IMPORTANT JUDGMENT FOR UPSC LAW OPTIONAL : THROWBACK 2019 : PART I

Updated: Feb 24




TOPIC 2 : PAPER I : INTERNATIONAL LAW : ICC


The Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé decided by ICC (January 2019)


FACTS :

1. Koudou Laurent Gbagbois an Ivorian politician who was the President of Côte d'Ivoire from 2000 until his arrest in April 2011.

2. In the 2010 presidential election, Alassane Ouattara defeated Gbagbo, and was recognized as the winner by election observers, the international community, the African Union (AU), and the Economic Community of West African States. However, Gbagbo refused to step down, despite mounting international pressure.

3.In December 2010, both Gbagbo and Ouattara assumed the presidency, triggering a short period of civil conflict in which about 3,000 people were killed.

4. Gbagbo was arrested the following year by pro-Ouattara forces, who were supported by French troops.

5. Gbagbo was extradited to The Hague in November 2011, where he was charged with four counts of crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court in connection with the post-election violence.


DECISION OF ICC :

• ICC noted that the Prosecutor had “failed to submit sufficient evidence” showing how both men had committed crimes against civilians, “pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy”, nor the existence of “patterns of violence” indicative of a “policy to attack a civilian population”.

• The ICC statement also explained that the Prosecutor had been unable to show that speeches by each man “constituted ordering, soliciting or inducing the alleged crimes…accordingly, there is no need for the defence to submit further evidence”.


IMPORTANCE OF THIS JUDGMENT : Topic of International Criminal court under Paper I of International law becomes relevant now. Issues surrounding the working of ICC are always on the radar. Prepare well for this topic for UPSC law optional 2020 and 2021.


ABOUT INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT :


1. WHAT IS ICC ? The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands.

2. WHAT DOES IT DO ? The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression.

3.NEED FOR ICC ? The ICC is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore exercise its jurisdiction only when certain conditions are met, such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Council or individual states refer situations to the Court.

4.LEGAL TEXTS : The ICC began functioning on 1 July 2002, the date that the Rome Statute entered into force. The Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty which serves as the ICC's foundational and governing document.

5.MEMBERS : States which become party to the Rome Statute, for example by ratifying it, become member states of the ICC. As of March 2019, there are 124 ICC member states.



TOPIC 1 : PAPER I : INDIAN PENAL CODE :


Sukumaran V. State rep. by Inspector of Police : Supreme Court of India (March 2019)



RPD : The right to self-defence extends not only to one’s own body but to protecting the person and property of another, the SC has interpreted the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).


FACTS : Tamil Nadu forest ranger who shot dead a sandalwood “smuggler” in the Dharmapuri forest area in 1988.

• The trial court sentenced ranger Sukumaran to life in prison for murder.

• The Madras High Court reduced the term to five years.

. In appeal, the Supreme court concluded that Sukumaran had shot the “smuggler” Basha under threat to his own life and that of his driver, Chinnakolandai.


In its verdict delivered on March 7, 2019, a Bench of Justices A.M. Sapre and R. Subhash Reddy deals with the right to private defence, enumerated in Sections 96 to 106 of the IPC.


PROSECUTION VERSION : The prosecution version was that Sukumaran shot Basha in the back. The ranger and his driver were in a jeep in the early hours, doing the rounds of the forest, when they saw a truck. They gave chase. The truck stopped and four men, including Basha, got out. Sukumaran took out his gun and fired at Basha, killing him. Sukumaran then planted a gun in the truck and loaded it with 276 kg of sandalwood to frame Basha as a smuggler, the prosecution said.


SUPREME COURT DISAGREED : But the apex court completely disbelieved the prosecution version and rather went with what Sukumaran said.

• The Supreme Court concluded that there was no reason for Basha and his companions to “roam” the forest area in the wee hours. Sandalwood was an expensive commodity. Sukumaran was only trying to protect his life and that of his driver. He was doing his duty. Besides, four of the prosecution witnesses turned hostile and the testimonies of the rest has no connection to the manner in which the incident occurred in 1988.

• “The prosecution was not able to prove the manner in which the incident occurred as alleged by them in their charge sheet. In this view of the matter, the appellant [Sukumaran] is entitled to be acquitted from the charges for want of any evidence against him,” Justice Sapre wrote.


CONCLUSION :

• The court observed that the right of private defence extends not only to “the defence of one’s own body against any offence affecting the human body but also to defend the body of any other person. The right also embraces the protection of property, whether one’s own or another person’s, against certain specified offences, namely, theft, robbery, mischief and criminal trespass”.

• The court explained that the right does not arise if there is time to have recourse to the protection of the public authorities. Nor does it extend to the infliction of more harm than is necessary.

• When death is caused, the person exercising the right of self-defence must be under “reasonable apprehension of death, or grievous hurt, to himself or to those whom he is protecting”, the court explained.


IMPORTANCE OF THIS JUDGMENT : Right to private defence is very important topic under the Indian Penal code. It had been repeatedly asked in UPSC many times including 1997,1998, 2002,2004,2008,2010,2015,2018. Just make sure that you quote this judgment to enhance your answer.


TOPIC 4 : PAPER II : CONTEMPORARY LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS : IPR


Monsanto Technology LLC. V. Nuziveedu Seeds



FACTS OF THE CASE : Monsanto gave 10-year sub-licence agreement to Nuziveedu - to develop & sell ‘GM Hybrid cotton Planting Seeds’ . In 2015, Monsanto terminated its agreement, but Nuziveedu continued to sell GM seeds.

DELHI HC : 2015 : Monsanto filed case against Nuziveedu Seeds for selling Bt cotton seeds using its patented technology.


CONTENTION OF NUZIVEEDU : Bt. Trait in Cotton Hybrid varietal plants is an essential biological process.

Section 3(j) - Plants and animals, other than microorganisms, including seeds, varieties and species and essentially biological processes for production or propagation of plants and animals are not inventions. Therefore they are not patentable.


VERDICT OF HC : TWO ORDERS


ORDER 1 : During the pendency of the case, both parties would have to abide by obligations under their agreement.


ORDER 2 : Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Yogesh Khanna of the Delhi HC recorded one of their conclusions thus – “the subject patent falls within the exclusion spelt out by Section 3 (j) of the Patents Act; the subject patent and the claims covered by it are consequently held to be unpatentable”. It had held that plant varieties and seeds cannot be patented under Indian law.


SUPREME COURT OF INDIA : Supreme Court overturned the Division Bench judgement which pronounced the patent and its claims unpatentable, the patent of Monsanto can be assumed to be restored.


TO BE DECIDED BY TRIAL COURT : The Supreme court ruled that the meat of the matter — the validity of the patent — will have to be decided by the trial court, and returned it to the Delhi High Court. The trial court will decide the metes and bounds of section 3(j), a statutory provision that excludes plants and plant parts from patent eligibility.


IMPORTANCE OF THIS JUDGMENT : Questions about criteria for an invention to be patentable ; Inventions which are non-patentable - holds importance for UPSC Law Optional 2020 and 2021.


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