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  • Oct 12, 2019
    Supreme Court acquits wife of deceased and her brother of  murder charges, says it is neither suicide. SUPREME COURT OF INDIA DIVISION BENCHSMT. GARGI AppellantVs.STATE OF HARYANA — Respondent( Before : A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ. )GBCriminal Appeal No. 1046 of 2010Decided on : 19-09-2019*Question:*
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  • Oct 12, 2019
    SUPREME COURT OF INDIA DIVISION BENCH SMT. GARGI Appellant Vs. STATE OF HARYANA — Respondent ( Before : A.M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ. )GB Criminal Appeal No. 1046 of 2010 Decided on : 19-09-2019 *Question:*
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  • Sep 11, 2019
    The UGC received 142 complaints in 2015-16; 102 from the Schedule Cast and 40 from Schedule Tribe students from various universities of the nation.   The University Grants Commission (UGC) has warned all higher education institutions to send a report against the backdrop of the Payal Tadvi suicide case on the action taken in instances of caste-based discrimination faced by the students on their campuses. A notice has been sent to the Vice-Chancellors of the universities by the UGC and asked them to set up a committee for looking into the discrimination complaints received from SC/ST/OBC students, teachers or non-teaching staff of the campus.   Earlier, the UGC had asked the educational institutions to create a page on their website for lodging complaints of caste discrimination and place a complaint register in the principal/registrar's office.  It stated that actions must be taken promptly against the erring official/faculty member when any such incident comes to the notice of the authorities.   The notice also stated that the officials should desist from any act of discrimination against students based on their social origin.  "The universities and colleges should ensure that no official or faculty members indulge in any kind of discrimination against any community or category of students", The UGC added!   In the era of technology and equality, this situation is indeed degrading the progress of the nation as a whole!
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  • Aug 03, 2019
    Moral policing is a covering term used to describe vigilante groups which act to enforce a code of morality in India.  The vigilante groups target any activity that seems “immoral” and/or is “against Indian culture” under the definition of Moral Policing. India has many vigilante groups based in each state, each city that claim to protect the Indian culture. The cultural concepts that they deem to have been imported from the Western culture are resisted and opposed by these groups. These groups are famous for attacking bars and pubs. Some of these groups have attacked or have forced to shut down art exhibitions too, where they claim obscene paintings were being displayed. Diktats against western attires are issued by them. Some have also condemned beauty parlours on the basis of contaminating Indian culture. Some members of the media have also colluded with such groups. Some politicians have supported such POVs and occasionally organized such activities. The Sections of 292 to 294 of the Indian Penal Code are used to deal with obscenity. Most of these laws date back to 1860. The Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code deals with sales and distribution of obscene books and other material. It criminalizes materials like books and paintings if it is deemed to be "lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest". The Section 292 was amended in 1969 to exclude materials that are for public good e.g. condom ads, AIDS ads, Scientific material, art and religious figures. Police also use Section 292 of the IPC to file cases against film posters and advertisement hoardings that are deemed to be "obscene" publicly. The Section 293 deals with the sale of obscene material to people under 20. The Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code deals with "obscene acts and songs."   Even the Central and state governments have imposed moral policing. Some of the activities on which government has taken actions are jotted down below: Central Board of Film Certification stops filmmakers from displaying/making movies which degrades the Indian culture. Night life and alcohol in our nation has been restricted by the government even though the legal age for drinking is set up, police arrest the adults on daily basis under this act. Sex education in schools has been banned completely as according to these vigilantes it’ll encourage/excite small minds for practicing sex and rape culture will get promoted. Accusations of obscenity against actors and film-makers are being made since a long time just because of their choice of career. The Porn ban in India happened recently as the vigilantes stated it’s increasing the number of rape in our nation and people are attempting the same acts as portrayed in the porn film. Couples are often harassed and outraged, dragged from their private spaces and tortured in public just for being in love with each other. Mob lynching is practiced constantly in our nation with the Muslims or the people who doesn’t support the party’s agenda under the act of moral policing. The only question striking all of us right now should be, “how exactly are we developing?”  
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  • Jun 28, 2019
      MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE IN INDIA Medical jurisprudence or legal medicine is the branch of science and medicine which entails the study and application of scientific and medical knowledge to legal issues. Issues as examination in the field of law. As modern science is a legal creation, regulated by the state, medico-legal cases involving death, rape, paternity and other issues require a medical practitioner to produce evidence and appear as an expert witness. Forensic medicine, which includes forensic pathology, is a narrower field that involves collection and analysis of medical evidence (samples) to produce objective information for use in the legal system.    Forensic pathology is the part of forensic medicine dealing with examination of deceased patient. Although the legislation regarding forensic pathology differs between countries, a common principle is that in the investigation of a possible or suspected criminal death, a forensic pathologist is engaged through a formal request from the police or the prosecutor. The task of the forensic pathologist is then to assist in the investigation as a medical expert. This expert role continues throughout the process, including the court proceedings on request of the court and/or one of the parties. The task is to function as a medical expert for justice, not primarily to support one of the parties in the trial. Hence, the role of the forensic pathologist in the relation to the examined person is completely different from the role of the clinical doctor in his/her relation to the patient, where the physician often becomes an advocate for the patient. The main role of the forensic pathologist is to practice and to mediate a scientific approach to the medical issues raised in a legal context involving death. It is inherent in its very nature that the forensic pathologist, irrespective of principle, strives to assist with impartial assessments, based on science driven, tried and tested experience.  
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  • Jun 28, 2019
    Blog about medical jurisprudence in India and information about medico-legal provisions.
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  • Jun 26, 2019
    National Minimum Wage is an intensive issue for our Nation. Labor ministry would appeal the approval for the “Code on Wages Bill” from Cabinet very soon. CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) has mentioned three criteria on which minimum wage should be allowed to fixed states. 1) On the basis of laborer’s geographic location. 2) How skillful the worker is. 3) What occupation the worker holds. Not to forget the fixed minimum wage set by the center though.  CII states, “The concept of a national minimum wage will affect job creation, so it is necessary to give states power to fix their own minimum wages.” However, the wages of the skilled and semi-skilled labor force should be determined by market forces only. The code on minimum wages bill claims that the central government will fix minimum wages for certain sectors, including railways and mines while states would be free to set minimum wages for another category of employment. The Code also suggests the setting of a national minimum wage. The central government can set separate minimum wages for different regions or states. The draft law states that the minimum wages act would be revised every five years. Besides, CII asks for a National Employment Mission and setting up of an inter-ministerial and all-state National Employment Board to strategize job creation in the country. In which representatives of key ministries, state governments, industry experts, trade unions and other stakeholders to look into employment creation issues and to address them on a real-time basis should be included. For the progress of the nation as a whole, women also should be hired. And for this agenda, CII recommended providing child care and maternity benefit subsidies under the Maternity Benefit Amendment Act for each woman. "Employment generation extends to multiple dimensions and a national mission is required to address all aspects holistically. The National Employment Mission should include flexibility in hiring, tax incentives, education and skill development for the promotion of labor-intensive sectors," CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said. CII mapped a five-point agenda for the budget to be unveiled on July 5 by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Besides, the wage threshold should be increased to Rs 25,000 from the current Rs 15,000 under Prime Minister's Rozgar Protsahan Yojana, which provides government contribution to EPF and EPS for new employees for three years, applicable to workers earning less than Rs 15,000. This bill suggests many practical benefits for the laborers with an evolutionary aspect of growth for the entire Nation. 
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  • Jun 07, 2019
    Motor Vehicles Act, 2018 looks in motor vehicle accidents and insurance. Auto Insurance in India deals with the insurance covers for the loss or damage caused to the automobile or its parts due to natural and man-made calamities. It provides accident cover for individual owners of the vehicle while driving and also for passengers and third party legal liability. There are certain general insurance companies who also offer online insurance service for the vehicle. Auto Insurance in India is a compulsory requirement for all new vehicles used whether for commercial or personal use. The insurance companies have tie-ups with leading automobile manufacturers. They offer their customers instant auto quotes. Auto premium is determined by a number of factors and the amount of premium increases with the rise in the price of the vehicle. The claims of the auto insurance in India can be accidental, theft claims or third party claims. Certain documents are required for claiming auto insurance in India, like duly signed claim form, RC copy of the vehicle, driving license copy, FIR copy, original estimate and policy copy. There are different types of auto insurance in India: Private Car Insurance – Private Car Insurance is the fastest growing sector in India as it is compulsory for all the new cars. The amount of premium depends on the make and value of the car, state where the car is registered and the year of manufacture. This amount can be reduced by asking the insurer for No Claim Bonus (NCB) if no claim is made for insurance in previous year. Two Wheeler Insurance – The Two Wheeler Insurance in India covers accidental insurance for the drivers of the vehicle. The amount of premium depends on the current showroom price multiplied by the depreciation rate fixed by the Tariff Advisory Committee at the beginning of a policy period. Commercial Vehicle Insurance – Commercial Vehicle Insurance in India provides cover for all the vehicles which are not used for personal purposes like trucks and HMVs. The amount of premium depends on the showroom price of the vehicle at the commencement of the insurance period, make of the vehicle and the place of registration of the vehicle. The auto insurance generally includes: Loss or damage by accident, fire, lightning, self-ignition, external explosion, burglary, housebreaking or theft, malicious act Liability for third party injury/death, third party property and liability to paid driver On payment of appropriate additional premium, loss/damage to electrical/electronic accessories The auto insurance does not include: Consequential loss, depreciation, mechanical and electrical breakdown, failure or breakage When vehicle is used outside the geographical area War or nuclear perils and drunken driving The principle of contributory negligence under the law of torts also plays an important role in determining the amount and liability.  
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  • Jun 01, 2019
    IntroductionThe Indian constitution in Article 19 (1) (a) grants its citizens the freedom of speech and expression, though with certain limitations. Yet, governments right from Independence have shown their propensity to censor. The Indian media has been plagued with attack on its journalists, on their offices and sometimes, even bans on their channels. We must then ask ourselves: Is freedom of speech even a reality? The World Press Freedom Index measures the level of press freedom that journalists enjoy. In 2018, India was placed on the 136th position. In 2017, it had ranked two spots higher. India’s poor record can be attributed to the history of intolerance shown towards the opinions expressed by media that are contrary to those of the government. Press freedom is an illusionary term in India, anything that goes against the government is termed as anti-national, channels offices are stoned and there is rampant vandalism. The one day ban on NDTV channel is a testimony to the shrinking liberty granted to the press.   AnalysisIn the colonial times, the British government not only controlled the content circulated by the media but also had the broadcasting monopoly. This was followed by License Raj where the government had the complete monopoly over the media space. Doordarshan was the only channel that was permitted to broadcast news and it was under government control. Even though, the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression given in the constitution was acknowledged, the government still dominated the media broadcasting. Thus, the colonial rules of media monopoly manifested itself in the newly independent India. The Emergency period of 1975 was a dark period in the history of independent India. All fundamental rights, except Right to life were suspended. A democratic government soon turned into an autocracy. People whose opinions were against those of the government were jailed. Media during the time of emergency was used to spread government propaganda. It was used as a political tool to indoctrinate people. It no longer served as a free space where people could voice out their opinions, criticise the government and their policies and participate in the democratic process by having the power to dissent. In 1990s, India got on the bandwagon of privatization, liberalization and globalization. The Indian economy opened up for foreign investors in a number of sectors, broadcasting was one of them. 1990s brought about an advent of privately owned media houses. This threatened the government’s control over broadcasting and which eventually lead to the Cable Television Act of 1995. This Act gave a vast amount of censorship powers to the governments. The Centre could not just ban a channel but the channel operator too. The Programme Code is another statute that the media houses had to follow in order to be broadcasted. They were given a laundry list of instructions that the electronic media houses had to comply with. This bizarre act has a watchdog that censors information sent by the media on its own account. The recent attacks on journalists are a threat to the stature of freedom given by the constitution in expressing our opinions. Majority of the attacks were carried out by the police, leaders of the political parties and their supporters, sand and coal mafia, criminals representing illegal constructions, mob resisting media coverage and even lawyers. The recent case of a journalist being molested and her camera being taken away by the police while reporting a JNU protest has once again sparked the debate regarding the safety of media personnel. An attack on a journalist is indirectly is an attack on their freedom of speech and expression. The physical manifestation of censorship is seen in these attacks. In print media, the censorship and harassment of the Kashmir reader due to a certain news report led to their newspaper offices being raided, their printing press being closed down and a ban on their publication for three months. This hooliganism and vandalism stems from the innate dogmatism of those in power.   CensorshipLet us look at the concept of Freedom of Speech under Article 19(1) with the example of the landmark case of Shreya Singhal v Union of India 2015. Two girls-Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Srinivasan, were arrested by the Mumbai police in 2012 for expressing their displeasure at a bandh called in the wake of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackery’s death. The women posted their comments on the Facebook. The arrested women were released later on and it was decided to close the criminal cases against them yet the arrests attracted widespread public protest. It was felt that the police has misused its power by invoking Section 66A inter alia contending that it violates the freedom of speech and expression. The Court held that the provision of section 66A of the IT Act is derogative to the Article 19(1)(a) and as such it is an arbitrary provision which breaches the right of citizen to have freedom of speech and expression of their views on internet. As such the provision concerned is constitutionally invalid and as such struck down in its entirety.   Not only freedom of speech, when it comes to publication of and circulation of important newspapers and journals, the government tries to control that by saying that this is in order to protect public order. In the case of Romesh Thappar v State of Madras (1950) also knows as the Cross Roads case, the court held that the freedom of speech and expression underArticle 19(1) includes freedom of propagation of ideas, and that freedom is ensured by the freedom of circulation. Therefore, the order of the Madras government banning the entry into or the circulation, sale or distribution in the State of the Weekly English Journal Cross Roads published at Bombay was declared as unconstitutional and void on the ground that without liberty of circulation, the publication would be of little value. Another example is of the play Me Nathuram Godsey Boltoyplay that was banned in Maharashtra and Gujurat fearing public disorder.   Those were examples of how the government tries to regulate publication of a media house and now let’s take a look at government regulating the circulation and distribution. In the case of Sakal Newspaper v Union of India 1961. This is considered one of the landmark decisions that forwarded freedom of press jurisprudence in India, reinforcing that restrictions related to number of pages, price, advertisements, and circulation of newspapers, constitute a direct infringement on the freedom of speech and expression. The Newspaper (Price and Page) Act, 1956, and the Daily Newspapers (Price and Page) Order, 1960, regulated the number of pages in a newspaper according to the price charged, and regulated the allocation of space for advertising matter. The Indian Supreme Court declared them unconstitutional, as they directly infringed on the right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed in Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution. Mudholkar, J., delivered the opinion of the Court. A private company that published newspapers, its shareholders, and two readers (Sakal) filed petitions against the state. The publishing company challenged the constitutional validity of the Newspaper (Price and Page) Act, 1956 (Newspaper Act), which empowered the central government to regulate the price of newspapers in relation to their pages and the allocation of space for advertising matter. The publishing company also challenged the Daily Newspapers (Price and Page) Order, 1960 (Newspaper Order), which was passed by the Government under the Newspaper Act to put in place such regulations. The petitions argued that the Newspaper Act and Newspaper Order violated the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution.  The Court noted that by providing the maximum number of pages for the particular price charged, the effect of the Newspaper Act and Newspaper Order was to compel newspapers either to reduce the number of pages or to raise the prices. While the former restricted the dissemination of news and views by the newspapers, the latter would have significantly cut down their circulation. Both involved a direct infringement of the newspapers’ right under Article 19(1)(a). The freedom of a newspaper to publish any number of pages and to circulate to any number of persons is an integral part of the freedom of speech. Regulation of advertising space forced newspapers either to raise their prices and compromise on circulation or to run at losses, eventually forcing them to close down. This was a direct, and not a remote or incidental, infringement on the right to freedom of speech and expression. India contended that advertising is a commercial aspect of speech, and restrictions in the public’s interest may be placed on it under Article 19(6). However, the Court held that the right to freedom of speech cannot be taken away with the object of restricting business activities. The Court held that the Newspaper Act and Newspaper Order were unconstitutional. In view of this relief, the Court did not consider the grievance of the readers that their right under Article 19(1)(a) was also infringed. In my opinion when it comes to censorship of movies, the right balance is important. It is for the Censor Board to determine the right balance between what is important for the people to know against what needs to be censored. This was observed in case of Udta Punjab where they didn’t want the word Punjab in the movie title. But since the movie was based on a social evil of drugs problem in Punjab, the movie title was appropriate in my opinion and people must know about the drug problem in Punjab and how it is destroying lives. Another movie that had a lot of media attention was Padmavat. Honestly, removing an alphabet from the movie title did not really create that big of an impact and people still called it Padmavati when they were buying movie tickets at the counter.   PropagandaIt is said that executive, legislature and judiciary are the three pillars of our country and media is the fourth pillar. But we know that the three pillars are to be independent from each other and in my opinion they are independent from one another. But the question is whether media which is said to be the fourth pillar is also an independent pillar like the other three pillars? Media is such a powerful tool in our society and that is because of the huge outreach and influence it has in the society. Most people get there first hand information sitting at home and watching a news channel or reading the newspaper and because of this people easily believe what the media tells them. This has led to another problem of what Donald Trump likes to call fake news. Fake news a popular term today. Fake news can be very harmful for the society because people will believe what the media tells them and because of fake news would thus believe something that is untrue. In my opinion another problem with modern day news channels are that they show less of news and more of propaganda. Unlike BBC and traditional news channels that actually tell us the news and tell us what happened across the globe in past 24 hours within 1 hour, modern day news channels spend hours debating and in some cases cutting each other and screaming on one issue that in some cases are not even an issue. This helps them with TRP but this also overhypes an issue and can be seen as propaganda. People also use social media these days for propaganda. Famous YouTubers like Dhruv Rathee has been accused of making pro-Congress videos. Talking about propaganda, the government does it too with the help of media. Unlike the communist countries of People’s Republic of China and Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea where the media is controlled and regulated by the government and is used by the government for propoganda, India being a democratic country gives the power to media houses to be independent and publish the news and not what the government wants to say. But, there have been instances which show that media too has biases and helps the government with their propaganda. During the 2014 elections journalist Arnab Goswami took an interview of Rahul Gandhi first and then he took an interview of Narendra Modi. When you are a journalist and you are taking an interview, your tone matters a lot. Your voice modulation has to be given extra emphasis to. The different tones he used for both these interviews was enough to create biases in people. When we talk about media and propaganda, we cannot leave behind India’s most loved industry Bollywood. People in India watch movies more often than anywhere else in the world. People either go to cinemas to really enjoy and appreciate a good movie or just to have a good outing with family and friends. Movies influence people and Uri reminded people of the surgical strike we did against Pakistan during the Modi government and this movie being released just months before 2019 elections makes it very convenient for BJP.     ConclusionHistory has repeatedly shown us that no matter which political party is in power, the government is inherently censorious. The freedom of press today is highly restricted with the media houses self-censoring their pluralistic views. This endangers the very core of democracy and the national discourse. The recent events with the attacks and murder of journalists, vandalism on media houses and bans on news channels, there is a significant escalation against India’s press freedom. Free speech threatens authoritarian governments and slowly our democracy might just fade away to autocracy, snatching away our right to dissent, perhaps forever. That is an extreme view to have but, if media is the fourth pillar of our society, it must be independent.
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