- The Bombay High Court has granted transit anticipatory bail for three weeks to advocate Nikita Jacob in connection with climate campaigner Greta Thunberg’s ‘toolkit’ related to the farmers’ protest.
- Section 438 (anticipatory bail) of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with direction for grant of bail to a person apprehending arrest.
- It states that when any person has reason to believe that he may be arrested on an accusation of having committed a non- bailable offence, he may apply to the High Court or the Court of Session for a direction under this section; and that Court may, if it thinks fit, direct that in the event of such arrest, he shall be released on bail.
- The high frequency of arbitrary and heavy-handed arrests to harass and humiliate citizens, and often at the interest of powerful individuals led to the enactment of Section 438.
- Anticipatory bail helps thwart influential powers from implicating their rivals in false cases.
- It protects people from the humiliation of detention in jail for days.
- Anticipatory bail is all the more needed now because there is a drive of political rivalry and “this tendency is showing signs of steady increase”
- The life of an anticipatory bail order does not normally end at the time and stage when the accused is summoned by the court, or when charges are framed, but can continue till the end of the trial.
- A denial of bail amounts to deprivation of personal liberty (a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution), thus, the Court should lean against the imposition of unnecessary restrictions on the scope of Section 438.
- Parliament has not thought it appropriate to curtail the power or discretion of the courts, in granting pre-arrest or anticipatory bail, especially regarding the duration, or till chargesheet is filed, or in serious crimes. Therefore, it would not be in the larger interests of society if the court, by judicial interpretation, limits the exercise of that power.
Grant of Anticipatory Bail
- The court held that a plea for anticipatory bail can be filed even before the registration of FIR as long as there is reasonable basis for apprehension of arrest and clarity of facts.
- An application for anticipatory bail should be based on concrete facts and not vague or general allegations. The application should also contain bare essential facts relating to the offence and why the applicant reasonably apprehends arrest.
- The grant of protection should not be “blanket” but confined to specific offence or incident for which relief from arrest is sought. It is open for the police to move court for arrest of the accused if there is any violation of bail conditions.
Conditions on Anticipatory Bail
- It is open for a court to impose appropriate conditions for grant of anticipatory bail if the specific facts or the features of the offence involved demands it.
- Restrictions/conditions can be imposed only on a case-to-case basis. Courts have to consider the nature of the offence, the role of the person, the likelihood of his influencing the course of investigation or tampering of evidence, including intimidating witnesses and fleeing justice.
- It is essential for the court to evaluate the threat or apprehension, its gravity or seriousness and the appropriateness of any condition that may have to be imposed. Special or other restrictive conditions may be imposed if the case or cases warrant, but should not be imposed in a routine manner in all cases.
- A Delhi court on Wednesday threw out a criminal defamation case filed by former Union Minister M.J. Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani for her tweets accusing him of sexual harassment.
Criminal defamation under section 499 of the IPC.
- This section defines defamation as a communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, product, group, business, government, religion, or nation.
- Section 499 states defamation could be through words, spoken or intended to be read, through signs, and also through visible representations.
- Section 499 also cites exceptions. These include “imputation of truth” which is required for the “public good” and thus has to be published, on the public conduct of government officials, the conduct of any person touching any public question and merits of the public performance.
- Section 500 of IPC, which is on punishment for defamation, reads, “Whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”
Misuse of the law and concerns associated:
- The criminal provisions have often been used purely as a means of harassment.
- Given the cumbersome nature of Indian legal procedures, the process itself turns into punishment, regardless of the merits of the case.
- Critics argue that defamation law impinges upon the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression and that civil defamation is an adequate remedy against such wrongs.
- Criminal defamation has a pernicious effect on society: for instance, the state uses it as a means to coerce the media and political opponents into adopting self-censorship and unwarranted self-restraint.
What has the Supreme Court said?
- In Subramanian Swamy vs Union of India case 2014, the Court approved the Constitutional validity of sections 499 and 500 (criminal defamation) in the Indian Penal Code, underlining that an individual’s fundamental right to live with dignity and reputation “cannot be ruined solely because another individual can have his freedom”.
- In August 2016, the court also passed strictures on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa for misusing the criminal defamation law to “suffocate democracy” and, the court said, “public figures must face criticism”.
- Change to the income tax law proposed in the Finance Bill, 2021, has triggered anxieties for the salaried class: withdrawing tax exemption on interest income accrued into Provident Fund accounts arising out of employee contributions exceeding ₹2.5 lakh ‘in a previous year in that fund,’ on or after April 1, 2021.
- The rationale: some employees are contributing huge amounts into their PF accounts and getting tax-free incomes.
- The Revenue Department has pointed out the tax will only affect a small group of ‘high net-worth individuals’ (HNIs); the 100 largest employees’ PF (EPF) accounts had a combined balance of over ₹2,000 crore.
Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation:
- EPFO is a government organization that manages provident fund and pension accounts of member employees.
- They implement the Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, which is applicable to whole of India with exemption given only to Jammu & Kashmir.
- The Act which came into existence in 1952 contains provisions for establishing the institution of provident funds for employees in factories and other establishments.
- EPF comes under the Ministry of Labour & Employment.
Employees’ Pension Scheme:
- EPS is a social security scheme that provided by EPFO, makes provisions for pensions for the employees in the organized sector after the retirement at the age of 58 years.
- This scheme came into existence in 1995.
- According to the scheme, members employees of EPF automatically become members of EPS.
- Both employer and employee contribute 12% of employee’s monthly salary (basic wages plus dearness allowance) to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) scheme.
- EPF scheme is mandatory for employees who draw a basic wage of Rs. 15,000 per month.
- Of the employer's share of 12 %, 8.33 % is diverted towards the EPS.
- Central Govt. also contributes 1.16% of employees’ monthly salary.
- The government on Wednesday denied in the Supreme Court any link between the Char Dham road-widening project in Uttarakhand and the recent flash floods in the Rishiganga valley.
About Chardham Pariyojana
- The Char Dham programme is an initiative to improve connectivity to the Char Dham pilgrimage centres in the Himalayas namely Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath.
- These four ancient pilgrimages sites in Uttarakhand are known as Chota Char Dham to differentiate them from the bigger circuit of modern day Char Dham sites namely Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram.
- The works under Char Dham Pariyojna are being implemented on Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode of contract.
- These projects are being implemented by three executing agencies of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, viz,
- Uttarakhand State PWD,
- Border Road Organization(BRO) and
- National Highway & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).
Features of the programme:
- The project proposes the widening of single lane roads into double lanes by up to 10 metres, developing highways in Uttarakhand and thereby improving access to the Char Dham.
- The projects also includes mitigation measures/ stabilisation of chronic landslide & sinking spots/zones as a standalone project or part of road widening projects to avoid landslide and safety of road users.
- Under prestigious Chardham Project costing around Rs 12,000 Crore with approximate length of 889 Km, BRO is constructing 250 Km of National Highways leading to holy shrine Gangotri and Badrinath. Majority of the works are progressing ahead of schedule and BRO is slated to complete four projects by October this year.
- BRO has been entrusted 251 Km of stretches costing Rs 3000 Cr approx consisting of 17 Projects on road Rishikesh – Dharasu (NH-94) from Km 28 onwards of 99 Km length, Dharasu- Gangotri Highway (NH-108) of 110 Km length and Joshimath to Mana ( NH-58) of 42 Km length. Out of these, 10 Projects consisting of 151 Km road length have been sanctioned which are worth Rs 1702 Cr and works are under progress as under:-
(i) Rishikesh – Dharasu( NH-94) , 99 Km length (Five projects).
(ii) Dharasu- Gangotri Highway (NH-108), 22 Km length (Two projects). Five projects of BESZ are yet to be sanctioned.
(iii) Joshimath to Mana (NH-58) 32 Km (Three Projects). Two projects are yet to be sanctioned
- BRO is slated to complete four Projects aggregating a length of 53 Km out of 10 ongoing projects ahead of their scheduled, date of completion as under:-
- Dharasu- Gangotri Highway (NH-108)
- Rishikesh- DharasuHighway (NH-94)
- Rishikesh- Dharasu Highway (NH-94), including Chamba Tunnel
- Chinialisaur bypass on Rishikesh- Dharasu Highway (NH-94)
- A Tunnel of 440 mtr length to decongest busy Chamba town is being constructed out of these 10 projects.
- This is a Horse shoe type tunnel with 10 mtr carriage way width and 5.5 mtr vertical clearance.
Production-linked Incentive Scheme for the Telecom Sector
#GS2 #Governance #Effects of liberalization on the economy #Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
- The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the production-linked incentive scheme for the telecom sector with an outlay of ₹12,195 crore over five years.
- The scheme is expected to encourage production of equipment worth Rs 2.44 lakh crore and create direct and indirect employment for about 40,000 people.
- The scheme is expected to bring investment of over Rs 3,000 crore and generate significant direct and indirect employment and taxes both.
About the PLI scheme:
- The scheme aims to make India a global hub for manufacturing telecom equipment.
- Its eligibility criteria include achievement of a minimum threshold of cumulative incremental investment and incremental sales of manufactured goods.
- The incentive structure ranges between 4% and 7% for different categories and years. Financial year 2019-20 will be treated as the base year for computation of cumulative incremental sales of manufactured goods net of taxes.
- Minimum investment threshold for MSMEs has been kept at Rs 10 crore and for others at Rs 100 crore.
- Once qualified, the investor will be incentivised up to 20 times of minimum investment threshold enabling them to utilise their unused capacity.
- The scheme was also likely to generate 40,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities and generate tax revenue of ₹17,000 crore from telecom equipment manufacturing.
- This will include core transmission equipment, 4G/5G Next Generation Radio Access Network and wireless equipment, access and Customer Premises Equipment (CPE), Internet of Things (IoT) access devices, other wireless equipment and enterprise equipment such as switches and routers.
Initial Public Offering
- China’s President Xi Jinping pushed for blocking what would have been a record-breaking initial public offering (IPO) for billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group last year because of Communist Party-linked “political families” who stood to gain billions of dollars through opaque investment vehicles, according to a new report.
- Initial Public Offering is the selling of securities to the public in the primary market.
- Primary market deals with new securities being issued for the first time. It is also known as the new issues market.
- It is different from secondary market where existing securities are bought and sold. It is also known as the stock market or stock exchange.
- It is when an unlisted company makes either a fresh issue of securities or an offer for sale of its existing securities or both for the first time to the public.
- Unlisted companies are companies that are not listed on the stock exchange.
- It is generally used by new and medium-sized firms that are looking for funds to grow and expand their business.
- Pakistan is unlikely to exit the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) ‘grey’ list until June, despite its efforts to garner support from the member nations ahead of the plenary meeting of the global terror financing and money laundering watchdog next week, according to a media report on Wednesday.
- The FATF’s Plenary and Working Group meetings, scheduled to be held from February 21 to 26 in Paris, is all set to decide on Pakistan’s grey list status.
- Pakistan was placed on the ‘grey’ list in June 2018 and given a timeline to implement 27 action points.
- According to a report in The Express Tribune newspaper, officials admitted that Pakistan would remain in the ‘grey’ list at least until June.
What is the FATF?
- Financial Action Task Force is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.
- The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.
- It holds three Plenary meetings in the course of each of its 12-month rotating presidencies.
- As of 2019, FATF consisted of 37 member jurisdictions.
- India became an Observer at FATF in 2006. Since then, it had been working towards full-fledged membership. On June 25, 2010, India was taken in as the 34th country member of FATF.
EAG of FATF
- The EAG is a regional body comprising nine countries: India, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Belarus.
- It is an associate member of the FATF.
What is the role of FATF?
- The rise of the global economy and international trade has given rise to financial crimes such as money laundering.
- The FATF makes recommendations for combating financial crime, reviews members’ policies and procedures, and seeks to increase acceptance of anti-money laundering regulations across the globe.
- Because money launderers and others alter their techniques to avoid apprehension, the FATF updates its recommendations every few years.
What is the Black List and the Grey List?
- Black List: The blacklist, now called the “Call for action” was the common shorthand description for the FATF list of “Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories” (NCCTs).
- Grey List: Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list. This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist
Consequences of being in the FATF grey list:
- Economic sanctions from IMF, World Bank, ADB
- Problem in getting loans from IMF, World Bank, ADB and other countries
- Reduction in international trade
- International boycott
Pakistan and FATF
- Pakistan, which continues to remain on the “grey list” of FATF, had earlier been given the deadline till the June to ensure compliance with the 27-point action plan against terror funding networks.
- It has been under the FATF’s scanner since June 2018, when it was put on the Grey List for terror financing and money laundering risks.
- FATF and its partners such as the Asia Pacific Group (APG) are reviewing Pakistan’s processes, systems, and weaknesses on the basis of a standard matrix for anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) regime.