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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016

Osama killing justified: Justice Stevens

There might be questions about the appropriateness, political wisdom or legal validity of the killing of Osama, but none of such doubts cross the mind of retired US Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens, who is quite candid about it.

The 91-year-old former Supreme Court judge came out with what he felt about the killing of Osama at a private gather at his alma mater, Northwestern University, and reportedly said that all that the SEALs did was "remove an enemy who had been trying every day to attack the United States."

It is relevant to note that as a Supreme Court Judge Justice Stevens was not too willing to grant a great many right to the terror suspects in US custody overseas.

Bangladesh SC: Fatwas legal but unenforceable

Ever since a fatwa was issued against the celebrity author, Salman Rushdie, for his controversial work Satanic Verses , fatwas have never been quite out of news and have often been talked of as lethal religious kill-calls. So, their legal validity in a secular society has always been rather dubious. However, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh did not find anything illegal in the fatwas except that they were extra-judicial penal methods of ensuring obedience to Islamic laws, which the Apex Court did not find permissible.

The case was about a valid divorce under the Muslim Law, and the divorce attracted the attention of the Muslim religious leaders in the locality because the husband and wife continued to cohabit despite divorce whereas under the Muslim law the wife has to marry someone else after the divorce, and only after obtaining divorce ( talaq ) from her then husband she can remarry her previous husband. Therefore, living together despite divorce was considered a religious offence and a fatwa was issued against the couple.

The High Court ruled against this particular fatwa and the fatwas in general in 2001.

The decision was challenged before the Supreme Court, and after hearing 10 senior lawyers and Islamic scholars, the Apex Court found fatwas legal, but refused to accord enforceability to them.

Canada Supreme Court restricts public access to information

While in India, Right to Information is giving sleepless nights to public authorities and has turned into a revolutionary democratic weapon in the hands of the people, the Canadians have just got their right to access public records restricted by a Supreme Court ruling.

The Apex Court of Canada disallowed public access to the Prime Minister's daily appointment book and other ministerial documents. The Court held that the law did not cast an obligation on the government to release all records of the Prime Minister's office.

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