student's complaint they received through the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The foundation's letter threatened their own lawsuit, if the teacher did not remove religious materials from her classroom. "We handed it over to our school attorney, who in turn, went to our insurance company and their council...their council went to a constitutional expert. He basically came back to us and said that we feel it is best that you need to take certain action," said school district Superintendent Dennis Kane.
That action was a counseling letter ordering Silver to remove the religious items from her classroom. "The Supreme Court has long said that neither teachers nor students shed their constitutional rights at the school house gate. And, certainly these restrictions violate that fundamental principal. She is a devout Christian. She does not cease being a Christian because she works for the government,' Muise added.
"We were told by legal advise that these things were a violation of church and state and as a public entity and as public officials we have to comply with the law. We have a duty to correct," Kane explained. The superintendent limited his comments because of the ongoing legal matter and because he sees this as a personnel issue. The district has not yet seen a copy of the lawsuit. Silver continues to teach high school science.


Petition of the Day

The petition of the day is:
Issue: (1) Whether the Fourth Circuit created an impermissible end-run around Harrington v. Richter, Cullen v. Pinholster, and the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act by holding that a state court’s merits determination is not an “adjudication on the merits” whenever the state prisoner later presents the federal court with new material evidence and the state court decided the ineffective assistance claim without an evidentiary hearing and (2) whether the Fourth Circuit wrongly ignored 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) and Strickland v. Washington in concluding as a de novo matter, and contrary to the Virginia Supreme Court and Strickland, that trial counsel were ineffective for deciding not to argue mental retardation at sentencing?
Recommended Citation: Mary Pat Dwyer, Petition of the Day, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 17, 2013, 10:00 PM),

Diet Coke Lawsuit? It was dismissed

Yes it was dismissed according to Reuters:

Coca-Cola wins dismissal of Diet Coke Plus lawsuit

Fri Apr 1, 2011 11:22am EDT
* Lawsuit claimed Diet Coke Plus touted as healthy
* Judge: Dissatisfaction with soda not reason to recover
(Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) has won the dismissal of a lawsuit accusing it of deceiving consumers into believing its Diet Coke Plus cola drink is healthy.
U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman in Camden, New Jersey rejected arguments in the 2009 case that the world's largest beverage maker broke that state's consumer fraud laws and federal Food and Drug Administration rules in packaging the soda.
The plaintiffs, two New Jersey residents, had argued that Coca-Cola's "boasting" on the soda's label, including use of the term "Plus" and the language "Diet Coke with Vitamins and Minerals," falsely suggested the soda was healthy and nutritious.
But the judge said there was no showing that Atlanta-based Coca-Cola made false statements. He cited an FDA letter explaining that the soda contains at least 10 percent of the recommended daily value of several vitamins and minerals.
"At most, plaintiffs simply claim that their expectations of the soda were disappointed," the judge wrote in his ruling Thursday. "Dissatisfaction with a product, however, is not a quantifiable loss that can be remedied."
The New Jersey residents, Thomas Mason and Molly Adams, had sought class-action status, court papers show.
Their lawyer, John Olivo, was not immediately available for comment.
The case is Mason v. Coca-Cola Co, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, No. 09-00220. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Defining obscenity legally

Defining obscenity in legal terms is a challenge that has elded lawmakers for decades. In its broadest sense, obscenity is any material that appeals to a prurient interest in sex, nudity, genitatlia or excretion that has no socially redeeming, literary, political, scientific or artistic value when judged by an average person applying community standards.

Keogh Plan

Suppose you own a store or operate a gas station or other small business. Because you are self employed you do not have a company sponsored pension plan and you would like to save more money for retirement than the US $ 2000 per year that you can put into an individual retirement account? What should you do?

The Keogh Plan is one solution. These plans have been available since 1962 when the Self Employed Tax Retirement Act, or the Keogh Act was passed. Keogh Plans are the best means for the self employed to save money on a tax sheltered and tax deferred basis.  The money you put into a Keogh account is deducted from your gross income in the year you make the contribution and the interest your account earns is not taxable untill you begin withdrawing it. By then you will be retired and perhaps in a lower tax bracket.

A Keogh plan has the same purpose and tax status as individual retirement account and you can similar investments with both.  The annual amount you can contribute to a Keogh Plan is much higher than an individual retirement account. 

Suing Spouses: Can your wife sue you for injuries in a traffic accident?

Traditionally, spouses could not sue one another for injuries inflicted either intentionally or negligently. For example a wife could not file a suit against  her husband for injuries she suffered in a car accident while he was driving. The reason behind this rule was that such lawsuits disrupted "marital harmony" and created opportunity for fraud or collusion. Some states will now allow spouses to sue for any injuries caused intentional wrongful acts and for car accidents. So yes your wife can sue you! 

Illegitimacy - born out of wedlock - Paternity- Your legal Rights

Children born to parents not married to each other were once called illegitimate and are still defined as such under law. The law once tended to to treat illegitimate children as second class citizens partly because of the society's belief that marriage is sacrosanct. Today however illegitimate children are entitled to the same legal rights as legitimate offspring.

The following presumptions carry force of law.

1. Every person is considered legitimate until facts demonstrate otherwise.

2. Children born to a married woman are presumed to be the children of her husband and are therefore legitimate even if the child was conceived before marriage.

Nation states don't need ideologies to exist

Scientific thinking has an inbuilt mechanism with which it corrects errors of a previous generation. What Karl Popper called the doctrine of falsifiability helps uncover anomalies and inconsistencies in an established paradigm. Since science has its eyes on precision, the focus is on devilish details.

Ultimately, through observation, facts that are inconsistent with the reigning paradigm emerge. Slowly, one of the alternate paradigms triumphs over the competing paradigms for several possible reasons: its solution to the crisis is more elegant, and holds promise of future inquiry. Soon enough, a new crisis emerges and alternate paradigms are proposed. As science experiences a paradigm shift, presumptions are reset.

One of the greatest examples of this phenomenon is the Copernican Revolution, which changed the Earth's status as the center of universe. Before the Copernican Revolution, the Earth's status as the center of the universe was considered fundamental to everything from explanation of why the clouds move to why water pumps work. Faced with the new idea that it is in fact the Earth that revolves around the Sun, all fields of science had to gradually adapt to this new idea. Since then, Copernican Revolution has become a metaphor used in various fields, including Philosophy where Kant used it in his "Critique of Pure Reason".

After Pakistan was formed, Jinnah's goal became a single Pakistani nationality without any discrimination of religion

Politics is also a science. Political science deals with political ideas and theories of statehood and nationalisms with its own established paradigms. One such paradigm is the ideology of Pakistan. It is the view of this author that Pakistan's ideology needs a Copernican Revolution.

The two standard established myths on which our ideology stands are the following:

1) Pakistan was created in the name of Islam to establish an Islamic state.

2) Hindus and Muslims are two nations and therefore cannot live together.

The facts do not fall quite in line with these myths. For example, if Pakistan was created in the name of Islam, why were Jinnah and the Muslim League ready to abandon the idea of Pakistan for the federal scheme proposed by the Cabinet Mission Plan? Contrary to the claims made by ideologues of Pakistani ideology, the Cabinet Mission Plan had no reference or guarantee for a future Pakistan, though it is true that Jinnah's selling point to his own people for the Cabinet Mission Plan was that Muslims never expected the British and the Congress to give them Pakistan on a platter. This selling point, interestingly, was suggested by Woodrow Wyatt who was a confidante of Jinnah. When first suggested, Jinnah is reported to have responded excitedly "there you've got it".

Secondly, had the idea of Pakistan irrevocably committed the League to an Islamic state, why is it not mentioned in the Lahore Resolution? Indeed the words "Islam" or "Islamic state" do not emerge once. Then we have the testimony of Raja of Mahmudabad who claims that he was told by Jinnah not to forward the idea of an Islamic state from the Muslim League's platform. In fact Muslim League all throughout the Pakistan Movement did not pass a single resolution calling for an Islamic state.

The issue of the two nation theory is also not as clear cut as our textbooks make it out to be. Two nation theory was a purely constitutional argument changing the status of Muslims from a community to a nation. It did not at any place say that Muslims and Hindus could not co-exist. What it did say was that the constitution of India had to recognize this fundamental reality so that a large community - no less than 90 million - was not disadvantaged in India. This is what was later coined as consociationalism which is a standard mechanism to bring deeply divided communities with competing aspirations together under one constitutional scheme. In order to establish the status of Muslims as a nation, an argument had to made in terms of established parameters of nationalism ie culture, common history, dietary habits, personal law etc. The argument forwarded by Jinnah rested entirely on these four points - none of which were directly linked to theology per se. Piercing the veil one sees that this Muslim nationalism was exclusively Indian, ie Indian Muslims constituted a nation, and not that all Muslims everywhere constituted a nation. To put it mildly, it was a skilled lawyer's argument which was neither ideological nor irrevocable.

That the two nation theory was revocable - at least to the mind of its greatest and most successful proponent - is patently obvious in the famous 11th August speech. When he says "in due course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims, not in a religious sense because that is the personal faith of an individual but in a political sense," Jinnah is not just talking about fair and generous treatment of minorities - something which he did many times - but is actually speaking of gradual elimination of religious identity in favour of a single Pakistani nationality. Before 1940, by and large his attempt had been to bring Hindus and Muslims together in one yoke as Indians. After Pakistan was formed, his goal became a single Pakistani nationality without any discrimination of religion. It was for this reason that Jinnah had appointed a Hindu as the first law minister of Pakistan and asked a Hindu to write Pakistan's first national anthem.

It might be added of course that Jinnah's own life does not conform to the two nation theory as it is taught to the children of Pakistan. Most of Jinnah's professional adult life was spent amongst Hindus and Parsis and it was in these communities he had his closest friends and colleagues such as Gokhale, Tilak, Sir Ferozeshah Mehta, Kanji Dwarkadas, Durga Das, Diwan Chaman Lal, Dalmiya etc. The unkindest cut he was to receive at the hands of his great rival Gandhi was that Gandhi called him "Jinnah the representative of the Mohammaden community". He was a shareholder in most of the leading Hindu owned business concerns such as Tata and Birla and owned securities in Air India right till the end. He might not have entirely approved of his daughter's marriage - as the story goes - but it did not stop him from sending her flowers. Contrary to myth fed to us, Jinnah never disowned his daughter. As a Khoja Shia Muslim, the inheritance law applicable to Jinnah's estate is Hindu personal law. How ironic for a man who our textbooks say created a state based on irreconcilable religious differences between Muslims and Hindus.

Finally it may be said that Jinnah was at his finest as a luminary of the freedom struggle, as a lawyer-parliamentarian and as a statesman when he spoke out in the defence of Bhagat Singh, the great Lahori freedom fighter that our state - the state that is said owe its existence to Jinnah - refuses to honour. Here is an excerpt:

"The man who goes on hunger-strike has a soul. He is moved by the soul and he believes in the justice of his cause; he is not an ordinary criminal who is guilty of cold-blooded, sordid, wicked crime.

"What was he driving at? It is the system, this damnable system of Government, which is resented by the people.

"And the last words I wish to address the Government are, try and concentrate your mind on the root cause and the more you concentrate on the root cause, the less difficulties and inconveniences there will be for you to face, and thank Heaven that the money of the taxpayer will not be wasted in prosecuting men, nay citizens, who are fighting and struggling for the freedom of their country."

Nation states do not need ideologies to exist. Nor can all generations to come be held to ideas of a previous generation. Pakistan's ideology - distorted as it is - is responsible for many of the ills that plague Pakistan today. Let us jettison this ideology as outdated and face the fundamental fact that it is not sine qua non to Pakistan's survival as a state. It is time to get rid of the excess baggage of a distorted history.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Pakistan is today a deeply divided society with two polar extremes of ignorance pounding at it day in and day out
There are some things that need to be stated clearly and unwaveringly. Tarek Fatah, the self-proclaimed mouthpiece of progressive and liberal Muslims of Canada (a claim that many progressives strongly dispute, it must be added), is one of the most intellectually confused people around in my opinion. More recently, he has taken to making unsubstantiated claims about Pakistan. Now my readers know very well that there is hardly anyone more critical of Pakistan’s multiple failures as a nation and a state than me. Those who want a reminder need to dig up my articles in this newspaper in the last two years. My criticism arises out of a genuine concern as a Pakistani worried about the future of this country and not in form of platitudes of self-importance that Mr Fatah and company have routinely inflicted upon their readers.

Automobile Insurance : Proof of Negligence v. No Fault Auto Insurance

Until several years ago no victim of an automobile accident, in any state, could collect compensation from automobile liability insurance for death, bodily injury or property damage unless he could prove that the accident was caused by an insured driver's negligence. The same situation prevailas in many states today.

This necessity of proving that a driver was at fault creates an avalanche of litigation which swamps the nation's courts, costs billions of dollars in legal fees and helps raise the cost of auto insurance to new heights every year. It also frequently causes injustice to victims of accidents in which it is difficult to prove negligence, in which both drivers were partially negligent or in which it is impossible to determine who was at fault, as in chain collisions that involve dozens of cars. In addition the system tends to delay compensation causing hardship to victims because the insurance companies have the right as well as an obligation to their shareholders to resist insurance pay outs or defer it in the hope of a cheaper settlement.

What do you do if your car is stolen ?

If you car is stolen from your own property or garage or a public street or a municipal parking lot, you should immediately notify the police and your insurance company. If it is not recovered within a reasonable time and you are covered for theft, the insurance company must pay you the car's fair value.

If the automobile is stolen while parked in a commercial garage or a paid parking lot where you have turned your keys over to an attendant, the operator of the facility is responsible for the car and for reporting the theft to the police. If the vehicle is recovered he must reimburse you for any damage that you may have suffered.

To bring a lawsuit against an insurance company or a car attendant or a commercial garage, contact a lawyer immediately.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What is vehicular homicide?

The charge of vehicular homicide may arise in any case in whcih a human being is killed by a motor vehicle. The term itself does not imply guilt or criminal offense. The homicide may be deemed accidental, as when the victim unexpectedly dashes infront of an oncoming vehicle; it may be manslaughter - that is rash driving or breaking traffic law on the part of the driver that ends up in death or even murder - when the intent of plowing the vehicle into the person is deliberate.

Jinnah's Nationality and Oath

Truth be told, the MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s much anticipated drone attack landed on the xenophobia and narrow-mindedness of Pakistanis. Every anti-MQM politician rushed in to defend the honour of the Quaid-e-Azam after feeling slighted that Altaf Hussain had claimed that Jinnah was a subject of the British crown and as Governor-General had taken the oath of allegiance to the crown.
The discussion that ensued was as amusing as it was downright ignorant. Tarek Fatah, a self- styled Jinnah-basher, came up with the claim that unlike Jinnah, India’s Prime Minister Nehru had not taken allegiance to the crown, which was as baseless an assertion as by those on our right wing crying foul over Altaf Hussain’s comments. Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister of the Dominion of India, which was a constitutional monarchy between 1948-1950 and not only did he take an oath of allegiance to the crown, it was administered by the King’s own cousin. The oath of allegiance for Governor-Generals, ministers and governors is found in the Independence of India Act, 1947. The question can be settled by looking at item 179 on page 276 of the Jinnah Papers, Volume IV, which contains the different kinds of oaths for the governor general, governors, ministers, etc. Ironically, in all of India, it was only Jinnah that insisted that King George stopped signing his name George R I or Rex Imperica.

Indian Court Limits Frivolous Drug Patenting, Clearing Path to Affordable Medicines

From Open
Should pharmaceutical patents—which result in monopolistic pricing of medicines—apply to any new drug, regardless of how it was made and whether it offers anything new?
This question was answered recently in a courageous decision by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board of India (IPAB), in a suit brought by Open Society Foundations’ grantee the Lawyers Collective on behalf of Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust, a Mumbai organization that works with drug dependent patients. In this case, IPAB ruled to revoke the patent held by the pharmaceutical company Roche for its hepatitis C drug, Pegasys, on the grounds that the process used to develop the medicine was not novel or innovative enough to warrant a patent. Since patented Pegasys costs between US$10,000-15,000 per treatment, this ruling is an important first step toward making hepatitis C medicines more accessible by allowing for future production of more affordable generics. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Supreme Court's judicial activism now seeks another victim : Raja Pervez Ashraf

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

I hold no brief for the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He may be completely corrupt. However I do have a problem with our Supreme Court ordering his arrest when a bunch of hooligans have laid siege to the capital.  In other news- Karachi Stock Exchange crashed - you guessed it- as a result of this ill-timed and ill-advised order by the Supreme Court.

In Pakistan nothing is unscripted. That is our tragedy. Powers that be have scripted our decline through out. Now see as we fall to yet another depth of national humiliation and ignominy.

Judicial Activism may have been coined to describe US Supreme Court's eagerness to protect and expand the civil rights of US citizens, but in Pakistan Judicial Activism will prove to be the death knell of our state.

Monday, January 14, 2013

US v. State over Marijuana Usage

'His lawyers appealed this month to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to halt what they suggested was a prosecution at odds with Justice Department policies to avoid prosecutions of medical marijuana users and with President Obama’s statement that the government has “bigger fish to fry” than recreational marijuana users.
“Does this mean that the federal government will be prosecuting individuals throughout California, Washington, Colorado and elsewhere who comply with state law permitting marijuana use, or is the Davies case merely a rogue prosecutor out of step with administration and department policy?” asked Elliot R. Peters, one of his lawyers.
“This is not a case of an illicit drug ring under the guise of medical marijuana,” Mr. Peters wrote. “Here, marijuana was provided to qualified adult patients with a medical recommendation from a licensed physician. Records were kept, proceeds were tracked, payroll and sales taxes were duly paid.” '

Read More here

Sexual Harassment in the workplace (Pakistan)

Under Pakistani Law, the following things constitute a hostile environment for employees.

i. verbal harassment of a sexual nature like sexually explicit, or sexually
discriminatory remarks;
ii. suggestive remarks, innuendoes or lewd comments;
iii. seductive behaviour;
iv. derogatory statements, whistling etc;
v. leering (excessive staring) at certain parts of a person’s body;
vi. pressure for social activity outside the workplace

To read more about Pakistan's sexual harassment law visit this link.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bakke Decision of the US Supreme Court

Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.  A case decided by the US Supreme Court in 1978 involving charges of reverse discrimination created by an Affirmative Action program that gave preference to nonwhite applicants to a medical school. In the Bakker decision the Supreme Court took its first step in dealing with the problems in implementing affirmative action programs.  Allen P Bakke, a white male, 33 years of age applied for admission to the Medical School of the University of California at Davis in 1973 and 1974 but was denied admission both years while minority applicants with grade point averages significantly lower than Bakke's were admitted under a special admissions program. The program reserved 16 of the 100 places in the class solely for African Americans, Chicanos, Asians and American Indians. In effect white applicants could compete for only 84 places while minorities could compete for all 100 places. After his second rejection in 1974, Bakke filed a suit in the Superior Court of California alleging that the special admissions program at Davis violated his rights under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohinited excluding any person from a federally funded program on the basis race and under California Constitution.

Commerce Clause

The part of the US Constitution that gives Congress the power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce. The US Constitution under Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 gives Congress the power "to regulate commerce with foreign Nations, and among several States and with the Indian Tribes".  Commerce among the states is business in all forms between citizens of different states. It may include communication by telegraph, telephone, radio or the movement of persons from one state to another for any reason, including pleasure. Commerce with foreign nations is business between US Citizens and subjects of foreign government that occurs outside the US. Intrastate or domestic commerce does not move across state lines. It is exclusively controlled by the state.

Courts of Probate

A court that administers the estates of persons who have died and the estates of persons who have, by legal process, been declared incompetent to manage their own properties such as insane persons, alcoholics or spendthrifts. In some states courts of Probate have limited civil and criminal authority in estate matters. They may be called orphans' courts or surrogate's courts.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Conflict of Laws

The body of rules that directs the choice a court makes when the court must decide whether to apply the law of one state (or a nation-state) or another to settle an issue in a case. When there is a conflict between the laws, principles called choice of law rules are applied to settle the question.

Doctrine of Substantial Performance

Doctrine of substantial performance states that a person's failure to comply strictly with the terms of a condition will not prevent him from getting his due if he has carried out a substantial part of the contract. The doctrine was developed by the courts as an instruments of justice to prevent forfeitures. However damages are awarded by the courts for non-compliance with a certain condition.

US Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act

The Federal Government controls drugs in interstate commerce through the captioned act. The basic purpose of the act is to protect public health by making sure that drugs are pure, safe and effective when used as intended. The act also protects consumers from dangerous drugs, misleading labels, and fraud. This exercise of federal authority does not affect the power each state to control drugs within its own territories provided its laws are consistent with the federal law.