Citizens' Issues
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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Nifty, Sensex may stall – Wednesday closing report
Nifty has to close above 8,115 for the upmove to continue
 
We had mentioned in the Tuesday’s closing report that Nifty, Sensex are still on track for a rise and that Nifty has to stay above 8,075 for the rally to continue. The major indices in the Indian stock markets were volatile during the day’s trading and closed with small gains. 
 
 
The indices were choppy throughout the day's trade driven by investors’ anxiety over the upcoming quarterly results and rising crude prices. The indices were depressed after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report downgraded India's growth to 7.3% for the current fiscal. Another major dampener came as international crude oil prices rose sharply in the past few days and were hovering around the $50-mark, after rallying nearly five dollars on Tuesday. The jump in the oil prices comes after the US Energy Information Administration cited lower inventory build-up and Russia's decision to hold talks with other major producers to discuss the market situation. Profit booking was witnessed in information technology (IT) and banking stocks.
 
The rupee too made gains during the day's trade. It gained by 43 paise to close at a new eight-week high of 64.98 to a US dollar from its previous close of 65.41 against the greenback.
 
Sector-wise, automobiles, metals and oil and gas stocks witnessed healthy buying, whereas, information technology (IT) and technology, entertainment and media (Teck) scrip came under intense selling pressure.
 
The S&P BSE automobile index zoomed by 243.48 points, metal index augmented by 197.05 points and oil and gas index rose by 115.92 points.
 
The S&P BSE IT index receded by 188.49 points and Teck index declined by 87.10 points.
 
Major Sensex gainers during Wednesday's trade were: Hindalco Industries, up 9.64% at Rs.81.90; Vedanta, up 5.83% at Rs.90.70; Tata Steel, up 4.25% at Rs.236.80; ONGC, up 3.99% at Rs.256.90; and Bajaj Auto, up 3.14% at Rs.2,452.30.
 
The major Sensex losers were: Axis Bank down 1.92% at Rs.496.90; Infosys, down 1.88% at Rs.1,133.15; Wipro, down 1.78% at Rs.589.10; Bharti Airtel, down 1.66% at Rs.343.30; and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), down 1.51% at Rs.2,655.10.
 
The top gainers and top losers of the major indices are given in the table below:
 
 
The closing values of Asian indices are given in the table below:
 
 
 
 

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Cabinet okays Rs.2,142 cr National Watershed Management Project
The cabinet on Wednesday approved the National Watershed Management Project (NWMP) to ensure access to irrigation for every farm, union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
 
The NWMP will be a component of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana (PMKSY) and will ensure access to irrigation for every farm and efficient use of water (Per Drop More Crop), he said following the cabinet meet.
 
"The total outlay of the project (Neeranchal National Watershed Project) which is done with the World Bank's assistance is Rs.2,142 crore," he said, adding, "The government's share is Rs.1,071.15 crore (50 percent) and the rest is the loan component from the bank."
 
"The project will be implemented in nine states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana," he said.
 
The decision taken at the cabinet meet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will bring about institutional changes in watershed and rain-fed agricultural management practices in the country, a government statement said.
 
The project will also build systems which will ensure watershed programmes and rain-fed irrigation management practices are better focussed, and more coordinated and have quantifiable results. 
 
These systems will also devise strategies for the sustainability of improved watershed management practices in the areas, even after the withdrawal of project support, the statement said.
 
"The programme will lead to reducing surface runoff of rainwater, increasing recharge of ground water and better availability of water in rain-fed areas resulting in incremental rain-fed agriculture productivity, enhanced milk yield and increased cropping intensity through better convergence related programmes in project areas," it said.
 
"The erstwhile 'Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP)' was implemented since 2009-10 by the Department of Land Resources (DoLR), for supporting watershed development in 28 states. From 2015-16 onwards, the IWMP will be implemented as the Watershed Component of PMKSY," the statement added
 
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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