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Section 173, CrPC
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“Referring to an African National in the Government and other documents using any racist connotation based on skin tone or race shall be punishable under Section 173, CrPC”- Punjab & Haryana High Court [READ ORDER]

The order of the NDPS case involves an African National, directing the police not to use any unprintable word in the police FIRs, Police Report(s), or any Seizure Memo/Panchnama.

By: Diksha 

In the case, Amarjit Singh vs The State of Punjab, Justice Rajiv Narain Raina emphasized that a person shall not be discriminated against based on skin tone or race, made liable for punishment under Section 173 of CrPC, 1973 (report of a police officer on completion of an investigation).

“After all, the mind has no skin. May I ask, what color is God’s skin, and is there is any God if anyone knows. Let us stamp out any thought process on unfair social or racial discrimination based on caste, creed, skin, nation, and race, on the equator or off it, on a whim of suspicion in an anticipated criminal investigation.” – Court remarked 

Amarjit Singh, the accused allegedly had used derogatory terms like ‘Nigro’ or ‘Negro’ in the official records during the investigation. The court has issued an order to the Director-General of Police to immediately stop the usage of such derogatory terms based on skin tone/race. There was also the circular, warning that any violations would be viewed seriously and as misconduct, attracting disciplinary action. It also barred the usage of ‘Nigro’ or ‘Negro’, ‘Kala’ and other ‘racist’ words having any racist connotationsThe judge further emphasized that the usage of such words has a deeper effect that one would think of. 

“It shows the stereotypical mindset of the Police authorities which fractures their ability to provide “equality before the law and equal protection of the law”. This unfortunate ideology creates alterity which has strongly infiltrated the law enforcement agencies and which is exactly the vice Article 14 provides protection against” – Court remarked

Later, it was discovered that the term was used by a witness and not the police and that it was recorded in a witness statement. 

If a witness or an accused uses that derogatory racial term dealt with, he should be taken to task. It is the attitude of the police which requires reform and if the process of change comes about… only then can we truly achieve meaningful and proactive color blindness against social and biological prejudice and the typification of a class of persons as inferior or superior” – Court remarked

The matter is still pending in the court after disposing of this chapter of the case.

India is precluded from its existing jurisdiction, entitled for compensation but can't prosecute: The permanent court of Arbitration
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India is precluded from its existing jurisdiction, entitled for compensation but can’t prosecute: The permanent court of Arbitration

The International Tribunal at Hague held Italian marines violated the International Law of the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea. They had shot dead two fishermen of Kerela, India in 2012.

By Diksha 

In the “Enrica Lexie” (Italy vs India) case, External Affairs ministry’s spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava, stated, “India has taken note of the award and will be touch with relevant entities on the matter”.

The court set-up by the five-member arbitral tribunal under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), pronounced the judgment, by the ratio 3:2, that the accused Italian marines, Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, were held liable for violating UN Conventions for the Law of the Sea under Article 87(1)(a) [Deals with the Freedom of the High Seas, coining it open to all the States, whether coastal or land-locked] and Article 90 [Delivers Right of Navigation over High Seas to every state, whether coastal or land-locked] of the Convention. 

On 15th February 2012, two Indian fishermen were shot dead by the accused Italian marines, crew members of the fishing boat St Anthony. However, they were granted conditional bail by India’s Supreme Court and allowed to return to Italy in 2014 and 2016. 

In December of 2015, Italy contended that India had violated the rights and immunity of the marines after the case started in the tribunal, and argued that India had violated its exclusive right to institute penal proceedings against the marines under UNCLOS.

Under the provisions of UNCLOS, the tribunal upheld the actions of the Indian Authority as the breach done by the accused marines violated India’s freedom of navigation and convention.  Though, it does not allow India to prosecute them because of Italy’s commitment to “resume its criminal investigation” into the events of 15 February 2012.

“India is entitled to payment of compensation in connection with loss of life, physical harm, material damage to property…and moral harm suffered by the captain and other crew members of the ‘St. Antony’, which by its nature cannot be made good through restitution”.

  • UNCLOS pronounced 

Italy’s Foreign Ministry stated that the accused marines were engaged in official exercise and cannot be tried in the Indian Courts. Thus, UNCLOS held that the dispute has severely affected the bilateral ties, and asked to move away from the incident while rejecting Italy’s claim to compensate India for the detention of the marines.

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A Person not suffering from any Invasion to his Legal Right as a Consumer does not hold Locus Standi to move to CCI: NCLAT in case against Ola and Uber [READ ORDER]

The judgment passed by NCLAT, dismissing an appeal against Competition Commission of India’s decision to dismiss complaint alleging collusion he drivers through the cab aggregators, Ola and Uber. 

By Diksha

In the case of Samir Agrawal vs. Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Ors., National Company Law Appellate (NCLAT) held that a person who has not suffered any violation against his legal right as a customer has no Locus Standi to move to CCI Act under Section 19(1)(a) {Inquiry into certain agreements and dominant position of enterprise} of Competition Act, 2002.

The bench dismissed an appeal against CCI’s decision to close a complaint alleging violation of Competition Act by Ola and Uber. According to the informant, Ola and Uber cab drivers formed a “hub and spoke cartel” and use their respective algorithms to facilitate price-fixing. Thus, it was alleged that there was collusion between the drivers through the cab aggregators.

Samir Agrawal, an advocate, was among the petitioners that filed information in CCI alleging a contravention of the Competition Commission Act, 2002. Advocate Rajshekhar Rao appeared on behalf of Ola with Trilegal Competition team including Partner Nisha Kaur Uberoi, Counsel Gautam Chawla, Senior Associates Shiv Johar, and Rishabh Juneja and Associate Ankita Dhawan. Whereas, Uber was represented by Advocate Samar Bansal with Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas lawyers Rohan Arora, Aman Singh Sethi, Anjali Kumar, and Devahuti Patha.

The CCI, however, opined that prima facie there exists no case and dismissed it. Aggrieved by the decision, the informant filed an appeal in NCLAT; where ANI Technologies argued that Ola merely acts as a mediator between the taxi drivers and the commuter. The price-fixation depends upon various factors and there stand no agreement between Ola and taxi drivers on price-fixation. 

Uber stated that the price structure is comparatively low and could be compared with other metered taxies. It also stated that the drivers, sometimes, charge less than the structured price.

NCLAT observed that the Informant, an independent law-practitioner, had nothing on the record to show that he suffered a legal injury at the hands of Ola and Uber as a consumer or as a member of any consumer or trade association. Thus, hold no Locus Standi to make a move to CCI.

Although the concept of Locus Standi had been diluted to some extent by allowing PILs, class action, etc, when a statute like the Competition Act specifically provided for the mode of taking cognizance of allegations in a particular manner, a reference to receipt of any information from any personwas necessary to be construed as a reference toa person who has suffered an invasion of his legal rights as a consumer or beneficiary of healthy competitive practices“.

                                                                                 -NCLAT remarked

Further, NCLAT refused to accept the allegation of the existence of a “hub and spoke cartel” and remarked-

The concept of hub and spoke cartel stated to applicable to the business model of Ola and Uber as a hub with their platforms acting as a hub for collusion inter se the spokes i.e. drivers resting upon US Class Action Suit titled “Spencer Meyer v. Travis Kalanick” has no application as the business model of Ola and Uber (as it operates in India) does not manifest in restricting price competition among drivers to the detriment of its riders. The matter relates to foreign antitrust jurisdiction with different connotations and cannot be imported to operate within the ambit and scope of the mechanism dealing with redressal of competition concerns under the Act.”

NCLAT, on the allegations, opined that none of the two enterprises independently held dominant positions in the market. Further, directing the Director-General to cause an investigation to be made into the matter, CCI must arrive at an opinion regarding the existence or otherwise of a prima facie case qua alleged contravention. 

Thus, the appeal was dismissed by the NCLAT declaring no legal infirmity in the order pronounced by CCI. 

The advocate has alleged in his PIL that Patanjali’s Divya Pharmacy, run by Yoga Guru Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, had sought permission from the state government to develop Coronil as an immunity booster and not as a cure to curb COVID-19.
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Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday issued a Notice to the centre on Patanjali’s COVID-19 medicine

Uttrakhand HC issued a notice to the Centre on a PIL alleging that Guru Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan’s Divya Pharmacy, did not take permission from ICMR before claiming Coronil as a cure for COVID-19.

By Diksha 

A PIL was filed by an Udham Singh Nagar Advocate Manu Kumar in the Uttrakhand HC under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The bench consists of Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice R.C Khullera.

The advocate has alleged in his PIL that Patanjali’s Divya Pharmacy, run by Yoga Guru Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, had sought permission from the state government to develop Coronil as an immunity booster and not as a cure to curb COVID-19. 

The advocate has alleged in his PIL that Patanjali’s Divya Pharmacy, run by Yoga Guru Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, had sought permission from the state government to develop Coronil as an immunity booster and not as a cure to curb COVID-19.  He added that the Divya Pharmacy had not taken permission from AYUSH Ministry or Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) regarding the launch of Coronil as medicine for COVID-19. He further added that even the Rajasthan Government is declining that they had approved Coronil’s clinical trials at NIMS Hospital.

On 23rd June 2020, Guru Ramdev had announced “Coronil” and “Swasari” as a cure for COVID-19 specifically stressing on “conducted a clinical case study and clinical controlled trial, and found 69 per cent of patients recovered in three days and 100 patients recovered in seven days”.

A day after Guru Ramdev promoted Patanjali Ayurved, launched a new Ayurvedic product claiming it can cure Covid-19, Uttarakhand licensing authority (AYUSH), issued a notice to Patanjali’s Divya Pharmacy stressing that the license issued by it was given for producing immunity boosters and not Covid-19 ayurvedic medicine. Divya Pharmacy was directed to reply within seven days.

Acharya Balakrishnan alleged that a conspiracy was being hatched against them and they didn’t claim anything for which they had not conducted the tests. He refused to claim that they had discovered any antinode for coronavirus. stressed on “we cited Coronil as ayurvedic medicine for immunity booster, fever, cough, and allergic problems”. 

Further, he said that clinical trials of Coronil had been conducted on coronal positive patients who gotten cured and the results of them had only been claimed to be true. He mentioned that they had been misinterpreted and that they hadn’t labelled their medicine as being able to cure corona.

Following the claims made on 23rd and 24th June, AYUSH Ministry demanded clarification from Patanjali’s Divya Pharmacy. After hearing both the sides, HC issued the notice to the Assistant Solicitor General of India to represent Centre to reply on Wednesday. 

THE REFUSAL OF A HINDU BRIDE TO WEAR THE TRAPPINGS, SAKHA & SINDOOR, SIGNIFIES HER REFUSAL TO ACCEPT THE MARRIAGE – GUWAHATI HC
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“Such a categorical stand refusing to wear ‘Sakha and sindoor’ points to the clear intention of the respondent that she is unwilling to continue her conjugal life with the appellant.” – Guwahati High Court [READ ORDER]

A two-member bench of the High Court ruled in favor of the husband seeking divorce based on the refusal of the woman to wear sakha and sindoor which, as per her statement, denoted her unwillingness to be married to her husband.

By: Diksha

The Guwahati High Court granted divorce to the appellant because of the refusal of her wife to wear the trappings accustomed by the Hindu Matrimonial.

In the case, Bhaskar Das vs Renu Das, Guwahati HC grants the husband’s appeal to divorce his wife while observing that “refusal to wear Sakha and Sindoor signifies her unmarried or her refusal to accept the marriage”.

The pronouncement was given by Chief Justice Ajai Lamda and Justice Soumitra Saika.

“Under the custom of Hindu Marriage, a lady who has entered into marriage according to Hindu rituals and customs, and which has not been denied by the respondent in her evidence, her refusal to wear ‘Sakha and sindoor’ will project her to be unmarried and/or signify her refusal to accept the marriage with the appellant. Such a categorical stand of the respondent points to the clear intention of the respondent that she is unwilling to continue her conjugal life with the appellant.” – A record of Judgment

Both the appellant and the respondent, had charged each other of cruelty in the lower court. The parties had entered into marriage on 17th February 2012, but soon the conflict grew between them when the wife demanded to remain as a nuclear family instead of a joint one. This affected the congenial relationship and they started to live separately from 30th June 2013.

The respondent lodged a police complaint against her husband and in-laws accusing them of torturing her. The criminal complaints under Sections 498A (cruelty to wife) and Section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as well as Section 125 (Application for Maintenance) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The petitioner further claimed that his wife had agreed to drop the cases against him if he agreed to move away from home and live with her in “a separate accommodation.” On his refusal to adhere to the terms of the “settlement”, the judgment records that she filed a criminal complaint about fraud against him.

The respondent’s allegations did not sustain and the court said- “Such acts of lodging criminal cases on unsubstantiated allegations against the husband and/or the husband’s family members amounts to cruelty as held by the Supreme Court,” 

The HC granted the bail as well as the appeal of divorce by the petitioner. The court also added – “Such evidence is sufficient to be construed as an act of cruelty,” 

The judgment of HC was pronounced on the grounds of cruelty because of the respondent’s cross-examination statement. The respondent stated the reason for not wearing the trapping because of her will to denounce the marriage with the appellant.

In the context of cruelty, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the recent judgment of Rani Narasimha Sati vs Rani Surella Rani, (2019) SCC Online SCC 2019, has held the similar filing of criminal cases under the Section 498(A) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 against the husband and the family members. This case was dismissed by the family court is sufficient to be constructed as an act of cruelty by the wife.

On the pretext of the above-cited case and the cross-examination statement of the respondent, HC marked the ground for divorce. It is pertinent to note that the opined judgment by HC is not solely opined on the Hindu matrimonial customs rather it was an additional view of the bench.

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