Nation
BJP MLAs thrash independent MLA in J&K assembly
Two ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs thrashed independent MLA Engineer Rashid in the state assembly on Thursday for hosting a beef party here the previous day.
 
Even before the speaker, Kavinder Gupta, could take his seat, BJP MLAs Gagan Bhagat and Rajeev Sharma pounced on Engineer Rashid and started thrashing him.
 
Opposition MLAs from the National Conference (NC) had to intervene to save Engineer Rashid.
 
Opposition leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah said what was witnessed in the house today was unprecedented.
 
"I am still unable to fully understand what happened in the assembly today (Thursday)."
 
"The speaker is the custodian of the house, but we want to know what the chief minister has to say on this most unfortunate incident," Omar Abdullah said.
 
Omar said whatever Engineer Rashid had done did not provide BJP the right to carry out a murderous attack on him.
 
"We respect and understand the sentiments of other communities, but that does not mean we can resort to violence to settle scores."
 
"Alcohol is prohibited in my religion. Consumption of pork is prohibited in my religion, but that does not mean I should attack everyone who consumes alcohol or pork," he said.
 
Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said the incident to attack the MLA was condemnable.
 
"This house has high values of parliamentary conduct. Whatever has happened here is condemnable and I condemn it."
 
"I request deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh (BJP) to stand up and apologise for the misconduct of the BJP MLAs," Sayeed said.
 
Nirmal Singh said that whatever happened in the house was unfortunate and he disapproved of it, but added that what Engineer Rashid had done the previous day was "both condemnable and unfortunate".
 
Since the deputy chief minister stopped short of issuing a clear apology in his statement, opposition NC, Congress, CPI M, member Yusuf Tarigami and other independents including Engineer Rashid and Hakeem Yaseen walked out of the house after which question hour started in the assembly.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

 

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US CFPB Says You Should Be Able to Sue Your Bank
Agency proposes new rules that would allow for restitution through class-action litigation
 
The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau believes that consumers wronged by their credit card company or student loan provider should be entitled to their day in court. The agency has proposed new rules that would ban financial firms from imposing arbitration clauses that strip consumers of their right to pursue restitution as part of a class-action lawsuit. 
 
“Consumers should not be asked to sign away their legal rights when they open a bank account or credit card,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Companies are using the arbitration clause as a free pass to sidestep the courts and avoid accountability for wrongdoing.”
 
Forced arbitration clauses, which are often tucked away in contracts or terms and conditions agreements, allow for disputes between consumers and companies to be settled by privately appointed individuals, or arbitrators, rather than through the courts. But the CFPB says the scales of justice in this arrangement can be unfairly tilted toward the company.
 
“Often the harm to an individual consumer may be too small to make it practical to pursue litigation, even when the overall harm to consumers is significant,” the CFPB said in a statement released Wednesday. “In cases involving small injuries of anything less than a few thousand dollars, it can be difficult for a consumer to find a lawyer to handle their case.”
 
That’s why it is important that consumers have the option to join together in bringing a class-action lawsuit that not only seeks restitution for all affected class members but an injunction against the company to prevent future wrongdoing, the CFPB said. The agency said the rules change would empower tens of millions of consumers who have arbitration clauses in the contracts for the products they use, many of whom aren’t even aware of the agreement.
 
See TINA.org’s continuing coverage of arbitration issues here
 

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Give Us this Day Our Daily Bread…
… And a sense of humour
 
It is not usual for us to copy-paste from others’ work; but, this time, we make an exception. The language, used in the report, is so filled with beautiful phrases that it would be a shame to change it.
 
This story is about bread; ‘Promised’ bread. Do we get what we pay for? Do we get what we think we are getting? It also involves the accuracy of the complaint and whether it meets the standards of evidence required in a suit for damages.
 
Some members of a community took the local baker to court. They complained that the bread, which was advertised as fresh, was not really so. Not oven-fresh. The thin red line and the reasonable man, once again. 
 
You be the judge.
 
If you asked for ‘fresh’ bread, what is it that you would expect? Hot? Warm? Cooled down? An hour out of the oven? Two hours? Or more? Where does one draw the line? And is there any place a line can be drawn?
 
Asking for relief, per se, is not a valid claim. There has to be tangible damage. Quantifiable, substantial, tangible, verifiable, linked, misrepresented. It’s not that easy to convince the courts.
 
We quote:
 
“The warranty claims disintegrated into mere crumbs. An express warranty claim ‘requires a plaintiff to allege that she brought a product based on a particular promise regarding that product, which ultimately proved false.’ But, again, the plaintiffs cannot successfully plead such a claim without identifying in the complaints any specific sign or advertisement they saw and the products they purchased as a result. Again, the plaintiffs simply did not satisfy the recipe.”
 
The court slices open the plaintiffs’ allegations and finds more puff than filling. 
 
“… conclusory allegations regarding numerous potential purchases of various products over a substantial period of time with the mere spectre of supposedly misleading advertisements generally existing in Defendants’ stores and websites will not suffice.
 
The claims for injunctive and declaratory relief also found their way to the waste bin. There was no plausible claim of threat of immediate harm. How could there be?  After all, the plaintiffs disclaimed any intention to continue to purchase the defendants’ bread and bakery products. Instead, the plaintiffs argued that they were entitled to injunctive relief based on the threat of future harm to other consumers. How thoughtful. How inadequate.” 
 
We add our metaphors. Ingredients. All actionable laws are dependant on a set of facts that needs to be satisfied before action can be taken using them. These are the ‘ingredients’. Just as one needs a number of things, ingredients, to make a really tasty dish, so is it with law. The how, why, when, where, what, which, who, are questions that must be answered before rushing to court. Lest one is shown the door for inadequate preparation or missing ingredients. This is, in fact, in crime matters, not only a prerequisite, but a mandatory one. One missing ingredient and accusations become as unpalatable as stale tea. 
 
“We will end with the icing on the cake, the aspect of the case that is most relevant to… law. The plaintiffs’ claims under the New Jersey consumer protection statute appeared to rely on regulations. But it is ‘well settled… that the FDCA creates no private right of action.” The plaintiffs in this bakery fraud case could not use the New Jersey statute “to bootstrap a FDCA claim they could not otherwise bring.” That is a tasty result.  
 
Plus there’s this: “… all lawyers should know that one cannot walk into Judge’s courtroom with legal arguments that are half-baked.”
 
Who says that judgements must read like ancient prose? Why cannot an order from the court taste like a buffet that starts with, and ends with, desserts? Cannot the text emanating from our judicial authorities be preserved, as much for the thought, as for the language? Taste and tasty? A pleasure to read, over and over again.
 
Lip-smacking justice, anyone?
 

(Bapoo Malcolm is a practising lawyer in Mumbai. Please email your comments to [email protected])

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