Podcast replaces FM Radio

I have 20 minutes drive to reach my office at Paramara Road. In the car while driving, Radio Mango 91.9 and Club FM 94.3 were my companions to kill the traffic. But things changed when I downloaded ‘Podcast Addict’ in my mobile phone. It has a wide range of on-demand audio entertainment programs to enjoy the spare the time spent inside the car. My favourite podcast stations are:

  1. Economist – Editors Pick
  2. BBC Documentaries
  3. Legal Talk Network
  4. TED Radio Hours
  5. Criminal
  6. This American Life

Podcast has the edge to kill the dominance of FM Radio inside the car. I am sure, some time in near future, this is going to happen, in Kerala too.

Hurdles in turning Kerala green!

It was World Earth Day yesterday and all people ranging from radio jokeis to politicians were crying for planting more trees in Kerala. I have planted lot of trees in this world. My home is surrounded with so many trees that the place can be safely described as amini private forest. My father and I have planted lot of aanjili, mahogany and aariveep trees alone the roadsides of Aluva-Munnar Road. From my experience as a person who has planted many trees, there are several small small hurdles, in the character of malayalees and laws implemented here, which need to be corrected, if we are actually serious about increasing the tree cover. They are enumerated hereunder for identifying the huddles in turning Kerala Green.

  1. Roadside Advertisers and Billboards: These people are the single biggest enemy of trees in Kerala. They like to have a clear view for their advertisements and to ensure that, they would cut down all trees and plants in the vicinity. Why aren’t they banned or regulated yet?
  2. Municipality Sweepers: Municipality sweepers like to keep their workload small. Whenever they see one newly planted sapling, they would ensure that all the waste swept from the city is collected at bottom of that plant, and would set it afire, so that plant does not generate any new waste in future, for them to sweep.
  3. Electricity Linemen: KSEB has a team of people with sickles attached to long rods to cut trees. Although they are supposed to prune the branches alone, to avoid touching with the electricity lines, they often cut the head of the tree itself, dwarfing the tree and impairing its growth.
  4. Dangerous Trees and abuse of S.133CrPC: The law says that if a tree is danger to man or his property, or if it is a nuisance to his neighbour, it shall be cut down. Section 133 CrPC is invoked by the RDO to cut down such trees. According to me, this provision is much due for repeal or reading down. It has outlived its purpose, and is in fact a burden upon this generation, which is striving to increase tree cover.
    How can the RDO determine whether a tree is good, bad or decaying, when he is no expert of trees? Why should a tree be cut down just because a dimwitted neighbour thinks that it is a nuisance? Although Kerala Promotion of Tree Growth in Non-Forest Areas Act, 2005, permit persons to freely plant trees in his land and ‘appropriately and generally’ contribute to the increasing tree cover, no RDO or Court ever permits a person to retain the branches of his tree hanging onto neighbour’s property. This according to me is a downside in the existing law, or its interpretation, in promoting tree cover.
  5. Beautifying the cities with concrete: In Perumbavoor, my home town, there used to be mud and soil in between footpath and edge of the road. Now it is concreted to beautify the city. The  idea is great, but it is implemented in the most ugly and unscientific manner.Once the mother earth is covered up in concrete, there is no place for trees to grow, or water to percolate. After this gap was filled with concrete, Perumbavoor witnessed its first flood during last year’s rain. Some beautification it was. Better to retain the mother earth as it is.
  6.  No incentive for having trees: The building rules prevalent in the state give no concession for having trees; or penalty for not having trees in a property. This is a serious lacuna in the existing building rules of the State, which has provisions for sundry measures like rainwater harvesting and biogas plant. An owner of a property should be given due credit for growing trees, while constructing a building. Absence of such a credit has created a social norm and prudence of not having trees in commercially important properties.
  7. Penalty for not having a tree in a piece of land: I have seen many lands, with sufficient space for planting trees, but without any tree. Most malayaees like to have tiled open spaces rather than tree-shaded open spaces. This is to avoid the pain of sweeping the grounds daily. The government should overcome this lethargy of malayalees by imposing proper penalties. At lease one tree in a plot of land should be made the state policy in taxing statues.
  8. Conservation of Paddyland and Wetland Act, 2008: I not a fan of this statue, although it is promulgated on the pretext of preserving environment. According to me, this law has has been single handedly responsible for changing the climate of Kerala. It has been highly counter productive so far, and it has resulted in drastic reduction of paddy fields in Kerala. Everyone now wants to convert their paddyland, as it is made into a burden with lot of disabilities attached. This is not the correct way to preserve paddylands. The government should at least let paddy field owners cultivate other crops and trees (like rubber) to retain the minimum greenery the state has.

Today it is 36 degree Celsius in Kochi. We are witnessing unprecedented summer heat. If we don’t act now and increase the tree cover in Kerala, soon the place would be a desert, populated with hotair inflated egoistic persons.

Vacation Court’s inherent infirmity – “What is the urgency?”

Today I moved a civil revision petition against order of a trial court holding that a suit for compensation is maintainable and the parties should suffer trial. The revision petition was moved before the vacation bench of the Kerala High Court. In my initial evaluation of the case, it should have received the interim order staying further proceedings in court below, without much ado. However, the vacation judge decided to ask the most difficult and tricky question – “What is the urgency? Why cant it be heard on the reopening date?”

Well, I wasn’t prepared for such a question, to be honest. I was hoping for questions on merits of the case, why the suit should not go to trial or what is wrong with the impugned order of the court below.

I fumbled on this query of the learned vacation judge. I said that since the suit is listed for trial, it is in the best interest of parties that it is stayed beforehand rather than keeping the parties guessing till the 11th hour. Either way, considering my sad face and loss for answers, the compassionate judge granted me the interim order as prayed for.

On retrospection, I believe, I didnt say the truth about the urgency in moving the vacation bench. Its purely my financial urgency. The urgency is not for the client or for the case, but for me and my purse alone.

It is an accepted fact that summer vacations are drought season for all lawyers. It is to tide over the said financial crisis that I moved the vacation bench. The learned lordships with so vast experience should know it better than any of us. Still they ask this tricky question, “What is the urgency”, as if they don’t know the real answer. Time for judicial reforms of (at least) vacation courts, I guess.

Civil compilation!

There are many Criminal Manuals available in the market, containing CrPC, Evidence Act and IPC,  bundled together. But when it comes to civil side, there are no similar compilation of important laws. A single book containing CPC, Evidence Act, Limitation and Specific Reliefs Act, is  quintessential for a civil lawyer. But such a major compilation is not released by any law book publisher. So I purchased the bare acts of these important civil legislations and bound it all into a book. This book is now my constant companion to courts.

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How to trash Mike’s deal? – #Suits S05E16

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The season 5 finale of my favour serial Suits starts with Mike signing the deal with Gibbs and pleading guilty to fraudulent practice of law. Although Harvey tries his best to search for loopholes to tank the deal, he finds none.

I have an idea on this aspect. According to my understanding of US Law, there should be a lawyer for the accused, when he is making a deal with the District Attorney. The lawyer has to ratify that deal before it is presented before the judge. If that is so, when Mike pleaded guilty, he becomes a person without a law degree. This makes him all alone, without proper legal representation, during the plea bargaining process. Since, Harvey, the leading lawyer in the case did not ratify the deal, signature of mike alone would not make the deal valid. Mike cannot be an accused pleading guilty and a lawyer ratifying the guilty plea, all at once, when the charge against him is fraudulent practice of law. This change in status of Mike on pleading guilty, was not noticed by the judge, who accepted the deal.

In such circumstances, I believe, there is a way to reopen the guilty plea, for lack of proper legal representation for the accused, during the plea bargaining process.

Let’s hope to see some more fun and legal action in the next season of Suits.!

Unlimited pecuniary jurisdiction of Munisff’s Court

The pecuniary jurisdiction of Munsiff’s Courts in Kerala is capped at Rs. 20Lakhs. However, in the matter of succession certificate under Section 370 of India Succession Act, 1925, the Munsiff’s Court has unlimited pecuniary jurisdiction. This rare notification issued by the Kerala Government, investing powers of the District Court upon the Munisffs Court, is attached hereunder. IMG_20150702_133546

Mi remote for Asianet / Cisco Settop box

All those malayalee Xiaomi fans who are stuck with Mi Remote not featuring Asianet/cisco settop boxes can rejoice. Just configure the available Baidu Box or Skyworth Box, it will work with Asianet’s Cisco settop boxes as well!