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Electronic Virtual Assistants, banks and cyber law

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While Banks have already started empowering their hands by the use of EVA (Electronic Virtual Assistants) for a variety of activities including streamlining of regular inquiries, simplify typing, time transactions, notifications etc.

These EVA (Electronic Virtual Assistants) in banks make use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) for improving their cognitive ability. However, such EVAs communicate with users & customers of the Banks through text as also voice so as to get answers to their specific queries in a quick and effective manner.

The Union Budget 2022 outlines the setting up of 75 Digital Banking units in 75 districts by scheduled commercial banks. There is no denying the basic premise that these Digital Banks may make use of EVAs as a new normal for everyday banking needs. Further, AI (Artificial Intelligence) is the mover and shaker of these digital times.

EVA, BANKS & CYBER LAW

The Question in your mind is that EVA, Banks and Cyber Law, what is the connection? Well, any interactions, information generated by EVAs are information, data in electronic format. It is in this context that Cyber Law steps in. We will have to quickly realise that the moment you use computers, computer system, computer networks, computer resources, communication device, data or information in electronic format, cyber law becomes applicable thereof.

The Indian Cyber Law consists primarily of Information Technology Act, rules, regulations. Further, such interaction, information generated by EVAs are electronic records under the Information Technology Act. The Information Technology Amended Act 2008 has taken the country and the world by storm with a new concept of an Intermediary under Section 2(w).

In simple sense, any entity collecting electronic records and providing services thereof are considered as Intermediary under the Information Technology Act, rules, regulations. Given this scenario, banks can also be considered as Intermediaries under the Information Technology Act, rules, regulations.

The big talking point is the legal status of such EVAs, can be they be considered as agents, entities, LLP’s. While seeking answering to the same, such EVAs are getting more and more predominant. I am of the opinion that this cannot be taken in partial mode.

EVA, BANKS & SENSITIVE PERSONAL DATA OR INFORMATION

The Information Technology Rules read along with Information Technology Act has come up with parameters on what is Sensitive Personal Data or Information. Passwords, Financial Information, Biometric information, Sexual Orientation, Health or Medical Records, conditions, any information required under a Lawful contract.

The Banks are walking in the area of using EVAs for communication with customers enabling them to perform simple banking activities. These interactions, communications involve the financial information like OTPs, last digits of credit cards of the customers.

EVA, BANKS AND PERSONAL INFORMATION

The Information Technology Rules read along with the Information Technology Act has come up with perspective of personal information. Any information with which you can identify an individual is considered as Personal Information. Name, email id, contact no, ip address, address, aadhar no, credit card no, debit card card no, passport etc., are classic examples of Personal Information.

The Banks are transcending the use of EVAs for various purposes as mentioned in this article and while such EVA interactions, communications deal with personal information of users including phone no registered with the banks.

EVA, Banks and WhatsApp – Cyber Legal Analysis

The Banks make use of EVAs and provide services specifically through WhatsApp in their powering position. However, WhatsApp has become the de-facto mode of communication in the times today. In no event, the author intends to demean WhatsApp and its users. Further, the author intends to put forth his view point as also promote cyber hygiene usage of WhatsApp.

The terms and conditions of WhatsApp mention that whatever one shares across its platform be it audio, video, image, text is information in public domain. Further, privacy breach cannot be claimed for any information in public domain.

Given this scenario, Banks will have to wake up to the fact that any Sensitive Personal Data or Information, Personal Information of its users, customers will have to be protected under the law. The Banks will have to be sensitive to what they can, what they cannot, do while making use of WhatsApp.

Further, the Banks will have to be alive as to how they can swim in these choppy waters. It is the logical corollary that in order to use the said services, the terms and conditions will have to be accepted and the same is more a legal basis for an e-contract.

The digital dreams of digital banking are a collective wisdom and casts a huge responsibility. However, the conduct of the Banks may have got unnoticed at the time being, but cyber law and cyber security will be the two constant life companions in the era of digital banking.

EVA, BANKS, PRIVACY

With the latest judgement of Hon’ble Supreme Court, the privacy is now a fundamental right of every citizen in the country. The privacy shall also consist of data privacy which includes protection of user or customer’s privacy. However, the banks shall have to look at enhancing the digital skillsets of its employees, staff as also ensure that privacy of its users, customers are protected at all times.

Further, the Banks will have to look at the scenarios wherein EVAs will protect the privacy of its customers, users. However, in case of any privacy breach by the EVA, who is accountable is a question that the world has to be answer.

While currently there is no complete clarity regarding the legal status of EVA, however, from a Liability perspective, the Banks making of such EVA may also be cast with liability. But the question remains that in case such EVA has any technical issues which resulted in such privacy breach, then the coder, the organisation that developed or conceived such EVA may also face privacy breach liability.

EVA, BANKS, CYBER DUE DILIGENCE

The interesting aspect here is with respect to the Cyber Due Diligence that a Bank will have to comply with while using EVA. The Cyber Due Diligence under IT Act, rules, regulations bring forward the requirement of having these policies as an Intermediary.

• Privacy Policy

• User Agreement

• Terms and Conditions

• Grievance Mechanism

However, the fact of the matter is in case EVA collects such information of user, customer during such interactions, communications, then how will the aforesaid policies be drafted unless legal status is accorded to EVA. While this remains a sticky wicket.

EVA, BANKS, CIVIL CONTRAVENTIONS

The Banks will have to realise that any contravention with respect to unauthorised access and other aspects thereof, shall expose the banks to cyber contraventions under the Information Technology Act, rules, regulations.

Further, the Banks will have to comply with the Information Technology Act, rules, regulations while discharging their obligations under the law. In the light of use of EVA in Banking, the fundamental question that arises is the access provided by Banks to the EVA considered as legitimate access under the law.

The contravention under IT Act, rules, regulations made there under shall expose the Banks to damages by way of compensation. The Information Technology lays down the adjudication up to INR 5 crores to be adjudicated by an Adjudicating Officer, who is usually the IT Secretary of the State.

EVA, BANKS, CRIMINAL LIABILITY

The Banks will have to understand that non-compliance to the Information Technology Act, rules, regulations in the light of EVA will expose the Bank to criminal liability of imprisonment ranging from 3 yrs- Life Imprisonment, fine amounting to INR 1 Lakh- 10 Lakh. However, in the event, such liability arises out of the action of the EVA without the attribution of the Bank, then the liability aspect becomes a different matter altogether.

EVA, BANKS, CYBER CRIMES

The Banks will have to be looking at cyber crimes from a different viewpoint altogether given the use of EVA. Just imagine a situation wherein the EVA interaction, communication results in a cyber crime, cyber security breach, then the liability has to be encapsulated in a differential manner.

EVA, BANKS, TECHNO LEGAL ASPECTS

There are many techno legal aspects in the light of EVA, Banks. There are many a times wherein the user will be able to activate, deactivate some crucial and critical aspects relating to credit card usage for online transactions, international transactions, atm, pos transactions etc. However, in the event the user opts for one choice and the EVA acts in a different manner, then there shall be techno legal aspects arising thereof.

This is how I see things happening in the digital banking space with regard to use of EVA. I believe that the Banks will have to gain practical deep insights while making use of such EVA in order to provide a personalised and simple banking user experience. I am of the opinion that Banks should be mindful of these aspects and cannot afford to brush these below the carpet given the mass migration of digital banking services.

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Legally Speaking

AN ASSOCIATION OF CORPORATE BODIES CAN ESTABLISH A CAPTIVE POWER PLANT PRIMARILY FOR THEIR OWN USE UNDER THE ELECTRICITY ACT: SUPREME COURT

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The Supreme Court in the case Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Ltd. vs Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commission observed that a captive power plant primarily for their own use can be established by an association of corporate bodies.

The requirement would be that the consumption of SBIPL and SBMPL together should not be less than 51% of the power generated. Admittedly, the joint consumption by SBIPL and SBMPL is more than 51% and under the provisions of the said Act, the use of electricity by it would be for captive use only even an association of corporate bodies can establish a power plant. Since SBMPL holds 27.6% of the ownership, the requirement of not less than 26% of shares is fulfilled by SBMPL as SBMPL holds 27.6% equity shares in SBPIL.

The fourth proviso to sub­section (2) of Section 42 of the said Act would also reveal that surcharge would not be leviable in case open access is provided to a person who has established a captive generating plant for carrying the electricity to the destination of his own use and under Section 9 of the said Act, could be an individual or a body corporate or association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, it is clear that the person will get benefit even an association of corporate bodies can establish a captive power plant it has been seen. The definition of “person” is wide enough to include any company or body corporate or association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, or artificial juridical person it should be primarily for the use of the members of such co­operative society or association is the requirement, the Bench observed while referring to the provisions of the Electricity Act.

The BPIL, the respondent contended and supported the impugned judgment that no permission is required from the Commission for supply of electricity for its own use. Thereafter the appellant Company contended that unless SBPIL consumes 51% of the aggregate electricity generated by it, it will not be entitled to get the benefit under Section 9 of the said Act, in an appeal filled before the Apex Court.

An appeal was dismissed by the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity filed by the Company further The Commission held that SBPIL was entitled to supply electricity to its sister concern SBMPL and the same would qualify to be treating as own consumption and within the ambit of Section 9 read with Section 2(8) of the Electricity Act, 2003 and Rule 3 of the Electricity Rules, 2005 SBPIL submitted a petition for providing open access and wheeling of power through the transmission system of the Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Ltd (Company) for captive use by SBMPL to the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commission, the commission. A Captive Generation Plant is established by SBPIL, and is a sister concern of SBPIL Shri Bajrang Power and I spat Ltd and Shri Bajrang Metallics and Power Ltd, SBMPL.

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Where the crime was committed the remission or premature release policy of the state has to be considered: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court in the case Radheshyam Bhagwandas Shah, Lala Vakil vs State of Gujarat observed that where the crime was committed has to be considered in the remission or pre­mature release in terms of the policy which is applicable in the State.

While allowing the writ petition the court observed and contended that Once the crime was committed in the State of Gujarat, after the trial been concluded and judgment of conviction came to be passed, all further proceedings have to be 6 considered including remission or pre­mature release in terms of the policy which is applicable in the State of Gujarat where the crime was committed and not the State where the trial stands transferred and concluded for exceptional reasons under the orders of this Court, as the case may be. The court further stated that under Section 432(7) CrPC the appropriate Government can be either the Central or the State Government but there cannot be a concurrent jurisdiction of two State Governments.

the appropriate Government in the ordinary course would be the State of Gujarat. But the case was transferred in exceptional circumstances by this Court for limited purpose for trial and disposal to the neighboring State i.e., the State of Maharashtra by an order dated 06.08.2004. ordinarily, the trial was to be concluded in the same State and in terms of Section 432(7) CrPC as the crime in the instant case was admittedly committed in the State of Gujarat, observed by the Apex Court.

he application for pre­mature release has to be filed in the State of Maharashtra and not in the State of Gujarat, as prayed by the petitioner by judgment impugned dated 17.07.2009 As His petition filed in the High Court of Gujarat was dismissed taking note of Section 432(7) CrPC on the premise that since the trial has been concluded in the State of Maharashtra. Thereafter He had filed his petition for pre­mature release under Sections 433 and 433A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 stating that he had undergone more than 15 years 4 months of custody.

The bench comprising of Justice Ajay Rastogi and the justice Vikram Nath observed and noted that under Section 432(7) CrPC can be either the Central or the State Government but there cannot be a concurrent jurisdiction of two State Governments of the appropriate Government.

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Adopt roster based reservation for preferential candidates as followed by JIPMER: Supreme Court directs all AIIMS institutes

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The Supreme Court in the case Students Association AIIMS Bhopal And Or’s. v. AllMS and Or’s observed and directed all AIIMS Institutes to adopt roster-based reservation followed by Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Pondicherry (JIPMER) as a plea was filled in the Court seeking direction to AIIMS to have a defined criteria for arriving at seat matrix for institutional preference candidates in INI-CET examination.

the order of the Apex Court in the case AIIMS Students’ Union v. AIIMS And Or’s, would not be applicable if It emphasized that if the roster-based system is implemented the actual roster points for AIIMS would be different from JIPMER as the same would depend on the percentage of seats decided to be allocated to the preferential candidates but It stated that the reservation would be similar to the one adopted by JIPMER AIIMS New Delhi was willing to provide a roster-point based reservation for its institutional preference candidates, by way of an affidavit 20th January 2022 the Bench was apprised that pursuant to a meeting held on 28th June 2020 as prescribed the relevancy:

It shall not be too wide with the one for the general category candidate, that the margin of difference between the qualifying marks for the Institute’s candidate.

The one who has secured marks at the common entrance PG test less than the one secured by any other candidate belonging to reserved category enjoying constitutional protection such as SC, ST etc. cannot be the AIMS graduate the last student to qualify for admission.

appearing on behalf of AIIMS, Advocate, Mr. Dushyant Parashar, New Delhi was asked to get instructions from AIIMS, Bhubaneswar and Jodhpur so that the Court can pass appropriate orders on the next date of hearing. As that apart from AIIMS, Bhubaneswar and AIIMS, Jodhpur, all other AIIMS before the Apex Court has agreed to implement the roster-based reservation system followed by JIPMER Puducherry for their institutional preference candidates, the Court was informed at the last date of hearing.

the petition had been filed seeking direction to AIIMS to disclose how the seats for institutional preference candidates are to be allotted in the view of the same the petitioners claim that in the INI-CET examination conducted in July, 2021, only 4 seats (1.87%) in AIIMS, New Delhi were allotted to institutional preference candidates. Rivetingly, the petitioners note that no seats were allocated to any other AIIMS for admission of institutional preference candidates.

the Bench comprising of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and the justice A.S. Bopanna observed and noted that to record in the order that the roaster system would be applicable from this year. Mr. Parashar informed it that since new software is to be put in place for counselling, it might cause some delay. The bench further stated that the court will order it to apply this year but in case of delay AIMS can come later.

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‘The crime committed has to be considered in the remission or premature policy of the state’

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The Supreme Court in the case Radheshyam Bhagwandas Shah, Lala Vakil vs State of Gujarat observed that where the crime was committed has to be considered in the remission which is applicable in the State and the pre­mature release in terms of the policy

The Court noted while hearing the writ petition that in terms of the policy which is applicable in the State of Gujarat where the crime was committed and not the State where the trial stands transferred and concluded for exceptional reasons under the orders of this Court once the crime was committed in the State of Gujarat, after the trial been concluded and judgment of conviction came to be passed, all further proceedings have to be 6 considered including remission or pre­mature release, as the case may be, in the instance case. under Section 432(7) CrPC, there cannot be a concurrent jurisdiction of two State Governments, can be either the Central or the State Government of the appropriate government.

in terms of Section 432(7) CrPC, the trial was to be concluded in the same State and ordinarily in the State of Gujrat the crime in the instant case was admittedly committed. by an order 06.08.2004., the case was transferred in exceptional circumstances by this Court for limited purpose for trial and disposal to the neighbouring State i.e., the State of Maharashtra, observed by the bench of Apex Court.

As mentioned by the petitioner in the plea that by judgment impugned dated 17.07.2019., the application for pre­mature release has to be filed in the State of Maharashtra and not in the State of Gujarat and His petition filed in the High Court of Gujarat was dismissed taking note of Section 432(7) CrPC on the premise that since the trial has been concluded in the State of Maharashtra. under Sections 433 and 433A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the petition was filled by the petitioner for premature release further the petitioner stated that that he had undergone under the custody of more than 15 years 4 months.

Section 302, 376(2) (e) (g) and reading it with Section 149 IPC, Shah was found guilty for the offence, the offence committed by him in the State of Gujrat.

The bench comprising of Justice Ajay Rastogi and the justice Vikram Nath observed that under Section 432(7) CrPC can be either the Central or the State Government but there cannot be a concurrent jurisdiction of two State Governments of that appropriate government.

The bench comprising of Justice Ajay Rastogi and the justice Vikram Nath observed that under Section 432(7) CrPC can be either the Central or the State Government but there cannot be a concurrent jurisdiction of two State Governments of that appropriate government.

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Seeking reduction of qualifying the percentile for admission in ayurveda course: A plea in Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court in the Case Amit Kumar v UOI & Or’s observed in Ayurveda course in view of large number of vacancies and for seeking reduction of qualifying percentile for admission, an ayurveda aspirant who appeared in NEET 2021 has approached the Court.

the court had observed that lowering the minimum marks and reducing the percentile for admission to first year BDS Course would not amount to lowing the standards of Education and further the Court directed to lower the percentile mark by 10 percentiles for admission in first year of BDS Course for academic year 2020-2021, with regards to substantive the contentions made by the petitioner by referring the judgement passed in the case in Harshit Agarwal & Or’s v Union of India.

the percentile may also be reduced for Ayurveda programme enabling the Petitioner to take admissions then If percentile is being reduced/considered for reduction for BDS course was further stated by the petitioner in the plea, while referring to an order dated 04.29.2022. Thereafter the top Court had asked Centre to consider lowering the percentile for BDS Courses.

Seeking the Centre’s response in a plea by filing a counter affidavit, noted by the Top Court specifying the above-mentioned information:

after deducting the admission granted for MBBS Courses (BDS Courses), the total number of Candidates.

in All India Quota and State Quota, the totals number of vacant seats.

in government colleges on one hand & private/deemed colleges on the other hand, the number of seats which are remaining.

the petition was filed through AOR Neeraj Shekhar and for the petitioner Advocate Shivam Singh appeared.

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Bank case rejected by Supreme Court against farmer

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The Supreme Court in the case Bank of Maharashtra & Or’s v Mohanlal Patidar observed an order given by the High Courts of directing the bank the OTS proposal given by a farmer who had availed a loan from the bank, the court further pulled up the Bank of Maharashtra for challenging the order.

The Bank shall complete remaining formalities and provide all consequential benefits flowing therefrom to the petitioners, the court further stated that it is needless to emphasize The OTS proposal given by the petitioners in both the cases shall be accepted by the Bank and ‘sanction letters’ be issued forthwith, the court allowed the petitioner plea.

The petitioner not only promptly challenged the said order, it is noteworthy that petitioner never acceded to the unilateral decision dated 25th August 2021 and even otherwise the letter dated 25th August 2021 is held to be illegal by us, clause-7 of policy cannot take away the fruits of OTS benefits, within two months from the date of issuance of order dated 22th September 2021, the petitioner filled the instant petition and further the court directed we are unable to give stamp of approval to the impugned orders and action of the Bank, observed by the bench comprising of Justice Sujoy Paul and the justice Dwarka Dhish Bansal while setting aside the impugned orders of the bank.

In an order dated 03.09.2021 it was stated and it showed that the petitioner was required to pay minimum 10% of the OTS amount within stipulated time and that he had deposited Rs.35,00,000/- out of Rs.36,50,000/- within the stipulated time, it was argued before the court by the counsel.

As full and final settlement of the dues, he will be required to deposit Rs.50.50 lakhs as he was informed by the Asset Recovery Branch of the Bank.

Whole law comes into place when a matter of farmers come as the down payment were also accepted and it was further stated by the bench in an oral remark You don’t file cases against the ones who loot 1000s of crores.

The respondent had obtained a loan and intended to pay it in terms of a One Time Settlement which was quantified as Rs 3650000/-. in furtherance thereof the respondent had deposited Rs 35,00,000 with the bank, in the above-mentioned matter.

The bank had miserably failed to accept the same and on the contrary, decided to enhance the compromise amount to Rs.50.50 lakhs unilaterally which was contrary to the OTS scheme, contended by the counsel further the counsel stated that the bank had miserably failed to accept the same and on the contrary, decided to enhance the compromise amount to Rs.50.50 lakhs unilaterally which was contrary to the OTS scheme.

The bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and the justice Surya Kant observed and remarked while dismissing the plea assailing Madhya Pradesh High Court’s order dated 02.21.2022 Such a litigation in Supreme Court will spoil the families of farmers financially, Go after bigger fish.

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