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Meghna Rana
Column

Phishing: A Curious Case of Cybercrimes

In the times of Covid-19 where financial and emotional vulnerability is rising, the financial fraudsters are in better position to engulf huge amounts of money. Several cases of people posing as legitimate institutions to lure individuals into providing sensitive data, have been reported all over the world.

This pandemic has left an indelible impact on everyone. The growing scare is giving rise to desperation for easy cures and treatments, economic helping for drowning businesses, emotional support to the unemployed, giving opportunities to predators to hunt new preys each day. 

The biggest disadvantage of the internet world is lack of physical contact. Posing as someone else is an easy task. Phishing is one such crime through which sensitive data leaks to the criminals and frauds of huge amount of money become successful. The crime covers instances wherein the target or targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords. In the times of Covid-19 where financial and emotional vulnerability is rising, the financial fraudsters are engulfing huge amounts of money. Here are a few cases which took place during this pandemic of covid-19.

The crime covers instances wherein the target or targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.

German state of North Rhine-Westphalia witnessed a huge cyber fraud. A fraud website posing as an aid fund to help citizens and businesses impacted by the corona virus outbreak obtained about . €31 to €100 million within three weeks. Fake website which were look alike of Ministry of Economic Affair’s official website was created. Links through email campaigns were sent and applications for funding were called. The users relying on the website, shared their sensitive personal data for these fraudulent transactions. The scam was successful as the website did not ask for any scanned copies of IDs for verification. The government did not have a secured citizen verification procedure which gave the opportunity to the fraudsters to steal millions of euros.

In another case, the fraud websites of Gov.uk and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were used to spread phishing emails.  The fraudsters impersonating as the CDC sent a phishing email to a South Korean electronic manufacturing company with the subject line “Coronavirus outbreak and safety measures in your city (Urgent).” An alert was issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) about the same. The alert provided an overview of COVID-19-related malicious cyber activity and gave practical advice to reduce the risk.

Recently, Haryana police informed everyone to beware of phishing emails received from unknown sources promising free Covid-19 treatment or reimbursement. They suspected the cyber attackers to send phishing emails via spoofed addresses like ncovid19@gov.in or similar to the email id of authentic authorities responsible for dispensing government funded Covid-19 support initiatives. Their modus operandi was to ask for registering for testing by clicking on a malicious link and then stealing the data.

Recently, Haryana police informed everyone to beware of phishing emails received from unknown sources promising free Covid-19 treatment or reimbursement.

The users can detect phishing sites by identifying the cloned site through similar logo or the name of the site with a slight difference. One should always be prudent while sharing personal details online. Always check in newspapers or government’s official website for contributing to relief funds. Do not rely on random emails you receive. 

Column

Release of Vehicles by Superdari

Superdari means handing over the custody of an article till further orders. This article deals with superdari of vehicles confiscated in offences punishable under Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The most important question dealt with is whether a criminal court can release a vehicle seized for violation of MV Act provisions.

Superdari means handing over the custody of an article till next orders. In case of seizure of vehicles by the police, it can be released through a bond.

It is a matter of common knowledge that vehicles which are case property and are parked in the police stations for a long time, reduce to junk and are not of any use once the case comes to an end. (1) The property must be released to its rightful owner or to the person entitled to such possession as the owner cannot be made to suffer loss unnecessarily because the property remains unused for a long time. 

If the proper panchnama before handing over the possession of article is prepared, that can be used in evidence instead of its production before the court during trial. (2)

Many superdari applications instituted in the courts pertain to vehicles involved in offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The procedure to deal with interim/final custody or disposal of the vehicles is covered in Chapter XXXIV of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, from section 451 to 459.

Section 4 (2) of Cr.P.C. states that “All offences under any other law shall be investigated, inquired into, tried, and otherwise dealt with according to the same provisions, but subject to any enactment for the time being in force regulating the manner or place of investigating, inquiring into, trying or otherwise dealing with such offences”.

In case, a special procedure is prescribed under a special enactment, it is that procedure which has to be followed and not the one prescribed under Cr.P.C. (3)

Section 207 in The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 deals with the power to detain vehicles used without certificate of registration permit, etc. The procedure for the police or authorities under the act is to send the challan to the court by following the due process. Certainly when a challan has been filed in the court, the courts would get jurisdiction to release the vehicle in accordance with Chapter XXXIV of Cr.P.C. 

By virtue of the amendment Act of 2020, Section 72 of the MV Act has been substituted in the manner that all offences with imprisonment upto two years or more have been made non-bailable and cognizable. As most of the cases would fall under this category and hence, FIR would be lodged by police for violation of provisions of this Act, jurisdiction of court under Section 457 of Cr.P.C. to pass necessary orders regarding interim custody of the vehicle can be exercised by a criminal court.

By virtue of the amendment Act of 2020, Section 72 of the MV Act has been substituted in the manner that all offences with imprisonment upto two years or more have been made non-bailable and cognizable.

Even after the amendment, one thing should not be forgotten that the discretion of the court must be exercised judiciously and in doing so court may impose necessary conditions while releasing the vehicle to the person entitled for its possession.

End Notes :

(1) Balbir Singh @ Fauji v State of Punjab, 2010 CrLJ 1557 (P & H) 
(2) Sunderbhai Ambalal Desai v State of Gujrat, AIR 2003 SC 638
(3) State (Union of India) V. Ram Saran, (2003)12 SCC 578 

Application of Specific Relief (Amendment) Act, 2018
Legislations

Application of Specific Relief (Amendment) Act, 2018: Prospective or Retrospective in Nature?

This article deals with the question of the applicability of the Specific Relief (Amendment) Act, 2018.

“The essential idea of a legal system is that current law should govern current activities” (1)

The Specific Relief Amendment Act, 2018 repealed and substituted some provisions of the principal act. The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced in the Parliament on 22nd December, 2017. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on 15th March, 2018 and the Rajya Sabha on 23rd July, 2018. It received the assent of the President on 1st August, 2018. 

The Amendment Act substituted Section 10 of the principal Act as follows:

“Section 10. The specific performance of a contract shall be enforced by the court subject to the provisions contained in sub-section (2) of section 11, section 14 and section 16.”

The amendment seeks to increase the disposal rate of cases and provide speedy justice to the parties in such suits. The question that arises is whether the amendments will be applicable prospectively or retrospectively. In the absence of any provision, the General Clauses Act, 1897 comes into picture so as to decide the applicability of this amendment.

The General Clauses Act was enacted with the objective of simplifying interpretation of specific terms and provisions which are not expressly described by the enactment but are commonly used. It can be seen as a statute which facilitates interpretation of other statutes.

The General Clauses Act was enacted with the objective of simplifying interpretation of specific terms and provisions which are not expressly described by the enactment but are commonly used. It can be seen as a statute which facilitates interpretation of other statutes. Section 6 of the Act states that the repeal of a provision shall not be retrospective unless the enactment states the retrospective application of the amendments. 

Applying the golden rule of construction, the court in Garikapatti Veeraya case (2) ruled that there was nothing to show that the Act applicable in the case would have retrospective effect, so it would be applied prospectively. 

Prior to the amendment, the plaintiff seeking specific performance of the contract had to prove that compensation was either inadequate or unascertainable. The case of Kamal Kumar v. Premlata Joshi (3) was decided by Supreme Court and it was held that :-

“It is a settled principle of law that the grant of relief of specific performance is a discretionary and equitable relief.”

According to theories of jurisprudence, rights and duties are co-existent. Salmond proposed the theory of rights, he believed that no right exists without a corresponding duty. The duty of a person is the right vested in another person. This obligation of the plaintiff seeking specific performance can be viewed as a corresponding right or privilege enjoyed by the defendant.

Salmond proposed the theory of rights, he believed that no right exists without a corresponding duty. The duty of a person is the right vested in another person.

It is understood that unless a savings clause is inserted in the act, the amendments cannot be retrospectively applied. By the saving clause, action taken under the repealed provisions must be treated to have been done under the new enacted laws. An interpretation clause may also be inserted in a statute or a contract declaring as to how to go about the interpretation.

In the absence of the above two, the alternative remaining is interpreting the implied meaning. It has not been implied anywhere in the entire amendment act that the amended provisions would be applicable retrospectively. Hence, it can be concluded that the amendments are applicable prospectively.

(1) Garikapatti Veeraya case (AIR 1957 SC 540).
(2) AIR 1957 SC 540
(3) CIVIL APPEAL No. 4453 OF 2009 on 7 January, 2019

HOW TO TAKE POSESSION OF YOUR PROPERTY SEIZED BY POLICE?
How To?

How to take possession of your property seized by the Police?

  • Section 451 of CrPC is titled “Order for custody and disposal of property pending trial in certain cases”.
  • Section 457 of the code is titled “Procedure by police upon seizure of property”.
  • The word property includes all kinds like documents, money, vehicles, jewelry etc.
  • An application can be filed before the court for taking interim or final possession of the property during the trial of the case or even before the trial commences. 
  • The court may pass such orders for giving the property to the petitioner. These orders may be subject to conditions like payment of guarantee, presenting a surety etc.
  • The court may call the property again in the court for the purpose of evidence in the trial. 
  • The court may not call the property again if it is rapidly decaying.
  • The court may order it to be sold or disposed off, after recording such evidence as it thinks necessary.
  • Under section 451 of the code, orders for possession are given when inquiry or trial has commenced. Whereas section 457 orders for possession are given during the investigation.

CASES OF THEFT

After the police recover the property which were stolen, there are three situations which may arise:-

Firstly, the accused has not been found. In such a case, the court may pass order of delivering the property to the complainant under section 457 of CrPC, 1973.

Second situation is where the accused is arrested and the trial commences. Here, the court may pass orders under section 451 of CrPC, 1973.

Third situation may arise where the stolen property is sold. Here if the purchaser innocently believes that the seller is not selling stolen property, the convicted person will be ordered to return the amount of money to the buy. The property will taken back from the possession of the buyer. (section 453 CrPC, 1973)

IMMOVABLE PROPERTY

Under section 456 of the act, the court may grant possession to the person who was dispossessed by the convict. Such orders do not affect the right or interest in the said immovable property in a civil suit.

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY

When the property involved is any written form of defamation or adulterated food is involved such property may be ordered to be destroyed.

The court under section 455 of the act may pass orders for destruction of all the above things which are in the possession of the court as well as which are not. Such order can be passed only after the conviction.

Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010
Legislations

CEA, 2010 – A Step Towards Controlling Unregulated Clinics

The health care industry is a critical industry across all the sectors. The testing laboratories, multi-specialty hospitals, consulting doctors, super specialty surgeries- all forms of medical services are expanding expeditiously in our country. But a blistering pace of expansion of unqualified clinics has been a cause of concern for the government.

The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 has been enacted by the Central Government for compulsory and authentic registration so that all clinical establishments can be regulated. This aims to achieve the minimum necessary standards for all medical facilities and services. 

The act covers all forms of clinical establishments including both therapeutic and diagnostic ones being run in public or private sectors. Only the clinical establishments run by the armed forces are excluded. The act has specified guidelines for a standardized treatment – both specialty and super specialty. It recognizes both allopathic and AYUSH form of treatment.

This act would help in maintaining a digital registry of all clinical establishments at all the three levels- National, State and District level. It aims at putting a stop on all unqualified practitioners by the implementation of mandatory registration. The quality of health care would be improved by prescribing minimum standards for facilities ensuring all the conditions of registration are complied with, like compliance to standard treatment guidelines, maintenance of records etc. The compulsory registration will also help in better management of emergency medical conditions. The act says that details of rates charged have to be prominently displayed at a conspicuous place in local and in English language. These rates shall be determined by the central government from time to time in consultation with the state governments.

Heavy penalties ranging from Rs. 10,000 to 5 Lakhs will be levied if any provision is violated. 

All the test reports prepared by the prescribed qualified persons in registered testing laboratories need to write a disclaimer saying that these results are only for the use of medical practitioners. They are not allowed to give medical diagnosis. They are not allowed to state any medical opinion or interpretation of the test results. In case it is necessary to state the interpretation of the results, the report must bear signatures of a qualified medical doctor who shall only be responsible for that interpretation in the report. 

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released a notification on 14th February, 2020 specifying further regulations for the lab technicians which are: –

1. The laboratory technicians are not allowed to sign the test results. After obtaining the prescribed qualifications and training experience, he/she can conduct some specific tests but these shall be signed by qualified signatory authority of the laboratory.

2. The minimum qualification for lab technician is – Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology (DMLT) or Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) or Master of Science (M.Sc) Bio-chemistry or Micro-biology from a recognized university or institution.

3. It is mandatory to conduct periodic health checkups and vaccination of the staff.

4. In case a special test is conducted, it is mandatory to have a specialist of that subject in the lab (full time or part time or outsourced basis). Special test includes all test excluding the routine basic tests of biochemistry, hematology, or medical microbiology (example- fasting sugar, blood group, blood pressure etc.), some examples of special tests are biopsies or cytology.

Numerous efforts are being taken to curb the rapid growth of those clinical establishments which are not run by suitable qualified medical professionals. These efforts would result in a systematic collection of information creating a database for good quality health care sector. It would also help in appropriate policy formulation in the future. The effort would cut down extremely costly treatments and sub-standard healthcare.

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