Jun 20

RKD NewsNet June 2020

From the desk of Dr. Mohan Dewan | Assisted by: Adv. Aboli Kherde, Adv. Sachi Kapoor & Adv. Shubham Borkar

General News

My Laburnum Tree

This is not an article on Botany. Neither is this an article on a disease. These are my thoughts on Hope and how a tree in my garden, rekindled hope in me, when things around me, seemed bleak.

In India, we were all quite shocked when the first Lockdown (Lockdown 1.0 as it is called now) was announced on the 24th of March 2020. We thought we would all be miserable working from home- almost jailed in the house, not being able to do the things we liked. My mind was also exactly like that. Half my day was spent looking at various statistics about which country was in the top 20 as the number of positive cases grew internationally. I was also watching the local situation.

There seemed to be 3 active pandemics going around. One was the pandemic caused by the virus. The second pandemic was the pandemic of fear that had crept into the minds of one and all, largely because of the reactions of many authorities worldwide. I learnt later, that in countries where there had been limited lockdowns and a supportive authority the effect of the pandemic was much less. And finally, there was a pandemic of fake news and rumors. The third pandemic was the worst of all. This pandemic caused more fear. It led to terror. Sometimes, medical personnel were beaten up, sometimes police officers were beating up common people. At others, I saw officials hosing down migrant workers with sanitizing fluid. And most of all, day-in and day-out, we heard news of common people, our citizens, walking across States to the safety of what they called Home. One common thread held all of them together, and retained their sanity, and that was Hope. Hope, that the first pandemic, that is the pandemic of the virus, would slowly run out of steam.

In the corner of my garden, there is a Laburnum tree. In Botanical terms, it is called Cassia Fistula. This is the Indian Laburnum which normally gives out golden yellow bunches of flowers. It is deciduous and sheds all its leaves during winter. All that is left thereafter is its chocolate brown body with branches and twigs and dried up seed pods hanging from the ends of these dead-like slumbering branches. I did not take a picture of this tree, when it was pathetically standing in one corner of my garden, so forlorn and without any meaning. Certainly, on the 25th of March 2020 I could relate to the tree, because I felt like it. Not knowing what to do, not knowing where to go (trees don’t move, do they? They are in a constant state of house arrest!). Even the birds shunned it, as they had nothing to gain from it. I passed the tree every day during my walks in the evenings as I went through Lockdown 1.0 to 2.0 to 3.0.

At the start of Lockdown 4.0, something magical happened. Suddenly, I could see shoots of green coming out of the branches, and as days passed by, these shoots became longer and longer. At the end of the shoots I saw green branches and suddenly, the flowers- the fabled golden yellow chain for which this tree is famous. And with each shoot, my mood changed. It gave me hope that if a tree could change so suddenly, so beautifully and so majestically, so could I. By the end of Lockdown 4.0, my Laburnum (the State tree of Kerala) was golden yellow. I have posted a picture of this tree with this article so that I can share my hopeful state with you with the realization that ‘This too will pass”.

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Video Conferencing in Court Proceedings

In our recent article we discussed about E-filing of cases relating to IPR infringement (Patent, Trademark, Copyright and Design) to be soon made compulsory in all the commercial courts, particularly those based at Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata. Before that, in another editorial piece we had also discussed in detail, the implementation of e-courts systems to facilitate procedural smoothening.

In the wake of the pandemic, (which has become a pretty popular phrase ‘in the wake of the pandemic’!) Courts in India are hearing crucial matters through video conferencing. Remote work culture is taking over speedily. Many vouch for its pros, such as flexible working hours, saving travel time and expenses, less strenuous days, saving office space and other office expenses; while others are worried of its cons, such as lesser control over employee’s activities or lesser inter-personal interactions between colleagues or with clients. Many corporations have declared that most of their employees can continue working from home even after lifting of lockdowns.

The question is, can the same apply to court procedures and administration of justice. In a recent case at the Madras High Court1, the proceedings were being held through video conferencing. The Court while considering a writ petition challenging a Government Order and the consequential works in the tender notification of the Highways and Minor Ports Department, Tamil Nadu, ruled, “To consider the respective pleadings and submissions of the respective parties, this Court is of the view that such final hearing cannot be done by way of Video-Conferencing mode.” Since bids and tenders had to follow their timeline and keeping the matter pending would not make that possible considering the dispute between the parties, the Court observed that “it is open to the respondents to open the technical bid and however, they shall not proceed any further with the process of the tender until further orders from this Court.”

Certain other issues concerning virtual hearings were also voiced by the Bar Council of India in its open letter to the Chief Justice of India dated May 26th, 2020, urging that physical, face-to-face hearings resume from June 1st. The letter stated, “We cannot even imagine a trial court work being done in/through virtual courts proceedings, can we think of recording of evidence in virtual courts? Exhibiting documents, confronting witnesses with documents, watching the demeanour of witnesses, and, above all, ensuring that the witness is deposing without any pressure, coercion or undue influence, are some salient features of traditional court which would be impossible to achieve in virtual courts.”

In a recent Webinar organised by NALSAR, Justice D Y Chandrachud, Judge of the Supreme Court, is reported to have said that the essence of a justice system is its direct access to public. He is also reported to have said that a right mix of technology driven processes and open court hearings is the need of the hour. Reports also suggest that the Supreme Court’s Advocates On Record Association has addressed a letter to the Chief Justice of India, urging for the open court proceedings to begin from July 2020.

1W.P.Nos.7621 to 7639, 7551 & 7496 of 2020 Madras High Court

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E-Filing of Commercial Cases including IPR cases will be made compulsory soon

E-filing of cases relating to IPR infringement (Patent, Trademark, Copyright and Design infringement) will be made compulsory in all commercial courts, particularly those based at Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata. This move is being implemented to increase India’s position in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings. India is presently at the 63rd position amongst 190 countries.

What are Commercial Courts?

Commercial Courts are special courts established for solving Commercial Disputes under the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division, and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015. These have been established to fast track the disposal of high-value commercial disputes (those valuing above INR One Crore) however to facilitate the ease of doing business in India, an Ordinance was brought in 2018 to reduce the pecuniary jurisdiction of Commercial Courts and Commercial Divisions in High Courts to INR 3 Lac.

What are “Ease of Doing Business” Rankings?

The World Bank analyses the regulatory environment of all member countries and then ranks these countries based on the ‘ease of doing business’ in their procedures. A high “Ease of Doing Business” ranking means that the regulatory environment of that country is more favourable for starting and operating a business. India has moved 14 places from the 77th rank in 2019 to 63rd in 2020.

The Update: In order to strengthen India’s position in the above referred World Bank rankings, the Central Government has recommended that the Bombay High Court and the Delhi High Court immediately execute the e-filing process in all the subordinate Commercial Courts by June 30, 2020 and the Calcutta High Court, and the Karnataka High Court by September 30, 2020. The Union Law Ministry has written to the Registrar Generals of all the four High Courts to ensure that the process of e-filing is executed and followed within the given deadlines.2

The High Court of Kolkata has also been requested to put up 2 additional Commercial Courts in Kolkata and to make them entirely functional by June 30, 2020. The Union Law Ministry has further requested the Registrar of the all these High Courts to decrease the pecuniary authority of the Commercial Courts to INR 3 Lac before July 31, 2020.

The Union Government has constituted a central task force that will conduct weekly review meetings for examining the progress of the procedure of ‘enforcing contract’, an essential parameter based on which the World Bank ranks a country on ‘ease of doing businesses’.

The Union Law Ministry had recommended that no Judge in these High Courts should give more than 3 deferments or postpone cases, especially those on the commercial roaster of the High Courts to ensure that such cases are disposed off within a fixed time frame.

In May this year, the Union Minister for Law and Justice and the Attorney General of India interacted with a team of law officers in a virtual meeting.

In this interaction, the Law Minister specifically highlighted that "during these challenging times overzealous PILs needs to be avoided. Though one cannot stop anyone from filing cases there must be an effective response to these types of interventions. This was appreciated by the Attorney General and all other law officers. Secretary, Department of Justice highlighted the issues about e-Courts and other developments that are being pursued to make it more effective. “3

The Law Minister stated that there was significant growth in the number of advocates who have registered for e-filing of cases during the lockdown. Over a thousand advocates have registered for e-filing of petitions during the lockdown. Some urgent IPR cases are being heard at the High Courts at Bombay and Delhi. The Attorney General and many other law officers emphasized the need for strengthening the e-Courts system by addressing connectivity issues and training lawyers in e-Court management. In this regard, the Law Minister directed the Secretary Justice (member of the e-Court Committee of the Supreme Court) to co-ordinate in bringing these challenges before the Committee and with the help of NIC and other agencies, improve the system. The Law Minister, in particular, emphasized to take this challenge as an opportunity to digitalise the justice delivery system and make it more robust.

Dr. Mohan Dewan had envisaged a system of E-justice and had disclosed this system in a patent application in the year 2008. (International application no. PCT/IN2009/000412)


3Press Release by Press Information Bureau Government of India- Let us take lockdown as an opportunity to make digital systems in justice delivery more robust: Shri. Ravi Shankar Prasad New Delhi 10th May 2020

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Takedowns in Lockdowns: Intermediary to take down violators within 48 hours

Jagran Prakashan Limited (“Jagran”) is a company which publishes a leading Hindi newspaper, named Dainik Jagran. Its digital e-paper is also available and published on its official website www.jagran.com. Any reader can read the newspaper on this website however, cannot download the content.

Telegram is a cloud based instant messaging and voice over service. It is a web-application that allows users to share messages, photos, videos, stickers, audio file s, etc. with multiple users at the same time. It also allows users to create their own channels for broadcasting. Various users have created channels with IDs under the name of Dainik Jagran: t.me/dainkjagran, t.me/dainikjagranhindi, t.me/dainikjagran_jnm, t.me/dainikjagranpdf, t.me/dainik_jagran, t.me/dainikjagran, t.me/DJagran, t.me/Dainik_Jagran_pdf, t.me/Fainik_Jagran_News, t.me/dainikja. Jagran filed a suit against Telegram at the Bombay High Court Jagran Prakashan Limited v. Telegram FZ LLC & Ord. Jagran stated that these users are not required to disclose their identity in the app.

Jagran found that these channels are circulating content from Dainik Jagran’s e-papers through the Telegram App. Not only are the current editions of the e-paper of Dainik Jagran being circulated on these channels but also the users subscribing to these Telegram channels can download all the previous editions of the e-paper published. These previous editions are otherwise available to a user only if he subscribes to the Dainik Jagran e-paper by visiting its official website.

When, Jagran filed a suit against Telegram, it served the documents of the suit documents upon Telegram in advance, i.e. by May 23, 2020. Telegram responded that they have blocked the concerned channels. However, on May 28, Jagran found that some of the channels were still functioning. Dainik Jagran argued that as per the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 (“IT Rules, 2011”), on being informed about misuse of the online service, the intermediary – Telegram, is required to pull down the channels within 36 hours.

The Court granted an ad-interim injunction in favour of Jagran since it had established a prima facie case against Telegram. The Court also ordered that Telegram disclose the basic subscriber information/identity of the users/owners and take them down within 48 hours. The proceedings of this matter were conducted through video-conferencing.

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Copyright Infringement Case Through Video-Conferencing

Tips Industries Ltd. (“Tips”) a company prevalent in the media and entertainment industry for its films and productions recently filed a suit Tips Industries Ltd. v. Entertainment Network (Kindia) Ltd. & Anr. at the Bombay High Court seeking permanent injunction against Entertainment Network (Kindia) Ltd. (“ENK”). It alleged that ENK was infringing its copyright in one of its repertoire. Tips alleged that ENK is illegally broadcasting its repertoire without obtaining its consent as there is no agreement between the parties to this effect.

Ganaa is a digital platform on which ENK is alleged to have broadcasted the concerned repertoire. Interestingly, the counsel appearing for ENK agreed that until the matter is decided, ENK will not broadcast the repertoire on Ganaa or any other platform. He also stated that this was without prejudice to the rights and title of ENK with respect to the repertoire in question. This served as an ad-interim arrangement between the parties.

The matter took place through video conferencing. The matter has been adjourned for 8 weeks now.

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Recently granted GI's


In this article, we bring to you beautiful arts from various cultures which were granted GI’s recently:

Thanjavur Netti Works (pith works) and Arumbavur wood carvings, hailing from central Tamil Nadu, have now earned the Geographical Indication Tag from the Indian GI Registry. The GI Tag application was submitted by the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation (Poompuhar), Government of Tamil Nadu in 2013.


Thanjavur Netti Works:

*We claim no copyrights on the above image. It is reproduced solely for reference and educational purposes.

Thanjavur Netti Works (Thanjavur Pith Work) is crafted from Netti (pith), a marshy plant which is found near Pudukottai Pudukullam & Kallaperumbur lake. Being a traditional craft, it has been handed down from one generation to another. Netti Works are seen in the Brihadeeswara Temple, on the idols of the deities, door hangings, and decorative items. The pith work industry has been recognized as one of the significant handwork symbols. The pith stems are found in and around the Thanjavur region and Mannargudi. Netti works are fragile in nature, the Pith works are kept inside a glass box to preserve them well.


Arumbavur Wood Carvings

*We claim no copyrights on the above image. It is reproduced solely for reference and educational purposes.

The Arumbavur wood carvings made by the artisans of Veppanthattai taluk of Perambalur district are mainly made out of wooden logs of, mango tree, lingam tree, Indian ash tree, neem, and rosewood. The wood supply comes from the Pachamalai Hills along the Trichy - Perambalur boundary and the Thanjavur - Kumbakonam zone.

The specialty of Arumbavur's work is that the entire object which is about 1 to 12 feet tall is carved out of one block of wood, thanks to the rationale that even one mistake can damage the whole work.


Sohrai Khovar Paintings

*We claim no copyrights on the above image. It is reproduced solely for reference and educational purposes.

The iconic Sohrai- Khovar paintings- an indigenous kind of Hazaribagh region of Jharkhand received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag- the first GI for the state of Jharkhand. This traditional artpiece is made with naturally available soils of different colours are used to decorate mud or brick houses. Practiced by tribal women, it can be seen most during the harvest festival and marriage season.

Khovar refers to the decoration of marriage chambers. While Sohrai is the harvest painting on the mud houses, repairing it after the rains and offering a token of gratitude to Natural forces. It is also one of the oldest art forms of wall paintings and is passed from generations to generations from one woman to another. It is important to note here that all the artists related to the Sohrai- Khovar paintings are females.

Lines, dots, sparrows, peacocks, squirrels and cows, and plants seen in these paintings often represent religious iconography. The tribal art has a history of more than 5000 years and can be traced somewhere between 7,000-4,000 BC. The GI tag recognition will give an economic and social boom to these artists and also have a great impact on the income of those involved with it by placing the art form on an international platform.

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The VLC Media player is the favourite software of over a billion users globally! Its compatibility and its user-friendly interface make it an easy choice for users. Its first version was released in 2001.

Ever wondered, why is a traffic cone the symbol of a media player? I’m sure you are wondering now. Well, there’s an anecdote behind the logo.

The students of École Centrale Paris (a postgraduate-level institute of research and higher education in engineering and science) had originally developed the software, though it is now developed by contributors globally and is co-ordinated and owned by a non-profit organization viz., VideoLAN.

One day, the students of École Centrale got quite drunk and carried to the college a traffic cone with them. Later they began collecting traffic cones in their computer lab*. When they finished the software, VideoLAN decided to use the graphical representation of the traffic cone in memory of the students. The École Centrale students have no connection with the software or VideoLAN as on date.

*We in no manner encourage anyone to collect traffic cones.

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