Impermissible: Netflix on Mehul Choksi’s plea asking for preview of Bad Boy Billionaires

Online streaming service provider Netflix has contradicted elusive diamond trader Mehul Choksi’s plea looking for review of the upcoming original series — Bad Boy Billionaires: India.

In its reaction filed on 21st September in the Delhi High Court, Netflix presented that pre-distribution censorship is “entirely impermissible”.

Choksi had moved to the high court in August asserting defamation, invasion of privacy and infringement of his fundamental rights under Article 21 and Article 14 of the Constitution. He had urged Netflix for a pre-screening of the show for the court and for him, and had additionally said that Netflix ought not release the segment referencing him while the cases against him stay forthcoming.

A single judge bench of the high court had, nonetheless, dismissed his appeal on August 28, allowing him the freedom to file a civil suit in a fitting court. Be that as it may, Choksi tested this judgment before a division bench of the high court.

In the interim, the series, which was booked for release for September 2, stands stayed by two lower courts — Bihar and Hyderabad — on independent pleas filed by Sahara Chairman Subrata Roy and B. Ramalinga Raju who can also be seen in the docuseries.

Reacting to the petition, Netflix informed the court that Choksi had appeared in an interview for the documentary to the maker, Minnow Films, in May 2019. Be that as it may, the meeting didn’t make it to the actual documentary. Choksi, nonetheless, asserted that he only learned about the docuseries when he saw the trailer for it on August 24, and that was the point at which he moved to the court.

Netflix has now attempted to discredit this submission, stating that his meeting shows that he knew about the docuseries being made. Netflix has additionally objected the way that Choksi filed a writ appeal in the high court to get help.

To this end, Netflix has called attention to that writ petition for enforcement of fundamental rights must be filed against public bodies and not against a private entity like Netflix. Fundamental rights under Article 21, including the right of reputation, can’t be implemented against private entities practicing in a private capacity, it said.

Netflix has likewise asserted that without any arrangement for guideline of OTT platforms, Choksi ought not to be permitted to control and direct its ability to speak freely through the high court’s unprecedented powers.

PIL to rename Allahabad High Court rejected

A PIL filed by advocate Ashok Pandey in the Allahabad High Court to rename the court either as Prayagraj High Court or the Uttar Pradesh High Court was dismissed by a bench comprising Justice P.K. Jaiswal and Justice D.K. Singh.

The High Court dismissed this plea, filed in the form a Public Interest Litigation, by stating it as a “publicity stunt litigation”. The petitioner had raised the plea to rename the high court on the basis of the state government renaming the Allahabad district to Prayagraj on October 16, 2018.

In its latest order, the bench said renaming is within the powers of the Legislature and not the Judiciary under the Constitutional scheme and hence it cannot interfere in the issue.

The high court, however, did not impose any cost on the petitioner for filing the “unnecessary” petition, stating that the petitioner was a practising lawyer of the court.

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Supreme Court dismisses PIL asking Guidance for suicide-prone IIT-Students, imposing Rs. 10,000 fine

The Supreme Court on Thursday named a PIL seeking for guidance to the Center and IITs to make and execute a student wellbeing system to control the rising number of suicides in grounds, as “frivolous” and charged a fine of Rs 10,000 on the lawyer for filing it. The Supreme Court said the government was alive to the circumstance and excused the PIL filed by legal counselor Gaurav Bansal on the issue of suicides in IITs nationwide.

“This is an utterly frivolous petition. Tell us how much of the cost we should impose on you,” a bench headed by Justice R F Nariman said in the hearing being conducted through video conferencing.

“We are dismissing it with Rs 10,000 as cost payable to the legal services authority,” said the bench which additionally included Judges Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee.

Mr Bansal, during the short hearing, said that around 50 students have committed suicides in IITs across India in the last five years and asked the court to intercede and coordinate the Union Education Ministry and IITs to detail and execute a ‘Student Wellness Program’.

The lawyer said a board of committee members headed by the IIT, Kanpur was made to investigate the reason for suicides by the students, however there was no improvement in the circumstance. Alluding to the answer of the Center, the court saw that authorities were mindful of this issue.

The plea had looked for guidance to 13 IITs to “forthwith plan, design, formulate and effectively implement student health wellness programs focusing on prevention and reduction of suicides within their Institutions as provided under Section 29 and section 115 of the Mental Healthcare Act,2017”. Issues bearing to IITs for granting help as well as consultation to people with suicidal tendencies through call centers or helplines at institutional level, it had said.

CJI to hear plea challenging TRAI’s regulation

Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, the Chief Justice of India will deal with the matter of the Public Interest Litigation filed by Advocate Reepak Kansal through Advocate-On-Record Harisha S. R. questioning “The Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulation 2018” issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India claiming that it violates the right to privacy of the citizens with was declared as a fundamental right in the K.S.Puttaswamy v Union of India judgement.

As according to the latest directive issued by the TRAI on commercial SMSes creates a huge database of user preferences, consent and content of SMS received on a mobile number and sharing it across multiple business entities without the consent of the customer thereby violating right to privacy. The PIL egged on the Supreme Court to remove this TRAI’s directive. As according to Advocate Reepak Kansal.

“This regulation infringes upon the privacy of individuals at all levels, by creating a priceless, mega database of commercial relationships, habits and preferences of each and ever and every mobile phone user, that is more than a 100-crore individuals,”

The regulation makes all the business organisation, banks and financial institutions, airlines, government bodies, political parties, welfare organizations, as well as the the Supreme Court of India, compulsory to register itself on a proposed Distributed Ledger Technology based portal, with all client database, as well as individuals’ preference database, according to the PIL.


“…such information about transactions of any nature being done by individuals would hit at the very root of the privacy of an individual i.e. information related to his/her payments, business dealings, personal nature expenditures, health related or financial, private information like consumption habits, personal travel history, etc.”

Peru President escapes parliamentary impeachment vote amid corruption allegations

Peru’s congress wasn’t successful in impeaching President Martín Vizcarra on Friday on the grounds of “moral incapacity.” Vizcarra confronted the impeachment hearing notwithstanding his appeal to delay the legislative’s attempts to eliminate him from his office, which was dismissed by the nation’s constitutional court on Thursday.

The motion to impeach Vizcarra received backing from 32 of Peru’s 130 congressmen for expelling the president, missing the mark of the two-thirds majority needed to eliminate him from office. The proceedings were started a week ago after the opposition delivered proof that Vizcarra ordered “subordinates to lie to prosecutors about a minor-influence peddling scandal.”

However, the charges of “moral incapacity” emerged from reports in May claiming that Vizcarra went into unreliable government contracts with a lesser-known pop artist and political ally, Richard Cisneros. Vizcarra disputed that the opposition initiated impeachment vote out of indignation regarding the president’s move to disintegrate the previous congress a year ago.

Pressures were intense during the political fight, as Peru is experiencing an economic recession because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key congressmen offered Vizcarra support after the proceedings started, thinking that the nation needs security during this time. During the meeting, Vizcarra delivered a speech to Congress, shielding himself against the charges and encouraging the lawmakers to zero in on the “real challenges” that the nation is confronting.

Vizcarra will serve out the remainder of his term, which closes in July 2021.


Dengue could become the protective shield against Covid-19

Dengue Virus could enable certain antibodies within the human immune system which could act as a protective barrier against COVID -19. This has been stated on the basis of a research conducted in various states of Brazil like Rio Grande Do Sul and Minas Gerais where there was a large outbreak of dengue disease last year.

The antibodies produced by the immune system after contracting dengue could aid in the fight against corona virus. Areas with high dengue infections reported lowers cases of Covid-19 in Brazil based on testing and research by Miguel Nicolelis who is a professor at Duke university.

Nicolelis states that the reaction caused by the interaction between the Flavivirus serotypes and SARS-CoV-2 is a very rare sight as both the viruses are extremely different. But, further research has to be done in order to prove the theory correct which would also enable the use of a dengue vaccine to improve the immunity and produce the required antibodies to amplify our fight against Covid-19.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill,2020

FOREIGN CONTRIBUTION (REGULATION) AMENDENT BILL was passed by Lok Sabha on 20th September and by Rajya Sabha on 23rd September by a voice vote following discussions on Wednesday.

The Bill was moved for passing by Minister of State (MoS), Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai in the house.

The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010 “regulates the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”

The Bill seeks to bring amendment in Section 3 of the FCRA  to bring public servant under the list of people prohibited to accept foreign contributions and to make furnishing of Aadhaar numbers of office-bearers of any NGO mandatory for registration and also effect other changes. The bill also proposes to enable the Centre to allow an NGO or association to surrender its FCRA certificate. In addition to that, the Bill also seeks to introduce an amendment in section 11 of FCRA, which states that foreign contributions cannot be transferred to any other person unless that person is also registered by the Central Government to accept foreign contributions, by prohibiting the transfer of foreign contribution to any other ‘person’ which is not defined and could be an individual, an association, or a registered company. The Bill also seeks to restrict the use of foreign contributions for administrative purposes from the earlier 50% to 20%. Another important aspects of the Bill is to extend the period of suspension of registration of a person by the government from the present limit of 180 days by up to an additional 180 days.

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Crime to criticize Govt: Pakistan

A new legislation in Pakistan makes it a crime for a person to intentionally ridicule, bring into disrepute or defame the Armed Forces or a member of the Armed Forces. He shall be guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend upto two years, or with fine which may extend upto five hundred thousand rupees, or with both,” the bill says. This bill has to be passed by a majority in the National Assembly and Senate to become a law.

The purpose of this amendment is to prevent hatred and disrespectful behaviour against the Armed Forces,” reads the bill’s statement of reason. Amjad Ali Khan, a member of Pakistan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party introduced this Bill after the arrest of a journalist who openly criticised the government.

This Bill has received major criticism from activists and journalists in Pakistan. Pakistan Today’s editorial board wrote, “there needs to be a realization that criticism cannot be silenced by charges” and that the “statute books are already too cluttered with dead letters of the law to need the burden of any more.”

At least three journalists in Pakistan have been charged for alleged sedition in the past week, raising concerns that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government is increasingly intolerant of media’s criticism. Bilal Farooqi of Express Tribune, Asad Ali Toor of Samaa TV and former AAJ news anchor Absar Alam are facing sedition charges for allegedly defaming Pakistan Army and government

Pakistan ranked 144 out of 180 countries in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index (WPFI). Its military has been widely accused of aggressively pursuing journalists and other members of Pakistan’s civil society deemed to be working against its interests.


TATA projects wins the contract of Parliament work over L & T

The TATA company is again reigning at the top as it is all set to take up the rebuilding of India’s parliament building, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) which was competing against TATA Projects lost the prestigious opportunity in the final round. The process of company selection which was supposed to take place in Mach 2020 was delayed due to Covid-19. Approximately Rs.861.9 crore has been proffered by the TATA group for the project. The construction is likely to start after October 1 once the monsoon session of parliament ends. The Central vista which holds the Rashtrapati Bhavan at its pivotal point along with the Central Secretariat will be redeveloped according to the Central Vista Redevelopment initiative. By March 2022 the project would be completed which would also mark India’s 75 years of Independence.


Rajya Sabha passes two Farm Bills amidst protests

On 20th September,  the Rajya Sabha passed The Farmers’ and Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.

The bills were passed through a voice vote even as members of the opposition were under heavy protest. The members of the opposition threw papers and even broke the chairman’s’ mike in dissent of the passing of the two main farm bills.

The Farmers’ and Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 allows farmers to sell their produce anywhere (in any state/district or even electronically), ending the monopoly of traders. While the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 allows farmers to tie up with large companies, and fix prices with them for farming.

Farmers have been protesting against these bills as they feel that these bills favour big corporates and will give them the leverage to exploit the farmers with corporate farming. The Bill to sell produce anywhere does not include APMC Mandis and without the protection of these APMC mandis, the farmers fear that the big companies will have an advantage.