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”.…
Continue reading

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.…
Continue reading

Plea against 70% solar imports safeguard dismissed: Madras HC

The petition challenging the Directorate General of Safeguards’ recommendation of 70% safeguard duty on import of solar panels and modules has been dismissed by the Madras High Court, revealed sources. The subsequent step, after the dismissal of the petition, has paved the way for public hearing. To take the final call the report will be sent to panel of secretaries of commerce, revenue, industrial policy, external affairs and new and renewable energy ministries. Acting on a petition from domestic solar manufacturers who claimed imports of solar panels and modules were causing their industry serious injury, the Directorate General of Safeguards had in mid January 2018 suggested slapping a whopping 70% levy on solar imports. Over 90% of solar equipment used in Indian projects is imported, mostly from China and Malaysia. The solar developers of India were distressed by the recommendation of Directorate General of Safeguards. The developers claimed that it will increase construction costs and thereby will result in steep rise of solar tariffs. “Though there is widespread fear that duties will slow down the sector, the court’s decision provides much needed clarity to all stakeholders and allows them to plan their next steps,” said Vinay Rustagi, Managing Director of Solar Consultancy Bridge to India.…
Continue reading

Cognizant to pay Rs 420 cr tax in two days: Madras HC

On April 4, the Madras High Court has ordered Cognizant Technology Solutions, involved in a Rs 2,800-crore tax dispute with the I-T department, to pay 15% (Rs 420 crore) of the demanded amount in two days. To aid them with their payment, the court has ordered unfreezing of the company’s bank account with JP Morgan in Mumbai. However, its accounts with other banks will remain frozen. The HC bench said, “There shall be an order of an interim stay on the income tax proceedings, subject to the condition that Cognizant pays 15% of the tax demanded, and furnishes a bank guarantee or security by way of fixed deposit for the remaining tax demanded. For proper compliance to the condition, the attachment of bank account with JP Morgan Chase Bank, Mumbai, shall stand lifted forthwith. However, the attachment in respect of other banks SBI, Deutsche, Corporation and HDFC Bank shall continue till the compliance of the direction. Similarly, the attachment of nine bank deposits to the tune of Rs 2,650 crore shall continue subject to the lien being created for remaining amount of taxes.” Justice T S Sivagnanam passed the interim direction on a plea moved by Cognizant assailing the tax demand and the freezing of its 68 bank accounts.…
Continue reading

State to frame policies to regulate food prices at cinema halls: Bombay HC

On April 4, noting that the cost of food and water inside multiplexes was exorbitant; the Bombay High Court opined that it should be sold at regular prices. The State government informed the court that it is working on formulating a policy to regulate food prices being sold inside theatres. A division bench of justices S M Kemkar and M S Karnik was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by city resident Jainendra Baxi, challenging the prohibition on carrying outside food inside movie theatres and multiplexes across the state. The petitioner’s lawyer, Aditya Pratap Singh, told the court there does not exist any legal or statutory provision that prohibits one from carrying personal food articles or water inside movie theatres. Agreeing to this, Justice Kemkar said, “The price of food and water bottles sold inside movie theatres are, indeed, exorbitant. We have ourselves experienced it. You (multiplexes) should sell it at the regular price.” The court said that if multiplexes were prohibiting people from bringing outside food, then there should be a total prohibition on eatables. “Then you (multiplexes) cannot have your own vendors selling food and other snacks inside,” Kemkar said. The PIL said the restriction on bringing food by cinema goers violates the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution, which particularly affects the elderly and persons with medical conditions.…
Continue reading

Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar appointed Acting Chief Justice: J&K HC

Justice Ramalingum Sudhakar has been appointed by President Ram Nath Kovind to perform duties of Chief Justice after the retirement of incumbent Chief Justice of Jammu Kashmir High Court, Badar Durrez Ahmed. “In exercise of the powers conferred…the President is pleased to appoint Justice Ramalingum Sudhakar, senior most judge of the J&K High Court to perform the duties of the office of the Chief Justice of that High Court with effect from 16 March 2018 consequent upon the retirement of the Justice Badar Durez Ahmad, Chief Justice of the J&K High Court,” said an order issued by Union law ministry. Justice Sudhakar, who is the senior most Judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, will assume office on March 16.…
Continue reading

Two MoUs signed between Bangladesh, Singapore

On March 12, Bangladesh and Singapore signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on cooperation in the areas of air services and private public partnership. Following the official meeting that took place between the Prime Ministers of both the countries, the pact was signed at Istana in Singapore. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien witnessed the signing ceremony. The two deals are an MoU on Public Private Partnership signed between International Enterprise Singapore and the Public Private Partnership Authority of the Prime Minister’s Office of Bangladesh and Confidential Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to expand the air services. CEO of Private Public Partnership Authority (PPPA) of Bangladesh Syed Afsor H Uddin and Assistant CEO of International Enterprise of Singapore Tan Soon Kim singed another MoU on cooperation in Public Private Partnership on behalf of their respective sides.…
Continue reading

Following communal riots, SriLanka Prez removes PM Wickremesinghe as law and order minister

On March 8, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena replaced Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the law and order minister amidst fresh violence between majority Sinhala Buddhists and minority Muslims in the Kandy district despite imposition of nationwide emergency. On March 8, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, a senior politician from Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) was sworn in as the new minister in charge of the police. From March 5, Wickremesinghe’s 11-day tenure as the law and order minister was marred by racial tension in the central district of Kandy. Muslim owned businesses and religious sites came under attack from majority Sinhala mobs, forcing the government to enforce curfew. On March 7, the Sri Lankan government suspended internet services and blocked access to social networking websites and messaging platforms like Whatsapp in the riot-hit areas. “In accordance with the people’s request to remove the curfew for a short period to attend their essential activities including purchasing of food and other items, President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to remove the curfew from 10:00 am and re-impose at 6:00 pm in the Kandy district,” Director General of Government Information Sudarshana Gunawardhana said in a statement. The leader of the main Tamil party TNA R Sampanthan questioned the inaction of law enforcement authorities in response to the attacks on Muslim establishments.…
Continue reading

Govt. constitutes Steering Committee on Fintech-related issues

According to a notification released by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, on March 05, the Government constituted a Steering Committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance, on Fintech-related issues. The Committee aims to consider various issues relating to the development of Fintech space in India with a view to make Fintech-related regulations more flexible and generate enhanced entrepreneurship in an area where India has distinctive comparative strengths vis-à-vis other emerging economies. The Committee will also focus on how Fintech can be leveraged to enhance financial inclusion of MSMEs. The Chairman of the Steering Committee will be the Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA). The Committee Members include Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY); Secretary, Department of Financial Services (DFS); Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME); Chairperson, Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC); Chief Executive Officer, Unique Identification Authority of India; Deputy Governor (DG), Reserve Bank of India. The Convener of the Committee will be the Joint Secretary (Investment) of the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA). As per the notification, the Committee may also invite participants from the private sector. The Terms of Reference of the Steering Committee are as follows:- To take stock of the developments in the Fintech sector globally and in India and arrive at a common shared understanding of the current state of play; To analyze critically the regulatory regime spread over different entities that has impacted the growth of Fintech in India; To consider how Fintech can be leveraged in critical sectors of the economy, especially financing of MSMEs, affordable housing, delivery of e-services to vulnerable sections, provision of land record management and other government services, access and adoption of digital payments, and to study the developments in these areas; To develop regulatory interventions, e.g., regulatory sandbox model, that will enhance the role of Fintech in the sectors identified for focused interventions; To promote ease of doing business in the Fintech sector; To consider means of using data with GSTN and data residing with information utilities such as Credit Information Companies (CICs),etc in open domain with a view to developing applications for financing of MSMEs.…
Continue reading

21 key sectors under “Make in India” action plan identified for specific actions

According to a notification released by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, the Minister of State of Commerce and Industry, C.R. Chaudhary, informed in the Rajya Sabha on March 07 that 21 key sectors under the “Make in India” action plan have been identified for specific actions under: (i) policy initiatives; (ii) fiscal incentives; (iii) infrastructure creation; (iv) ease of doing business; (v) innovation and R&D; and (vi) skill development. Under this, the FDI policy and procedure have been simplified and liberalized progressively. Key sectors have been opened up for FDI: defence manufacturing, food processing, telecom, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, civil aviation, space, private security agencies, railways, insurance and pensions, and medical devices. In 2015-16, for the first time ever, the FDI inflow crossed the USD 55-billion mark in one fiscal year. Between April 2014 and October 2017, the total FDI inflow was USD 198.48 billion, representing 38% of the cumulative FDI in India since April 2000. The years 2016-17 witnessed the highest-ever recorded for a fiscal year ever where the FDI inflow stood at a record of USD 60 billion. According to IMF World Economic Outlook (April 2017) and UN World Economic Situation Prospects 2017, India is the fastest-growing major economy in the world and is projected to remain so in 2018.…
Continue reading

Singapore inks agreement with Government of Maharashtra to jointly participate in fintech projects

Singapore has inked an agreement with India’s Government of Maharashtra (GoM) to jointly participate in fintech projects such as blockchain and mobile payments, and will include the establishment of a fintech marketplace. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the government of India’s third-largest state said they would aim to promote fintech activities in both markets as well as drive opportunities for fintech startups in Singapore to set up business links at Mumbai’s fintech hub. The agreement would see both partners jointly develop educational programs and exchange insights on fintech trends as well as discuss regulatory models to drive innovation in the sector. The two organizations also would identify potential projects that involved key technologies, such as blockchain, big data, and mobile payments. GoM also would help establish “a marketplace for fintech solutions”, which were developed in Singapore, at the centre of excellence in Maharashtra’s capital city, Mumbai. Maharashtra also is India’s second-most populous state. MAS’s chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty said: “Singapore and India have been longstanding partners on many fronts… The creation of a centre of excellence and marketplace for fintech solutions in Maharashtra could create more opportunities for Singapore-based fintech firms.” MAS last November unveiled a slew of initiatives aimed at driving the development and adoption of new technologies in the financial sector, including a S$27 million (US$19.85 million) investment in artificial intelligence (AI).…
Continue reading

No More Adjournments: Pay Rs 4.5L for delays, says Bombay HC

Recently, the Bombay High Court, taking serious steps on the non-compliance of its orders, imposed costs of Rs 4,50,000 on a charitable trust and said that there would be no more ‘tareekh pe tareekh’, for merely failing to file an affidavit since 2016. Justice Gautam Patel passed the order directing ‘Ram Nagar Trust’ to pay Rs 1,000 per day for the 450-day delay ( Rs 4.5 lakh in total) to the defendant in the suit filed by the trust in 2009. “Costs must be imposed for each day’s delay. I do not think that in this day and age and especially in this city, costs of Rs 1,000 per day are at all unreasonable. Anything less than that is illusory and meaningless,” said the court. “Parties believe that even if the delay is inordinate, the costs of that delay will be negligible and hence they continue to extend the delay. The costs must be real. They must be sufficient to convey the message that non-compliance with our orders brings consequences; that these consequences are inevitable and unavoidable; and the consequences are not some piffling trifle,” the court further added. The High Court was hearing a suit filed by a public charitable trust Ram Nagar Trust over an ownership dispute of a piece of land in Bandra.…
Continue reading