Archive for ◊ May, 2013 ◊

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• Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Nitaqat Law Of Saudi Arabia Would Force Thousands Of Indians To Come BackThere are many lakh Indian workers who are presently working in Saudi Arabia. The life for these workers is going to be really tough very soon. With the Nitaqat law in operation, these workers would have little choice but to come back to India.

Since these workers belong to different States of India, these States have been informed in advance so that necessary arrangement can be made in time. The maximum numbers of workers are from Uttar Pradesh (21,331), followed by Andhra Pradesh (8,695), West Bengal (7,913), Tamil Nadu (5,430), Kerala (3,610), Bihar (3035), Rajasthan (2,504) ,Karnataka (1,082), Jammu and Kashmir (906), Maharashtra (766), Assam (710) and Punjab (496).

The External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid is also closely monitoring the situation. Khurshid is already on his way to Saudi Arabia on an official visit and he informed that the government is in touch with Saudi authorities to complete the formalities so that the deadline of July 3 given by them could be adhered to.

The present circumstances have arisen due to the decision of Saudi Arabia to enforce the Nitaqat scheme, which entails that Saudi nationals must comprise at least 10 per cent of the workforce in any private enterprise. Any company that fails to comply with this criteria is bracketed in the “red category”—which essentially means that all its business activities, including bank accounts, are frozen, till the time it aligns course in accordance with the new laws.

The Nitaqat scheme, which is meant to regularise foreign workers, makes it mandatory for local companies to hire one Saudi national for every 10 migrant workers. Those who fail to find another job or a sponsor has to go back. As a result of this law, a number of people who were working without valid work permits and runaways have come under the scanner. Once the grace period time till July 3 ends, all those expatriates who are found Saudi Arabia without valid papers will be jailed and heavily penalised.

Nitaqat scheme is a fall-out of the Arab Spring, when the Saudi government concluded that the presence of a large army of unemployed youth could fuel uncontrollable political dissent in the Kingdom. However, this has given rise to new logistic and rehabilitation challenges for India.

Meanwhile, a company in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province has said it will hire 5,000 Indian workers affected by that country’s new labour policy. The Nasser S. Al-Hajri Corp (NSH) is holding a two-day recruiting drive in Riyadh Thursday and Friday in this regard. This may be helpful to some workers and more such steps can further improve the conditions.

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• Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

PRAVEEN DALAL MANAGING PARTNER OF PERRY4LAW CEO PTLBThere are many “Criminal Activities” undergoing in India pertaining to Organ Transplantation by the Organ Transplantation Mafia. The Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994 is the main Law that Prohibits and Punishes “illegal and Commercial” Organ Transplantations in India.

Subsequently the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Bill, 2009 was introduced by Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and the same was passed by the Lok Sabha. The 2009 Bill intended to prescribe tough punishment for violators of the Act. However, till now it has not become an “Applicable Law”.

Similarly, the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Rules, 2013 has been recently framed by Indian Government and “Public Comments” have been invited for the same.

The 1994 Act provide for the Regulation of Removal, Storage and Transplantation of Human Organs for Therapeutic Purposes and for the Prevention of Commercial Dealings in Human Organs and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Meanwhile, Deaths due to “Clinical Trials of Experimental Drugs” continued in India. Perturbed by these Deaths, the Supreme Court of India asked Indian Government to Monitor and Regulate all Clinical Trials of Experimental Drugs in India.

On the Commercial front, Online Pharmacies in India are Violating Indian Laws and some talks about bringing these Online Pharmacies of India under Scrutiny are underway. The Bar-Coding of Primary Level Packaging of Export Consignment of Pharmaceuticals and Drugs has also been “Deferred by India”.

A “Positive Development” in this regard also took place where Novartis lost the Patent Claims of Novartis AG’s Cancer Treatment Drug Glivec in Supreme Court of India. The court duly considered the aspects like Doha Declaration, TRIPS Agreement, Public Health and Public Interest, Compulsory License Requirements, etc.

 I really appreciate the “Efforts” of Indian Government and Indian Supreme Court to regulate Illegal and Commercial Medial Practices in India. However, I also have an “Appeal” to make to our “Elected Representatives”. I wish to draw their attention to the news report that Claims that a Birmingham Schoolgirl has been “Murdered” in bid to Harvest her Organs.

The report claims that this “Gruesome Act” was committed by the Health Workers in India in a failed attempt to harvest her organs. The unfortunate Child was being treated for a simple case of Dehydration when staff at a Clinic gave her a “Mystery Injection” which took her life. But her relatives guarded the eight-year-old’s body so that her Organs could not be taken in time to be used in Transplant Operations.

They claimed she was subjected to a “Medieval” Post-Mortem Examination during which all her “Major Organs” were “Removed” in a bid to hide the truth of how she had been killed. The deceased family said that the Indian Police and Medical Authorities made little attempt to “Investigate the Death”. They said they only discovered her organs had been taken when her body was flown home to the UK. Only her eyes remained, they said.

The Child’s mother explained the scene as follows: “Gurkiren was fine, she was chatting to us and planned to buy some gifts for her cousins.  While we were talking an assistant came up carrying a pre-filled syringe and reached for the tube in her hand.  I asked what was the injection for, but he gave me a blank look and injected the liquid into her. Within a split-second Gurkiren’s head flipped back, her eyes rolled in her head, and the colour completely drained from her. I knew they had killed her on the spot. I knew my innocent child had been murdered.”

Her family said she was taken to a clinic in Punjab after being sick, but was placed on a drip after blood tests revealed she was free of infection. Under pressure to help the schoolgirl after the injection was given, medics transferred her to a nearby hospital but she could not be saved. Amrit, who was on the trip with her postal worker husband Santokh Singh Loyal and 17-year-old son Simran, claimed Gurkiren’s medical records were disposed of and the family was not asked to pay for the blood tests, drip or the injection she received.

Police took a “Statement” but the family said they obtained no evidence that Gurkiren’s death was “Investigated”. Worse still, Amrit said she was told a post-mortem examination would be required in India before her daughter’s body could be returned to the UK.

The Mother also informed: “They said they would use a “Hammer and Chisel” to open her. I demanded a more dignified, discreet examination. Eventually, having kept watch over Gurkiren’s body to prevent evidence being destroyed, they were given assurances that a respectful autopsy would be carried out. But, returning to the mortuary, they found her daughter’s bloodstained and ripped clothes by an incinerator and that the post-mortem examination had been carried out by a non-qualified junior. It was medieval”.

After chasing up death certificates, they had  Gurkiren’s body flown home and a UK post-mortem examination was ordered. But the Mother said their hopes of finding out what was given to their Gaughter were shattered in a call from Birmingham coroner Aidan Cotter.

The Mother informed: “He said it was impossible to come to a conclusion for the cause of death. They had nothing to work from; she had no organs in her body for them to take samples.  I was mortified that all the pleading in India had no effect. There was no sensitivity, no humanity”.

Anyone wanting to support the campaign should email narinderkaur.kooner@birmingham.gov.uk. I also request all readers to mail our own Government to Investigate and take “Strict Penal Action” against all “Culprits” after following the Due Procedure. The matter is “Very Sensitive” and it deserves “Urgent Attention” of our Government. After all, it is not the “Political Cause” that should be the “Prerequisite” to help the Parents of the child who have undergone tremendous Trauma and Mental Agony due to this entire episode.

I have mailed a copy of this Article along with the original Media Report to our Government and I hope that our “Elected Representatives” would “Take Immediate Action” in this regard.

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• Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Group Of Ministers Constituted To Draft Law For CBI To make It Autonomous And Insulate From Executive InterferenceLaw enforcement and intelligence agencies of India have been operating in India without proper legal frameworks and parliamentary oversight. Although laws for central bureau of investigation (CBI) and intelligence agencies of India were drafted, they never saw the light of the day. They collapsed in the Parliament and till now neither the CBI nor the intelligence agencies of India are governed by any law.

During the recent Coalgate scam, the Supreme Court was informed that the report in question was shared with the Law Minister of India. The Court felt agitated with this conduct of the CBI and compared it with a “caged parrot”. The Court also set a deadline of July 10, 2013 for the Indian government to point out the efforts it has taken to make CBI transparent, accountable and non partial.

To a great extent the inability to frame a law for CBI can be attributed to political fiasco and PMO’s indifference. Naturally, it is the responsibility of Indian government, as Executive, to do needful in this regard.

Realising the tight situation that Indian government is presently in, it has constituted a Group of Ministers to draft a law for CBI. The proposed law would ensure insulation of CBI from external influences.

It is headed by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and also has External Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed, Communicationsand Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari and Minister of State for Personnel V. Narayanasamy as members. CBI Director Ranjit Sinha will also give his input to the newly constituted GoM.

The Group of Ministers will finalise its findings and draft a law that will be submitted to the Supreme Court before July 10, the next date of hearing of the case.

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• Thursday, May 02nd, 2013
Indian Passports Would Have Ghost Images Of The ApplicantAfter the online police verification of passport applications in Bangalore, Indian government has taken another step in the direction of making Indian passports more secure. The idea is to make it extremely difficult for the criminals to fake or forge a passport.

The initiative has been taken by the ministry of external affairs under which the ministry has introduced a technological mechanism that would be too technologically savvy for the forgers to forge.

The ministry has launched a new series (L) of passport booklets on April 22 in all passport offices of the country, including Patna. The new passports would now have a superimposed image of the respective applicant.

Personal data such as name, address, date of birth and passport registration number will be embedded in tiny fonts on the superimposed image to prevent counterfeit. None of the data will be visible to the naked eye, but can be seen with a magnifying glass. Naturally, it is very difficult to forge such details and data.

The launch of new passports does not mean those with old ones will face any trouble. The old ones are completely valid. But from now on, anyone fearing duplication can avail the ghost-image passport service. All processes to get a passport remain unchanged.

The introduction of the new series, online application and issuance of passports through Passport Seva Kendra is an attempt by the Centre to curb terror acts, which were mostly handiwork of people using fake passports.

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• Thursday, May 02nd, 2013

Online Police Verification Of Passport Applications In BangaloreIf you make an application to passport office for a passport the same is transferred to local police station for verification of the antecedents of the applicant. The entire procedure takes lots of time. Bangalore has shown a novel method of reducing this time to a great extent.

In Bangalore the physical transfer of passport applications to the police has been eliminated with the setting up of a direct online link with the passport office. This would reduce the time taken for processing applications. Commissioner of Police Seemant Kumar Singh has informed that the computer terminal had already been set up in this regard.

This would eliminate the process of physically transferring the applications from the passport office to the police stations concerned for verification and back. Applications would be sent to the commissioner’s office from where it would be directed to the station concerned. After verification, the digital signature of the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) would clear the application on behalf of the Police Commissioner. After that applications would be returned to the passport office online.

Since it was a new unit, the passport office in Bangalore had to assign a new digital signature for the office. Because of the delay in setting up the computer terminal, 1,000 applications were pending with the Police Commissioner for verification.

This is an ambitious initiative and if managed properly can be a good example of use of e-governance for better delivery of public services in India.

Source: ICTPS Blog.

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• Thursday, May 02nd, 2013

European Commission’s Green Paper On Online Distribution Of Audiovisual WorksEuropean Commission’s stress upon intellectual property rights (IPRs) is well founded as IPRs bring innovation and prosperity to any nation. These days, IPRs of media, film industry, audio visual works, etc have assumed great importance.

Recently EU declared the new IPR policy for European economy. Under this new strategy, the Commission proposes an ambitious programme until the end of 2012 that foresees actions in all the main IPR, in particular patents, trade marks, copyright and related rights and geographical indications.

EU has also published a Green Paper on the online distribution of audiovisual works. In the framework of the IPR Strategy (Commission’s communication “A Single Market for Intellectual Property Rights”), this paper aims to contribute to the development of a digital single market by launching a consultation on the opportunities and challenges of the online distribution of audiovisual works. All stakeholders are invited to participate in this consultation, which is open until November 2011.

This Green Paper is focused on the copyright licensing framework, but it also looks at the remuneration of authors and performers for the online use of their works.

Source: IPRs Blog Of Perry4Law.

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Author:
• Thursday, May 02nd, 2013
PRAVEEN DALAL MANAGING PARTNER OF PERRY4LAW CEO PTLBEuropean Union (EU) has been actively working in the direction of improving Innovation and protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). EU has recently released a new IPR Strategy. Under this new IPR Strategy, EU proposes an ambitious programme until the end of 2012 that foresees actions in all the main IPRs. These include IPRs like Patents, Trademarks, Copyright and Related Rights and Geographical Indications.

Similarly, EU has also published a Green Paper on the Online Distribution of Audiovisual Works. In the framework of the IPR Strategy (Commission’s communication “A Single Market for Intellectual Property Rights”), this paper aims to contribute to the development of a digital single market by launching a consultation on the opportunities and challenges of the online distribution of audiovisual works. All stakeholders are invited to participate in this consultation, which is open until November 2011.

Now EU is streamlining its border enforcement of IPRs, especially those pertaining to Indian goods meant for third countries destinations. In this regard, EU India expressed their desire to sign a Letter of Understanding (LOU) to fairly deal with Off Patent Generic Drug Consignments. Now a LOU has been signed between EU India in this regard.

According to the Understanding, so long as the EU and its Member States adhere to the principles contained in the Understanding with respect to generic drugs in transit through the EU, India has assured the EU that India will not request the establishment of a Dispute Settlement Panel at the WTO. With the exchange of these letters, India and the EU have reached, for the present, an informal settlement of this dispute. This would also result in a better border enforcement of IPRs in the EU.

In addition, EU agreed to India’s request for adoption of guidelines which would confirm the principles agreed to in the Understanding with a view to give greater and immediate legal certainty for producers and traders. EU also agreed to reflect the principles contained in the Understanding in its proposal for a new Regulation to replace Regulation 1383/2003.

India has taken note of the commitments offered by the EU. India has reiterated the core principle of the Understanding that the mere fact that medicines are in transit through EU territory, and that there is a patent title applicable to such medicines in the EU territory, does not in itself constitute enough grounds for customs authorities in any Member State to suspect that the medicines at stake infringe patent rights. However, a situation in which medicines are in transit through EU territory and there is adequate evidence that satisfies the customs authorities that there is a substantial likelihood of diversion of such medicines on to the EU market may constitute enough grounds for customs authorities to suspect that the medicines at stake infringe patent rights in the EU.

India initiated dispute settlement consultations on 11 May 2010 at the WTO with the EU on the issue of detention of Indian generic medicines while in transit through the EU. The dispute was triggered by the repeated instances of detentions/seizure at EU ports, particularly in the Netherlands, of Indian generic drugs destined for export to Latin American and other countries. The detentions were made by invoking the EC’s Regulation 1383/2003 which contains customs procedures for taking action against goods suspected of infringing IPRs. These detentions were made during the period October – December 2008 at Schiphol airport, Netherlands. The consignments were initially detained and later, either destroyed or returned to India or allowed to proceed to the destination.

The detentions by the customs authorities of these generic medicine consignments were in violation of the obligations of the EU and the Netherlands under Article V of GATT which enshrines freedom of transit of goods through the territory of each contracting party of GATT via the routes most convenient for international transit. The detentions were also inconsistent with the EU and its Member States’ obligations under Articles 41 and 42 of the TRIPS Agreement as these detentions created barriers to legitimate trade, led to abuse of the rights conferred on the owner of a patent, were unfair and inequitable, unnecessarily burdensome and complicated and created unwarranted delays.

Moreover, these detentions were inconsistent with certain fundamental obligations of the EU under Article 31 of the TRIPS Agreement read together with the provisions of the Decision of the General Council of August 30, 2003 on the Implementation of Paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the Trips Agreement and Public Health to ensure access to medicines for members of the WTO (“Members”) with insufficient or no capacity in the pharmaceutical sector to enable them to address their public health problems.

India was joined by Brazil in this dispute; Brazil also filed a similar complaint against the EU before the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO. India and Brazil jointly held two rounds of consultations with the EU on 7-8 July 2010 and 13-14 September 2010 in Geneva. During these consultations, EU acknowledged that some provisions of the EC Regulation 1383 were misinterpreted by the customs authorities while detaining the Indian generic drugs. EU showed willingness to resolve this dispute without resorting to the WTO dispute panel.

Now that has been done, it is time to proceed further towards the conclusion of EU India Foreign Trade Agreement.

Source: IPRs Blog Of Perry4Law.

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Author:
• Thursday, May 02nd, 2013

Hate Speech, Social Media, Internet And Indian LawsHate speech has become a bane for Indians and the worst part about the same is that it is coming from none other than our own politicians. Those very politicians that are required to curb hate speech in India and promote the constitutional aspirations to prevent hate speech in India are promoting the same.

It is not that there are no laws preventing and punishing hate speech in India. India prohibits hate speech under the laws like Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and by other laws including the information technology act, 2000. However, we have no dedicated or comprehensive law on hate speech in India.

Section 95 of the Code of Criminal Procedure gives the government the right to declare certain publications “forfeited” if the “publication … appears to the State Government to contain any matter the publication of which is punishable under Section 124A or Section 153A or Section 153B or Section 292 or Section 293 or Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code.

However, despite this hate speech is increasingly seen and heard in India. The Supreme Court of India has also taken note of this sad position in India and has observed that Indian government must have courage to take action against the political and religious leaders making hate speeches against the targeted population. The Supreme Court is presently hearing public interest litigation that has asked for formulating guidelines for prevention of hate speech in India.

Meanwhile, information and communication technology (ICT) has added another powerful mechanism to spread rumours and use hate speech. Internet and social media websites are often used to make hate speech. In the absence of expertise regarding cyber crimes investigation in India, such cases are largely unchecked and unpunished. The Supreme Court is also hearing a PIL that seeks guidelines for cyber crime investigations in India.

The cyber law of India has proved to be a bane for Indian citizens. Techno legal experts have even suggested that the cyber law of India must be repealed. We at Perry4Law Organisation and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) believe that an irresponsible behaviour on the social media websites and Internet can have serious legal ramifications. While using social media platforms and Internet, we must balance the civil liberty and legal compliance requirement and we should not take law of the land for granted.

Hate speech and libelous contents must be regulated very strictly world over as they have the tendency to bring chaos in social and personal lives. We recommend that Indian government must consider this aspect seriously so that national interest may be served in best possible manner.

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