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News Update 9th June 2018

  1. US group to its govt: ‘Make in India’ used to justify protectionist measures

The world’s largest association of medical device companies, Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), is learnt to have conveyed to two senior Trump administration officials that the NDA government’s flagship ‘Make in India’ platform has been used to “justify protectionist measures” — and has “not encouraged US medical technology firms to increase their presence in India”.

According to the memo, AdvaMed stated that “in addition to price controls as a barrier, the regulatory environment in India continues to be opaque and unpredictable”.

In order to make medical devices affordable, India had imposed price caps on coronary stents and knee implants in February and August 2017. AdvaMed has strongly opposed these caps stating that it has the “potential to block innovations and limit access to world-class medical care and options to deserving patients”.

Washington DC-based AdvaMed, which represents US pharma and tech majors such as Abbott, Apple, and Microsoft, etc is not the only industry group that has complained about India’s “protectionist” measures. US President Donald Trump has referred to the duty on import of completely built American bikes, such as Harley-Davidson, into India as an example of “discriminatory” trade practice.

INDIA’S STATUS

India’s medical device technology market is worth about $6 billion and is expected to grow to $50 billion by 2025. Currently, India imports around 80 percent of its medical devices, a quarter of it from companies based in the United States.

CONTENTS OF THE ADVAMED MEMO

AdvaMed’s briefing memo stated: “India’s policies could significantly hinder the growth of US exports… This price controls favor domestic producers by failing to differentiate their products covered by price controls… The Health Minister (J P Nadda) announced consideration of bringing additional ‘critical medical devices’ under price controls.”

AdvaMed’s briefing memo stated its hope that intervention by the US Department of Commerce as well as the USTR office “at senior levels — and possibly President Trump if he sees Prime Minister Modi — will stop the Modi Government from using its ‘Make in India’ policy to discriminate further”.

AdvaMed, as well as the Government of India, are aligned towards the larger goal of ensuring access to affordable and quality healthcare while building an environment that is ‘innovation-friendly, predictable and sustainable’.”

People suffering from varicose veins not fit for military posts: Delhi HC

A bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Pratibha Rani said the side-effects of a varicose vein operation are that it ultimately leads to impairment of blood circulation, and the individuals have a predisposition of developing varicose veins in other vessels.

The Delhi High Court held that a person who suffers from varicose veins, and was operated on at an advanced stage of the ailment, may be medically fit for civilian jobs. However, it said he cannot be considered for military or paramilitary posts as it entails working in extreme conditions.

OBSERVATION

A bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Pratibha Rani said the side-effects of a varicose vein operation are that it ultimately leads to impairment of blood circulation, and the individuals have a predisposition of developing varicose veins in other vessels.

AFTERMATH OF THE VARICOSE VEIN OPERATION

“A study on the subject reveals that patients with varicose veins have pain/heaviness of legs, inability to walk/stand for long hours, itching and leg cramps at night… Given the above situation, the petitioner may be medically fit for civilian jobs, as declared by Swastik General Surgery and Laparoscopy Hospital, Rohtak, and Chief Medical Officer, General Hospital, Jhajjar, but not for military/paramilitary posts…,” the bench noted.

PETITION

The order came on a petition by a man who said he took a combined recruitment written the examination in 2015 for the post of constable in CAPF, NIA and Special Security Force.

He said he had cleared the exam and was asked to appear for a physical test and medical exam. On May 23, 2016, he was declared medically unfit on three counts — varicose veins, tremors, and tachycardia.

  1. No birth certificate, the court relies on school papers in POCSO case

During the trial, the victim admitted that she does not have a birth certificate issued by the MCD. “The date of birth in her school (records), as written by her mother, is 1998. She stated that her mother had not submitted any documents, such as a birth certificate, to her school,” said the records.

BRIEF FACTS

The accused and the girl are neighbors. As per court records, the girl said the accused gave her a fruit drink and that she fell unconscious.

It was recorded by the court that “When she woke up, she found the accused sitting there… and came to know that he had committed a wrong act. The accused said that if she disclosed the incident, he will get her brother killed,”. The victim was 16 years old then. During the trial, the victim admitted that she does not have a birth certificate issued by the MCD. “The date of birth in her school (records), as written by her mother, is 1998. She stated that her mother had not submitted any documents, such as a birth certificate, to her school,” said the records. The principal of the school where the victim studied was also examined regarding her age. She said that as per school records, she was born in 1998 but did not produce a birth certificate.

CONTENTIONS OF THE DEFENSE

At this point, the defense counsel argued that on this basis, the court cannot rely upon the “declaration/ affidavit” of her parents submitted to the school of their child being born in 1998.

OBSERVATION OF THE COURT

Additional Sessions Judge Gurdeep Singh, in his conviction order, stated that it is “well-settled” by an apex court judgment

Jarnail Singh vs the State of Haryana

“That the victim’s age has to be ascertained as per provisions of the JJ Act, 2015. “As per Section 94 of the JJ Act, if school certificate is available, then no further documentation is required to be seen,” said the judge.

The incident took place in June 2014, in Delhi.

However, the court took into account the apex court judgment and the JJ Act and said, “Therefore, I take the age as given in the school record is correct… Accordingly, she was minor…”

HELD

While convicting a rape accused, a POCSO court considered the victim’s school certificate as proof that she was a minor, as she did not have a birth certificate issued by the municipal corporation to back her claim.  The court then dismissed the accused’s submission that the act was “consensual” — on the grounds that consensual sex with a minor amounted to “rape and penetrative sexual assault”.

 

  1. BJP workers’ death: SC junks plea for CBI probe

The petition was filed by families of the activists and sought a CBI investigation into the deaths. Trilochan Mahto and Dulal Kumar were found dead in Balarampur block on May 30 and June 2, respectively.

The Supreme Court Friday declined to entertain a petition seeking urgent hearing of the alleged murder case of two BJP activists in West Bengal’s Purulia district. A bench of Justices A K Goel and Ashok Bhushan told the petitioners to approach the Calcutta High Court with their plea.

The petition was filed by families of the activists and sought a CBI investigation into the deaths. Trilochan Mahto and Dulal Kumar were found dead in Balarampur block on May 30 and June 2, respectively.

  1. CBI files charge sheet against former BCCI chief A C Muthiah for Rs 102-cr loss to the bank

The charge sheet, filed in the court of the additional chief metropolitan magistrate, was based on a case registered in June 2016 after a complaint from Syndicate Bank.

FILING OF charge sheet

The CBI on Friday filed a charge sheet against industrialist and former BCCI chief A C Muthiah and 24 others for allegedly causing a loss of Rs 102.87 crore to Syndicate Bank in connection with a case linked to a Chennai-based private firm in which Muthiah was chairman.

CHARGESHEET

The charge sheet, filed in the court of the additional chief metropolitan magistrate, was based on a case registered in June 2016 after a complaint from Syndicate Bank.

According to the complaint, the Chennai-based non-banking financial company, First Leasing Company of India Ltd, which had banking relations with Syndicate Bank’s corporate finance branch in the city, altered and manipulated the accounting database maintained on Oracle software platform.

Apart from Muthiah, Farouk M Irani, the then managing director of the company, and 23 others are accused in the case. An official release from CBI said, “It was further alleged that the company had been showing inflated income as well as inflated assets over the years (since 1998) by showing fictitious income and non-existing assets. Most of the loans shown as granted by the said company to their clients were allegedly fictitious. Loans availed from the banks were allegedly diverted to the shell companies controlled by the then Managing Director to acquire shares of said Company only. It was also alleged that the NPAs (non Performing Assets) of said company were shown to be taken over by these shell companies through bogus agreements to avoid NPA provisions resulting in inflated profits, thereby causing loss of Rs.102.87 crore (approx.) to Syndicate Bank.”

The CBI statement said the investigation revealed that the accused persons along with seven satellite shell companies had been part of a conspiracy “with statutory and internal auditors” and “allegedly cheated the bank by submitting forged financial statements to obtain undue credit limits and siphoned the same away for extraneous uses whilst causing wrongful loss of Rs 102.87 crores (approx.) to the bank”.

  1. Kathua gangrape-murder case: Witnesses not produced, Pathankot court summons Crime Branch SSP

THE PATHANKOT District and Sessions Court on Friday directed SSP, Crime Branch, Jammu, Ramesh Kumar Jalla to appear in the court on Monday after none of the summoned witnesses in the Kathua gangrape and murder case were produced before the trial court.

THE PATHANKOT District and Sessions Court on Friday directed SSP, Crime Branch, Jammu, Ramesh Kumar Jalla to appear in the court on Monday after none of the summoned witnesses in the Kathua gangrape and murder case were produced before the trial court. A day after the trial court framed charges against the seven accused in the case, 17 witnesses had been summoned for examination. However, the prosecution is learned to have informed the court that they were not able to serve the summons and requested for more time to produce the witnesses.

CONTENTIONS OF THE PROSECUTION

The prosecution also told the court that they were facing hurdles in producing the witnesses due to Ramzan as most witnesses are busy with religious duties. However, sources said, Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh was not convinced with the reason cited by the prosecution as they had not brought back the summons. The witnesses summoned by the court included those from Rasana village in Kathua and official witnesses. The court had issued summons on Thursday afternoon after framing of charges against the accused. There are around 221 witnesses in the case and the Supreme Court has directed the Pathankot court to conduct a fast-track an in-camera trial.

HELD

The apex court has also directed J & K government “to transport the witnesses to Pathankot and provide all other necessary facilities, including food, etc. so that the witnesses do not face any difficulty”.

  1. NCLT admits SBI insolvency plea against Videocon Telecommunications

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Friday admitted State Bank of India’s insolvency petition against Videocon Telecommunications.

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on Friday admitted State Bank of India’s insolvency petition against Videocon Telecommunications, just two days after its parent Videocon Industries was admitted for bankruptcy proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016, by the same tribunal.

Videocon Telecommunications owes more than Rs 2,500 crore to a consortium of 18 banks led by SBI, bankers said. SBI’s share (including its erstwhile subsidiaries) in the consortium is around Rs 800 crore. The company had defaulted in payment of Rs 234 crore to SBI. The lenders have also provided bank guarantees of more than Rs 600 crore to the company, but there has been no default on these as yet.

 

BRIEF FACTS OF VIDEOCON CASE

Videocon Industries has made investments of around Rs 7, 500 crores in Videocon Telecommunications, data from the parent company’s 2016-17 annual report showed. Videocon Telecommunications had incurred a net loss before extraordinary items of Rs 1, 334.46 crore during the fiscal, while the accumulated loss was Rs 6, 294.1 crore as on March 31, 2017, data from the annual report showed.

The trouble for Videocon Telecommunications started in 2012 when the Supreme Court quashed all the unified access services (UAS) licenses granted on or after January 10, 2008, and the subsequent allocation of spectrum to these licenses, which also included the licenses and spectrum allotted to Videocon Telecommunications.

The company was granted licenses for providing UAS in 21 circles and was allotted spectrum in 20 circles. Owing to the cancellation of licenses and closure of its operations in several circles, the company faced huge losses and severe liquidity crunch and was not in the position to repay the debt on time.

Subsequently, Videocon Telecommunications participated in the auction conducted by the department of telecommunications in 2013 and was awarded UAS licenses and spectrum in six circles — Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh (East) and Uttar Pradesh (West). In 2016, it sold its spectrum allotted in the six circles to Bharti Airtel for Rs 4,653 crore.

In March 2018, Care Ratings qualified its ‘D’ rating on the company’s bank facilities with the ‘issuer not co-operating’ tag. As per Care’s rating definition, instruments with ‘D’ ratings are either in default or are expected to be in default soon.

On Wednesday, the NCLT admitted SBI’s insolvency petition against Videocon Industries. Videocon Industries was one of the 28 companies on the Reserve Bank of India’s second list of corporate defaulters. The consolidated debt of the company stood at Rs 44,827 crore as on March 31, 2017, data from Capitaline showed.

While the company had been trying to pare debt by selling assets, no significant progress has been made on this front. The lead bank SBI has proposed Anuj Jain from KPMG as the interim resolution professional (IRP) for Videocon Telecommunications. He has also been appointed as the IRP for Videocon Industries.

  1. ‘Deficiencies’ in the management of Puri’s Jagannath temple: Form panel to study management of other shrines, SC tells Odisha govt

The direction came on a petition which raised the issue of missing keys of Ratna Bhandara of the temple where valuables are kept. Petitioner, advocate Mrinalini Padhi, also highlighted some instances where time-honored rituals were given a go-by.

Taking note of complaints of alleged deficiencies in management of Puri’s Jagannath temple, the Supreme Court Friday asked Odisha government “to constitute forthwith a committee which may study management schemes in other important shrines such as Vaishno Devi, Somnath Temple, Golden Temple, Amritsar, Tirupati Temple, Dharamsthala Temple and suggest such changes as may be considered necessary” for management of the Puri shrine. A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Ashok Bhushan asked the committee to submit its interim report by June 30. The matter will be heard again on July 5. The court appointed senior advocate Gopal Subramanium as amicus curiae to assist it in the matter.

QUERIES PUT BY THE COURT

The court asked District Judge, Puri, to give a report on factual aspects of issues like “difficulties faced by the visitors, exploitative practices, if any, deficiencies in the management, if any” and to give suggestions on these by June 30. The bench said the judge may take assistance from Collector of Puri and the temple administrator.

The direction came on a petition which raised the issue of missing keys of Ratna Bhandara of the temple where valuables are kept. Petitioner, advocate Mrinalini Padhi, also highlighted some instances where time-honored rituals were given a go-by.

OBSERVATION OF THE APEX COURT

The Supreme Court said, “There is no doubt that proper management of pilgrimage centers of great importance is a matter of public interest. These centers are of undoubted religious, social, historical and architectural importance, representing the cultural heritage of our country. Millions of people visit these centers not only for tourism but also for seeking inspiration for the righteous values and for their well-being. They also make huge offerings and donations for the advancement of such values”.

The bench directed the administration to ensure that no direct collection of the offerings is made by Sevaks (attendants) in the temple and all offerings are accounted for and properly utilized. Sevaks should be given their due remuneration as per rules, it said. The court said, “It is of prime importance that all the visitors have hassle-free visits and the offerings made are utilized for righteous objects and not misappropriated in any manner by the staff/Sevaks”.

ISSUE

“The issue of hygiene and encroachment also need be considered. Exploitative practices have to be timely stopped”, the bench said. The court asked the shrine administrator to review arrangement of CCTV cameras installed in the temple. The petition had requested the apex court to monitor the judicial probe into missing keys of the Bhandara. But the court said all other issues pending before other courts or tribunals can proceed in accordance with law.

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