INCREASING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS: A FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE - The Daily Guardian
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INCREASING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS: A FEMINIST PERSPECTIVE

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In modern societies, the concept of maximized justice of individuals, especially that of the subaltern section of the society, comes in conflict with that of the interest of the state and societal perceptions of restrictive justice. It can be often seen that this restrictive form of justice favours the male-dominated society where rules are carefully formulated in their favour. Social media in no way offers a fair platform for women to express their individual opinion without fear. Violence is perpetrated against women through social media platforms like any other institution of society in order to ensure the dominance of men and patriarchal social values. Feminism addresses this character and intention of violence directed against women. Hence, it is considered to be an efficient theory to understand the reason and causes for increasing violence against women in social media.

With the advent of social media platforms, women worldwide have turned vulnerable to technological crimes like morphing, fake profiling, and cyber bullying. Though the provisions of IPC and provisions of the Information Technologies Act try to prevent these crimes to an extent, the efficiency of these laws is still a matter of doubt. Further, society trains women to ignore the cyber bullying that they face in social media. Thus, even these digital platforms have turned into a space of male dominance. Feminist activists who express their personal opinions have been hunted down by the rivals using social media platforms. They use social media as a means for character assassination, for making sexual remarks, and even to make rape threats. Thus, the choice of speech and expression of women are limited in social media. These offenses continue to increase regardless of strict actions on the part of police and the state. The offenders also prefer social media to do the same as it acts as a veil that protects their identity. Here the state not only fails to ensure women protection against cyber violence but also fails to ensure their freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Indian constitution. This inaction of the state forces the women to keep themselves out of these platforms or hide their identity while being on these platforms. 

Though cyber violence against women raises serious concerns regarding their freedom of speech and expression, it remains unaddressed by the legislature and judiciary. This might even be due to the reason of lack of awareness among women regarding their rights in cyberspace or might be due to the failure to understand the scope of Article 19 (1) (a) in cyberspace. Further, women who are forced to remain in silence can in no way be said to live with dignity. Thus, it not only leads to the violation of freedom of speech and expression but also leads to the violation of the right to dignity.

Indian constitution is based upon two pillars, one being the pillar of democracy and the other being the pillar of justice. Though one may feel that India as a democracy is technically fulfilling all the essential requirements of democracy, it remains a fact that democratic justice is still a forbidden fruit to the subaltern class of the society, especially to the women. As a democratic and civilized nation, the system at times fails to identify the existence of the justice pillar of the constitution. The Justice pillar of the constitution guarantees justice to all the sections of the society regardless of one’s class, caste, sex, or any other modes of affiliations. Justice can be said to be done only when what is due to the aggrieved is provided. When the law fails to provide victims of violence justice, it essentially proves the need to strengthen the justice pillar guaranteed by the constitution. The reason for the failure of the justice pillar of the constitution in providing justice to the subaltern class of the society, especially women, maybe due to the flawed base on which laws are based upon. One can find a solution to this existing problem by identifying the jurisprudence that can isolate and study the reason for continuing increase of crimes against women.

Article 21 guarantees one the right to enjoy his life in its fullest form. Mere survival will only provide for partial satisfaction of Article 21. When violence is used as a tool to pull out a section of the society from the public platforms, it not only leads to violation of the right to life but also leads to subsequent violations of Article 19 (1)(a) and Article 14 of the constitution. Usually, such violations are used as a tool to keep the underprivileged and especially the women of the society suppressed. Violence against women thus constitutes the major obstacle for achieving the true meaning of the term women’s human rights. The theoretical and legal framework of feminism recognizes physical, sexual, psychological, economic, and institutional violence against women. However, it is essential to understand the current definition of the term “violence against women” so as to clearly identify the extent of injustice done to them. Article 1 of Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women define violence as:

“Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women irrespective of their marital status on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in political, economic social cultural, civil or any other field.” 

The main reason for the increasing violence against women is due to the power inequalities that exist between women and men. Violence against women is thus not only a gendered act that violates the fundamental human rights of women, but it is also a means of discrimination. Women who are engaged in the field of politics, social services media, and academics are particularly vulnerable to the violence in social media as they challenge the existing notions of patriarchy. Social media is a very easily accessible platform for women in this technologically advanced world. It can also be used as a vital tool to turn the world’s attention towards the injustices that women are facing in society. Campaigns like that of #MeToo have shed light on the issue of abuse of women. While women are still underrepresented in all other institutions of the patriarchal society, social media offers them a more level playing ground allowing views of women from different backgrounds to be heard out loud in the society. However, like any other institution of patriarchal society, women are more likely to be subjects of cyber abuse on social media platforms. Social media is notorious for its wild nature, anonymity, and massive reach, which creates a multitude of hostile gender abuse.

Violence against women in social media curtails their fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression by discouraging them from involving equally in the public space. General macho aggressive tone and abuse content are so similar and widespread that they are credible evidence of severe backlash and rising hostility of women in cyberspace. Women are also thus hostile to meaningful sharing of the power. Rather than focusing on fighting back or teaching women to ignore violence, we need to look up for the reasons for such a high level of machismo online. Mere muttering about either patriarchy or approaches to control violence is of no use. The leading cause for abuse against women in social media platforms is that “men are effectively using the social systems to keep the women suppressed and even the system sides with such attempts.” Thus the law should be victim-oriented, and the focus should be on protecting the victim and not on punishing individual perpetrators for tackling the problem embedded in unequal sharing of gender power. Then only the constitutional pillar of justice will be strengthened.

India lacks a nationwide comprehensive study on the issue of violence against women in social media. India also has no dedicated legislation to deal with violence against women in social media. The two central legislations that remotely address this issue of violence against women in social media are the Indian Penal Code of 1860 and the Information Technology Act of 2000. However, it remains the fact that the objective of the IT Act is not to deal with these kinds of offenses but to reduce the risk of transacting online. Further, even when the cases are registered, the onus is put on women to ensure that their private information is not leaked. Victim blaming by law officials has become a usual scenario. Thus the victims are often reluctant to approach the police or other law enforcement officials seeking justice. Thus women in general and activists and professionals are particularly vulnerable to receiving sexist and misogynistic comments that often escalate to criminal abuse in the form of rape and death threats. Women who face online abuse often exit or suppress their further visibility online. Multitude of abusers works in tandem, and they are often referred to as troll army. Concerns about internet freedom further bring tension to this issue.

Sexism and misogyny in electronic media have increased dramatically during recent days. The daily newspaper report, which cites instances of social media platforms being used as an effective tool to perpetrate violence against women, raises genuine concerns. It shows how social media platforms act as an effective catalyst by providing a safe harbour for the perpetrators of violence. Social media is answerable for the massive increase in sex trafficking, pornography, revenge pornography, sexting, and cyber bullying. Women are easily targeted in social media for expressing their views. Thus social media has become a powerful vehicle for misogynistic threats and harassment, which subsequently result in the silencing of women. Online violence and abuse of women deny them the right to express themselves freely and equally without fear. A 2017 international study by Amnesty International provides that over more than 76% of women had experienced abuse or harassment in social media. Thus, violence against women in social media is a global problem. This demands the legal fraternity to examine the basic lacunas in the current jurisprudential understanding of such crimes and examine the same from the perspective of the abused, which in this case are the women.

Violence against women human rights defenders and activists in social media aims to damage their credibility as public workers by diminishing their voices and restricting their already limited public space. When one looks into the case studies, it is very evident that victims of violence in social media face damage to their freedom of speech and expression, economic, social, political, and cultural spheres of their life. As observed by Japleen Pasricha in her article Violence Online in India: Cybercrimes Against Women and Minorities on Social Media:

“What we have today is a flawed internet that reflects the offline world we live in where women and marginalize communities are abused, harassed, threatened, stalked, and violated daily it discourages marginalised groups from using the internet to access important news and discourages them from voicing their opinions.”

Here comes the relevance of a jurisprudential theory that will give one the right diagnoses of the cause for the increasing violence against women. Being the most vulnerable amongst the subaltern class in a society dominated by patriarchy, it is necessary to look into this issue through the eyes of a jurisprudential theory that protectively discriminates women from others. Feminism, in particular, appears to be the best diagnostic technique available for us to find the cause and suggest a remedy to this issue. Feminists view society as one that is dominated by men in which women are oppressed, and they seek to abolish patriarchy in order to “liberate everyone from an unjust society by challenging the existing societal norms and restrictions.” These include but are not limited to opposing the sexual objectification of women, violence against women, and challenging the concept of gender roles. Feminism diagnoses the root cause for the violence against women in patriarchal gender relations. This theory argues that a patriarchal society view women as someone other to the male norm and such have been systematically oppressed and marginalized by the social system which is in place. Even the justice system is designed in favour of men, giving them an unfair advantage and an extra edge over women. Thus the technology, which is supposed to be a liberating force which is having the power to resolve the existing gaps and disadvantages that women are facing in society, has, however, proved counterproductive by siding itself with the historical institutions of patriarchy. 

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ONCE CIRP IS ADMITTED AND MORATORIUM IS ORDERED THE SARFAESI PROCEEDINGS CANNOT BE CONTINUED AGAINST CORPORATE DEBTOR: SC

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The Supreme Court in the case Indian Overseas Bank vs RCM Infrastructure Ltd observed that once the CIRP is initiated and the moratorium is ordered, the proceedings under the SARFAESI Act cannot be continued.

the appellant Bank could not have continued the proceedings under the SARFAESI Act once the CIRP was initiated and the moratorium was ordered as Section 14(1)(c) of the IBC has an overriding effect interest created by the Corporate Debtor in respect of its property including any action under the SARFAESI Act is prohibited with respect to any other law, any action to foreclose, to recover or to enforce any security, the court observed in view of this provision.

It was further being observed and was stated clearly that once the CIRP is commenced, there is complete prohibition for any action created by the Corporate Debtor to foreclose, recover or enforce any security interest are prohibited with respect of its property. All the actions including any action under the SARFAESI Act to foreclose, to recover or to enforce any security interest are prohibited, after the CIRP initiate, the legislative point is clear at this, the bench observed while referring to Section 14 and Section 238 of the IBC.

The contentions made by bank: on 13th December 2018 and as such, and on 3rd January 2019 the admission of the petition by the learned NCLT would not affect the said sale as the sale in question was complete on its confirmation and further stated that it will not deprive the Bank from receiving the said money in pursuance to the sale which has already been completed, merely because a part of the payment was received subsequently after initiation of CIRP.

under Section 10 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, an application was filled by the Corporate Debtor before NCLT. On 03.01.2019, the NCLT admitted the petition and a moratorium was also notified the auction was continued by the bank the auction proceedings and accepted the balance 75% of the bid amount and completed the sale, even after that. The NCLT passed an order setting aside the sale, while allowing the application filled by the Corporate Debtor and the appeal filled by the Bank was dismissed by the Bank and thereafter the bank approached the Apex Court. As to recover the public money availed by the Corporate Debtor, an E-­auction notice came to be issued by the Bank.

The bench comprising of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and the justice B R Gavai observed that in respect of its property including any action under the SARFAESI Act is prohibited in such a situation, any action to foreclose, to recover or to enforce any security interest created by the Corporate Debtor.

The contentions made by bank: on 13th December 2018 and as such, and on 3rd January 2019 the admission of the petition by the learned NCLT would not affect the said sale as the sale in question was complete on its confirmation and further stated that it will not deprive the Bank from receiving the said money in pursuance to the sale which has already been completed, merely because a part of the payment was received subsequently after initiation of CIRP.

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Supreme Court pulls up the state of Kerala for challenging the seniority of upper division clerk

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The Supreme Court in the case The State of Kerala and Or’s. V. Subeer N.S. And Anr observed assailing the Kerala High Court’s order of affirming the seniority of an upper division clerk for filling a Special Leave Petition pulled up the State of Kerala.

The Government lost sight of these aspects while issuing Annexure-A13 order ratifying Annexure-A10 decision of the Director of Public Instruction on Annexure-A5 complaint was undertaken by the Director of Public Instruction, who has no authority to take a decision invoking Rule 27B of Part II KS & SSR based on the review of the Seniority the Director of Public Instruction and the Government while issuing the impugned orders, none of these aspects wee considered to Annexure-A3 final seniority list also by any of the aggrieved persons except a bogus complaint submitted as Annexure A5, that too almost 3 years after the finalization of the seniority list and there was no objection and further there was no objections to the rank and seniority assigned to the applicant in the provisional seniority list. the said seniority is finalized after publishing a provisional seniority list and inviting objections if any to the same as early as on 8th March 2009., the bench observed While affirming the view by KAT.

The said mistake was brought to the notice of the authorities, necessary corrective action was taken and the applicant’s seniority was reassigned based on his eligibility on the part of the controlling officer it is only by a mistake that he was granted promotion and was assigned the rank in the seniority list, the counsel said to further persuade the bench.

The Bench of Justice Chandrachud remarked that if the counsel feels there is an error you must rectify the error correctly and there was no fraud on his part and all this must be due on a reasonable dispatch.

The bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud further observed and noted when the matter was called upon hearing before the bench that the State is here challenging it the bench further remarked by saying that why don’t you do something better? Build schools, roads or infrastructure as one upper division clerk has got seniority.

respondent’s seniority was revised to the date on which he rejoined duty after the leave and the respondent was on leave without allowance at the time of his promotion as U.D Clerk, the counsel appearing for the State contended before the Court.

The Bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and the justice Surya Kant orally remarked while dismissing the SLP against the order dated 01.17.2022., We are not a court of law but a court of justice as well.

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A PLEA IN SUPREME COURT CHALLENGES THE CHANGED NEET-SS 2022 EXAM PATTERN

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The Supreme Court in the case Dr Richa Verma v. National Board of Examination observed the changed examination pattern which would now be comprising of 150 questions from the general i.e., the basic component of the primary feeder broad specialty subject and from all sub- specialty/systems/component of that primary feeder broad specialty subject. A plea filled in the Supreme Court by MD Radiation Oncologists and MD Anaesthesiologists NEET SS 2022 aspirant.

the petitioners have sought issuance of directions to restrain the NBE from excluding / MD Radiotherapy from the eligible feeder specialties for the super specialty course of DM Medical Oncology for NEET SS 2022 and have further sought for restoring the scheme/pattern for the exam further the petitioner deleting the MD Radiation Oncology, against this backdrop.

On 05.10.2021 the Central Government had told the Court that the revised pattern will be implemented only from next year and it may be noted that over the eleventh-hour changes brought to the NEET-SS 2021 pattern after facing the harsh criticism from the Supreme Court.

The petition further states that they will have to compete with candidates who have 100% questions from their postgraduate syllabus/ broad specialty as the new examination scheme is making some candidates write a paper which has no questions from their postgraduate broad specialty.

particularly in favor of MD Medicine in so far as the choice of options is far greater vis-a-vis the choices available to either MD Radiation Oncology or MD Anaesthesia, the pattern is not just a waste of time and effort for all those who have prepared for Critical Care but also grossly biased against few broad specialties and of the other four post-graduate branches there will be no questions from broad specialties.

This is complete waste of time, resources and effort put by the candidates who have been preparing for a super speciality subject for years as it is arbitrarily, illogical, highly partial and unreasonable, while terming the change in pattern, the contentions made by the petitioner.

the new pattern was forcing all the candidates from the broad specialties to write a single paper which will have 100% questions from General Medicine, stated by the petitioner. Furthermore, contending that the erstwhile pattern had a paper with 40% mixed questions from all the broad specialties and 60% questions from Critical Care (i.e., the super-specialty subject) which had ensured a level playing field.

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THE CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS UNDER SECTION 482 OF THE CRPC CANNOT BE QUASHED MERELY ON THE GROUND THAT NO USEFUL PURPOSE WILL BE SERVED: SUPREME COURT

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The Supreme Court in the case Satish Kumar Jatav vs State of Uttar Pradesh observed that while by prolonging the proceedings of the case, the criminal proceedings cannot be quashed. As when a clear case is made for the offence alleged on the ground that no useful purpose will be served.

under Sections 307, 504, 506 of the IPC and 9 Section 3(10)(15) of the Act, the serious allegations for the offences were made and while considering the application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and quashing the criminal proceedings for the aforesaid offences, the High Court ought to have been more cautious and circumspect. on how the order passed by the learned Magistrate summoning the accused was wrong and/or erroneous, has not at all being allowed by the High Court. the application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and has quashed the criminal proceedings is deprecated in the manner in which the High Court has disposed of further the High Court has observed in the proceedings of the case that no useful purpose will be served. The aforesaid cannot be a good ground and/or a ground at all to quash the criminal proceedings when a clear case was made out for the offences alleged, appeared while quashing the criminal proceedings by the High Court even for the impugned order passed, the bench overserved while allowing the appeal.

The application under Section 482 Cr.P.C The manner in which the High Court has disposed and quashed the criminal proceedings is not appreciated at all Furthermore the Court has emphasized that the High Court must pass a speaking and reasoned order in such matters. The same has been set aside by the High Court in a most cursory and casual manner.

The allegations made against the accused persons and even on the legality and validity of the order passed by the Magistrate summoning the accused, has not been discussed by the High Court the Court noted.

The appellant contended that there are no reasons whatsoever have been assigned while quashing the criminal proceedings and further the appellant contended that there is no independent application of mind by the High Court. The respondent defended the impugned order, on the other hand before the Apex Court.

the Allahabad High Court quashed the criminal proceedings merely opining that “that no useful purpose shall be served by prolonging the proceedings of the case, while allowing the petition filled by the accused challenging this order and the offences punishable under Sections 307, 504, 506 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 3(10)(15) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the accused to face the trial the Magistrate summoned the accused in the present case.

The bench comprising of Justice MR Shah and the justice BV Nagarathna observed and reiterated under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that a High Court must pass a speaking and reasoned order while disposing petitions.

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Nexus between accused’s negligence and victim’s death has to be established under Section 304A IPC: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court in the case Nanjundappa vs State of Karnataka observed that would not apply to a criminal case, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur stricto sensu.

when there is no report of a technical expert to corroborate the prosecution story as The Appellants therefore are entitled to be given the benefit of doubt furthermore It is even more unbelievable that Appellant no. 2 came in contact with the same voltage and managed to get away with a few abrasions.

when such current passed through the Television set, it did not blast and melt the wiring of the entire house and the court further added that it sounds completely preposterous that a telephone wire carried 11KV current without melting on contact.

While evaluating such evidence the jury should bear in mind that inference of guilt should be the only reasonable inference from the facts as In case of circumstantial evidence, there is a risk of jumping to conclusions in haste However the conviction of the accused persons seems wholly unjustified against the weight of the evidence adduced, in the present case. The Court also referred to the case of Syad Akbar Vs. State of Karnataka in which this Court proceeded on the basis that doctrine of res ipsa loquitur stricto sensu would not apply to a criminal case as its applicability in an action for injury by negligence is well known, observed by the court in the present case.

The court noted that there is no eye witness to say conclusively that the Appellants were in fact executing the work at the place alleged and further the court notice that no report or even inspection was conducted by a technical expert to assess the veracity of the averments made by the complainants to suggest that it was due to the alleged acts of the Appellants that the incident took place. the allegations against the Appellants are highly technical in nature, notice by the court on perusing the evidence on record.

On 21th November 2003 at 1.00p.m. the deceased was watching TV in his house. Noticing a sudden sound in the TV, the deceased got up to separate the dish wire, the TV connection wire and the telephone wire, which were entwined together, he felt an electric shock and his right hand was burnt and as a result of this shock he succumbed to death at that point of time it was found that the said incident took place because of the negligent act on the part of the accused, the supervisor (an employee in the telephone department ) and daily wage worker employed by him, as it was found out in the investigation. under Section 304A read with Section 34 IPC was upheld by the Karnataka High Court, the appellant is convicted.

the bench comprising of CJI NV Ramana, Justice Krishna Murari and the justice Hima Kohli observed under Section 304A of Indian Penal Code for causing death by negligence, while acquitting two persons that prosecution has to firstly prove negligence and then establish direct nexus between negligence of the accused and the death of the victim, for bringing home the guilt of the accused.

The Court also referred to the case of Syad Akbar Vs. State of Karnataka in which this Court proceeded on the basis that doctrine of res ipsa loquitur stricto sensu would not apply to a criminal case as its applicability in an action for injury by negligence is well known, observed by the court in the present case.

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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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