PRISONERS SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE: TIME TO AMEND THE RPA ACT - The Daily Guardian
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PRISONERS SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE: TIME TO AMEND THE RPA ACT

Raju Kumar

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INTRODUCTION

India is considered as the world’s “largest democracy” country. Election is celebrated as a festival in India, which can be evident from the recent incidents where the election rallies were conducted even during the COVID times. On every 25th January, we celebrate this day as ‘National Voters Day’. However, for a long time, we have denied the most fundamental right of suffrage to almost 4 lakh eligible voters. According to the ‘Prisoner Statistics India, 2018’, mentioned by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), shows a total of 4,68,094 prisoners out of which 3,25,600 are those who were undertrials and 1,40,000 are convicts lodged across 1,339 prisons in India. The prisoners have been restricted from voting under Section 62 (5) of the Representation of the People Act, (RPA)1951, which reads as “No person shall vote at any election if he is confined in a prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment or transportation or otherwise, or is in the lawful custody of the police: Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall apply to a person subjected to preventive detention under any law for the time being in force”. Ironically, during the Assembly elections 2016, one in three MLAs have a criminal record. Interestingly, no law prohibits it. 

It has been more than 70 years since the right to vote has been denied to prisoners. In this article, we will see why the legislation should amend the RPA Act. 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND THE JUDICIAL APPROACH.

RPA act came into force in the year 1951 with the aim to provide the norms, rules, and regulations of the free and fair elections to the respective houses of parliament and to the houses of the legislature of each state. Further, it also talks about the disqualifications and qualifications for the membership of those houses. Moreover, it also mentions the corrupt offenses and practices in connection with the offenses which are committed by some of the politicians which may include bribery or distribution of liquor, etc. against the votes.     

Supreme Court of India, in the case of Anukul Chandra Pradhan v. Union of India (AIR 1997 SC 2814), rejected the petition seeking the right to vote for prisoners. The court while giving the judgment observed why such a ban was in place because of the following reasons (i.) Resource crunch as permitting every person in prison also to vote would require the deployment of a much larger police force and greater security arrangements. (ii) A person who is in prison as a result of his own conduct cannot claim equal freedom. (iii) To keep persons with criminal backgrounds away from the election scene.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST 

The major arguments which are against this right are: – (i) Civil death should be part of the punishment. (ii) Prisoners have broken the social contract and have voluntarily put themselves outside the social order (iii)It Preserves the purity of the ballot box (iv.) Government has an obligation to those who obey laws to punish those who break laws (v.) To disallow those who have broken laws to engage in the political process shows how much respect society has for laws (vi.) Powerful moral symbol from the society that the convict’s behavior is unacceptable (vii) It will act as a deterrent. 

ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR 

The major arguments which are in favor of this right are: – (i) Civil death is outdated. (ii) Social contract cannot be negotiated away (iii) Undermines the democratic polity by denying the vote to a section of the population. (iv) Elected should not be allowed to decide the electorate. (v) Allowing convicts to vote will encourage respect for the law. (vi) Symbolic statement to the convict that they are acceptable. (vii) Allowing prisoners to vote will be a lesson in civic education. 

PRISONERS’ RIGHT TO VOTE: OTHER COUNTRY SCENARIO 

Although, there is no official data that can indicate a clear pattern on the right to vote for prisoners around the globe. However, a report by BBC (2012) lists 18 European countries which have given the right to vote to the prisoners. In addition to this, Slovenia has also given the right to all its prisoners to vote (Liberty 2016). Interestingly, Irish Government in the year 2006, gave the right to vote even without any public outcry demanding it, without any media controversy, or judicial decision. By doing so, Ireland adhered to its human rights commitments learning through the best international civil rights practices of providing the right to vote to all citizens including prisoners. Moreover, countries such as Iran, Israel, and Pakistan have also provided the right to vote to their prisoners. 

Moreover, In the African Continent countries such as South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, and Botswana have also provided their prisoners with the right to vote in elections. However, there are many other countries that impose some restrictions. For Instance, the United Kingdom (UK) and New Zealand. In Germany, those prisoners are exceptions from the voting right who have been convicted of terrorism charges. Further, in Australia, those prisoners who are exempted from their voting rights have been sentenced to a minimum of three years. Interestingly, countries like France don’t impose a default ban on the prisoners’ right to vote. Rather it depends upon the court on a case-to-case basis. Moreover, in countries like Italy and some states in the US, those who have been convicted can lose their right to vote even after their release. 

WHY INDIA SHOULD GIVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE TO PRISONERS 

The arguments against prisoners’ right to vote can be dismissed majorly on the two grounds. One is that whenever a person is subject to confinement, it is a result of imprisonment in itself and no additional punishment should be inflicted on that person. Another major argument is that the purpose of prison is not merely “Punishment” in the physical context, but the aim of the prison is to reform that person and prepare to rehabilitate and reintegrate into society. 

The United Nations’ Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules), in 1955 had already defined the purpose of imprisonment in its articles 57 and 58, and what treatment must be given to the prisoners in its articles 60 and 61. Article 57 of the rule reads as “Imprisonment and other measures which result in cutting off an offender from the outside world are afflictive by the very fact of taking from the person the right of self-determination by depriving him of his liberty. Therefore, the prison system shall not, … aggravate the suffering inherent in such a situation”.

Further article Article 58 states that, “The purpose and justification of a sentence of imprisonment or a similar measure deprivative of liberty is ultimately to protect society against crime. This end can only be achieved if the period of imprisonment is used to ensure, so far as possible, that upon his return to society the offender is not only willing but able to lead a law-abiding and self-supporting life”.  

Moreover, Article 60 states that, “The regime of the institution should seek to minimize any differences between prison life and life at liberty which tend to lessen the responsibility of the prisoners or the respect due to their dignity as human beings”.

By denying the right to vote to the prisoners, India violates the above-said Provisions. 

VOTING RIGHTS OF THE PRISONERS: THE WAY AHEAD

India is the most democratic country in the world. However, it has denied the Prisoners’ right to vote for a long period of time. RPA act imposes restrictions on the same, which has been discussed above. No one can deny from this fact that elections give an opportunity to speak about our disappointments and problems with the state of affairs in the country, while also taking the opportunity to campaign for our demands. Whenever we deny the right to vote of the prisoners, we push the prisoner further away from society. A citizen without having the right to vote has no existence in a democracy. Prisoners are mostly dependent on others to become their voice and raise issues on their behalf. Hence, one direct impact which prisoners’ right to vote will bring is the attention from policymakers regarding the needs of prisoners. Apart from this point that the prisoners have a small population as compared to the size of other communities, even then a moral responsibility would stand for vote seekers and subsequent winners of power to be responsive towards demands of the prisoners. Another aspect we should keep in mind is that laws are made and changed with different governments, while rights have been enshrined as fundamental. Change is the nature of the world, what we consider a crime today, might be legal tomorrow. Hence, Hence, a right as fundamental as the right to vote, should not be dependent on the status of imprisonment or conviction. It is the time when the Parliament should come forward to amend the RPA Act, and the right to vote should be granted to Prisoners too.  

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NCLT BAR ASSOCIATION’S PLEA CHALLENGING 3-YEAR TENURE OF NCLT MEMBERS IN JUNE: A PLEA IN SUPREME COURT

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The Supreme Court in the case National Company Law Tribunal Bar Association Vs Union Of India observed in a petition filed by the NCLT Bar Association challenging the notification of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs fixing the tenure of the members of National Company Law Tribunal as 3 years, while adjourning the hearing.

It was being argued before the court that the discharge of full five years is necessary for Tribunals to functions effectively and efficiently and by the time the members achieve the required knowledge, efficiency and expertise and a term of three years is very short as one term will be over.

On April 5, a notice is being issued on the petition to the Centre by the bench comprising of Justice L Nageswara Rao.

Further it was argued that the Notification is contrary to the judgments passed by the Supreme Court in Madras Bar Association v. Union of India & Anr. (2010) and Madras Bar Association v. Union of India & Anr. (2021) The Court held that the term of members should be 5 years. It was also being observed in the Madras Bar Association Case in which the Supreme Court observed that a longer term was necessary to ensure independence and the Court disapproved the shorter term.

It was being argued by the Association that the said notification is contrary as according to Section 413 of the Companies Act, 2013 which clearly prescribes the term of members for 5 years and even also the early expiration of the tenure will create a void and will add to the pendency of cases before Tribunals.

The Committee is considering all aspects of the matter including the verification report, assessment of suitability etc As on June 20, one of the members is due to retire and it was being submitted by Solicitor General the matter can be considered on June 15.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that a meeting was held by the committee On April 20.

The term prescribed by Companies Act, 2013 is 5 years was being submitted before the court by Senior Advocate Tushar Malhotra, Appearing for the Petitioner.

The Bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and the Justice Bela M Trivedi observed deferred the hearing to June 15 as the bench was being told that a committee chaired by the Chief Justice of India and consisting of Justice Surya Kant and the Secretary of the MCA is holding a meeting to deliberate on the term of 23 NCLT members appointed in 2019 by the Solicitor General of India.

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UNDER COMMERCIAL COURTS ACTS, SC ORDERS EXCLUDING PERIOD FROM 15.03.2020 TILL 28.02.2022 AS PRESCRIBED UNDER THE ACT

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The Supreme Court in the case Babasaheb Raosaheb Kobarne vs Pyrotek India Private Limited observed with respect to the limitation prescribed under the Commercial Courts Act, 2015. The Court observed that for the purposes of limitation the period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 is also applicable.

In an order dated 10.01.2022, The Supreme Court had issued the following directives:

It is directed from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 the period shall extend stand excluded for the purposes of limitation as may be prescribed under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings and the order dated 23rd March, 2020 is restored and in continuation of the subsequent orders dated 8th March 2021, 27th April 2021 and 23rd September 2021.

It shall become available with effect from 1st March 2022 Consequently, the balance period of limitation remaining as on 3rd October 2021, if any

In the event the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from 01.03.2022 is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply and in cases where the limitation during the period between 15th March 2020 till 28th Feb 2022, would have expired all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from 01.03.2022, notwithstanding the actual balance period of limitation remaining.

The Sections which prescribe the outer limits i.e., within which the court or tribunal can condone delay and the period(s) of limitation for instituting proceeding includes Section 12 A of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 and provisos (b) and (c) of Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 and as prescribed Sections 23 (4) and 29A of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 including the termination of proceedings and any other laws and it is further being clarified that the period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 shall also stand excluded in computing the periods, The court observed while referring to the case Centaur Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. And Anr. v. Stanford Laboratories Pvt. Ltd

Therefore, the bench directed the Trial Court to take on record the written statement filled by the appellant-respondent.

The Commercial Courts Act, 2015 being a Special Law, the said order shall also be applicable with respect to the limitation prescribed under the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 also and the period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022, in the view of this matter and for the purposes of limitation as may be prescribed under any General or SPECIAL LAWS shall have to be excluded as may be prescribed under any General or SPECIAL LAWS with respect to all quasi-judicial or judicial proceedings.

The Bench comprising of Justice MR Shah and the Justice BV Nagarathna observed while allowing the appeal filled by the defendant the purpose of filing the written statement and ought to have permitted to take the written statement on record as the High Court ought to have excluded the aforesaid period.

In the event the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from 01.03.2022 is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply and in cases where the limitation during the period between 15th March 2020 till 28th Feb 2022, would have expired all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from 01.03.2022, notwithstanding the actual balance period of limitation remaining.

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Supreme Court expresses disapproval of judicial officer for not releasing accused despite order granting bail

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The Supreme Court in the case Gopal Verma v State of UP observed the recently deprecated act of a judicial officer on the release of the accused despite Court’s order of directing his release against whom FIR was registered u/s 498A, 304B of IPC and section 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act.

Since October, 2020 the appellant has been in custody and the bench had granted bail to the accused after being apprised of the fact that the charge of the accused was as under Sections 304B and 498A, Indian Penal Code, 1860

In December, 2021, the charge sheet was filed and as yet only one witness had been examined whereas the prosecution had cited 64 witnesses, the counsel argued before the Court.

the bench while considering criminal appeal assailing Allahabad High Court’s order of refusing to grant bail to the accused on 17.05.202, the bench granted bail to the appellant on terms and conditions to the satisfaction of the Trial court and upon hearing learned counsel for both the parties.

The bench comprising of Justice SK Kaul and the justice MM Sundresh while observing in their order said:

the appellant was not released and that should have been the matter of concern by the trial court as from December 2021, only one witness has been examined rather than what is sought to be raised ad the bench have no hesitation in adding those provisions to the order but don’t appreciate the conduct of the judicial officer whereby despite the orders of this Court.

on the pretext that while the order mentions the charges under Sections 304B and 498A, IPC it does not mention Sections 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, The Judicial Officer refused to release the accused.

The bench further added that the bench has no hesitation in adding those provisions to the order but the conduct of the judicial officer won’t be appreciated despite the order of this courts the appellant was not released.

Further the court added that only one witness has been examined by the trial Court from December 2021 and that should have been the matter of concern rather than what is sought to be raised by the trial Court.

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The Unresolved Issue of AMP Expenses in Transfer Pricing – India

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One of the most perplexing yet significant concepts within the Transfer Pricing Dispute Resolution is with regards to the Advertisement, Marking and Promoting (AMP) Expenses that are drawn by the Indian Entities of a company for the products of its foreign Associate Entity. This concept has been surrounded by controversy and confusion since its inception within the practice and study of Transfer Pricing and this is because of the absence of any statutes or regulations dealing with it and its jurisprudence is built purely on the judicial precedents that have been delivered by the Tribunals and High Courts, however, interestingly even the courts appear to have a tough time dealing with issues pertaining to AMP expenses.

The origin of this dispute can be traced back to the United States Tax Court in the case of United States v. DHL Corporation, after the introduction of the US Regulations of 1968 which introduced an important concept pertaining to “Developer Assister Rules” as per which the entity which has incurred the AMP Expenses (Developer) would be treated as the economic owner of the brand which is being marketed even though it might not be its legal owner, and the legal owner of the Brand i.e., the Assister need not pay any compensation for the use of the brand by the developer. These regulations were grounded on the notion of equitable ownership of a brand on the basis of the fiscal expenditure and the risk incurred by them, and the legal ownership of the brand has not to be taken as one of the criteria for ascertaining who would be considered as the developer of the Brand or the intangible property in question.

However, it is pertinent to consider that the Transfer Pricing Rules in America create a clear distinction between “Routine” and “Non-Routine” expenditure, which is essential to understand the issue of the monetary remuneration that is given to the domestic associated entity for marketing intangibles. In DHL, the court framed the Bright Line Test (BLT) which created a distinction between the routine and non-routine expenses that were incurred by the companies. According to the Bright Line Test, it is necessary to ascertain the non-routine expenses that have been incurred i.e., for marketing purposes in contrast to the routine expenses that the incurred by the brand’s distributor for product promotion while ascertaining the economic ownership of the intangible in question.

The issue pertaining to AMP expenses was first dealt with in the case of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. v. Additional Commissioner of Income Tax [(2010) 328 ITR 210] before the Delhi High Court, where the Bench held that the Advertisement, Marketing and Promoting Expenses will be considered as an international transaction only in cases where it exceeds the costs and expenses that have been incurred by comparable domestic entities which are similarly situated. However, the Delhi High Court’s judgement was remanded following which it was challenged before the Honourable Supreme Court in Maruti Suzuki v. Additional Commissioner of Income Tax [2011] 335 ITR 121 (SC) where it was overturned by the Apex Court.

In LG Electronics India Pvt. Ltd. v Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax [(2013) 140 ITD 41 (Delhi) (SB)], the Delhi Bench of the ITAT referred to the precedent by the Delhi High Court in Maruti Suzuki and held that the as per Chapter X of the Income Tax Act, 1961 the Assessing Officer has the right to make an adjustment for Transfer Pricing vide application of the Bright Line Test in issues pertaining to the AMP expenses that have been drawn by the Indian Entity, since this would fall within the ambit of an international transaction, and this would be deduced from the proportionally higher AMP expenses that were incurred by the Domestic Entity in contrast to two similarly situated domestic entities. The Revenue’s understanding that the AMP expenses which are incurred by the Domestic Associated Entity will inevitably result in a benefit to the Foreign Associated Entity in terms of increasing its brand value along with the lack of lack adequate compensation to the latter for the same, is the primary reason behind its attempt to bring all expenses pertaining to advertising, marketing and promotion within the ambit of the country’s Transfer Pricing Laws, thus it takes the job of applying an Arm’s Length Prince on such transactions which are used for AMP and the test that is most widely employed for this purpose is the Bright Line Test which used by the court in the case of LG Electronics, where it looked at the Bright Line, which is a line drawn within the total expenditure for the purposes of AMP which signified the average spending for the same purpose by comparable entities and any amount which would exceed the line would be considered as an international transaction which would represent the expenses that were drawn by the domestic entity for the building the brand value of the Foreign Associated Entity’s product.

The precedent in Sony Ericsson proved to be a gamechanger wherein the court went to the extent of overruling all of the abovementioned judgements with regards to whether AMP Expenses by the Domestic Entity would be considered as an internal transaction. In this case, the court did not face any issues in determining whether it would constitute an international transaction since the entities had submitted that the international between the Foreign Associated Entity and the Domestic Entity also included the money for the purposes of AMP. While the Revenue had relied on the precedent in LG Electronics to show cause for their application of the Bright Line Test in determining the part of the expenses towards AMP that would be considered as an international transaction. However, the court reject the Revenue’s submissions and reasoning while holding that the Bright Line Test did not have legislative or statutory backing and thus the precedent in LG Electronics was overruled with regards to the use and applicability of the Bright Line Test for ascertaining international transactions since this would be considered as an outcome of judicial legislation.

After the precedent in Sony Ericsson there has been a drastic change in the judicial approach towards issues pertaining to AMP expenses within the realm of transfer pricing. However, since the Court has failed to elaborate upon what would constitute an international transaction in Sony Ericsson, the courts and tribunals have gone back to the phase of drowning in confusion to deal with cases pertaining to AMP expenses and have struggled with determining a proper method for the same.

A transfer pricing adjustment can only be made when it has met the statutory framework of highlighting the existence of an international transaction, determination of the price and fixing an ALP in compliance with Section 92 C of the Income Tax Act. While the element of the international transaction was not disputed in all of the aforementioned cases, the primary issue was with regards what would constitute an international a transaction. The definition of an international transaction as per the Income Tax Act includes the parties to have an agreement between themselves for such a transaction and a shared understanding with regards to the transaction and its purpose. In LG Electronics and other cases prior to Sony Ericson, the primary criteria that were adopted by the courted in ascertaining international transactions and unsaid understanding, were on the basis of proportionally higher expenses with reference to comparable i.e. the courts had adopted the Bright Line Test which had been deemed incompatible with the Income Tax Act of 1961

At a glance at most of the cases pertaining to this issue, the Revenue has resorted to proving the existence of international transactions on the basis of the Bright Line Test, and most of the revenue’s judgements also fail to highlight or prove the same, otherwise except for the unique cases in which the Assessee Domestic Associated Entity and the Foreign Associated Entity had a written agreement between the two of them. This issue is purely because of the lack of any regulatory or statutory provisions within the Income Tax Act, and this was also brought to attention by the court in Maruti Suzuki(2011). In the absence of Statutory provisions and the inability to apply the Bright Line Test because of the precedent in Sony Ericsson, it becomes impossible for the revenue in such cases, especially in the absence of a written or express agreement between the Domestic and Foreign Associated Entities, where it is forced to assess the Domestic Entity’s subjective intentions however this method was also rejected in Maruti Suzuki(2011).

While the decision in Sony Ericsson has left the Revenue and Courts baffled with regards to the method, they should use to ascertain international transactions in matters pertaining to AMP expenses, hopefully, this will finally come to a conclusion since it is currently being heard by the Country’s Apex Court. It is of the utmost importance for the Apex Court to elaborate upon the method and procedure that must be followed by the revenue in determining cases pertaining AMP expenses and issue guidelines for the same.

The origin of this dispute can be traced back to the United States Tax Court in the case of United States v. DHL Corporation, after the introduction of the US Regulations of 1968 which introduced an important concept pertaining to “Developer Assister Rules” as per which the entity which has incurred the AMP Expenses (Developer) would be treated as the economic owner of the brand which is being marketed even though it might not be its legal owner, and the legal owner of the Brand i.e., the Assister need not pay any compensation for the use of the brand by the developer. These regulations were grounded on the notion of equitable ownership of a brand on the basis of the fiscal expenditure and the risk incurred by them, and the legal ownership of the brand has not to be taken as one of the criteria for ascertaining who would be considered as the developer of the Brand or the intangible property in question.

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INSURANCE COMPANY SHOULD NOT SEEK DOCUMENTS WHICH ARE BEYOND THE CONTROL OF INSURED TO FURNISH, SAYS SUPREME COURT WHILE SETTLING CLAIM

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The Supreme Court in the case Gurmel Singh vs Branch Manager, National Insurance Co. Ltd observed that due to circumstances which is beyond the insured control and which the insured is not in a position to produce while settling the claims, the insurance company need not be too technical and ask for documents.

While settling the claim, it is found that the insurance companies are refusing the claim on flimsy grounds and/ or technical grounds further which the insured is not in a position to produce due to circumstances beyond his control, While settling the claims, the insurance company should not be too technical and ask for the document As the insurance company ought not to have become too technical and ought not to have refused to settle the claim on non­ submission of the duplicate certified copy of certificate of registration as due to the circumstances beyond his control, the appellant could not produce on payment of huge sum by way of premium and the Truck was stolen, once there was a valid insurance. As the appellant was asked to produce the documents which are beyond the control of the appellant to produce and furnish those documents.

An amount of Rs. 12 lakhs along with interest @ 7 per cent from the date of submitting the claim, the appellant is entitled to the insurance and to pay the litigation cost of Rs. 25,000 to the appellant, the court held while allowing the appeal.

the insurance company has become too technical while settling the claim and the insurance company has acted arbitrarily, observed by the court in this case.

As when an appellant produced the registration particulars which has been provided by the RTO and further the appellant had produced the photocopy of certificate of registration and was just being solely on the ground that the original certificate of registration i.e., which has been stolen is not produced and the non-settlement of claim can be said to be deficiency in service. Therefore, the Insurance companies are refusing the claim on flimsy grounds and/or technical grounds, the facts and circumstances of the case. Furthermore, the appellant had tried his best to get the duplicate certified copy of certificate of registration of the Truck. the insurance company must have received the copy of the certificate of registration, even at the time of taking the insurance policy and getting the insurance.

the appellant has not produced either the original certificate of registration or even the duplicate certified copy of certificate of registration issued by the RTO, mainly on the ground the insurance company has not been settled in an appeal before the Apex Court. The bench further noted that the photocopy 5 of certificate of registration and other registration particulars as provided by the RTO, was being produced by the appellant.

The bench comprising of Justice MR Shah and the justice BV Nagarathna observed and contended that, in many cases, it is found that the insurance companies are refusing the claim on flimsy grounds and/or technical grounds.

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Supreme Court seeks response of Union and states on plea for guidelines to prevent sexual harassment of students in schools

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The Supreme Court in the case Nakkheeran Gopal v UOI & Or’s observed that any kind of harassment including the sexual harassment being carried out at educational institutions The Court while allowing the writ petition issued a notice seeking protection of children.

The plea stated that there is a vicarious liability upon the State Government to implement any law for the well-being and also for the protection of the children in their respective states.

the petition states that to implement any law for the well-being of children and also for the protection of the children in their respective states, it is the responsibility of the State Government and the plea further mentioned that it the vicarious liability of the State Government and It will be considered the lapse on the part of the State Government if there is Any lapse on the part of the educational institution as it remains a crucial department in the State Government With respect to the relevant organization, including Educational Institution, stated in the plea before the court.

The petitioner argued that till date no specific mandate or the law or the guidelines have been issued by the respective States and inspire of alarming rate in the offence against the children especially at school premises.

The petition further states with this regard that children can also themselves be coerced into becoming tools in furtherance of illegal and dangerous activities and under this circumstance the Increased online time can lead to grooming and both online and offline exploitation.

It is essential to ensure the constitutional right to dignity of children provided under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, while protecting children against sexual abuse when they are exposed to predators, which is compromised, stated by the petitioner in the plea.

The petition states that it indicates immediate concerns and measures for intervention are of paramount significance and further the court stated that this calls for the implementation of legislative actions and community-based interventions through virtual media to prevent a further rise in the statistics and to ensure child protection and when the safety of the children is at stake especially at educational institutions which is supposedly to be the safest shelter, and that too during this tough time. As it is necessary to Protecting the basic rights of children and is of utmost concern as otherwise there will be a posting of a substantial threat to the future and this would leave a regressive impression.

It is the fundamental right of the children under Constitution of India to engage and study in an environment when he/ she feels safe from any kind of emotional or physical abuse and is free, further being argued in the petition.

The bench comprising of Justice Indira Banerjee and the Justice CT Ravikumar observed and sought responses of the Union and the States for guidelines for the educational institutions for the protection of the children and also for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of Children at the educational institutions.

It is essential to ensure the constitutional right to dignity of children provided under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, while protecting children against sexual abuse when they are exposed to predators, which is compromised, stated by the petitioner in the plea.

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