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  • Jun 25, 2019
    The history has numerous stories about the communities which were tortured and treated brutally for belonging from relatively lower castes. The facts evidently clear the past and show a biased behavior of the superiors. People were segregated with the term of ‘Un-touchable’ and were forbidden from receiving any education.  After a rough journey, the protagonists exempted these communities and created a liberated society which gave birth to a prodigious act; Reservation! The reservation ventured as a noble cause in 1902; to address the historic despotism, inequality, and discrimination faced by socially, economically and educationally backward caste communities. It blazed the entire era of education and these under privileged people withstood the process of becoming literate. The government issued pivotal acts for the students and employees of backward castes and registered them under 15(4), 15(5), 16(4), 16(4A), 16(4B), 46, 334 and 335 in the Indian constitution. Today in India, of the total number, 49% comes under the reservation quota for SCs, STs and OBCs to give social justice to these minorities. But with the increasing rate of literacy, the benefits of reservation are being misused and the forward class has rebelled against it. People have started questioning the economical statuses of the minors and ask no reservation for the privileged candidates. Instead, they’re demanding reservation for every economically underprivileged student belonging to any caste. The benefits of this policy has also provoked a thought of inequality amongst which demands the government to give a quick verdict. Through a source, it has been told that a 10% reservation for every economically poor student having the annual income of less than 8 lakhs and up to 5 acres of land will be availed a reservation quota. Also, section 15(4), 15(5) and 16(4) will be amended for this implementation. There are no longer any caste based communities. Today, India has been divided in two communities; Supporters and Protesters of the reservation acts. People are effortlessly turning out to be violent and hurting others because of this movement. Also there are blind religious followers who are making it more complicated by threatening either of the groups. This rebel can either make India a radical nation or a blood-sheding battle field. There are people who are fighting for the equal rights and there are people who are just propagating their mean agendas out of this. Which side are you on? Choose wisely!
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  • Jun 21, 2019
    Introduction Arbitration in India is emerging and at a fast-pace. The arbitration clause constitutes of almost 95% of agreements between parties. The inclusion of the arbitration clause in a contract is high in the construction and infrastructure, and oil and gas sectors. Arbitration disputes in India have been rampant in the construction and infrastructure, and oil and gas sectors. This is primarily due to the nature of these businesses and risk attached. India is slowly growing as a hub for international arbitration too. Looking at the pendency of cases in India and how convenient arbitration is as a dispute settlement method, the rising growth of the arbitration market in the Indian legal industry is definitely a good news.   How Arbitration benefits us?In simple words, arbitration is the act of dispute settlement through an arbitrator, i.e. a third party, who is not involved in the dispute. Arbitration in India is regulated by the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. The Act is based on the 1985 UNCITRAL (The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration and the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules 1976. There are many advantages of arbitration. It brings down the costs of dispute settlement, it fixes time lines for expeditious disposal and it minimizes the court intervention. Since the arbitrator is appointed by the mutual agreement of both the parties, it also ensures the neutrality of arbitrator and enforcement of awards. Arbitration also benefits the country and the economy. Having arbitration law encourages foreign investments to a country. It projects the country as an investor friendly one having a sound legal framework and ease of doing business. Having an arbitration law facilitates effective conduct of international and domestic arbitrations raised under various agreements.   ConclusionArbitration in India is gaining importance given the over-stressed judicial system with the huge pendency of cases. With a lot of commercial disputes, it’s necessary to have a proper arbitration mechanism in place for faster resolution of issues.  
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  • Jun 04, 2019
    The Indian judiciary adopted the technique of public interest litigation for the cause of environmental protection in many cases. The Supreme Court & High Courts shaded the inhibitions against refusing strangers to present the petitions on behalf of poor and ignorant individuals. The basic ideology behind adopting PIL is that access to justice ought not to be denied to the needy for the lack of knowledge or finances. In PIL a public spirited individual or organization can maintain petition on behalf of poor & ignorant individuals.In the area of environmental protection, PIL has proved to be an effective tool. In Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra vs. State of U.P.the Supreme Court prohibited continuance of mining operations terming it to be adversely affecting the environment.In Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action vs. Union of India, the Supreme Court cautioned the industries discharging inherently dangerous Oleum and H acid. The court held that such type of pollution infringes right to wholesome environment and ultimately right to life.In another case M.C. Mehta vs. Union of Indiathe Supreme Court held that air pollution in Delhi caused by vehicular emissions violates right to life under Art. 21 and directed all commercial vehicles operating in Delhi to switch to CNG fuel mode for safeguarding health of the people.In Church of God (Full Gospel )in India vs. KKR Majestic Colony Welfare Association the Supreme Court observed that noise pollution amounts to violation of Art.21 of the Constitution.In landmark case Vellore Citizens' Welfare Forum vs. Union of India the Supreme Court allowed standing to a public spirited social organization for protecting the health of residents of Vellore. In this case the tanneries situated around river Palar in Vellore (T.N.) were found discharging toxic chemicals in the river, thereby jeopardising the health of the residents. The Court asked the tanneries to close their business. ConclusionIn this manner, our judiciary has used the tool of PIL quite effectively for the cause of environmental protection. But the judiciary has shown wisdom in denying false petitions seeking to advance private interests through PIL as evident from the decision of the Supreme Court in Subhash Kumar vs. State of Bihar. Hence, PIL has proved to be a great weapon in the hands of higher courts for protection of environment & our judiciary has certainly utilized this weapon of PIL in best possible manner.
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  • Jun 03, 2019
    Taxes are of two types. Direct tax is the tax that you pay directly pay to the Government like Income Tax and Indirect Tax is the tax you pay indirectly to the Government on the purchase of any good or commodities for example VAT and service tax. Goods and Services Tax (GST) is an indirect tax that is levied upon goods and services bought by customers. It has been replaced by all the other types of indirect taxes and eliminates their need. This one single indirect tax not only makes it convenient for the government to collect tax, but also makes it convenient for the tax payer. It also ensures much better transparency and therefore reduces the scope and opportunities for corruption. GST can also be classified as Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and State Goods and Services Tax (SGST).   GST Slab rates are given as follows: 0% rate: Food grains used by common people. 5% Rate: Items of mass consumption including essential commodities will have low tax incidence. 12% and 18 % Rate:  Two standard rates had been finalized as 12% and 18%. 28% Rate : White goods like Air conditioners, washing machines, refrigerators, soaps and shampoos etc. that were taxed at 30-31% are now taxed at 28%. Demerit goods like tobacco, tobacco products, pan masala, aerated drinks and luxury cars shall be charged at the highest rate of 28%. An additional cess on some luxury goods shall also be imposed.  Services that were earlier taxed at 15% are taxed at a higher rate of GST at 18%.
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  • May 31, 2019
    IntroductionAs we all know that this is the era where most of the things are done usually over the internet starting from online dealing to the online transaction. Since the web is considered as worldwide stage, anyone can access the resources of the internet from anywhere. The internet technology is being used by few people for criminal activities like unauthorized access to other’s network, scams etc. These criminal activities or the offense/crime related to the internet is termed as cyber-crime. In order to stop or to punish the cyber criminals the term “Cyber Law” was introduced. We can define cyber law as it is the part of the legal systems that deals with the internet, cyberspace, and with the legal issues. It covers a broad area, encompassing many subtopics as well as freedom of expressions, access to and utilization of the internet, and online security or online privacy. Generically, it is alluded as the law of the web. In Simple way we can say that cyber-crime is unlawful acts wherein the computer is either a tool or a target or both. An example of cyber-crime where computer is a target could be hacking or virus attack and an example of cyber-crime where compute is a tool could be credit card frauds or cyber terrorism.   Analysis Cyber-crime in India is more common than we think it is. There is cyber-crime everywhere and every 10 minute one cyber-crime is taking place in India. Cyber Crimeis not defined in Information Technology Act 2000 nor in the I.T. Amendment Act 2008 nor in any other legislation in India. In fact, it cannot be. Offence or crime has been dealt with elaborately listing various acts and the punishments for each under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and quite a few other legislations too. Hence, to define cyber-crime, we can say it is just a combination of crime and computer. To put it in simple terms ‘any offence or crime in which a computer is used is a cyber-crime’. Interestingly even a petty offence like stealing or pick-pocket can be brought within the broader purview of cyber-crime if the basic data or aid to such an offence is a computer or an information stored in a computer used (or misused) by the fraudster. The I.T. Act defines a computer, computer network, data, information and all other necessary ingredients that form part of a cyber-crime, about which we will now be discussing in detail. In a cyber-crime, computer or the data itself the target or the object of offence or a tool in committing some other offence, providing the necessary inputs for that offence. All such acts of crime will come under the broader definition of cyber-crime. Cyber-crimes can involve criminal activities that are traditional in nature, such as theft, fraud, forgery, defamation and mischief, all of which are subject to the Indian Penal Code. The abuse of computers has also given birth to a gamut of new age crimes that are addressed by the Information Technology Act, 2000. Cyber Law in India is primarily governed by Information Technology Act, 2000 but is important to be linked with the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Apart from the Information Technology Act and Indian Penal Code, there are certain laws and regulations, which deal with the cyber-crime. Even certain civil laws are relevant in certain misuse in cyber space. However, generally the fraud is there in cyber-crime, therefore it concerns with the criminal law, otherwise even Law of Tort is also relevant and can provide the remedy to unauthorized use of the computer and internet. Apart from The Information Technology Act 2000 and Indian Penal Code 1860, there are various other laws relating to cyber-crime in India. They are as following. Common Law (governed by general principles of law) The Bankers’ Book Evidence Act, 1891 The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 and 2009 Various laws relating to IPRs. The more we are moving to the digital age where everything can be done online, the more number of hackers are going to emerge and thus more number of cyber-criminals. Now from buying movie tickets to transferring money to someone, everything is digital and we can do all of that with our fingertips from anywhere in the world. But, as we get closer to a complete digital and cashless economy, we are providing opportunities for more cyber-crime. United Kingdom is an almost cashless economy and it is a known fact that it has been a hub for cyber-crime. If everything is connect to the internet or if ever machine is a computer, it is vulnerable to be hacked. That means if we have a washing machine that is connected to the Wi-Fi, it can be hacked. Same applies to Bluetooth devices in cars and as well as the air conditioners. This means that if tomorrow we come up with a smart city where we are purely running on computer and internet, we are making ourselves vulnerable to cyber-crime.  Section 43 has of the Information Technology Act is the first major and significant legislative step in India to combat the issue of data theft Section 43 deals with penalties and compensation for damage to computer, computer system etc. The IT industry has for long been clamouring for a legislation in India to address the crime of data theft, just like physical theft or larceny of goods and commodities. This Section addresses the civil offence of theft of data. If any person without permission of the owner or any other person who is in charge of a computer, accesses or downloads, copies or extracts any data or introduces any computer contaminant like virus or damages or disrupts any computer or denies access to a computer to an authorised user or tampers etc, he shall be liable to pay damages to the person so affected. Earlier in the ITA -2000 the maximum damages under this head was Rs.1 crore, which (the ceiling) was since removed in the ITAA 2008. The essence of this Section is civil liability. Criminality in the offence of data theft is being separately dealt with later under Sections 65 and 66. Writing a virus program or spreading a virus mail, a bot, a Trojan or any other malware in a computer network or causing a Denial of Service Attack in a server will all come under this Section and attract civil liability by way of compensation. Under this Section, words like Computer Virus, Compute Contaminant, Computer database and Source Code are all described and defined. Another challenge that we face as per cyber law experts is dismal under-reporting of cybercrime cases. While the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) stated that India recorded 9,622,11,592 and 12,317 cases of cybercrime in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively, experts stated that this data accounted for merely 1% of the cybercrimes that actually took place in the country. Talking about criminal liability, let’s start with section 65 of the Information Technology Act which deals with tampering source documents. Concealing, destroying, altering any computer source code when the same is required to be kept or maintained by law is an offence punishable with three years’ imprisonment or two lakh rupees or with both. In the case of Bhim Sen Garg vs State of Rajasthan and others, 2006, Cri LJ, 3463, Raj 2411it was held that fabrication of an electronic record or committing forgery by way of interpolations in CD produced as evidence in a court attracts punishment. Section 66 of the Information Technology Act deals with computer related offences such as data theft with criminal intention. Section 67 of the Information Technology Act deals with publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form. Section 67A deals with sexually explicit act and section 67B deals with child pornography. Section 67 has historical importance since the landmark judgement in what is considered to be the first ever conviction under Information Technology Act, 2000 in India. This section was obtained in the famous case of State of Tamil Nadu vs Suhas Katti, 2004. The strength of the Section and the reliability of electronic evidences were proved by the prosecution and conviction was brought about in this case, involving sending obscene message in the name of a married women amounting to cyber stalking, email spoofing and the criminal activity stated in this Section. Challenges with respect to cyber-crimes in IndiaSection 67A also makes me think about transnational jurisdiction. Since section 67A deals with publishing of sexually explicit act, it is an offence in India to upload pornographic material on the internet or share it with someone but, pornography is legal in the state of California in United States. There are few important cases which provides the real picture of Indian cybercrime Scenario. Sharat Babu Digumarti case:It was held that Information Technology Act is a special provision, so it must have special effect only. It was held that when in a cybercrime matter, an accused was acquitted in Section 67 and 67A of the act, the provision of Section 292 of Indian Penal Code cannot be used to institute new proceedings.  Kalindi Charan Leka case:In the state of Odisha, this case is of stalking and defamation of a girl. Her pictures were morphed by a boy she rejected the marriage proposal of. These pictures were then used to create profiles in her name and also pamphlets were printed and pasted across her hostel and her college. Resulted in conviction.  In the case of State of Uttarakhand vs Raju Thapa:In this case a teacher was accused of enticing a girl into sexual favours on the pretext that she would fail her exams if she wouldn’t give in. She was raped several times by the teacher and a video was recorded of the act as well. Later on this video was circulated through a mobile repair shop in the area. He was initially convicted for rape and publishing and transmitting obscene content but later preferred an appeal in the Uttarakhand High Court. Due to delay in filing FIR and no clear identification of the person in the video, the court went on to say that the accused did in fact deserve the benefit of doubt and was acquitted. It was said that it is not possible to force a girl, rape her and record the whole thing at the same time. Appeal in SC is pending.  The above mentioned cases clearly indicates the lot of challenges of Electronic Evidence. There is a debate about what is a primary or secondary electronic evidence. Let us assume a chat which is happening between two persons with no records on any server. Whose version will be primary if the original phone is produced in court? Even in cases secondary evidence exists, there is a practice today that advocates give the Section 65B certificate as affidavit in their own name. It clearly violates the provisions of Sections 65B. There is no regime on Section 65B mandatory certification. ConclusionThe main challenge with laws against cyber-crimes is that the technology is changing faster than the laws. Cyber law is unable to keep up pace with the technological changes.the nature of the cyber-crime is technical, therefore it require the technical process to execute the criminal law in proper sense. The technical process is lacking in Indian legal system, therefore though the substantive criminal law is sufficient, but due to lacking in procedural aspect its unable to execute it in India. The basic problem in the cyber-crime is that, there is specific manner by which the internet can be misuse; it is on the criminals, that they always misuse it in different manner, therefore it is not possible to the legal system to meet with the need. Apart from this, the nature of cyber-crimeis transnational, therefore it requires international co-operation. Also, looking at the challenges regarding cyber-crimes in India, largely the problem with cybercrime against individuals in India is underreporting. Most of the provisions are bailable if only IT Act is used. This often leads to mandatory granting of bail to an accused. The provisions of IT Act needs to be revised to think about non-bailable offences and awareness about convergence laws and IT Act needs to be spread to frame charge sheets.
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  • May 30, 2019
    The pendency of cases has been a problem in the judiciary since a long time and this challenge doesn’t seem to be getting any better. In my opinion, the root cause of the problem is division of work and the judges to people ratio. Last year the Former Chief Justice Dipak Misra sounded the alarm on rising pendency and said how the situation is going out of hand with the backlog touching 3.3 crore cases. While 2.84 crore cases are pending in the subordinate courts, the backlog clogging the High Courts and Supreme Court is 43 lakh and 57,987 cases, respectively. According to National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), the five states which account for the highest pendency are Uttar Pradesh (61.58 lakh), Maharashtra (33.22 lakh), West Bengal (17.59 lakh), Bihar (16.58 lakh) and Gujarat (16.45 lakh).From these statistics we can see that the population of a state does play a role in the pendency of cases as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar and West Bengal are among the most populated states in the country. It is also to be noted that of all the pending cases, 60% are more than two years old, while 40% are more than five year old. In the Supreme Court, more than 30% of pending cases are more than five years old. 8.3% of all cases pending are over a decade old. Out of the pending cases in India, 83,00,000 cases pending are civil cases and 1,93,00,000 cases are criminal cases as per NJDG.   There is one judge for 73,000 people in India and in Delhi there is one judge for 4,93,000 people. In Delhi each judge has 1450 pending cases. This alarming judges to people ratio does indicate that we don’t have enough judges in India. The judges to people ratio in India is worse than most other countries. Also, looking at the number of pending cases in the country, there is a need to appoint 50 judges per 10,00,000 population. Currently it is only 10 judges. Comparing this ratio to United States where there are 107 judges and England where there are 50 judges, we understand that there is an urgent need for more judges in our country. In the Indian High Court, there is vacancy for 434 judges. So why don’t we have enough judges? The reasons could be that firstly it is not easy to become a judge and there are some eligibility requirements beyond a LLB degree that one needs to become a judge. For example, to become a Judge in the High Court, a person should have held a Judicial Office in India for 10 years or has experience of 10 years of practice as an advocate in a High Court or of two or more such courts in succession. Due to such reason, it is very difficult to find the right talent pool of judges. Another reason is the low motivation. There is no denying that money is a motivation for many and judges are just not paid in par with corporate lawyers and some litigation lawyers who earn lakhs per hearing. Last year we saw a salary hike from 1 lakh rupees a month to 2.5 lakh rupees a month for Supreme Court judges. This should be able to bring a positive change.   Some other reasons for the large backlog could be Increasing number of state and central laws Mounting number of appeals Delay in hearing of cases of common civil rights in High Courts Appeals in High Courts against orders of the quasi-judicial bodies Petition for revision and appeal in cases Continuous adjournment Indiscriminate utilisation of writ rights Inadequate system for monitoring cases Difficulties in tracking trials Lack of infrastructure in courts   Here are some of the solutions that I propose apart from the obvious increase in number of judges. Firstly there needs to be an increase awareness about the different dispute settlement options and such should be encouraged. Secondly, we need separate tribunals for some of the civil matters such as a traffic court that looks into only traffic violations like how it is done in United States. Lastly, end to end of the case need not be handled by the courts alone. Initial part of the process like filling of the documentation, can be outsourced to a pre-qualified legal agencies and court can take up only arguments and judgement and we can start thinking in this direction.     But again, for this to be implemented we would require better facilities and infrastructure. Without the right infrastructure and facilities, being able to resolve the challenge of pending cases will only get difficult.
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  • May 30, 2019
    Justice delayed is justice denied. There is no denying the fact that in India we have a large number of pending cases and if another case trying a serious offence is added to the queue, it would make it difficult for the courts to come follow the smooth functioning of the courts. This is the reason why we require Fast Track courts in India. It is because of the fast track courts why we could avoid delay to serve justice in cases like the Nirbhaya case. Fast track courts are special courts for speedy trials not only in India but in Foreign Countries as well. Fast track courts deal with speedy disposal or solution of cases to make the judiciary more effective and to avail justice as fast as possible. Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees right to a fair trial as an aspect of the fundamental right to life and personal liberty. The same is also guaranteed under Article 6 of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The right to a speedy trial was first mentioned in landmark document of English law, the Magna Carta. The concept of right to speedy trial has grown in age by almost two and a half decades. It deals with speedy disposal of cases to make the judiciary more effective and to impart justice as fast as possible but the goal sought to be achieved is yet a far-off peak. Justice Krishna Iyer while dealing with the bail petition in Babu Singh v. State of UP, remarked, "Our justice system even in grave cases, suffers from slow motion syndrome which is lethal to 'fair trial' whatever the ultimate decision. Speedy justice is a component of social justice since the community, as a whole, is concerned in the criminal being condignly and finally punished within a reasonable time and the innocent being absolved from the inordinate ordeal of criminal proceedings. Fast Track Courts main objective is to expeditiously clear the large scale of pendency in the district and subordinate Courts under a time-bound programme.  
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