NCMEI has wide powers, rules SC

On April 18, the Supreme Court ruled that the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) has original jurisdiction to ascertain which institution should be endowed with the minority status. It also ruled that all applications for the establishment of a minority educational institution after the Amendment Act of 2006 must go only to the competent authority set up under the statute. This prestige given to an independent forum like the NCMEI to assert an institution as a minority educational institution expedited the fundamental right assured under Article 30. Justice Nariman, who authored the judgment, said the NCMEI Act empowered the Commission “to decide all questions relating to the status of an institution as a minority educational institution and to declare its status as such.” “Section 11(f) would include the declaration of the status of an institution as a minority educational institution at all stages,” the judgment agreed with the submissions made by Senior Advocates Sanjay Hegde, C.U. Singh and Advocate Romy Chacko. The 2006 amendments indeed gave powers of offer against orders of the competent command to the NCMEI. A control of cancellation was moreover vested within the NCMEI to cancel a certificate allowed either by an authority or the NCMEI.…
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Sahara can auction parts of Aamby Valley: SC

On April 19, the Supreme Court allowed the Sahara Group to choose any parcel of its properties in the Aamby Valley city project in Maharashtra and sell them by May 15 and deposit Rs. 750 crore with SEBI-Sahara refund account. If it does this, it may not need to proceed with the auction of the 6,700-acre township near Pune. However, later the bench said it would not specify the amount in its order. It said if the Sahara Group failed to sell its property by May 15, 2018, the Bombay High Court’s official liquidator will proceed with the proposed auctioning process to sell them. A special bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered the submission of senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing Subrata Roy and the Sahara group, that they be allowed to sell the properties on their own as auctioning would not fetch the desired price. It said the group will have to establish its bonafide by depositing some more money and fixed the matter for hearing on May 16, 2018.…
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Petitions seeking SIT probe on Justice Loya’s death dismissed: SC

On April 19, the Supreme Court dismissed petitions seeking Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into Special CBI Judge BH Loya’s death. This Supreme Court judgment comes after pleas were filed seeking an independent probe into the death case of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge B H Loya. “There is no merit in the case. There will be no probe into Loya’s death,” the Supreme Court bench observed. “The Public Interest Litigations [PILs] were filed to settle political scores and scandalise the judiciary and the process of law.” While ruling that the death was due to “natural causes”, the Top Court observed that the petitioners tried to scandalise the judiciary. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, pronounced its verdict after hearing a clutch of petitions. Also as per the official records, Justice Loya died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur in 2014, a day after he attended the wedding and reception of his colleague’s daughter. Judge B H Loya was hearing Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. The Apex Court said frivolous and motivated litigation has been filed to settle political rivalry. Maharashtra-based journalist B S Lone and activist Tehseen Poonavala had filed independent pleas seeking a fair probe into the death of Judge Loya.…
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Chai Point raises $20 million in Series C funding

Bangalore-based Mountain Trail Foods Pvt. Ltd, operator of the Chai Point network of tea stores, has raised $20 million (Rs 131.5 crore) in a Series C round of funding led by private equity firm Paragon Partners. The total funding raised by the company is now $34 million. Following the investment, Siddharth Parekh, Senior Partner, Paragon Partners will join the tea retailer board, mentions a company press statement. Founded in 2010 by Amuleek Singh Bijral and Professor Tarun Khanna of Harvard Business School, Chai Point is an online beverage platform that focuses on delivering tea to customers. Presently, the platform has 100 stores in eight cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Pune. Amuleek Singh Bijral, Co-founder and CEO of Chai Point, said a substantial portion of the investment proceeds will go towards deepening the company’s sales, marketing and service operations for the automated hot beverage dispensing business boxC.in. Paragon Partners is a private equity firm focusing on the lower mid-market segment in India with $120 million corpus. So far, Chai Point had raked in about $34 million risk capital from the aforementioned investors.…
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Highly polluting Taloja effluent plant to deposit Rs 5 crore: NGT

On April 18, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) passed the order directing the Taloja Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) Co-operative Society Ltd to deposit Rs 5 crore with the district magistrate within 30 days. Owing to the pollution created by the industrial effluent along the Kasadi river and Vashi creek, the penalty comes across as a relief for the people residing alongside the creeks. The money is to be kept “in a separate fund subject to further orders”, as was guided to the district magistrate. In Maharashtra, Taloja is the most-polluting CETP and has been classified as a non-performing plant by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). The CETP in Navi Mumbai has indeed been recording very high levels of BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) and COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand), which are wastewater quality indicators. As per the order passed on April 11, the NGT’s principal bench, Delhi, marked the pollution caused since 2013 and directed the CETP Cooperative Society to begin the work of upgrading the plant within one month failing which they will be liable to penal action. Since the CETP board dissolves in 2017, the plant is now under an administrator. However, the NGT has ordered the CETP to report on measures taken to fix the untreated discharge and locked the date of next hearing to May 11, 2018.…
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Vedanta bags Electrosteel as NCLT approves; first case to be resolved under IBC

On April 17, Electrosteel Steel became the first big success story of insolvency resolution with Anil Agarwal-owned commodity conglomerate Vedanta Ltd bagging the steelmaker. The Kolkata bench of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has approved the resolution plan submitted by Vedanta for the listed company promoted by city-based Electrosteel Ltd. Vedanta informed stock exchanges that it was declared “successful resolution applicant” under the insolvency process and had received the Letter of Intent. On March 30, the Committee of Creditors (CoC) to the debt-laden Electrosteel Steels had chosen Vedanta as the highest bidder for the company, supporting the earlier decision of the resolution professional. “On going through the (resolution) plan (of Vedanta) we are also satisfied that the resolution applicant has taken into account the interest of all stakeholders and that the applicant has had necessary infrastructure that will enable the applicant to continue the corporate debtor company as a going concern. So we are satisfied the corporate debtor is in safe hands,” justice M B Gosavi and Jinan KR said in their 20-page order. Vedanta had declared the highest bidder for Electrosteel Steels, which has a loan default of Rs 10,273 crore. With the deal being sealed, Vedanta is the new owner of Electrosteel Steels.…
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Fashion Portal Myntra Buys Bengaluru-Based Wearable Tech Startup

India’s leading online fashion platform Myntra has acquired Bengaluru based Witworks. Witworks is a technology start-up making smart wearable devices and their underlying software. Post-acquisition Myntra has inducted the startup’s team into its Innovation Labs; further strengthening the company’s robust technology team and augmenting its product development capabilities. Jeyandran Venugopal, Chief Technology Officer, Myntra, said, “Wearables is currently a $46 mn (INR 300 Cr) industry in India and is growing rapidly, with online contributing 60% to the total business. This acquisition will help us to solidify our position in this segment and enable us to develop and launch cutting-edge wearable products like smart shoes, connected smart watches and interactive or intelligent clothing with biosensors.” Through the acquisition, Myntra seeks to develop wearable products for their in-house brands and also leverage the technology to drive innovation and improve consumer engagement in the future. Presently, Myntra has 14 in-house/private labels across men and women’s fashion, along with an offline retail store for their private label Roadster in Bengaluru. More stores from the respective label along with other private labels can be expected from Myntra in the near future.…
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JSW Steel acquires US-based Acero Junction

JSW Steel has acquired Acero Junction Inc, an Ohio-based steel mill, for $81 million (about Rs 526 crore). With an annual production capacity of three million tonnes (mt), Acero has an electric arc furnace, ladle metallurgy furnace and continuous slab casting machine. The deal was finalised on March 28, 2018; thereby giving JSW Steel an opportunity to get a manufacturing presence in the US and gain deeper access into the North American market. JSW Steel produces hot rolled coils, a product that is typically used in consumer durables such as refrigerators, washing machines, and automobiles. It operates a 3 million tonne hot strip mill and other steel making facilities at Delaware in the US. As per reports, the transaction for Acero is likely to close in 60 days’ time, subject to fulfilment of certain conditions precedent.…
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Media houses to pay Rs 10 lakh each revealing the identity of the victim: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court has directed media houses to pay Rs. 10 lakh each as penalty for revealing the identity of the eight-year-old Kathua rape victim, stated sources. The order was pronounced by a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar after the media houses apologised following notices sent to them by the court over the issue. The notices were reportedly issued to 12 media houses on April 13 for disclosing the identity of an eight-year-old girl who was gang-raped and killed in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir. The court had taken suo-motu suo moto cognizance of the matter. The money has to be paid to the Jammu and Kashmir Victim Compensation Fund within a week, the media reports stated. The advocates representing the media houses are reported to have told the court that they revealed the identity of the victim by mistake and ignorance of law because they thought it was okay to name her as she was dead. Pronouncing the order, the bench also directed that information about the law regarding privacy of victims of sexual offences and punishment for revealing their identities should be publicised. The court had earlier prohibited the media houses “from effecting any publication including the name, address, photograph, family details, school details, neighbourhood or any other particulars which may have an effect of leading to the disclosure of the identity of the child victim”.…
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PIL against pension, benefits to former MPs dismissed: SC

The Supreme Court dismissed a petition challenging payment of pension and other facilities to former Members of Parliament (MPs) and their dependents, saying it will not interfere with the issue. On March 7, the Centre had told the Apex Court that the entitlement of former Members of Parliament (MPs) to get pension and other benefits was “justified” as their dignity has to be maintained even after they complete their tenure as parliamentarians. The Centre informed the bench about the Finance Bill 2018 which comprises provisions regarding salary and pension of MPs and also about revision of their allowances after every five years starting from April 1, 2023, on the basis of cost inflation index. “We are of the view that these questions are in the orbit of the wisdom of Parliament in choosing/changing the legislative policy whether the various benefits created under the impugned provisions are rational having regard to the affluent financial status of some of the MPs or the poverty of the millions of the population, etc. These are not justiciable issues,” a bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S K Kaul said while rejecting a plea by the NGO Lok Prahari. The court was ruling on a plea by an NGO, Lok Prahari, which argued that providing pension/family pension to ex-MPs as well as continuation of facilities regarding unutilised quota of telephone calls, electricity and water units are illegal and must be scrapped.…
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NRI woman allowed giving consent for a mutual divorce through Skype: Bombay HC

In a landmark verdict, the Bombay High Court allowed an NRI woman to give her consent for a mutual divorce from her alienated husband through “Skype or any other technology”. Harshada and her husband Bharat filed a petition before the family court for dissolution of marriage through mutual consent under Section 13 B of the Hindu Marriage Act. Although Bharat had signed the said petition, Harshada’s father, who is also registered power of attorney holder, had signed the petition on her behalf. The family court held that both parties must remain present for filing such a petition and dismissed it on the same ground. Justice Bharati Dangre revoked the Family Court’s order rejecting to register the US-based woman’s petition for divorce on the grounds that she was not personally present to file it despite the woman having given her father power of attorney in the divorce proceedings. “Due to globalisation and since educated young persons are crossing the borders of India, it is not possible to remain present (to file petitions),” the high court said. “There is no legal lacunae in filing of the petition through a registered power of attorney… the family court will not insist on the presence of the parties before the court and would arrange for the consent terms to be recorded either through Skype or adopting any other technology,” added the Judge.…
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Marico to acquire up to 22.5% in Revolutionary Fitness

On April 17, Consumer packaged goods firm Marico Ltd. said it will acquire up to a 22.5% stake in Revofit, a fitness and wellness solutions app. The company that makes Parachute and Saffola brands said the move is towards strengthening its healthy lifestyle offerings, by leveraging Revolutionary Fitness’s integrated fitness and holistic wellness solutions app, Revofit. The deal amount has not been revealed by the company, but has indicated that it is a very small investment. Going forward, the brand will continue to develop a wider bouquet of healthy foods. “I am delighted with the partnership with Revofit, a next generation digital wellness platform. This complements Marico’s aspiration to participate in the nutraceuticals and wellness space. This win-win alliance offers a wider choice to consumers looking to incorporate wellness, fitness and nutrition into their daily lifestyle,” said Saugata Gupta, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Marico. This is Marico’s second investment in a digital company.…
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