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THE LAW OF OBSCENITY IN INDIA

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INTRODUCTION

We are living in the 20th century, in the era of developing thoughts and new culture, with the people having new and old traditions with their different culture and sentiments that makes us a member of society. A unique gesture of a person to present himself or his work makes someone or the whole society uncomfortable. But is the gesture really violating someone’s sentiments or it’s just a unique or new thought to express himself or his work? This difference in thinking makes the word obscenity obscure, so it is too difficult to know what really Obscene and what is not.

Obscenity is a global and complex issue because it involves other related issues like decency and morality which varies from society to society. What is immoral for one may not be so for others. With regard to the meaning and definition of obscenity, it is difficult to give any precise and particular definition in view of cultural, religious and social diversity in the society. It is true that the definition of word obscenity would change from time to time. What is obscene in the present day should not be treated as obscene in the future. Indian laws and Supreme Court as well could not articulate the meaning of obscenity. Indian Courts chosen to adopt the Hicklin test in starting but then it deviated to some other test with time to define obscenity. In this project I will try to figure out the different tests laid down by Supreme Court of India in catena of judgements to define obscenity. I will also try to find out what are the different statutory provisions that deals with the issue of obscenity. The research is based on doctrinal research methodology and collected material from different websites, books and journal.

EVOLUTION OF OBSCENITY LAW

As early as 4th century, Roman Catholic Church had taken the first move by banning few heretical works. In 1542 Pope Paul III established the Sacred Congregation of the Roman Inquisition which was vested with the task of suppression of heretical and immoral books. Immoral works also were suppressed in Protestant countries such as England, where, prior to the 18th century, restrictions were applied almost exclusively to anti-religious or seditious acts or publications, rather than to obscene material in the modern sense. The invention of the printing press sowed the seed of modern obscenity law. There was a wide and easy distribution of sexually explicit material. By the 17th century, such books and prints had become widely available throughout Europe; governments and church authorities responded by arresting and prosecuting publishers and distributors. The first person to be convicted on a charge of obscenity in England was bookseller Edmund Curll way back in the 1720s. He had published a new edition of Venus in the Cloister; or, The Nun in Her Smock, a mildly pornographic work. His sentence (a fine and one hour in the pillory) was due to the fact that there was no specific law on the subject matter. Thereafter obscenity was recognized as an indictable misdemeanour under common law.

DECENCY AND MORALITY: EXCEPTION TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION

The freedom of speech and expression is regarded as the first condition of liberty. It occupies a preferred position in the hierarchy of liberties, giving succour and protection to all other liberties. It has been truly said that it is mother of all liberties. It has been described as a ‘basic human right’, ‘a natural right’ and the like. The preamble to the constitution of India resolves to secure for the citizens of India, liberty of thought, expression and belief. Article 19(1)(a) of the constitution of India gives citizen freedom of speech and expression from where media also derives its right of ‘freedom of press’ . But this right is not absolute meaning thereby that they are subject to certain limitations, the parameters of which have been defined by the Constitution itself. These limitations are usually known as “reasonable restrictions”, which are provided under clauses 2 to 6 of Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. These grounds are Sovereignty and integrity of the State, Security of the State, Friendly relations with foreign countries, Public order, Decency and morality, Contempt of court, Defamation and Incitement to an offence. The State can truncate the enjoyment of the freedoms provided in Article 19(1) through law. The exercise of the power of the State to curb freedoms through a law takes the form of executive action.

The media derives its rights from the right to freedom of speech and expression available to the citizen. Thus, the media has the same rights- no more no less than any individual to write publish, circulate or broadcast. The media enjoys no special immunity or elevated status compared to the citizen and is subject to the general laws of the land.

Decency and morality is one of the ground under Article 19(2) of the constitution of India on the basis of which reasonable restriction can be imposed to freedom of speech and expression. Such notions varies from country to country depending on the standards of morals of contemporary society.

The word obscene came from a Latin term Obscenus which means ‘offensive’ especially modesty. The Oxford dictionary defines obscene as “offensive or disgusting by accepted standards of morality and decency”, looks like a simple word with a simple meaning. But as we know law does not work with a dictionary or not with some simple meanings. The meaning of the word obscene not as easy to settle on for lawyers, it is a challenge to set up criteria of obscenity. Because the terms which are used to define obscenity like- Lascivious, Prurient, Deprave and Corrupt have not been clearly defined, leaving room for interpretation by the judiciary. Literature, art, gesture, movie or any scene in videos also come under obscene content if they violate contemporary community standards. The expression “decency” and “morality” must be given a wide meaning and not confined to sexual morality alone.

TESTS OF OBSCENITY

There is neither any strait-jacket formula to define obscenitynor any uniform test of obscenity. Each case should be judge on its own merit. To figure out whether a case passes obscenity test or not, Supreme Court has laid down a broad parameter. To check the content or any art or gesture is really obscene or not there are number of tests

Miller test- This test laid down by the judgement of US Supreme Court in the Case of Miller v. California (1973). In this case, Melvin Miller mailed five distrustful brochures to the manager of the restaurant which contained conspicuous images and drawing of men and women engaged in different sexual activities. After the manager read the mail, he filed the case of Obscenity against Mr. Miller and he was prosecuted for violating the California Law. There are three parts of the Miller test. They are:

• The average person, enforcing the contemporary community standards, would find that work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.

• Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specially defined by the applicable state law.

• Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specially defined by the applicable state law.

The work is considered obscene only if all three conditions are satisfied. The first two prongs of the Miller test are held to the standards of the community, and the last prong is held to what is reasonable to a person of the United States as a whole. The national reasonable person standard of the third prong acts as a check on the community standard of the first two prongs, allowing protection for works that in a certain community might be considered obscene but on a national level might have redeeming value.

But this test is not much rational. Fixing national standards for what appeals to be prurient or offensive is not possible practically. The concept of considering a speech obscene if it didn’t have some value was so vague. Several questions arise here like the true connotations of value. On what factors, will a speech be considered valuable or value-less by the court? Why would the government and not the citizens have all the rights to decide? The law relating to obscenity was unclear and writers were afraid of the ‘value’ factor and therefore, were hesitant to publish their works to avoid litigation and punishments. So, the Miller test not only led to the elimination of obscenity but also legitimate speech.

Hicklen’s Test- This test is based upon the effect of a publication on the most vulnerable members of society, whether or not they are likely to read it. The test to determine obscenity under English Law was first laid down in R v Hicklin case. The statutory interpretation of the word obscene as given under the Obscene Publications Act, 1857 was the issue. According to the Queen’s Bench, all the materials depraving and corrupting the minds open to immoral influences was considered obscene, regardless of its literary merit. Here, the intention was considered immaterial. If any portion of the work or publication was considered obscene even if that portion was out of context, it didn’t matter, the entire work could be outlawed.

Although Hicklin’s test was buried in England with the enactment of the Obscene Publication Act, 1959, six years later, Supreme Court decide to go with it. The Supreme Court of India in case of Ranjit D. Udheshi held that Hicklin’s test should not be discarded on the ground that it makes the court judge of obscenity in relation to an impugned book and lays emphasis on the potentiality of the impugned object to deprave and corrupt by immoral influences. In this case Supreme Court confirmed the conviction of appellant and rejected the challenge to the constitutionality of section 292 IPC. The court held that section 292 IPC constituted reasonable restriction on the right of freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(2) in interest of morality and decency. The court relied on Hicklin’s test and further interpreted the word “obscene” to mean that, which is “offensive to modesty or decency; lewd, filthy and repulsive”.

The likely audience test- This test is departure the Hicklin’s test of obscenity. This test laid down the theory of “likely reader test” and replaced the theory of “most vulnerable person”. This test emphasis upon the fact that what may be considered is the impact on those who could be reasonably expected to gain access to the publication.

In the case of Chandarkant Kalyandas Supreme Court of India held that obscenity test must be based on target audience, not the person whose hands the book might stray into.

The Supreme Court of India in Samresh Bose v Amal Mitra departed from Hicklin’s test while laying down the test of obscenity. The Court held that while judging the test of obscenity the judge should place himself in the position of reader of every age group in whose hands the book is likely to fall and should try to appreciate what kind of possible influence the book is likely to have in the minds of the readers.

The aversion defence- Merely because a film portrayed communal riots and sexual violence was no reason to deny its exhibition. The aversion test laid down that the idea Authors and film makers sometimes depicts nudity not to arouse sexual desire but on the contrary to arouse horror and revulsion in the audience against the social evil being depicted. The Supreme Court of India applied the aversion test in Bandit Queen Case. In this case a rape scene was challenged on the ground of obscenity. The court rejected the challenged and held that the object of the scene of the frontal nudity was not intended to titillate the cinematographer’s lust but to arouse in him sympathy for the victim and the disgust for the perpetrators.

In the another case of Samresh Bose in which a Bengoli novel Prajapati was challenged on the ground of obscenity, the Supreme Court held that the book has not the effect of depraving or debasing the morals or encouraging lasciviousness of the readers, since the author’s intention was to expose certain ills that irk society and he had used his own technique, skills and choice of words to that end.

Judging the work as a whole- It is one of the test of obscenity in which publication or any movie scene should be seen as whole not in isolation. The offending passages should also separately be examined so as to judge whether the passage are grossly obscene as are likely to deprave and corrupt. The clause 3(i) of the guidelines issued under section 5-B, Cinematograph Act, 1952 says that the board of film certification shall ensure that the film is judged in its entirety from the point of view of the overall impact.

In the case of Anand Patwardhan Supreme Court of India to test the challenge of obscenity held that the correct approach to be taken is to look at the documentary film as a whole and not in its bits, as any message that is purported to be conveyed by way of film cannot be conveyed just by watching certain bits of films.

Opinion of literary/artistic experts- The task of deciding what is artistic and what is obscene has to be performed by courts and the evidence of men of literature or others on the question of obscenity is not relevant.

In the case of Chandrakant Kalyandas kakodkar the Supreme Court of India held that the verdict as to whether the book or article considered as a whole panders to the prurient and is obscene must be judge by the courts and ultimately by the Supreme Court.

Contemporary community standards test- This test applied in India. The Community Standards Test says that the art or any gesture or content is obscene only if the dominant theme taken as a whole is opposed to contemporary community standards. The contemporary community standards test takes into account the changing values in society. What was obscene a century or even a decade ago, need not be obscene now. In deciding obscenity contemporary mores and national standard should be considered.

In the case of S Khushboo v Kanniammal Supreme Court in deciding the case obscenity held that while the main stream view in the society may accept sexual relations only between marital partners, there is no statutory offence where unmarried consenting adults engage in sexual relationship. Court held that the pre-marital sex and live-in relationships are now no longer so uncommon in Indian society that any reference to them or call for social acceptance of such trends can be regarded as obscene or insulting to womanhood.

Also the mandate of Cinematograph Act, 1952 says that the objectives of film certification will be to ensure that the medium of film remains responsible and sensitive to the value and standard of the society. Clause 3(ii) says that the board of film certification shall also ensure that the film is examined in light of the period depicted in film and the contemporary standards of the country and the people to which the film relates, provided that the film does not deprave the morality of the audience.

Test of the ordinary man- This test says that to find out whether the art or publication is obscene or not, it should be seen from the eyes of ordinary man not from the eyes of hypersensitive man. In Ramesh v Union of India case Supreme Court of India held that the effect of words must be judged from the standards of reasonable, strong-minded, firm and courageous men, and not those of weak and vacillating minds, nor of those who scent danger in every hostile point of view.

Anti-Obscenity Laws in India

There are many laws in India to tackle with Obscenity some laws were too old from colonial times, with roots in the Victorian era, but even after all these laws, it is too hard to differentiate what is obscene or what is not. These laws embody restriction on freedom of speech and expression in the interest of decency and morality. All the laws discussed below:

Indian Penal Code 1960- The fundamental object and purpose of criminal law is not only to protect and to conserve the safety and security of primary personal rights of individuals, such as right to life, right to body, right to property, right to habitation., etc., but also to protect and guard public morals and public decency and to conserve the moral welfare of the State. Thus, it is the duty of the State to guard the citizens against attacks which may be insidious and punish an individual for obscene publications which tend to corrupt morals. The importance of the protection of such rights can be visualized from the resolution passed by the International Convention for the Suppression and Circulation of, and Traffic in, obscene publications at Geneva as long as 1923. India signed the Convention on 12th September 1923.

Section 292 and 293 of IPC prohibit publication and sale of obscene books, pamphlets, inter alia representation which shall be deemed to be ‘lascivious or appeals to the prurient interests’, which can include obscene advertisements.

Section 294 prohibits obscene acts and songs. Whoever, to the annoyance of others:

• Does any obscene act in any public premises, or

• Signs, recites or utters any obscene song, vulgar words, in or near any public place.

shall be punished with the confinement of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.

In Ranjit D. Udeshi case constitutionality of section 292 Indian Penal Code was challenged. The Supreme Court out rightly rejected the challenge and held that section 292 constituted a reasonable restriction on the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(2) in the interest of decency and morality.

The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition Act), 1986- The act punishes the coarse representation of women, which means “the illustration in any other manner of the figure of women; her from or any other part thereof in such way as to have the effect of being indecent, or outrageous to, or denigrating women, or is likely to deprive, corrupt or injure the public virtue or morals.

Punishment 

• First Offence: Imprisonment up to two years and a fine of two thousand.

• Repeat Offence: Imprisonment up to five years and fine of ten thousand to one lakh.

In exercise of the powers conferred by Sec.10 of the Indecent representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 (60 of 1986), the Central Government makes the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Rules, 1987.

Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 – Section 67(A) makes it clear that a publication of sexual content on a social media site will lead to a punishment. It contains the issue of online obscenity. Under the Act, storing or private viewing of obscene material is legal as it does not specifically restrict it. On the other hand, transmitting or publishing the obscene material is illegal. Before 2008, section 67 was the only provision of the Information Technology Act which prohibited the publication of obscene information including child pornography and obscenity. Section 67A of the IT Act, 2000 specifically restricts the publication of sexually explicit or obscene material and section 67B of the Act specifically prohibits child pornography. This section only criminalizes the publication and transmission of sexually explicit or obscene material in an electronic form but viewing, downloading, possession etc. is not an offence as per the provisions of the Act.

Punishment

• First Offence: Five years with a fine of rupees ten lakh. 

• Repeat Offence: Seven years with a fine of rupees ten lakh.

Section 67(B) of the amendment is the turning point of the children movement in India which is against child pornography this law makes it clear that not only publication, viewing but also possession of such pornographic content is punishable.

Punishment

• First Offence: Five years with a fine of rupees ten lakh.

• Repeat Offence: Seven years with a fine of rupees ten lakh.

State of Tamil Nadu v. Suhas Kutti is a first case of conviction under section 67 of IT Act, 2000 in India. In this case, some defamatory, obscene and annoying messages were posted about the victim on a yahoo messaging group due to which the victim started receiving annoying calls. She filed a FIR and accused was found guilty under sections 469, 509 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 and section 67 of Information Technology Act.

Young Person’s (Harmful Publications) Acts, 1956- If any person advertises or makes known by any means whatsoever that harmful publications can be procured from or through any person, shall be punishable.

Punishment

• Imprisonment which may extend to 6 months or fine or with both.

National Human Rights Commission- NHRC, doing with the State Human Rights Commission, has the power to look into the protecting dignity of women in advertisements.

Section 2(d) of NHRC Act states that human right means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and applying by courts in India.

The Post Office Act, 1898- This act prohibits the transmission, by post, of any material on the ground of decency and morality.

Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1955- This act prohibits the telecast of programmes on cable television which is against the decency and morality. It prohibits the carriage of Programme that are not suitable for “unrestricted public exhibition”. Cinematograph Act, 1952- This act prohibits the certification of film by the censor board for the public exhibition if the film or any part of the film is against the interest of morality and decency. The Cinematograph Act of 1952 puts into place a rigorous method of certifying films for public consumption- commercial films displayed in cinema halls and other public viewings. It is also responsible for the existence of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). The Union government has certain guidelines in place that determine the certifications and edits or cuts given by the CBFC. There are four categories of classification— 1.) Unrestricted viewing (U); 2.) Unrestricted, but with parental guidance for children below the age of 12 (U/A); 3) restricted to adults (A); and 4.) Restricted to a class or a profession (S)

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued a notification seeking amendments in the existing Cinematograph Act of 1952. The draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021, which has been put out for public comments, has a provision that allows the Government to order re-certification of a film already certified by the CBFC. The changes allegedly will give the Union government more power over film certifications, essentially taking away the autonomy of the CBFC. The amendment proposition goes against a Supreme Court decision in 2000 that reduced the Union government‘s power in media censorship, wherein the court ruled that the government cannot weigh in on cases which have already been reviewed and classified by the CBFC. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 was established in order to protect the children against offences like sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and pornography. The POCSO Act 2012 also makes it the legal duty of a person to report the sexual abuse.The case of Kamlesh Vaswani v. Union of India is presently pending in the Indian Supreme Court. The Apex Court has directed State to file a detailed affidavit and posed a question whether the Department of Telecom (DOT hereinafter) or any other department of Indian Government is competent to issue directions to Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI hereinafter) to call off sites showing pornography.

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Policy & Politics

INDIAN REAL ESTATE SECTOR ATTRACTS $1.8 BN PE FUNDS IN H1 FY22, Y-O-Y RISE OF 27%

Tarun Nangia

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TOP 10 DEALS IN H1 FY 2022

Displaying continued confidence on the Indian real estate sector, private equity funds pumped about USD 1,790 Mn into the sector in the first half of the FY2022, finds ANAROCK Capital’s latest Flux Market Monitor for Capital Flows in Indian Real Estate. This is a 27% growth over the corresponding period in FY 2021 when inflows were approx. USD 1,410 Mn.

“The average ticket size for the PE deals in the current period declined by 32% – from USD 114 Mn in H1 FY21 to USD 78 Mn in H1 FY22,” says Shobhit Agarwal, MD & CEO – ANAROCK Capital. “Notably, investors this time preferred single city deals in contrast to multi-city deals. As seen, the share of multi-city deals reduced from 77% to 42% in H1 FY 2022. Further, the top 10 deals in H1 FY22 contributed a approx. 81% of the total PE investments in the country.”

In comparison with H1 FY21, structured debt and equity witnessed considerable growth in H1 FY22, at 25% and 28% respectively. Structured debt went primarily towards project-level assets.

SEGMENT-WISE BREAKUP

Of the total private equity inflows of USD 1,790 Mn in the period:

• The commercial office sector once again attracted the bulk of investments – nearly 33% or approx. USD 591 Mn.

• The Industrial & Logistics sector saw significant investments of approx. USD 537 Mn in H1 FY22, comprising a 30% overall share.

• Residential sector saw investments to the tune of USD 394 Mn i.e., approx. 22% of the total PE funds.

• Data Centres, Land and Mixed-use developments attracted the remaining 15% of the overall PE inflows comprising 5% each

Data further revealed that while overall PE inflows in Indian real estate increased in H1 FY2022, the share of foreign funds reduced by 19% as compared to H1 FY21. Investments by domestic funds jumped from less than USD 10 Mn in H1 FY21 to USD 650 Mn in H1 FY22, a reflection of the improving situation in the country resulting in higher confidence by domestic funds.

OTHER NOTABLE TRENDS

With total PE investments seeing a close to 27% yearly jump in H1 FY2022, investor confidence in Indian real estate is seen to be increasing.

• Foreign investors continued to remain major contributors with a approx. 63% share of the total inflows of USD 1790 Mn. However, in the same period of FY2021, they contributed a 99% share. This indicates the growing confidence of domestic funds amid the growing economy despite the second COVID-19 wave.

• Investors have maintained their confidence in listed REITs. Post the dip in market capitalisation earlier this year, REITs have bounced back well.

• Demand for flexi offices is gaining momentum; they are expected to attract more PE investments over the next 1-2 years.

• Operators are aggressively looking at expansion of data centres across major locations in the country.

• Like seen in FY2021 trends, last-mile funding continues to gain momentum. SWAMIH Fund & various foreign funds are actively evaluating and executing various options.

• The residential sector is witnessing accelerated consumer demand amid growing preference for homeownership coupled with historically low home loan rates. Investors will seek various investment themes within this asset-class.

• Private equity investments were approx. USD 1.41 bn in corresponding period of FY21

• Commercial sector attracted highest investments (of 33%), followed by Industrial & Logistics (30%) & Residential (22%)

• Investors this time preferred single city deals in contrast to multi-city deals earlier; top 10 deals in H1 FY22 contributed nearly 81% of the total PE investments in the country

• Avg. ticket size for PE deals declined 32% – from USD 114 Mn in H1 FY21 to USD 78 Mn in H1 FY22

• While overall PE inflows in Indian RE increased, share of foreign funds reduced 19% in H1 FY22 compared to H1 FY21; investments by domestic funds jumped from less than USD 10 Mn in H1 FY21 to USD 650 Mn in H1 FY22, reflecting their confidence

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Policy & Politics

KARNATAKA HC DIRECTS STATE TO COMPLY WITH SC DIRECTIONS BARRING INSTALLATION OF STATUES ON PUBLIC ROADS, PAVEMENTS

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In a welcome, wonderful and wise judgment titled Akhila Bharata Kshatriya Mahasabha v. State of Karnataka in WP No. 49960/2017 delivered on September 7, 2021, the Karnataka High Court has directed the State Government to ensure compliance with the landmark, learned and laudable directions of the Supreme Court barring installation of statues or construction of any structure in public roads, pavements, sideways and other public utility places. This was the crying need of the hour also. Now the State Government in Karnataka is duty bound to comply with it.

To start with, this brief, brilliant and balanced judgment authored by the then Acting Chief Justice Of Karnataka High Court – Hon’ble Mr Satish Chandra Sharma for himself and Hon’ble Mr Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum sets the ball rolling first and foremost in para 2 wherein it is put forth that, “The facts of the case reveal that the 1st petitioner is an All India Trust and 2nd petitioner is the State level Trust, as stated in the petition, involved in the work of social economical upliftment of the people belonging to backward and downtrodden community. Their grievance is that inspite of the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 18.01.2013 in SLP.No.8519/2006 the bust of Sri.Shivarathri Rajendra Swamiji at the southern entrance of Mysore palce near Gun house is being installed and the State Government has granted permission for the same. The order of the State Government dated 3.3.2017 is on record and a prayer has been made for quashment of the order of the State Government (Annexure-E) as well as the order dated 28.8.2017 (Annexure-F) meaning thereby that the prayer has been made for quashment of the resolution passed by the Mysuru Mahanagara Palike as well as the State Government for installing the statue of Sri. Shivaratri Rajendra Mahaswamy at Gun house circle, which is on the main road. It has also been stated by the petitioners that a request was also made initially for installing the statue of Sri. Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar to the District Urban Development Cell and the same was rejected citing the judgment of the Apex Court and inspite of the judgment of the Apex Court, permission has been granted to install the statue of Sri. Shivarathri Rajendra Swamiji.”

 To put things in perspective, the Bench then points out in para 3 that, “The State Government has filed the statement of objections and the stand of the State Government is that the present petition has been filed with the vested interest, as the request of the petitioners was turned down for installing the statue of Sri. Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar and it is only after their request was turned down, they are raising hue and cry as the State Government has granted permission to install the statue of Sri. Shivarathri Rajendra Mahaswamy at Gun House circle. It has been stated that the Supreme Court in the case of Union of India .vs. State of Gujarath and others has directed not to grant any permission for installation of any statue or construction of any structure in public roads, pavements, sideways and other public utility places. However, the Gun House Circle is in existence since from the Maharaja’s period and there are several such circles in Mysuru City and several such statues are already in existence and therefore, Mysuru Mahanagara Palike has taken a decision to instal the statue of Sri. Shivaratri Rajendra Mahaswamy in the Gun House Circle as the circle is in existence since long time and it is not part of the public road nor does it fall within the definition of pavement, sideways and other public places.”

Quite rightly, the Bench then enunciates in para 8 that, “The undisputed facts of the case makes it very clear that the place where the statue in question is likely to be installed is certainly one of the most busy square near Mysuru palace near Gus House. The map has been filed by the State Government and the same reveals, as many as six roads are joining at the square and the circle is certainly the part of the road. It is really strange that the respondent-State Government has stated before this Court that it is not part of the road. Colour photographs have also been filed in the matter. The maps and all other documents clearly establish that the spot is in the center of the road and therefore, the issue is whether the statue can be installed at the center of the road on the circle which is in existence?”

Quite significantly, the Bench then hastens to recall in para 9 that, “The order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Special Leave to Appeal(Civil) No.8519/2006 dated 18.01.2013 on I.A.No.10/2012 reads as under:

1. We have heard Mr. Basavaprabhu S. Patil, learned senior counsel for the applicant and Mr. M.T. George, learned counsel for the State of Kerala.

2. Mr. M.T. George, leaned counsel for the State of Kerala placed before us a copy of the order dated September 7, 2011 passed by the Government of Kerala granting permission for installation of statue of late Shri. N. Sundaran Nadar, Ex-Deputy Speaker of Kerala Legislative Assembly near to Neyyattinkara-Poovar Road in the curve turning to the KSRTC Bus Stand Neyyattinkara in the Kanyakumari National Highway near bus stand.

3. We have our doubt whether such permission could have been granted by the State Government for installation of statue on the national highway.

4. Until further orders, we direct that the status-quo, as obtaining today, shall be maintained in all respects by all concerned with regard to the Triangle Island where statue of late Shri. N. Sundaran Nadar has been permitted to be sanctioned. We further direct that henceforth, State Government shall not grant any permission for installation of any statue or construction of any structure in public roads, pavements, sideways and other public street lights or construction relating to electrification, traffic, toll or for development and beautification of the streets, highways, roads etc. and relating to public utility and facilities.

5. The above order shall also apply to all other states and union territories. The concerned Chief Secretary/Administrator shall ensure compliance of the above order.””

Most significantly, the Bench then makes it clear in para 10 that, “The Hon’ble Supreme Court has categorically directed the State Governments not to grant any permission for installation of any statue or construction of any structure in public roads, pavements, sideways and other public utility places and therefore, on account of the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the question of permitting the State Government and the Mysure Mahanagara Palike to install the statue does not arise.”

Furthermore, what is equally significant is that the Bench then also makes it pretty clear in para 11 that, “In the considered opinion of this Court, neither the petitioners nor any one can install the statue on the island which is on the road (circle which is on the road) keeping in view the judgment delivered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”   

Finally and as a corollary, the Bench then holds in para 12 that, “Resultantly, the writ petition is allowed. The impugned orders passed by the State Government dated 3.3.2017 and the order dated 28.8.2017 of the 2nd respondent-Mysuru Mahanagara Palike are hereby quashed. The State Government is also directed to ensure compliance of the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the entire State of Karnataka.”

 In conclusion, it may well be said that the Karnataka High Court Bench comprising of the then Acting Chief Justice Hon’ble Mr Satish Chandra Sharma and Hon’ble Mr Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum have by this cogent, commendable, composed and convincing judgment left not even an iota of doubt of any kind that the State Government of Karnataka has just no option but to comply with the Supreme Court directions baring installations of statues on public roads and pavements. This is specifically elaborated upon most elegantly in para 9 and 10 which the State Government of Karnataka has to adhere to in totality. This will certainly well serve the public interest also which should always be paramount under all circumstances also!

Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate

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Policy & Politics

Textiles sector poised for a $100 bn export: Vikram Jardosh, MoS for Textiles

Industry should take full advantage full advantage of the global market shifts: Secretary, Ministry of Textiles.

Tarun Nangia

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The Government has set a strong aspirational goal of achieving $100 billion from textiles exports in thenext 5 years and we will remain committed to ensure implementation of all development schemes and bring in many more schemes in pursuit of this aspiration, said Darshana Vikram Jardosh, Minister of State for Textiles, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.

Government has already announced MITRA scheme to attract new investments and build mega textile parks in the country. Other significant programs including the launch of PLI scheme for achieving manufacturing excellence and RoDTEP for enhancing export competitiveness will help India to position it as a global leader in the sector.

The Minister was speaking at the inauguration of TEXCON: The 13th edition of the International Conference on Textiles & Apparel organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry today. A specialCII-Kearney report was also released on “Creating a competitive advantage for India in the global textiles and apparel industry”. The report covers the entire textile value chain and highlights the imperatives for both government and industry to bring global positioning for the sector.

Speaking on the occasion, Upendra Prasad Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Textiles said that the Government is making all efforts to proactively address the challenges and facilitate the creation of an enabling environment for the growth and development of the Textiles and Apparel sector. “We are capable to meet the domestic as well as the global market demands. I would like to urge the industry to take full advantage of the present global market shifts in establishing the excellence and prominence of India globally.”

Dilip Gaur, Chairman, CII National Committee on Textiles and Apparel & Managing Director, Grasim Industries Limited, Aditya Birla Group said, achieving breakthrough growth in Indian textiles will imply doubling down on multiple areas. The key ones include increasing share in MMF fiber and yarn, become regional leaders in apparel and fabrics and further augmenting India’s position as global home textiles leader. “Government of India has already shown strong commitment to this sector by launching multiple mega schemes in recent times which set a very positive tone for the future and to energize all industry stakeholders to take necessary steps forward in achieving the goals”, he added.

Kulin Lalbhai, Co-Chairman, CII National Committee on Textiles and Apparel & Executive Director, Arvind Ltd said, “The growing sentiment around “China plus one” sourcing is a golden opportunity for Indian textiles to stage a turnaround and gain back its leadership position as a lead exporting economy.” India is much better placed to maximize this opportunity as compared to competitors like Vietnam and Bangladesh because of India’s strategic depth.

Dilip Gaur, Chairman, CII National Committee on Textiles and Apparel & Managing Director, Grasim Industries Limited, Aditya Birla Group said, achieving breakthrough growth in Indian textiles will imply doubling down on multiple areas. The key ones include increasing share in MMF fiber and yarn, become regional leaders in apparel and fabrics.

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Policy & Politics

Piyush Goyal calls for free trade within rules-based multilateral trading system

We must work to resolve issues posed by Non-Tariff Barriers in international trade: Piyush Goyal.

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The Minister of Commerce and Industries, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyaltoday called for free trade within a rules-based multilateral trading system with honesty and transparency as core values. He added that wherever India faces an unfair or unjust treatment, it will take reciprocal action. Shri Goyal also emphasized upon the need for resolution of issues posed by Non- Tariff Barriers in international trade. He was addressing the 54th Convocation of Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in New Delhi today.

Referring to India’s recent achievement of 100 crore vaccines, he said that the milestone was the result a collective effort of 130 crore Indians and a proof of India’s ‘Atmanirbhartha’ and its resolve to leverage its capacities to the best possible extent and to serve the needs of the entire world.

Piyush Goyal said that a convocation is an important ceremony that marks the next step in the journey of the graduates when they grow from ‘acquisition of knowledge’ to ‘application of knowledge’.

He commended IIFT for contributing immensely to India’s external trade since its establishment in 1963. He said that IIFT has been widely recognized for its strong knowledge &resource base and has been consistently ranked amongst theleading business schools in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Underscoring the need for a committed and vibrant leadership in the field of academics in India, Shri Piyush Goyal called for enhancing exposure of our students to the best of technology, foreign law, economics, and international trade. Calling for tie-ups of Indian Universities with institutions of eminence across the world, he asked Indian universities to enter into sustained collaborations with such institutions.

Encouraging academic institutions to engage on a much larger scale with the industry, Shri Goyal asked students to take up internships with both the public sector and private players. Speaking of the opportunities offered by online education, Shri Goyal called for more exploration into online and hybrid modes of education.

Piyush Goyal told the students that they were graduating amidst one of the most disruptive events in the collective memory of our times. He emphasized that in the post-COVID ‘New Normal’, we can no longer play by the old rules. He called for using the disruptive interventions brought about by COVID to reorient our conventional, traditional thinking processes. Offering two cents from his versatile experience in foreign trade, Shri Goyal urged the students to ‘Learn, Unlearn, Relearn and Repeat’.

Piyush Goyal said that despite challenges, India under PM Modi has aimed to convert a crisis into an opportunity for transformation. He said that India is being looked upon as a trusted partner & we are engaging with like-minded nations e.g. EU, UK, Canada, Australia & UAE for early conclusion of FTAs.

Referring to India’s ambitious programmes like the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan for infrastructure and multimodal connectivity, Shri Goyal said that there was a need for planned, focussed efforts to create infrastructure in the country by breaking silos and bringing in synergy. “There is a need to bring in quality and productivity in all we do. A ‘Made in India’ product must be a guarantee to the world”, he added.

Applauding the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s visionary leadership, Goyal said that India’s decisive leadership, strong industry, vibrant media and its resolve to uphold the rule of law, had made India a trusted partner to world nations.

Lamenting that India had suffered from several missed opportunities in the past, Shri Goyal expressed the hope that we would now be able to seize every opportunity available to us to grow. “The past is a stepping stone, not a milestone”, he added.

Observing that contemporary India was confident & yet dissatisfied, he said that dissatisfied, confident people are the ones who would change the world. He urged fellow Indians to never settle for less and to work together to make India a global leader.

On the occasion, Shri Goyal presented several awards for excellence to graduating students.

Encouraging academic institutions to engage on a much larger scale with the industry, Shri Goyal asked students to take up internships with both the public sector and private players. Speaking of the opportunities offered by online education, Shri Goyal called for more exploration into online and hybrid modes of education.

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Policy & Politics

Builder hardware products from India have considerable global demand, says Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash

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Builder hardware industry is linked to the construction equipment industry where the revenue was valued at US$ 6.5 billion in 2020 and construction market is expected to be the third largest globally by 2025: MSME Secretary B B Swain

India is the 17th largest supplier of builder hardware products and is on its way to fulfil the government ambition to become a global manufacturing hub of builder hardware products.

Builder Hardware is another performer making India as one of the top 20 suppliers with a 1.2 percent share in the world builder hardware export pie, said Som Parkash, Minister of State of Commerce & Industry

While addressing the Builder Hardware Expo, organised by EEPC India, virtually today, the Minister noted that builder hardware products from India have considerable demand across the continents.

Indian builder hardware product is one of the best performing segments in the Indian engineering goods sector which has been the key driver of merchandise exports from the country.

“Builder hardware industry is linked to the construction equipment industry where the revenue was valued at US$ 6.5 billion in 2020 and the construction market is expected to be the third largest globally by 2025,” said Mr B B Swain, Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

India is the 17th largest supplier of builder hardware products and is on its way to fulfil the government ambition to become a global manufacturing hub of builder hardware products.

Swain stated that EEPC India with more than 60 per cent of its members representing MSME sector took several initiatives even during pandemic to provide global interaction opportunities to small players in the form of webinars and virtual Expos.

“The Government of India has been proactive to ensure that all the benefits of the MSME schemes reach the intended beneficiaries in time,” said Mr Swain.

EEPC India Chairman Mahesh Desai said that the four-day virtual Expo would provide opportunity to the Indian exhibitors to display an array of over 200 domestic builder hardware products to overseas buyers from nine focus regions and trade blocs.

“The buyers would comprise contractors, builders, building engineers, architects, landscape artists, interior designers, consultants and project management professionals,” he said.

Speaking at the Expo, EEPC India Vice Chairman Arun Kumar Garodia said India belongs to the league of leading builder hardware manufacturing and exporting nations.

“The Government of India has now set a National Mission of merchandise exports to reach US$ 400 billion within this fiscal, US$ 500 billion by FY-24 and US$ 1 trillion by FY-28 by making Indian products the only choice for global buyers,” he said.

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Policy & Politics

MOU SIGNED BETWEEN J&K AND GOVERNMENT OF DUBAI FOR REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT, INDUSTRIAL PARKS, SUPER SPECIALITY HOSPITALS

MoU will give UT a big developmental push: Piyush Goyal

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Jammu and Kashmir administration has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Dubai for real estate development, industrial parks, IT towers, multipurpose towers, logistics, medical college, super specialty hospital and more.

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal highlighted the significance of the day and said that with the signing of the MoU with Dubai Government, the world has started to recognize the pace with which Jammu and Kashmir is traversing on the development bandwagon. This MoU gives out a strong signal to the entire world that the way India is transforming into a global power, Jammu & Kashmir is having a significant role in that as well.

This MoU is a milestone after which the investment will pour in from entire globe and is a big developmental push. Different entities from Dubai have shown keen interest in investment. Development has to be aspired on all fronts and we are on track, he added.

Goyal thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Shri Amit Shah for their focus and commitment towards the development of UT of Jammu & Kashmir. Recent industrial package of 28,400 Crore rupees is a testimony towards ensured development.

Terming it a momentous occasion for the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Shri Manoj Sinha said that this development journey will help the Union Territory to scale new heights in Industrialization and sustainable growth.

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal highlighted the significance of the day and said that with the signing of the MoU with Dubai Government, the world has started to recognize the pace with which Jammu and Kashmir is traversing on the development bandwagon.

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