Mississippi’s last abortion clinic files last ditch suit to halt ban. India: Bizarre case of imposter who impersonated wealthy man’s son for 40 years.
Mississippi’s last abortion clinic files last ditch suit to halt ban
Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, Mississippi’s state attorney general has moved to certify the ruling and allow the state’s 2007 abortion ban “trigger law” to go into effect as of July 7. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO), which operates the state’s last functional abortion clinic, has filed a suit to prevent the trigger law from coming into force.
The suit cites the State Supreme Court precedent of Pro-Choice Mississippi v. Fordice. In this 1998 case, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that while the state’s constitution does not protect “an explicit right to an abortion”, a person’s “autonomous bodily integrity is protected under the right to privacy” and “protected within the right of autonomous bodily integrity is an implicit right to have an abortion”.
No lower court in Mississippi can overrule State Supreme Court precedent. When JWHO filed this suit in Hinds County, all four Hinds County Chancery Court judges in the 5th District recused themselves. With none of these judges apparently willing to take on the case, State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph appointed 4th District Judge Debbra K. Halford to preside over the case. Judge Halford has set the hearing for 10 a.m., July 5.
Halford was appointed in 2005 by then-Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican. It seems likely that the State Supreme Court precedent will prevent Halford from rejecting JWHO’s request for an injunction against the trigger ban. Whatever her ruling, it’s likely the losing side will quickly appeal to the State Supreme Court.
Do Mississippians have a right to privacy?
Importantly, the Mississippi constitution contains no express “right to privacy” except in specific circumstances. However, the Mississippi Supreme Court has observed the right to privacy as a matter of common law. Over the years, the court has made multiple rulings upholding the common law right to privacy other than the Pro-Choice Mississippi ruling.
India: Bizarre case of imposter who impersonated wealthy man’s son for 40 years
In 1977, a 17-year-old boy disappeared as he walked home from school. That tragic occurrence set into motion a 41-year saga of deception and fraud that is still playing out to this day.
Kanhaiya Singh, 17, was the only son of a wealthy landlord in India’s eastern Bihar state. In 1981, four years after Kanhaiya’s disappearance, his father, Kameshwar Singh, received word that his long-lost son had turned up and was begging in a nearby village. His health and eyesight then failing, Kameshwar Singh traveled to the village with some of his neighbors. Singh asked his neighbors to tell him whether or not this beggar was indeed his son. When they confirmed that he was, Kameshwar unhestitatingly took the young man home.
When word reached Singh’s wife and seven daughters that their only son and brother had returned, their joy soon turned to skepticism. Singh’s wife, Ramsakhi Devi, noted immediately that this newcomer lacked a prominent scar their son had. Ramsakhi Devi filed an impersonation charge against the young man. Local police even jailed him briefly before he made bail.
Believe it or not, that impersonation case only made its way into the courts this year, 41 years after Ramsakhi Devi filed her complaint. This is not atypical. Of the 50 million cases pending in India’s courts, more than 180,000 have been pending for 30 years or more.
Four decades of deceit
While on bail in those intervening decades, the young imposter, whose real name is Dayanand Gosain, continued to exploit his “adoptive” family. Kameshwar Singh, still unwilling to accept Gosain was not his son, continued affording him the privileges of the only son of a wealthy family. Gosain sold off over half of Singh’s landholdings. Curiously, most of the land ended up in the hands of the very neighbors who had identified him to Singh as his lost son. When Singh eventually died, Gosain inherited half of a nearly century-old mansion.
Gosain also obtained numerous false identity documents. He even produced a fake death certificate- for himself. When his long-awaited trial finally happened in April of this year, Gosain introduced in court a document saying that one Dayanand Gosain had died in 1981. The court was rightly unimpressed as the document was dated 2014.
The court found Gosain guilty of impersonation, cheating and conspiracy and sentenced him to seven years of “rigorous imprisonment”.
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