Friday, September 29, 2017

SC Dismisses Centre’s Appeal Against Treating Children Born Out Of Void Marriages As Legitimate

On September 18, a Supreme Court bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Uday Umesh Lalit, dismissed the Centre’s appeal against a Division Bench judgment of the Madras High Court, which had validly held that children born out of void marriages are legitimate.

The Centre had first appealed against the judgment of the Central Administrative Tribunal before the Division Bench, and having lost in both, pursued its appeal in the Supreme Court, displaying complete non-application of mind, adding one more instance to the category of unnecessary litigation, which ought to have been avoided, to save precious resources.

The matter relates to the appointment on compassionate grounds in Southern Railway, of  a deceased employee’s son, born to his second wife, as he did not have any issue from his first wife.   The Southern Railway rejected the claim for appointment on the ground that children born to second wife were not recognised and second wife was not entitled to any benefits, as per the instructions of the Railway Board.   According to the Railway Board’s Circulated, dated 2.1.1992, appointment on compassionate ground, cannot be granted to the children born to second wife.

The Madras Bench of the CAT rejected the Railway’s contention on the basis of the judgment rendered by the Division Bench of the Kolkata High Court in the case of Smt.Namita Goldar and another v Union of India and others.

The Supreme Court too, in the case of Rameshwari Devi v State of Bihar, [2000(2) SCC 431) had held that the second marriage during the subsistence of first marriage may be illegal, but the children born out of such second marriage are legitimate and are also entitled to the estate of the father.   It is because under Section 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act, children of a void marriage are legitimate.

The CAT, therefore, held that no distinction can be made amongst the children of the first and second wife of a deceased employee.  In the present case, the first wife was issueless, and died shortly after the death of the employee concerned.

The CAT thus quashed the 1992 circular, issued by the Railway Board, to the extent that it prevented the children of the second wife from being considerd for appointments on compassionate ground.

The Madras High Court’s Division Bench, in view of the Kolkata High Court and Supreme Court’s decisions, held that the Centre’s stand against appointment of children born out of second marriage on compassionate ground, could not be countenanced in law.

The Madras High Court’s judgment was given by bench of Justices K.K.Sasidharan and V.Parthiban on February 28, 2017.

Checklist of documents and accounts to link with Aadhaar

Like it or not, life without Aadhaar is going to be rather difficult from here on. From getting a mobile connection to getting government subsidies and pension, and conducting financial transactions, you just cannot escape Aadhaar. There is a long list of documents and accounts where linking your Aadhaar number has been made mandatory. Then there are those where it is yet to become compulsory but it can help in revalidation of existing documents or establishing one's identity while applying for new documents.  

Below are some important accounts and documents which have to be linked with Aadhaar:  

1. Bank Account 
The government has made it mandatory for banks to verify and link Aadhaar of their customers with their savings accounts. As of now, the deadline for doing this is December 31, 2017, and accounts where Aadhaar is not linked by then will become inoperable unless there's an extension on the last date for doing so.  

2. Mutual fund investments 
It has been made mandatory for financial institutions including mutual fund houses to obtain their customers' Aadhaar numbers and link the same to their respective accounts. This follows a recent amendment in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Rules, 2017. The current deadline for mutual funds to comply with this directive is December 31, 2017.  

3. PAN card 
The government had earlier notified that income tax returns filed after July 1, 2017 would be accepted only after a tax assessee had linked his PAN with Aadhaar. The latest deadline set by the government to comply with this directive is December 31, 2017. Individuals must link their PAN with Aadhaar by this date in order for their returns to be processed.  

4. Social security schemes 
Aadhaar is mandatory to avail benefits of social security schemes like Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, and the deadline to furnish Aadhaar details for the same is December 31. However, the Supreme Court is still to give a final decision on a slew of petitions challenging the legal validity of Aadhaar on the grounds that it is an intrusion into a citizen's fundamental right to privacy.  

5. Pension account 
In January this year, Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) had made it mandatory for its pensioners to provide either Aadhaar or enrolment ID to remain beneficiaries of its social security schemes. To comply with the EPFOdirective, with effect from February 1, 2017, those who are eligible for pension under the Employees' Pension Scheme (form 10C - more than ten years of continuous service) must furnish their Aadhaar number.  

6. Mobile SIM cards 
Aadhaar based e-KYC verification for all mobile phone subscribers must be done by February 6, 2018. The government has asked telecom operators to re-verify all existing mobile subscribers via Aadhaar-based e-KYC by this date. It has also become mandatory to provide Aadhaar details while buying new mobile connections.  

Now here is a list of documents and accounts where linking or quoting Aadhaar is not mandatory, but doing so can make your life easier: 

7. Faster provident fund (PF) claims 
Though it is not mandatory to link your Aadhaar number to your PF account, doing so will allow you to apply for the claim online and get it within 5 days, as opposed to over a month without Aadhaar linking. This is part of the EPFO's exercise to reduce the time taken to settle PF claims and to go paperless.  

8. Death certificate 
From October 1, 2017, death certificates will need to have the person's Aadhaar number for the purpose of establishing the identity of the deceased. This has been done to avoid benefits or subsidies being claimed in the name of deceased. If the deceased's family does not know the Aadhaar number, a certificate has to be furnished by the applicant regarding the same. False declarations will be treated as an offence under the Aadhaar Act and the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969. The person applying for the death certificate for a family member needs to furnish his or her Aadhaar as well. So, for death certificates also, furnishing Aadhaar details is effectively mandatory.  

9. Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) 
Although it is not mandatory to give your Aadhaar details to get benefits under DBT, beneficiaries are encouraged to do so. Seeding your DBT scheme-linked accounts with Aadhaar safeguards against duplication and fraudulent activity and ensures that the money transfer reaches directly to your Aadhaar-linked bank account. This enables getting the benefits, subsidy or services without any hindrance.  

10. Driving licence and registration of new vehicles 
The government is planning to link driving license and the registration of vehicles with Aadhaar number of the owner. This is being done with a view to curb issue of fake licences and the registration of stolen vehicles. The Aadhaar number's biometric details are expected to help prevent such practices.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Supreme Court admonishes ‘obstinate’ BCCI bosses, no order on new constitution

The Supreme Court said the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s draft constitution should include the suggestions of the Lodha committee in its entirety so that a holistic document can be placed before the apex court for a final decision.

The Supreme Court on Thursday rebuked three top Board of Control for Cricket in India officials for blocking the implementation of the proposals made by the Justice RM Lodha panel last year.
Three senior BCCI officials --- acting president CK Khanna, acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry --- were reprimanded for their “obstinate behaviour” that prevented the BCCI and its units from accepting the Lodha Committee proposals in totality.
In July last year, the Supreme Court had made it binding on the BCCI to accept among others rigid clauses on age and tenure of office-bearers, membership and voting and the formation of an all-powerful apex council.
The Supreme Court stopped short of enforcing a new Memorandum of Association on the BCCI, allowing the cricket Board more time to review and present its viewpoint. The new rulebook was prepared by the Committee of Administrators on the basis of the proposals made by the Lodha Committee.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Four Deadlines To Link Aadhaar You Should Not Miss

  • Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax return, obtaining PAN
  • December 31 last date to link Aadhaar card with PAN card
  • Mobile phone users need to link SIM with Aadhaar by February
Linking of Aadhaar has been made mandatory for many essentials. These range from applying for a PAN or Permanent Account Number to filing income tax returns (ITRs) to using a mobile phone connection. All mobile phone numbers or SIMs not linked with Aadhaar will be deactivated after February 2018, according to a report by news agency Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) citing informed sources. The government is moving ahead with linking Aadhaar with mobile SIM cards, the agency added. Many telecom companies have asked their customers to finish the process of linking Aadhaar card with mobile number citing government directive. Aadhaar number or Unique Identity Number or UID, which is printed on the Aadhaar card, is also to be shared with financial institutions and has to be submitted to avail the various social security schemes.

Aadhaar is based on biometrics-based data. Aadhaar number is a 12-digit unique identity number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Be it linking of Aadhaar with PAN, mobile SIM cards or bank accounts, there are different deadlines specified in each case.

Here are four important deadlines to remember for you to link your Aadhaar with the various documents or products:

1. Deadline for linking Aadhaar with PAN - December 31, 2017

In August, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) extended the last date for linking of Aadhaar with PAN "to facilitate ease of compliance by the taxpayers". The new deadline is December 31, 2017. Earlier, this deadline was August 31, 2017. Linking Aadhaar-PAN is mandatory for processing of income tax returns (ITRs) for assessment year 2017-18, the income tax department has said.

"If this linking (PAN-Aadhaar) is skipped, the return could be considered invalid and the person may have to file it again which shall be considered belated and may attract penalty, interest and other consequences like disallowances for losses," says Sandeep Sehgal, director of tax and regulatory at Ashok Maheshwary & Associates LLP.

2. Deadline for linking Aadhaar with mobile number (SIM) - February 2018

All mobile phone numbers not linked with Aadhaar will be deactivated after February 2018, according to a report by news agency Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) citing sources. That means mobile phone service users will have to link their Aadhaar numbers with SIM cards. Many telecom companies have now started sending alerts to customers about completing the Aadhaar-Mobile number linking process. They had earlier instructed their customers to start the process of linking their Aadhaar card numbers with phone numbers. (ReadTelecom operators share guidelines on Aadhaar linking)

3. Deadline for submitting Aadhaar details to banks/financial institutions - December 31, 2017

The government has made it mandatory for all banks and financial institutions to mention the Aadhaar details of clients in the KYC (Know your Customer) document. A KYC document basically provides all the details that authenticate the identity of a user. People who have taken loans are also required to file their Aadhaar details. If you fail to link it with your bank account by December 31 this year, it may even become inoperable.

Quoting of Aadhaar is also mandatory for financial transactions of Rs. 50,000 and above, according to a report by news agency Press Trust of India.

4. Last date to give Aadhaar details to avail social security schemes - December 31, 2017

Aadhaar number has to be provided for all social security schemes by December 31, 2017. In order to avail pension, LPG cylinders or government scholarships, one must provide his or her Aadhaar card details.

Meanwhile, the government also plans to make linking of Aadhaar mandatory for driving licence. "It (Aadhaar-Licence linking) would be done soon to check the menace of multiple licensing," Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sexual harassment: HC quashes probe against judge

The probe against a judge accused of sexually harassing a woman lawyer in the courtroom was quashed by the Gujarat high court on the ground of delay in inquiry by other judges.

The judge also got the benefit of the laws and guidelines, which came into force much after the woman advocate complained about the alleged harassment.

Gujarat high court last week quashed the inquiry ordered by the high court's standing committee against senior civil judge Girishkumar Soni into allegations of sexually harassing a woman advocate in Rajkot.

Judge Soni, who is currently a labour court judge in Surendranagar, was posted in Rajkot between January and June 2012. In May 2012, when the Gujarat high court's chief justice visited Rajkot, a woman lawyer approached him and complained against Soni.

On her oral complaint, the chief justice immediately asked Rajkot's principal district judge to send his remarks on the complaint. There was no response and the high court had to remind the Rajkot's district judge, who recorded statements of three woman advocates and forwarded them to the high court in November 2013.

In February 2014, the high court's standing committee decided to conduct an inquiry against the judge's alleged lapse in behaviour. But the charges could not be framed before January 2017. The inquiry began after that.

Mamata's Durga idol immersion order revoked by Calcutta High Court

In a big setback for the West Bengal government, the Calcutta High Court today revoked Mamata Banerjee's order on Durga idol immersion. The high court instructed the government to make separate routes for both Durga idol immersion and Muharram processions.

Earlier during the hearing, in a castigating remark, the Calcutta High Court today told the Mamata Banerjee government of West Bengal that it was "exercising extreme power without any basis" while hearing a petition challenging the order concerning idol immersion during Durga Puja and Taazia procession during Muharram.

The High Court said, "If you get a dream, that something will go wrong, you cannot impose restrictions." The court further observed, "There is a difference between regulation and prohibition."

Calcutta High Court told the state government that  "you are exercising extreme power without any basis," adding, "just because you are the state, can you pass arbitrary order?"

The Calcutta High Court had earlier compared the handling of festivals by Mumbai police while asking the Mamata Banerjee government as to why it could not do a similar arrangement.

Following the high court's observation, Mamata Banerjee had then accused the BJP of trying to mislead people. She had stated that there was no ban on idol immersion during Durga Puja.

The Calcutta High Court noted that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had told a public meeting that Hindus and Muslims lived together in harmony in the state. "Listen to what the head of the state says and not a police officer," said the court.

Mamata Banerjee's government in West Bengal was today sharply reprimanded by a court for ordering restrictions on the immersion of Goddess Durga idols to avoid any overlap with Muharram processions. "You are exercising extreme power without any basis...Just because you are the state, can you pass arbitrary order?" the Calcutta High Court questioned on a recent order banning idol immersions after 10 pm on September 30 - when Durga Puja ends - and on October 1, when Muslims will mark Muharram. Yesterday, with the court had said: "Let them (Hindus and Muslims) live in harmony, do not create a line between them."

Main Points:

During arguments over the past two days, the court said a state "cannot hinder a citizen's right to practice religion assuming that there will be law and order problems".
Acting Chief Justice Rakesh Tiwary today said the Mamata Banerjee government must provide "concrete grounds" for its decision. "If you dream that something will go wrong, you cannot impose restrictions," said the judges.
Three petitions have challenged the restrictions on the traditional immersion of idols at the end of the five-day Durga Puja.
"You cannot interfere with the faith of the people, treat them with equality," Justice Tiwary said.
Yesterday, the court had also noted that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had herself said at a public meeting that Hindus and Muslims lived together in harmony in the state. "Listen to what the head of the state says, not a police officer," said the court.
"People have the right to practice their religious activities, whichever community they may be of, and the state cannot put restrictions, unless it has a concrete ground to believe that two communities cannot live together," the acting chief justice commented.
The court suggested that the administration regulate the routes for the immersion processions and those for the 'Tajia' processions for Muharram.
The state government had argued that the restrictions were "a preventive action to rule out any possibility of a law-and-order situation."
But the court said while it didn't dispute the state's right to regulate, the administration cannot restrict one's religious rights.
"If you say there is complete harmony, are you (the state administration) not creating a line of division between the two communities by your action?" the court questioned.

CBI files graft case against customs officer

The central bureau of investigation (CBI) has registered an FIR against a Mundra-based customs officer and a private individual for allegedly seeking a bribe of Rs 20 lakh from a Kutch-based trader for clearing their import of non-vegeterian protein consignments. A CBI team on Tuesday morning laid a trap at the customs office in Mundra and succeeded in arresting the private person identified as Hiten Thakkar but the officer S J Singh, deputy commissioner of customs, gave them the slip.

On 20 Sptember, the CBI produced Thakkar before a special CBI court in the city after which the accused was sent to two-day remand. According to the FIR filed by CBI, the accused were booked for hatching a criminal conspiracy to demand illegal gratification. The FIR was registered under various sections of IPC 120(B) of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act -1988.

Medical admissions scam: CBI arrests retired Odisha high court judge

Retired Orissa High Court judge among 5 arrested by CBI in corruption case
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday arrested five persons, including a retired Odisha high court judge, for enabling private medical colleges to admit students to MBBS courses despite a Supreme Court order barring them from doing so.

The agency placed under arrest retired high court justice Ishrat Masroor Quddusi, a middleman Biswanath Agrawala, owners of private medical college - BP Yadav and Palash Yadav, and a hawala operator Ram Dev Saraswat in connection with the case. It had earlier booked them under charges of criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.

After registering an FIR against Quddusi and four other accused, the CBI had conducted raids at eight locations in Delhi, Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.

CBI sleuths recovered Rs 1.91 crore during the raids, including at Quddusi's residencein south Delhi's Greater Kailash.

Quddusi has been accused of not only legally guiding the functionaries of private medical college but also assured favourable settlement of their case in the Supreme Court.

The agency had received an information that Prasad Institute of Medical College was among 46 colleges barred by the government from admitting medical students for the forthcoming one or two years because of substandard facilities and non-fulfilment of the required criteria.

B P Yadav and Palash Yadav, who run the institute, had challenged the debarment in the Supreme Court earlier this year.

On August 1, the SC directed the government to consider the materials on record afresh, pertaining to the issue of confirmation or otherwise of the letter of permission granted to the petitioner college.
The government then afforded an opportunity of hearing to the college and passed a reasoned decision on August 10, 2017 to debar the college from admitting fresh students for the two years - 2017-18 and 2018-19 and also authorised MCI to encash the bank guarantees of Rs two crores.
CBI received information that B P Yadav got in touch with Justice (retd) I M Quddusi and Bhawana Pandey through one Sudhir Giri of Venkateshwara Medical College in Meerut and conspired for getting the matter settled.

"Information further revealed that on the advice of I M Quddusi, the petition was withdrawn from the apex court on August 15, 2017 and a petition was filed in in Allahabad High Court," said CBI in its FIR.

Investigating agencies have also lodged an FIR against two IAS officers serving in Puducherry - former health secretary B R Babu and Narendra Kumar, who headed the committee looking after admissions to medical colleges - for allegedly denying admissions to deserving students and selling seats to others at "exorbitant" rates

Sunday, September 17, 2017

HC condemns encroachment by religious structures

Gujarat high court has once again condemned the encroachment on public land by religious structures, and said that asking to legitimize such encroachment "is nothing but an insult to God."

The HC also told the government that it is high time that it should take prompt and appropriate steps to clear all encroachments across the state. "It should not make any difference whether it is a temple or a house or any other religious structure. If the same is constructed by encroaching upon government land, it has got to be demolished at the earliest," the HC order reads.

The case pertains to a 100-year-old temple situated in Vadaj area. The government ordered removal of the temple saying that it was built on government land and without any permission. The temple trust's - Navdurga Charitable Trust - request to regularize the 1,300 sq metre plot on prime land was rejected by the revenue authorities.

The religious trust knocked on the HC's door to protect the old temple and said that public's religious sentiments are attached with the temple. People have a lot of faith in the deity of the temple. If it is demolished, it would hurt religious sentiments at large. It urged the court to consider the issue sympathetically.

Justice J B Pardiwala was not convinced with the argument and observed, "The court of law should not decide matters on basis of religious sentiments of the people at large." He further observed that the court should act logically and its decisions must be tenable within the framework of law. Court's decisions should not incur and justify the criticism that jurisdiction of courts tends to degenerate into misplaced sympathy and generosity and private benevolence, observed the court.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Court attaches Mohali railway station, 2 engines

 A local court has ordered the attachment of Mohali railway station and two locomotives after Railways failed to pay the enhanced compensation rates to the residents of a village from whom it had acquired land in 1999.
"The court gave the orders after railways failed to turn up for the hearing on Wednesday ," said Gurwinder Singh Sandhu, counsel for the petitioners. Railways had acquired the land in Kambala village to construct the ChandigarhLudhiana rail line, according to the petition.

The locomotives which will be attached are of Ambala-Kalka Express and Amritsar-Chandigarh Superfast trains. The official vehicles of the concerned railway officers will also be attached. Railways have been asked to file a reply by September 22 failing which the court will give orders to auction the property to pay the compensation to the original land owners.

"Although these attachment orders are given in one petition, there are numerous land owners who have not been compensated as per the enhanced rates given by the Punjab and Haryana high court. The HC had then sent the case to the district court," Sandhu said. The case pertains to the acquisition of around seven acres of land for Rs 1.7 crore. Railways had announced an award of Rs 5.52 lakh per acre in 2001 which was enhanced to Rs 7.5 lakh in 2004 and further raised to Rs 23.34 lakh after the villagers approached the court alleging inadequate compensation. Some farmers were paid but those who filed the petition were left out.

In 2015, the Mohali district administration had paid Rs 5 crore as enhanced compensation after court orders to attach the property of Mohali railway station. In this case as well, the Railways had failed to give revised compensation to farmers whose land was acquired for construction of the station in 2005. The court had attached three railway tracks, booking and reception office, railway bridge, one power house, water tank, an under-construction building, 12 chairs, eight fans and tubelights and residential quarters of the station superintendent and class IV employees of railways.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

6-month 'cooling off' period for granting divorce can be waived: SC

A Hindu married couple may not need to wait six months for a separation order in the case of mutual consent and the marriage can be legally terminated in just a week as the Supreme Court on Tuesday held that the "cooling off" period in not mandatory and can be waived off.

The court ruled that the stipulation under the Hindu Marriage Act for a six-month wait could be done away with if all efforts for mediation and conciliation intended to reunite the parties had failed. The waiving off can be considered if the parties had already lived separately for at least a year. In such situations, the court could take a view that delay in proceedings will only prolong subsequent resettlement.

"The object of the provision is to enable the parties to dissolve a marriage by consent if the marriage has irretrievably broken down and to enable them to rehabilitate them as per available options. The amendment was inspired by the thought that forcible perpetuation of status of matrimony between unwilling partners did not serve any purpose. The object of the cooling off period was to safeguard against a hurried decision if there was otherwise possibility of differences being reconciled," it said.

Explaining the provision, a bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit said the object of the cooling off period is to safeguard against a hurried decision taken by a couple to get separated and to allow them to explore ways to settle their disputes but this could not be made mandatory.

Section 13B(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act says that if both parties do not change their pleas for divorce in a time period not less that six months and not later that 18 months, then the court shall pass a decree declaring the marriage to be dissolved. The period of six to 18 months provided in section 13B is an interregnum to give time and opportunity for the couple to reflect on their move.

The bench said the period of six months can be waived off if conciliation fails and the parties had genuinely settled differences relating to alimony, custody of child or any other pending issues between them.

"The object was not to perpetuate a purposeless marriage or to prolong the agony of the parties when there was no chance of reconciliation. Though every effort has to be made to save a marriage, if there are no chances of reunion and there are chances of fresh rehabilitation, the court should not be powerless in enabling the parties to have a better option," the bench said.
The Court passed the order on a petition filed by a couple seeking direction to wave off the cooling off period as they had been living separately for eight years and had settled all issues pertaining to custody of child and alimony. They told the apex court that delay in divorce would affect their chances to resettle in life.
Senior advocate K V Vishwanathan, who was assisting the court in adjudicating the case, said the waiting period under the Act was directory and could be waived if the parties living separately for a period of one year or more and have agreed that the marriage be dissolved. "The discretion to waive the period is a guided discretion by consideration of interest of justice where there is no chance of reconciliation and parties were already separated for a longer period or contesting proceedings for a period longer than the period mentioned in Section 13B(2)," he said.
The bench, after examining all the issues, came to the conclusion that Section 13B(2) was not mandatory but directory. It said that the concerned court could waive off six months period after being satisfied that the parties were living separately for more than a year with no chance of reconciliation and further waiting period would only prolong their agony.

It said parties can file waiver application just one week after divorce petition is filed and court will take a call on waiving off the period.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Fake Aadhaar card network busted in Kanpur

Could the Aadhaar card you possess be fake? You might just want to check.According to Uttar Pradesh police, hackers have devised ways to bypass not just the Aadhaar biometric procedure of fingerprinting but also retina-scanning to come out with fake Aadhaar cards.

A Special Task Force (STF) of the police busted a State-wide network of hackers who allegedly bypassed the set standards of the biometric system of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and created fake Aadhaar cards through cloning of fingerprints.

The STF, which carried out the operation in Kanpur, arrested 10 persons on the charge of forgery and impersonation.

According to the STF, the accused would bypass the biometric norms of the UIDAI with fingerprint copies and tamper with the source code of the UIDAI application client (software used by Aadhaar enrolment agencies) to create a fake application client. They would then bypass the operator authentication process to create fake Aadhaar cards. The hackers would send the client application to unauthorised operators for a sum of ₹5, 000 each, police said.

The most important thrust of the Right to Privacy in India today is to do with the Aadhaar card

A case has been registered at the Cyber Crime police station, Lucknow, under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468, 471, 474 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 66 and 66C of the Information Technology Act and Section 7/34 of the Aadhaar Act.

After questioning the accused and through investigation, police explained the elaborate method of impersonation and fraud. The police operation followed the recent recovery of fake Aadhaar cards in Deoria, Kushinagar and Lucknow.

As per the STF, the accused accessed the fingerprint impressions of authorised Aadhaar enrolment operators on the UIDAI system. They would then print out the fingerprints on butter paper. After this, the accused would create artificial fingerprints using polymer resin. They would log on to the Aadhaar website using the artificial fingerprints created by them.

The artificial fingerprint of the operator would then be used by multiple members of the gang to complete the process the Aadhaar card enrolment.

The police have recovered the devices and equipment used for impersonation, including 38 fingerprints on paper, 46 fingerprints manufactured by chemicals, two Aadhaar finger-scanners, two finger-scanning devices, two iris retina scanners, eight rubber stamps, 18 Aadhaar cards, a webcam, GPS equipment and a Polymer Curing Instrument.

Eleven laptops and 12 mobile phones were also seized.

Officials sceptical about biometric-based linking of bank accounts

Police say that previously Aadhaar operators would get access to the UIDAI client application through their fingerprints. However, when hackers started cloning finger prints, the UIDAI introduced retina scanning or IRIS as part of the authentication process, after which impersonation was brought under check. However, investigators are worried that hackers have created new client applications to hack and bypass the biometrics.

Police have decided to conduct a “security audit” of the entire Aadhaar enrolment process after it discovered that the norms of the Information Security Policy of Aadhaar were not followed by registrars, enrolment agencies, supervisors, verifiers and operators.

The STF arrested Saurabh Singh, alleged kingpin of the gang, from Kanpur on September 9. The other nine have been identified as Shubham Singh, Shobhit Sachan, Manoj Kumar, Tulsiram, Shivam Kumar, Kuldip Singh, Chaman Gupta, Guddu Gond and Satyendra Kumar. They belong to various parts of the State.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Over 100 Army officers move Supreme Court claiming ‘discrimination’ in promotion

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman faces a new challenge as over 100 lieutenant colonels and majors of the Army have moved the Supreme Court over alleged “discrimination and injustice” in promotion of officers of the services corps. 

“This act of Army and Union government (discrimination in promotion) has created tremendous injustice to the petitioners and others which is detrimental to the morale of the officers and, in turn, to the defence of the country,” they said. 
What should worry the government is the petitioners’ plea not to deploy services corps in operational areas along with the combat arms if parity in promotion is not granted. 

In their joint petition, with Lt Col P K Choudhary in the lead, they said services corps officers were deployed in operational areas and faced challenges similar to officers of combat arms corps. Why then were officers of services corps deprived of promotional avenues available to officers of combat arms,they asked through counsel Neela Gokahle. 

“The action of the Army and the Union government in selectively treating officers of services corps as ‘operational’ for the purpose of deployment in operational areas but ‘non-operational’ for the purpose of being considered for promotion is violating the fundamental rights of the petitioners and other middle level Army officers,” the petition said. 

SC notice to ECI over election nomination proof

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Election Commission of India (ECI) over an appeal demanding that poll candidates submit proof of their claims and qualifications at the time of filing nomination affidavit.

A three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India has issued the notice. Advocate K R Koshti moved the apex court after Gujarat high court rejected the lawyer's PIL filed earlier this year. He has been urging for directions for making it mandatory for all candidates to provide documentary evidence for their claims regarding qualification as mentioned in affidavit to be filed with nomination papers. He cited a couple of instances where the information furnished by the candidates was proved wrong.

After hearing the PIL, the high court dismissed it on the ground that existent provisions to put a check in this regard already exist in the Representation of the Peoples Act. By invoking powers of this Act action can be taken against a candidate for furnishing false information, and hence there is no need to issue direction to the authorities in this regard.

Turning down the PIL in July, the HC had said, "From the provisions contained in Section 125A of the Representation of the Peoples Act, it is clear that if a candidate fails to furnish information required under the Act, or gives false information, which he knows or has reason to believe to be false or conceals any information in his nomination paper or in his affidavit, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or both."

Aadhaar-SIM linking will prevent misuse by criminals, govt assures all data safe

The government will move ahead with linking Aadhaar with all mobile SIM cards, as per the Supreme Court order of February 2017.

All SIM cards have to be verified with Aadhaar within a year from the date of judgement. All unlinked phones will be deactivated after the February 2018 deadline.

The move is to prevent obtaining mobile connections with fraudulent information. The government assured that biometrics are not stored by the mobile operators, nor they have access to any of the other personal data.
The court passed the February order acting on a PIL filed by NGO Lokniti Foundation, seeking 100% verification of cell phone subscribers with regard to their identity and address by linking their phone numbers to their Aadhaar cards.
Then attorney general had said that the government in principle agreed to the idea, but given the huge number, about 105 crores, of mobile phone users, the process wil take time. Besides, over 90% subscribers used pre-paid connections, making registration difficult.
To this, the bench had said, "The government has to devise a method. The person who comes for recharge of the phone should be given a form to give his details including Aadhaar number. He should submit the filled form the next time he goes for recharge. You can give him more time. May be three or four recharges before he furnishes the details. But make it mandatory that he must furnish details or else there would be no recharge of prepaid SIMs."

The apex court bench then set the government a one-year time frame to complete the Aadhaar linking process.

10 Points You Should Read About Income Tax Rules on Mutual Fund Gains

It is projected that people are investing nearly Rs. 5,000 crore every month through SIPs.

In July, the asset under management of Indian mutual fund industry touched all time high of Rs.20 lakh crore. This is due to the strong inflows into both equity segments and debt. Retailers are investing record amount into mutual funds through SIPs. It is projected that investors are putting in an estimated figure of Rs.5000 crores every month through SIPs. Systematic Investment Plan or SIP is an investment plan offered by mutual funds, wherein one could invest a set amount in a mutual fund scheme at pre-defined intervals.

Below points will help you understand how much income tax you have to pay on gains from mutual fund:

1) For tax purposes, a mutual fund scheme that invests 65 per cent or more of its portfolio in equities or equity-related instruments, is considered equity funds.

2) Apart from equity diversified funds, arbitrage funds are also considered equity funds. Arbitrage funds invest in equity and derivatives such as futures and options while equity income funds invest in a mix of equity, equity derivatives and debt. If a balanced fund invests minimum 65 per cent in equities, it is considered an equity fund for tax purpose.

3) Profit held for more than a period of 12 months, from equity mutual fund units whether SIP or lumpsum is considered as a long term capital gain. As per the policy, there is no tax is applicable on the long-term capital gains from equity funds.

4) For the duration less than 12 months, tax on short-term capital gains is applicable at 15% on the gains from equity funds.

5) Many investors opt for dividend option while investing in equity mutual funds. Dividend income from equity mutual funds is tax-free, irrespective of when you receive it.

6) Investments in debt funds are considered long term only if they are held for more than three years.

7) Currently, the long-term capital gain on debt funds is taxed at the rate of 20 per cent. However, investors get the benefit of indexation on their original debt fund investment. This indicates that the adjustment of original investment is done in accordance for the price if inflation and taxes. Since the original cost of investment goes up after factoring in inflation, long term capital gains tax comes to negligible levels.

8) But before three years if the debt mutual fund investments are redeemed or sold, whatever short-term gains you have are taxed as per your tax slabs.

9) Income from debt funds also come in the form of dividends. Any dividend declared by a debt mutual fund is exempt from tax in the hands of investors.

10) However, mutual fund houses pay dividend distribution tax @ rate of 28.84 per cent (including surcharge and cess) before handing out the dividends to investors.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Bank Fixed Deposits (FDs): 7 Rules You May Not Know

Despite falling interest rates, bank fixed deposits remain very popular with investors looking for a guaranteed return from their investments. From 7 days to 10 years, bank fixed deposits come with different maturity periods. Many banks offer the facility to open fixed deposits online as well as through phone banking. Premature withdrawals/closure of fixed deposits are subjected to applicable charges. Investors can earn interest monthly/quarterly/half-yearly or yearly basis according to their convenience. India's biggest lender SBI, for example, is offering 5.5 per cent interest on fixed deposits of tenure of 7-45 days. On deposits of 5-10 years, it is offering interest of 6.25 per cent.

Here are seven things you may not know about bank fixed deposits:

1) TDS factor: Interest on bank fixed deposit is fully taxable, which means interest income is added to your income and taxed according to the applicable tax slabs. Banks deduct TDS or tax deducted at source at the rate of 10 per cent on the interest earned, if the interest income for the year is more than Rs.10,000. If any refund is due, the taxpayer will have to file income tax return to claim it.

2) To prevent the bank from deducting TDS, depositors can submit Form 15G /15H with the bank. Form 15G/15H are self-declaration forms by an individual stating that his or her income is less than the taxable limit. If one fails to do so, the person will need to claim the tax refund by filing his/her income tax return. For those who come under tax slabs, here is a caution. Sandeep Sehgal, director of tax and regulatory at Ashok Maheshwary & Associates LLP, says: "It would be counterproductive for him/her to have no TDS deducted as advance tax provisions are applicable for other income and the person may not have paid adequate advance tax when these were due and will result in payment of interest along with taxes. If some amount is already paid as TDS, the person can save interest at least to that extent."

3) In case of joint fixed deposit holders, it is the first account holder against whose PAN, TDS is deducted. The tax liability is calculated on the first applicant's name only. The interest on deposits in joint names is paid to the first depositor.

4) Recurring deposits: From 2015, TDS provisions have also been made applicable on the interest earned on recurring deposits.

5) Clubbing of Interest Income: Interest earned from fixed deposit/recurring deposits is clubbed across all branches of a bank for the purpose of computing the total interest during the financial year and applicability of TDS.

6) Deposit Insurance: It is a protection cover that you get on your deposits in banks. It is provided by Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC), a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The premium is borne by the banks. In case of a bank failure, DICGC is liable to provide up to a maximum of Rs.1 lakh to each depositor for both principal and interest amount. Each depositor in a bank is insured up to a maximum of Rs.1 lakh for both principal and interest amount.

7) Loan/overdraft facility against fixed deposits: SBI, for example, offers loans/overdraft facility of up to 90 per cent of the principal deposit, according to the bank's website. The bank charges 1 per cent higher interest than that of the interest earned on the fixed deposit.