Pleas pertaining to Article 35A to be placed before a five-judge bench

Article 35A of the Indian Constitution bestows upon the State Legislature of Jammu and Kashmir the power to define “permanent citizens” of the state and provide them with special rights and privileges.

A plea was filed by Lawyer Charu Ali Khanna and the same was tagged along with another similar petition.

The petitioner had argued that the male citizens of J&K enjoy special powers over the female citizens because if a male citizen marries a woman from a place outside J&K, he retains his citizenship but the case is not the same for female citizens. Their citizenship is supposed to cease to exist in that case. Khanna also cited the examples of former J&K Chief Mininster Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah.

The matter came up before the Supreme Court on the 14th of August.

The two-judge bench headed by Justice Deepak Misra opined that all such pleas pertaining to the same be placed before a five-judge bench because of all the constitutional issues involved.


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12 District Judges in Jharkhand reprimanded for dubious conduct

Twelve district judges of Jharkhand were given compulsory retirement for their “dubious conduct” on the 12th of August, as recommended by  The High Court of Jharkhand.

Secretary of administrative and personal reforms Ms Nidhi Khare has been quoted as “The judicial officers were marked by the high court for their dubious conduct and, on the issue of probity, they were given compulsory.”

The judges who have painted themselves into this, include District and Additional Sessions Judges Anil Kumar Singh (Lohardaga), Girish Chandra Singh (Daltonganj), Girijest Kumar Dubey (Garhwa), Om Prakash Srivastav (Pakur), Rajesh Kumar Pandey (Latehar) and Umeshanand Mishra (Latehar). Chief Judicial Magistrates Ram Jiyavan (Chaibasa) and Ramjit Yadav (Sahibganj), Ashok Kumar Singh, secretary of District Legal Services Authority in Garhwa, Arun Kumar Gupta, number 2 principal judge of family court in Godda; Rajnandan Rai, presiding officer at labour court in Hazaribag; Yashwant Kumar Sahi, district and additional session’s judge-cum-special judge of fast track court, Garhwa also feature in the list.

Lawsuits of the Fashion World: 6 Picks

The glossy glossy world of fashion is way more than it meets the eyes. Beyond all the classy couture, the high fashion ramp scenes and the fitting room drama, exists another world- a world of stolen ideas, forged concepts, designers’ tantrums and design house politics!

Let’s take you on a journey of top 6 lawsuits in fashion. Scroll down!


  1. Christian Louboutin v Yves Saint Laurent

The big daddy of luxury shoes Christian Louboutin is well known for their red lacquered outsole which is trademarked in 2008. Come 2011, Yves Saint Laurent released their collection of monochrome footwear in various hues including those with a red outsole.

Louboutin filed a trademark registration lawsuit in April 2011, on grounds of infringement of the Red Sole Trademark. Saint Laurent filed a counter claim, seeking cancellation of the Red Sole Trademark on grounds of lack of distinctiveness.

This stands out as one of the cult cases of color trademark where even a single color is capable of functioning as a trademark.



  1. John Galliano v Christian Dior

Two attributes are always which are forever attached to John Galliano- outrageous and brilliant! He has headed couture houses like Givenchy and Dior and is a megatsar of the fashion industry. In 2011, a video surfaced with Galliano passing anti Semitic remarks on Italian tourists. Dior held up their value system and suspended Galliano. They even started proceedings for permanently dismissing Galliano. Maison Margiela, who was the creative director for Galliano lost the wrongful terminal case, against both Dior and his brand.

Galliano moved court and asked for damages amounting to $18 million. At-will employment is not as recognized in Europe as the States. He lost the suit!



  1. New York fashion Week Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

The fashion week organized by WME-ING and CFDA dates back to 1943 and has informally been called “New York fashion Week” since the 2000s. Now, a venture by the name of “Fashion Week” was founded by Ms Trisha Paravas to produce fashion shows for masses outside the fashion paternity and media. Her shows were initially called “New York fashion Shows” and she decided to register the same. She also claimed that there was no prior existent trademark for New York Fashion Week and NYFW.

Coincidentally, Mercedes Benz dropped sponsorship for the fashion week organized by WME-ING and CFDA (what is popularly NYFW) and the event was rebranded as NYFW.

Ms Paravas has sued for an array of issues inclusive of trademark dilution, unfair competition and trademark infringement and seeking an injunction. While we are yet to know the decision, here’s looking forward to our good old NYFW in all its pomp.



  1. Hells Angels v Alexander McQueen

Talk about a lawsuit between chalk and cheese! Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation sued Alexander McQueen for trademark infringement of the HAMC skull-and-wings pattern which McQueen used on a knuckle buster ring, a dress and a scarf.

Hells Angels claimed that the pattern held immense commercial value and by using the pattern, McQueen was trying to cash on HA’s goodwill. The fashion paternity is left in shock at this statement- “Really?”



  1. Hailey Clauson v Urban Outfitters

Age is not just a number for the world of glamour and the fashion industry sees a host of starry eyed young faces every year. Clauson is one such star model who was “discovered” at the age of 14 and has had impressive projects in her kitty. In 2011, Urban Outfitters stocked t shirts from Blood is the New Black with racy photos of a 15 year old Clauson. Clauson’s parents, on her behalf, moved to court and claimed damages amounting to $28 million.

Now, her parents were well aware of the existence of these photos but they claimed that images had been used without consent and that they have used to create false endorsements. It was later reported that the case has been settled.


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  1. Wang v Hearst Corporation

Diana Wang was the “head accessories intern” at Harper’s Bazaar and she sued Hearst Corporation, the mother corporation of Harper’s Bazaar on grounds of violation of federal and state labour laws. He claimed that she had a 5 days/ week work schedule and she had been working from 9 AM to 8 PM without minimum wage and overtime payment.



With numerous suits dotting the fashion world with progressing frequency, here’s hoping for fair practice in this glitzy dizzy world of glamour.


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Five Epic Intellectual Property Battles

Ideas, exchange of ideas and their clashes! Let’s talk about the battle of ideas and the intellectual property wars some giants have gotten themselves into! From tattoo ideas to color to calculus, laws have spared none.

Let’s take you on a journey on 5 such intellectual property battles. Read on!


  1. Vanilla Ice v Freddie Mercury/David Bowie

Vanilla Ice released Ice, Ice Baby and Under Pressure  was not credited there. Vanilla Ice claimed that the two melodies are distinct because of the beat between the notes. Vanilla Ice later famously claimed that it was a mere joke. Mercury and Bowie weren’t clearly in the mood for a joke as they filed a copyright infringement suit.

The case was later settled out of court and it cost Vanilla Ice an undisclosed sum of money!



  1. Clash of the Toy giants- Mattel & MGA Entertainment

Mattel’s former employee Carter Bryant sent his sketches to MGA Entertainment while still working with Mattel and attracted a suit for breach of employment. He ended up creating the now famed and Barbie’s arch rival, the Bratz dolls. Because of the suit, the Bratz dolls were pulled down but just for a year. MGA claimed trade-secret misappropriation which was met with other counter-claims. After countless reversal of orders, the saga finally came to an end, with zero damages.


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  1. The Hangover Part II Tattoo case

S Victor Whitmill, who created the iconic tattoo on Mike Tyson’s face, sued Warner Bros for using the same design on Helms’ character in the movie Hangover Part II. Now, artworks are supposed to be protected no matter the surface on which it is created. Again, it could be argued that the design is trans-formative or a mere parody. An injunction was even sought. Though the case was amicably resolved later, no other details were divulged.



  1. The Star of IPR wars- Star Wars v Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica was made as early as 1977 when the world was still buried in Starwars buzz. Twentieth century Fox sued Universal Studios for copyright infringement. It was alleged that Galactica had borrowed a lot of elements from Starwars including characters, plotlines et. al.. Universal Studios counter sued and stated that Starwars has heavily borrowed from the 1972 film the Silent Running and the Buck Rogers serials of the 1940s. A couple of years later, the case was decided in Galactica’s favour.



  1. Adidas and Payless and Stripes

Adidas had been using the three stripe mark as its logo and had just registered the same, when Payless started selling arguably perplexingly similar sneakers with two and four parallel stripes. This was in 1994 and they reached a settlement but come 2001, Payless started selling similar sneakers again. Adidas  demanded trial and was awarded $305 million dollars.



Stay tuned for our next installment of famous Intellectual Property cases.

The Color Trademark

Let’s talk about colors!

What is a color trademark and why do we need a color trademark?

Some colors have become such an integral part of the identity of a company (read Barbie’s pink and Tiffany’s blue) that the color needs to be trademarked so as to avoid fraudulent or imitating activities.



How did this come into existence?

Flashback to the 1980s and the U.S law refused to recognize a color as a brand, even though color combinations have long been protected. This underwent a change when Owens-Corning launched its “Think Pink” campaign, and in 1985, a court of Appeals ruled that the company possessed the right to prevent others from using the same color for the same purposes.

It was also later ruled that a single color can be used as a brand, provided the public strongly associates that color with that brand (read the “green” of Starbucks, the “pink” of Barbie and the blue of Tiffany).



Some well known examples:

If we notice the original box in which Barbie comes, we see it written “The color Barbie pink is a trademark of Mattel”. Yes, the color we associate with Barbie is Barbie pink.  It is trademarked to an extent (yes, a limited trademark) that a competing company in the same market cannot use the same color in its packaging.  The keyword here is competing. You can well go ahead and use it as the color of your, say, plumbing business but you cannot package dolls of your company in a box of the same color.

Christian Louboutin recently trademarked its “red heels”, more specifically the red lacquered outsole which it has been using on its signature women’s shoes since 1992.  This was the result of a legal battle between design giants Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent.



How does the customer benefit from the same?

It’s all in good spirits and to save the consumer from confusion. Let’s take Tiffany’s example. “Tiffany blue” has emerged as one of the shades of color itself. The color which can be described as robin’s egg’s blue is “owned” by Tiffany & Co. for its boxes and bags.



Does it diminish the color palette?

Speaking of Tiffany yet again, common man has no restrictions against owning a car of the color robin’s egg’s blue but he cannot start a jewellery line which boxes its products in a box or packet of the same color.

Practically speaking, it is not possible to permit every “business” to own a color. That might result in color depletion, despite the acme and ever increasing color palette.  These are nothing but attempts to minimize brand confusion.

What are the restrictions on demarcating a color for a brand?

Also, there are certain colors too which cannot be trademarked and they are the “functional colors”. These cannot be “owned” under any circumstance. For example, green is the accepted color of lawns and cannot be owned by a company manufacturing land mowers.


Let us conclude with saying that a perpetual control over color would be an impossible concept but with the already mammoth sense of brand-exclusivity, it won’t be surprising if this turns out to be one of the reasons for a diminishing color palette.



When Ulysses moved for Taxes..

Talk about moving cities for love? How about moving an entire city for taxes?

This story goes back to 1909 when this ancient town of Ulysses had been faced with a staggering debt of $ 84000. The situation was desperate, considering it was 1909. Also, the population of this town had  dwindled to a hamlet of barely 100 residents.

There were suits for several thousand dollars against the city for delinquent interest. Hence, the citizens were to pay a very high rate of taxes amounting to almost 600% increase in realty taxes and 362% on personal property taxes.

As exorbitant as it sounds, the citizens moved the entire city including whole buildings, just for the sake of taxes!


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TRIPLE TALAQ- Why Supreme Court may strike down unilateral talks

The judgment in the triple divorce matter may be delivered soon. There were some interesting questions from the bench.

About Triple Talaq

Triple Talaq refers to a process of divorce whereby the Husband utters the word “Talaq” thrice in one sitting; thus getting out of the marriage contract. This practice is controversial and has different interpretation among different sects of Islam. Some scholars argue that saying triple talaq in one sitting is null and void and there should be a period of 3 months {three menstrual cycles} between each Talaq. Nevertheless, this practice has been legally recognized in many countries and is particularly practiced in few countries such as Saudi Arabia. At the same time, it has been banned by law in many countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Indonesia, Algeria, Iran, Iraq etc. Around the world, this practice is valid in Sunnis only; most Shia nations have held it invalid. This practice is still valid in India.

Origin of the Litigation

In a major boost to women’s rights, the first notable judicial pronouncement came in 2002 in the Shamim Ara vs State of UP case. Though Talaq was not held invalid in this case, yet, the Justice RC Lahoti said that talaq must be pronounced on cogent, plausible and reasonable grounds. This verdict also said that prior to talaq, the spouses must appoint two arbitrators, who would make all efforts for reconciliation and resolution. Once all efforts having failed, the talaq shall come into effect.

The above verdict though did not invalidate the triple talaq yet, tried to give it a process.

In 2002 only, the Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court invalidated the triple talaq by giving reference from Quran in Dagdu Pathan vs Rahimbi case. In this case, the court declared that a Muslim husband cannot repudiate the marriage at will and has to prove that all stages – conveying the reasons for divorce, appointment of arbitrators and conciliation proceedings between the parties were followed.

These judgements served the basis of several later rulings and thus invalidated the instant talaq.

The Allahabad high court called the Islamic practice of divorcing a woman by saying the word ‘talaq’ three successive times “unconstitutional” and called it a violation of the rights of Muslim women.

“Triple talaq is unconstitutional and arbitrary; it violates the rights of Muslim women. No Personal Law Board is above the Constitution,” said the Allahabad high court in its order. The order was passed by Justice Suneet Kumar while hearing a petition filed by a woman who claimed that her husband arbitrarily divorced her.

The fiercest opposition to this issue comes from All-India Muslim Personal Law Board. It has expressed its disquiet over a petition requesting the Supreme Court to determine the constitutional validity of triple talaq.

Incidentally, the Supreme Court is also hearing a petition challenging the validity of triple talaq, as several individuals and NGOs like the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan have sought a ban on its practice.

Questions from the bench

Questions were whether this (triple talaq) is fundamental to the religion (Islam). If it is fundamental to religion, possibly Supreme Court cannot be interfering. The other aspect is whether triple talaq is sacramental and can be enforced as a Fundamental Right.


Current Scenario

The Supreme Court reserved its judgement on triple talaq after six days of continuous hearings on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of triple talaq. On the final day, the counsels of several aggrieved women petitioners and women’s rights organisations – demanded triple talaq be declared illegal.

The Supreme Court is yet to be pronounced the final judgment.