Monday, September 29, 2008

Naz Foundation Case: Update and links

Hearings on the Naz Foundation case are currently underway in the Delhi High Court. The May round of hearings formed the basis of prior posts on the blog (available here, here and here).

Here
is an engaging report of the hearings, authored by Vinay Sitapati, that appeared in the Sep 27 issue of the Indian Express. Today's Express carried this editorial on the substantive arguments raised in the hearings.

The website of the Lawyers Collective is continuing with its enormously useful and helpful practice of providing daily updates on the hearings. These reports make for fascinating reading, and reveal that the two judges hearing the case have been making probing enquiries about the specific arguments advanced by the opposing sides. Clearly, the judges are extremely engaged, and are being unusually forthcoming in discussing the parts of the substantive aspects of the law, as well as the details of moulding the relief, that they are having difficulty grappling with. The judges also do not seem constrained in expressing their reactions to arguments that they find unpersuasive in forthright terms.

Hopefully, the content of this absorbing bar-bench exchange will be subjected to deeper analysis as the proceedings continue (I suspect, however that the value of these arguments will increase when the final judgment is issued by the High Court, and we will get to compare their immediate reaction from the bench to oral arguments to those that they finally adopt and endorse). Even a quick glance over the reports indicates that they would make great a great case study for anyone interested in designing sophisticated litigation strategies that grapple both with the substantive content of the applicable law, as well as the technical details of pitching the arguments at the level required to win a victory while being sensitive to the limits of the powers of judges in accepting arguments of substantive law.

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