Supreme Court to consider banning charge-sheeted candidates from polls

The Supreme Court has today agreed to hear a petition that seeks to ban anyone who has been charge-sheeted in a criminal case from contesting elections in India. BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, who is among one of the most prolific filers of public interest litigation in India, is among those who had filed such petitions seeking disqualification of such candidates in elections. The petitioners alleged that the current law — which prohibits only convicted people from standing for elections — is being misused by criminal politicians. Charge sheets are filed…

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Nokia files more patent infringement suits against Apple

Nokia has filed further complaints alleging that Apple products infringe a number of Nokia patents, expanding its litigation originally announced on December 21. Across actions in 11 countries, there are now 40 patents in suit, which cover technologies such as display, user interface, software, antenna, chipsets and video coding, the company said. Cases have now been filed in Dusseldorf, Mannheim, Munich, Helsinki, London, Turin, Stockholm and Barcelona. The network equipment maker now has patent infringement suits against Apple in Barcelona, Tokyo, Texas and several other places including one with the…

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Muslim Air Force men cannot grow beards – Supreme Court

The Supreme Court today upheld service rules and provisions that impose ‘clean shaven’ rules for the Indian Air Force. Dismissing a petition by a Muslim person, the court said the Air Force was well within its authority to lay down the rule prohibiting the sporting of a beard for its personnel. Many organizations, including the state police departments and central security forces, impose strict uniform and dress code guidelines on their members. Besides requiring them to wear clothes of a particular color, style and specifications, many of them also have…

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Trump shoots back at China over protests on his Taiwan phone call

US President Elect Donald Trump shot back at China over the Asian nation’s protests over his phone call with the Taiwanese head of state, asking if China was always so particular about keeping US interests in mind when conducting its international policy. “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea?…

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7 ILLOGICAL REASONS to oppose DEMONETIZATION

The current demonetization move by the Narendra Modi government has seen a lot of accusations and counter-accusations being levelled by both the supporters and opponents of the move. While the government has tried to deal head on with the official accusations levelled by opposition political parties, a much more subtle misinformation campaign is going on on social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook against the campaign. Such campaigns are started and fanned by people who stand to lose from the current crack down on illicit funds — such as corrupt…

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There can be no Equality without Reservations – Ravi Shankar Prasad

Law and Justice minister said that reservations to Dalits and backward communities was essential to ensuring equality of opportunity in government jobs. Delivering a talk on the concepts of freedom and equality in the Indian constitution, Prasad said it was wrong to think that reservations — based on caste and community — was against the concept of equality as guaranteed by the Indian constitution. “The Indian constitution says there shall be no discrimination in employment,” Prasad said. “But can you directly compare the son of a rich father, who has…

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No Income Tax on FCCB proceeds, SC rules on RCom

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the petition filed by the Income-Tax Department against Reliance Communications on taxing of the proceeds of Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds (FCCBs), said the telecom operator. The Supreme Court order has quashed contingent tax liability of RCOM for about Rs 4,800 crore. During Financial Year 2006-07, Reliance Communications had issued FCCBs, as per the extant Guidelines of the Reserve Bank of India and applicable laws, aggregating US $1.5 billion, which amounted to around Rs 6,485 crore at the time. FCCB refers to money raised by…

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40% of High Court judge positions are vacant, 30% in trial courts

A large proportion of the posts for judges in the various High Courts in India are lying vacant, resulting in painfully slow dispensation of justice, according to law ministry numbers. Out of a total of 1079 posts of judges in all the High Courts in India, a whopping 442 are lying vacant as of last week. This translates to a vacancy of 41% in the High Courts. The vacancy in the Supreme Court is lower, at 16%. High Courts, along with the Supreme Court, comprise the ‘higher judiciary’ of India. They…

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One-day ban on NDTV India put on hold – PTI sources

The Press Trust of India reported that the government of India has put on hold its earlier directive to take news channel NDTV India off-air for one day. Quoting unnamed sources, the news agency said the Information & Broadcasting ministry decided to put the move on hold. The move had been roundly condemned by media organizations, including the Editors’ Guild, arguably the most influential of them, as well as various press clubs across the country. The one-day ban was supposed to have come into effect from Nov 9. NDTV today…

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Government comes up with amended anti HIV discrimination bill

The government is likely to come with an amended HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014, which was approved by the cabinet today. The HIV and AIDS Bill has been drafted to safeguard the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV. The provisions of the Bill seek to address HIV-related discrimination, strengthen the existing programme by bringing in legal accountability and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances, the government said today. The Bill seeks to prevent and control the spread of HIV…

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Finally, Kerala CM takes a stand on Lawyers vs Media fight

Almost three months after the tussle between various lawyers associations and journalists first hit the headlines, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today took a stand on the issue, urging lawyers to let the media do their job. “The lawyers should realize that they do wrong in blocking journalists from accessing the court premises,” Vijayan said in a statement, two weeks after International Press Institute expressed its concern at the continued blockade of mediapersons by lawyers’ associations. In a letter, the institution sought the intervention of the Kerala High Court Chief…

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WATCH LIVE: Yogendra Yadav speaks on Reservations in India

Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav is all set to speak at the TEDx conference at AIIMs in Delhi on the subject of Reservations in India. The topic has always been the subject of a huge amount of consternation, especially among those sections of society that do not qualify for reservations. Introduce as positive discrimination to counter traditional restrictions that were imposed on certain communities and castes in the past, the move aims to rectify the impact of these ancient customs by setting apart a certain number of seats and positions…

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Welspun says ‘Egyptian Cotton’ related US lawsuits not yet material

Welspun said it believed that two complaints against the company for allegedly using non-Egyptian cotton may or may not be allowed to proceed as class action lawsuits, and are therefore not yet ‘material’. The company was responding to a question by the stock exchanges of India on media reports that alleged that millions of dollars were being sought from the Indian textile manufacturer for mislabeling its products via a class action lawsuit. Unlike a regular lawsuit, a company hit by a class action lawsuit has to reimburse and pay damages…

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CCI disposes off 80% anti-trust cases, says D.K. Sikri

The fair trade regulator, Competition Commission of India (CCI), said it has disposed off more than 600 of 750 anti-trust cases handled by the Commission by now i.e. about 80 per cent of the total cases. “Of the information filed, now 80 per cent is not subject to any investigation as only 20 per cent cases go through the investigation stage,” D.K. Sikri, chairman of CCI said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi. “Unlike in the past when we undertook the investigation, in more than 50 per cent…

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Is Reliance Jio getting unfairly blocked by Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea?

Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man and the chairman of Reliance Jio has given a rare interview in India’s largest newspaper accusing his telecom rivals of trying to use their incumbent power to violate the law. He said even Reliance Jio employees are having some trouble porting from rival operators to Jio’s 4G network. Ambani’s comments come in the wake of criticism from incumbent operators, via Cellular Operators’ Association of India, against Jio’s decision to offer free calls, saying that this would unleash a tsunami of voice traffic that will sweep India’s…

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Bhim Singh says cancel J&K Article 370, willing to go to UN

J&K NPP leader Bhim Singh called for abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir, which he blamed for creating the present condition in the hill state, and said he’s willing to go to the United Nations to fully integrate the state in India. He said Article 370, which gives special status to Jammu & Kashmir, was at the root of most of the problems in the hill state. “Those in Jammu and Kashmir who do not stand by the Indian Constitution cannot be blamed, because the Parliament of India…

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ACC, Ambuja to challenge Competition Commission order

ACC Ltd and Ambuja Cements said they will challenge the fine imposed by the Competition Commission of India yesterday, and that a similar order passed by the CCI four years ago had been set aside by the Competition Appellate Tribunal in December last year. “We await receipt of a certified copy of the CCI Order. The Management believes that the company has a strong case on merits to challenge the CCI order and has accordingly decided to file an appeal before the COMPAT,” the companies said in identically worded statements. Explaining…

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India extends ‘permanent residency’ to foreigners

The Indian Cabinet today approved extending ‘permanent residency’ to foreign investors. So far, one had to be a citizen to be a permanent resident in the country. Others faced hassles such as regular attendance at foreigners registration offices and visa extensions if they were to continue to remain in the country. The present tenure of an investor’s visa does not extend beyond five years. With this move, India joins the leagues of countries like USA, UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong, which offer an option for the well-heeled to remain in…

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Courts to be made more child-friendly

Supreme Court Justice Madan Lokur launched a resource manual for child friendly court procedures at the National Workshop on Rehabilitation of Missing & Trafficked Children, held in Delhi, which was inaugurated by Chief Justice of India, T S Thakur & Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi. Almost 150 stakeholders of child protection from 12 states and Union Territories came ogether to discuss the challenges in repatriation and rehabilitation of missing and trafficked children and create a draft model standard operating procedure that can be implemented by the Government Departments across the…

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INTERCONNECT: How Incumbents are taking one last stand against Reliance Jio

As any trial user of Reliance Jio’s new 4G network knows, calling phones on rival networks is currently a hit and miss affair with a high chance of being greeted with the ‘all routes are currently busy’ message. It’s the oldest trick in the book that incumbents have traditionally used to thwart new entrants — prevent access to own subscribers. In this case, this is reportedly being done by limiting the amount interconnection points between Jio’s network and that of the other operators. For example, if 1000 users from Jio’s…

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