CCI imposes penalty on leading zinc-carbon dry cell battery manufacturers for catelisation

Competition Commission of India: CCI imposed penalty on three leading Indian Zinc-Carbon Dry Cell Battery manufacturers – Eveready Industries India Ltd. (‘Eveready’), Indo National Ltd. (‘Nippo’), Panasonic Energy India Co. Ltd. (‘Panasonic’) and their association AIDCM (Association of Indian Dry Cell Manufacturers) for colluding to fix prices of zinc-carbon dry cell battery in India. CCI invoked the provisions of Section 46 of the Competition Act, 2002 (‘the Act’) read with the Competition Commission of India (Lesser Penalty) Regulations, 2009 (‘Lesser Penalty Regulations’) to reduce the penalty imposed upon Panasonic, Eveready and Nippo by 100 percent, 30 percent and 20 percent respectively . The case against these battery manufacturers was taken up by CCI suo motu under Section 19 of the Act based on the disclosure by Panasonic under Section 46 of the Act read with the Lesser Penalty Regulations. During investigation, DG (Investigation), CCI in exercise of the powers vested with it under Section 41(3) of the Act carried out simultaneous search and seizure operations at the premises of Eveready, Nippo and Panasonic on 23.8.2016 and seized incriminating material and documents there from. Subsequently, while the investigation was in progress and report from the DG was pending, Eveready and Nippo, approached CCI as lesser penalty applicants.…
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NHRC issues notices to Telangana Govt and IB Ministry over reported sexual exploitation of women in Telugu Film Industry and lack of grievance redressal mechanism

National Human Rights Commission: The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports about the alleged sexual exploitation of women in the Telugu Film Industry, raised by a Television Anchor turned actress of Telugu films. As per media reports, the actress has been questioning the State government and the Movie Artists’ Association (MAA) of the Telugu Film Industry on the absence of the Committee Against Sexual Harassment (CASH) due to which, she asserts that no female can represent and seek redressal of her grievances, if there is any sexual harassment at the work place. The Commission has observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, tantamount to inaction of the part of the State government. The Commission is of the opinion that the reported prohibitions imposed upon the actress, barring her to act in the films and stopping others to work with her are violation of her right to livelihood and live a life with dignity. Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Government of Telangana and the Secretary, Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks. The state authorities are expected to intimate about the available/proposed mechanism to the deal with the subject.…
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NHRC issues notice to Madhya Pradesh Govt over reports of mowing down of a journalist who exposed sand mafia in Bhind

National Human Rights Commission: The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report stating that a television journalist, who had complained about threats to his life after he carried a sting operation on illegal sand mining, was mowed down by a truck in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh on the 26th March, 2018. The deceased, was talking on his phone in front of a police station, when the incident occurred. The Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Madhya Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks. The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report if true, indicate towards negligence on the part of administration, especially the police authorities who failed to save a precious human life. The tragic death of the journalist is indicative of violation of human rights as well as democratic values and also callousness of the state administration for not taking appropriate steps protecting the life and safety of the deceased, when reportedly, he had already complaint about the threats to his life. The Commission also noted that it did not receive any such complaint as mentioned in the news report.…
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NHRC issues notice to Uttar Pradesh Govt over death of a person in judicial custody in Unnao and related allegations 

National Human Rights Commission: The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports about the mysterious death of the father of a rape victim who was in custody at a jail in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh. The incident was reported to have happened a day after the alleged rape victim tried to immolate herself near the Chief Minister’s residence accusing a BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his aides of gang rape. The girl’s father was in judicial custody after his arrest for a brawl with the MLA’s supporters last week. The daughter of the deceased has, reportedly, alleged that it is only the delinquent MLA who has got her father killed since she was not willing to withdraw the gang rape complaint against him. The Commission has observed that the allegations, if true, raise serious issue of violation of human rights of the victim family. It has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter, including action taken against the delinquent police officials, who refused to register an FIR. The Commission also expects from the DGP, an explanation for not communicating the custodial death to the Commission within 24 hours.…
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NHRC issues notices to HRD Ministry, Chairman, CBSE and Delhi Police Commissioner over paper leak of Class 10 and 12 Board exams

National Human Rights Commission: The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports about the incidents of papers leak of Class X and XII board examinations being conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Reportedly, two cases have been registered on charges of criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy and some arrests have been made. The Commission has observed that prima facie, it seems the concerned authorities have failed to keep the faith of the students, intact. The humiliation being faced by the innocent students is amounting to violation of their Rights to Dignity and Education. Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Chairperson, Central Board of Secondary Education and the Commissioner of Police, Delhi calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks. The Ministry of Human Resource Development is also expected to inform the Commission about the steps taken regarding counselling of the aggrieved students and to make the process of conducting board examinations trustworthy and foolproof to avoid recurrence of such painful incidents in future. The Commission has further observed that such instances would adversely affect the credibility of the institutions in which the students have absolute faith.…
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NHRC issues notice to West Bengal Govt over reported unabated violence in Asansol- Raniganj area

National Human Rights Commission: The NHRC has taken suo-motu cognizance of media reports alleging failure of the law enforcing agencies in protecting the right to life, liberty and dignity of the innocent people, who have become victims of violence in the Asansol-Raniganj area of West Bengal since the 25th March, 2018. Many people have been forced to leave their houses. Several people have died; a police officer has also sustained grievous injuries in the violence and the situation is reported to be still out of control. Expressing serious concern over the situation, the Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and Director General of Police, West Bengal calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks. The Commission has also asked its Director General (Investigation) to depute a team headed by an officer not below the rank of SSP to visit the disturbed areas of Asansol-Raniganj for spot investigation/inquiry to assess the actual situation and submit a report within three weeks. According to the media reports, the people, who dialed No. 100 to seek police assistance, have stated that no police personnel came to help them. The unruly mob has destroyed the public and private properties.…
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NHRC issues notices to DGP, Assam and Mizoram over physical assault and lathi charge on journalists

National Human Rights Commission: The NHRC has issued a notice to the Directors General of Police, Assam and Mizoram calling for a detailed report on the alleged physical assault and lathi charge on journalists by the Assam police at Zophai Bairabi area in Kolasib district of Mizoram near Assam border, while they were on a reporting assignment on the 8th March, 2018 and the 10 March, 2018. The officers have been given four weeks to respond. The Commission has issued these directions after taking cognizance of a complaint. Allegedly, the victim journalists had gone to Zophai to prepare a ground report as there was tension between Mizo Zirlai Pawl, a student organization of Mizoram and the Assam police, which escalated due to lathi charge by the Assam police on the journalists. The police also fired gun shots during the action. It is also mentioned in the complaint that the journalists were displaying their press identity cards to the police personnel but they were not spared and were beaten black and blue. Many of the journalists, including women, have sustained serious injuries. It is further stated that the Mizoram Journalists’ Association had called a General Body Meeting at Aizawl Press Club Conference Hall on the 12th March, 2018 to express their plight.…
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Citizens cannot be forced to produce their Aadhaar to receive Government welfare schemes and benefits

Central Information Commission: The Commission recently dealt with a second appeal wherein the appellant contended that after having taken voluntary retirement from the post office, even though she was supposed to receive her on the 1st of every month, that was not the case when in March 2017, her pension was withheld for want of linkage of her Aadhaar to her pension account along with 55 other such similarly situated pensioners. She mentioned that the CPIO and the FAA had held back information which she sought, regarding the names of all the other pensioners whose pensions were withheld owing to the same reason forwarded to her as the authorities under the grab of Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005 refused to give out personal information which the appellant believed to be an unsatisfactory reply. The appellant also sought a copy of the order wherein it said that Aadhaar is necessary for payment of pension since that had not been produced to her yet. Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu, sitting for the Commission, observed that pension “is a matter of life and living” for pensioners who are “totally dependent upon the paltry amount of pension”. Hence, information which relates to pension should be treated as information concerning life and hence, response should be given within 48 hours.…
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Ministry of External Affairs directed to provide details of travel bills of Prime Minister’s foreign visits for Financial Years 2013-14 to 2016-17

Central Information Commission: While addressing the appeal upon the applicant filed to seek details of bills, invoices as received in the Ministry of External Affairs with reference to foreign visits undertaken by former and present Prime Minister of India for Financial Years 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17, the Chief Information Commissioner, Radha Krishna Mathur, directed the CPIO for the Ministry of External Affairs, to provide the details of the travel bills relating to Air India from Financial Years 2013-14 to 2016-17 to the appellant, within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order. The applicant had filed the RTI to seek information related to the expenditures incurred in the foreign visits undertaken by the former and the present PM. It was put forth by the applicant that that he wants the general public to be informed that at what stage or with which public authority these bills/invoices are pending for payment. He further stated that unpaid bills/invoices raised by Air India are likely to raise its debt liabilities. He added that Air India is a cash-strapped airline and that the elements of financial propriety, probity and accountability are involved in making payment of these pending bills. He stated that expeditious recovery of Air India’s dues from various public authorities is the need of the hour considering tremendous financial stress of Air India.…
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NHRC: 15 students of Tribal communities get Rs. 30 lakh as relief for missing NEET due to the negligence of teachers in Tripura

National Human Rights Commission: On the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission, 15 students of the State run Eklavya Model Residential School, Khumulwng, Tripura have been paid monetary relief of Rs. 2 lakh each totaling Rs. 30 lakh, besides the free coaching for the 2018 National Eligibility and Entrance Test, NEET, which they could not write in 2017 due to the negligence of the school authorities. The Commission observed that it was not sufficient that the Government of Tripura had initiated punitive action against the negligent Principal and the teacher of the school and that the students will be provided free coaching for 2018 also. It recommended that the State government needed to pay monetary relief also to the victim students for the loss of one academic year in addition to the free coaching. Subsequent to this, the government of Tripura, paid the monetary relief and sent a compliance report, which was taken on record by the Commission today on the 16th February, 2018 with the directions to the State government to inform about the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings initiated against the guilty Principal and the teacher. Earlier, during the course of enquiry, the Commission found that the Principal and a teacher of the school had filled the online application form of the students belonging to the tribal communities but failed to remit the requisite fee within the stipulated time hence, the students could not appear in the NEET.…
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Notice issued to Union Ministry and Drugs Controller General over reported sale of millions of unapproved antibiotics in India

National Human Rights Commission: The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that millions of unapproved antibiotics are being sold in India each year, posing a threat to the global fight against the spread of drug resistant microbes. The Commission has issued notices to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Drugs Controller General of India, for detailed reports in the matter within six weeks. The authorities are expected to submit their response within the stipulated time, along with all the documents, including guidelines and circulars etc. issued on the subject and their status of implementation. According to the media report, carried on the 6th February, 2018, a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reveals that multinational pharmaceutical companies continue to manufacture a large number of unapproved formulations, despite the global health crisis of rising antimicrobial resistance. India has been mentioned as having the highest antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic consumption and the parliamentary investigations have highlighted failures of the country’s drug regulatory system. The Commission has observed that if the contents of the news report and reports of UK based researchers are to be believed, the figures mentioned in the study are alarming.…
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Google penalized for abusing its predominance to create a ‘Search Bias’ being limited and not rooted to Universal Results and Common units

Competition Commission of India: In the order passed by a bench comprising of Mr. Devender Kumar Sikri (Chairperson), Mr. S.L. Bunker (Member), Mr. Sudhir Mital (Member), Mr. Augustine Peter (Member), Mr. U.C. Nahta (Member), Mr. G.P. Mittal (Member), addressed two cases i.e. Case No. 07 of 2012 and Case No. 30 of 2012, both filed under Section 19(1) (a) of the Competition Act, 2002 (the Act), eventually clubbed together having similar issues and a common respondents being Google LLC, Google India Private Limited and Google Ireland Limited (GIL). The brief facts being that it was averred by the informants, Matrimony.com and Consumer Unity & Trust Society, that Google has been running its core business of ‘Search and Advertising’, in a discriminatory manner, causing harm to advertisers and indirectly to the consumers and creates an uneven playing field by favoring its services and partners, through manually manipulating its search results to the advantage of its vertical partners and it was also further posited that in order to promote Google’s own vertical search sites, it started mixing many of its vertical search results with the organic search results, thus asserting and abusing its dominant and monopolistic position in the market, in contravention with the provisions of Section 4 of the Act.…
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