Children from live-in relationships

In a recent landmark judgment, the Supreme Court has held that children born out of live-in relationships shall be considered as legitimate off springs. Such kids will have all the rights of children born to legally wedded parents. These children will get the right to inherit the property left behind by their parents. The overall legal position regarding live-in relationships is still fluid in the absence of specific legislation in this regard. However, the Supreme Court through its various judgments have filled this lacuna to some extent.

ADOPTION UNDER JUVENILE JUSTICE (CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN) ACT,2000

The Supreme Court has ordered that any person, including members of minority communities like Christians and Muslims can adopt under the provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, even though their personal laws do not permit it. Under the personal laws of Christians and Muslims, the adoption rights are limited. Those who adopt children are deemed only to be their guardian and not legal parents and the children cannot inherit property. The biological parents could also claim their rights over the child. Under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, the adopted children have the same rights and responsibilities as biological children. A per the judgement of Supreme Court, a person has the choice to be governed by the secular law or the personal law. The court has further observed that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children),2000 Act is a small step towards the idea of a uniform civil code.

Real Estate terms

Carpet area: Total usable area within the four walls of an apartment or a commercial space. It may come roughly 70 to 75% of the super built up area.

Built up area: Entire carpet area along with thickness of exterior walls of an apartment and the balcony.

Super built up area: Built up area plus the proportionate share in common amenities like lift area, lobby, corridor etc.

Undivided share in land = (Super built up area of apartment x total land area) / sum of super built up areas of all apartments.

HSRP

HSRP(High Security Registration Number Plates) on vehicles was directed to be implemented by the Supreme Court in the year 2011 with a two year ultimatum.However later the supreme court has kept the same in abeyance. HSRP if implemented, will help to curb vehicle related crimes, prevent multiple vehicle registration on a single number and can help in regulating the transfer of vehicle ownership. State of Karnataka is yet to implement the same.

INTERNATIONAL STANDARD SERIAL NUMBER (ISSN)

ISSN is an internationally accepted unique eight digit code used for identifying newspapers, magazines and other print or electronic periodicals. It was developed in the 1970s by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISSN serves as an identification mode and is not indicative of any information such as place of origin, content of the periodical, quality/standard of information etc. It is a numeric code that does not have any intrinsic meaning. ISSN also does not confer title or IP of any nature.
Since ISSN is an identification mechanism, all issues of the periodical, magazine will have the same number. As opposed to ISBN (International Standard Book Number) which changes for each book, even if in a series, ISSN remains constant.

The assignment of the ISSN is done by the National Centre ISSN and for countries that do not have such centre, the International Centre ISSN, Paris assigns the number. The Indian National Centre for ISSN is located in New Delhi.

An application should contain the name of the periodical, frequency of publication, intended start date, name and address of publisher. For existing publications, a copy of the relevant issue along with details of the publisher will have to be furnished. Application and allocation of ISSN is currently free of cost.

Asked, what is the use of the ISSN when it does not confer right or title, it can be equated to having an UID in the digital or periodic world.

Authored by:
Naqsha H Biliangady
Advocate

TRANSFER PRICING LAW IN INDIA

To say that no enterprise transacts beyond the territory of just one nation would be absurd and to vouch that such trade is determined entirely by the free market is a sham. To introduce it simply, transfer pricing is a profit allocation method used to allocate a multi national’s net profit or loss between tax jurisdictions. It involves differential pricing of goods and services, determined devoid of market forces, in different tax jurisdictions so as to minimize tax burden and maximize real profits.
Suppose enterprise A manufactures a commodity for Rs.100/- and sells it to enterprise B which is an ‘associated enterprise’ located in a tax friendly jurisdiction for Rs. 200 and enterprise B, sells the same in open market at Rs. 400/-, A, by routing it through B is liable to a tax only on Rs. 100 and enterprise B is liable to a tax on Rs. 200/-. The cumulative effect of transferring the profit is an overall lower tax liability to the enterprise and consequential loss of revenue to the State. At the same time, the enterprise is also exposed to ‘double taxation’ or paying tax in two separate tax jurisdictions, even though monetarily beneficial, which in-turn is detrimental as it creates an illusion of two independent commodities and transactions.
Applying ‘I’ll put my arm on a friend’s shoulder and keep a stranger at ‘arm’s length’, to counter such controlled pricing is to tax an enterprise at ‘arm’s length price’. Simply put, ‘arm’s length price’ is the price at which the commodity would be transacted between two unrelated enterprises in an international transaction under uncontrolled conditions.
Assessing an enterprise at ‘arm’s length price’ serves two ends- ensuring that an enterprise is aptly taxed, and there is no loss of revenue to the state, and ensuring that the enterprise is not exposed to “double taxation”.
An enterprise, may be assessed, at arm’s length price if the Assessing Officer deems it necessary to do so, by making reference to Transfer Pricing Officer. The Transfer Pricing Officer shall thereupon determine the arm’s length price by applying any of the methods discussed in Sec 10B of the Income Tax Act. Thereafter the Assessing Officer shall compute the total income of the enterprise having regard to the arm’s length price for imposing tax.
Authored by
Naqsha S Biliangady
Advocate

Supreme Court Guidelines on Arrest u/s 66A of Information Technology Act, 2000.

The internet is an oft praised platform with plenty of opportunities for people to explore options, and more importantly, voice their opinions. It is the platform where anybody who wants to express an opinion about anything may do so- your age, sex, nationality, country of residence, etc, are irrelevant. All you really need is a social networking website, a registered ID, a workable internet connection, and obviously, a mode to carry out the task (be it the old fashioned net cafe desktops, or even just cell phones given technologies recent ascent).

While much of these opinions are awe-inspiring, exhilarating even, certain others may find these opinions offensive- maybe even frightening. Take for instance, the arrest of the two users in Maharashtra who questioned the Bandh following the death of Bal Thackeray, former leader of the Shiv Sena. The state home minister R.R. Patil, at that point, announced a high level probe into the matter. He said the police targeted the girls because of the ambiguity in the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000.

Of recent events is the highlight of Jaya Vindhyala, a PUCL activist who allegedly posted derogatory comments on her Facebook ‘timeline’ on Chirala legislator, Amanchi Krishna Mohan and the Tamil Nadu Governor, K Rosaiah. Subsequently, Amanchi Mohan filed a complaint and the police invoked provisions of Section 66A of the IT Act, and Section 120 B of the IPC (Criminal Conspiracy). Jaya Vindhyala was arrested on the 12th of May, 2013.

Section 66A of the Information Technology Act deals with punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, which cause annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will. For the purpose of this section, “electronic mail message” and “electronic mail” cover messages or information transmitted or received on a computer, computer resource, and communication device and include attachments whether in text, images, audio, video or any other electronic records which may be transmitted via messages. The real question, however, is what constituted electronic messages to be offensive or menacing? Going by the English language, it would depend from person to person; a subjectively skewed outlook with its own threats of ambiguity overriding liberty.

What’s worrisome about the case of Vindhyalaya is that she had been opposing the local legislator on several issues and brought out a fact- finding committees report accusing the legislator of malpractices.

India is a Democratic country which holds dear its constitutionally prescribed Fundamental Rights of which Article 19(1) (a) epitomizes the freedom of speech and expression. Are people no longer permitted to voice their opinions, be it via paper medium, or even the internet? The internet has a far greater reach than most paper medium would- what with users constantly overusing the infamous search engines of Google and Bing and posting whatever thoughts flow through the innards of their brains on public forums, like Facebook and Twitter, sparking off heated debates. Yet, several times, as has been observed, the ambit of this right is required to be contained.

The phraseology of Section 66A of the IT Act is wide and vague; incapable of being judged on objective standards, thus far susceptible to reckless abuse. Earlier in the year, as per the Centre’s January 9th Advisory, “State governments are advised that as regard to arrest of any person in complaint registered under section 66A of the Information Technology Act, the concerned police officer of a police station may not arrest any person until she/he has obtained prior approval of such arrest from an officer, not below the rank of Inspector General of Police (IGP) in metropolitan cities or of an officer not below the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) or Superintendent of Police (SP) at district level, as the case may be.”

Justices B.S. Chauhan and Dipak Misra, comprising the Apex Court vacation bench, on the 16th of May 2013 refused to pass an order for a blanket ban on arresting persons for posting objectionable comments on website. In lieu with the Centre’s January 9 advisory, the Supreme Court reiterated that no person should be arrested for posting “objectionable comments” on social networking platforms without taking prior permission from senior police officials. The order was passed based on an interim application which sought the release of Smt. Jaya Vindhyala. This application was filed by Shreya Singhal (CRL.MP nos. 11600 & 11601/2013) in a writ petition [Article 32] in Shreya Singhal v. Union of India [WP (Crl) 167/2012]..

Authored By-
Janhavi R I
II Year
BBA/LLB
Symbiosis Law School, Pune

ADOPTION OF INDIAN CHILDREN BY FOREIGNERS

Adoption, to put in simple terms, is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting of another. Unlike guardianship, where only the responsibility for care and protection are vested with the guardian, adoption implies that the adoptive child and adoptive parents shall have towards each other the relationship of parent-child will all rights and responsibility.
In India, the Central Adoption Resource Authority or CARA- an autonomous body under the Ministry of Women and Child Development acts as the Central Authority in matters concerning in-country and inter-country adoption. CARA is also designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter–country adoptions in accordance with the Hague Convention on Adoption 1993, which was ratified by India in 2003.
Accordingly guidelines for adoption of children have been framed and the procedure has been laid down. Parents of foreign origin desirous of adopting a child must obtain permission of the concerned authority in their home country for adopting a child from India and make an application through an Enlisted Foreign Adoption Agency (EFAA). The EFAA is an adoption agency in the home country of the parents, authorized by and enlisted with the CARA for the purpose of inter-country adoption. Upon receiving an application, the EFAA will prepare a Home Study Report (HSR) detailing marital status, stability of relationship, economic stability, standard of living and other criteria of the adoptive parents before forwarding it to the Recognized Indian Placement Agencies (RIPA), which are Child Welfare Organizations authorized by CARA for placement of Indian children in inter country adoption. The application must be accompanied by other documents mentioned in Annexure 2 of the guidelines.
Upon receiving such an application, the RIPA will make attempts to match a child who is legally free for inter country adoption. A child is legally free for inter country adoption, if within a period of 30 days, the Adoption Coordination Agency or ACA is unable to match such a child with suitable Indian parents and the ACA certifies the same. The RIPA will thereafter forward the application along with the clearance certificate from the ACA and other documents prescribed in Annexure 3 to the CARA for a No Objection Certificate (NOC).
On being satisfied of the application, CARA will issue an NOC within a period of 15 days to the RIPA. After receiving the NOC, the RIPA shall file a petition before the competent court for adoption. The court may thereafter place the child with the Foreign Prospective Adoptive Parents (FPAP). As per the directions of the Supreme Court, such a petition must be disposed off within a period of 2 months. Subsequently the RIPA shall apply to the regional passport authority for the issuance of an Indian Passport. The passport authority may issue the same within a period of 10 days after which Visa/ entry permits shall be obtained from the concerned embassy. The adoptive parents shall thereafter accompany the child to their home country.
Authored by
Naqsha H Biliangady
Advocate
Mento Associates

PROVIDENT FUND

Provident Fund is a fund, plan or scheme to provide retirement income. The Employment Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1952 and the rules there under provide for the law on Provident Fund and pension benefits. The Act was enacted with a view to provide for compulsory contribution to provident fund, both by the employer and the employee.
It applies to every establishment which is a factory engaged in any industry specified in Schedule-I of the act and in which 20 or more persons are employed. The Central Government by notification can bring in any other establishments employing 20 or more persons or less than 20 persons under the purview of this act. The appropriate government may by notification in official gazette exempt any establishment from the operation of all or any of the provision of any scheme under this act.
An employee, to become eligible to the provisions of the Act is required to be a member, by filing the Form 2. Under the scheme of PF the employer and employee will each contribute 10% or 12% of the basic salary towards the PF. The remittance of the same should be done on or before the 15th of the following month. Accordingly the monthly returns have to be filed before the 25th of every month by filling the Forms 12A, 5 and 10. Annual returns are also to be filed by the employer under Form 3A and Form 6A.
The PF amount is also transferable when the employee upon termination / resignation, joins the services of another employer. The same is done by filling the Form 13, which will be provided by the former employer. Upon the form being filled, the new employer shall forward it to the provident fund organization. The transfer of the PF amount ordinarily takes 40 days.
A member is eligible to apply for withdrawing his provident fund and pension fund only after 2 months from the date of resignation, provided that he / she is not employed during the said 2 months. The member should submit Form 19 to withdraw his provident fund dues on leaving service/retirement/termination. The same has to be signed by the previous employer and submitted to the provident fund office. Ordinarily it takes about 40 days for the PF amount to be credited to the bank account. The withdrawal of PF is not taxable provided the employee has rendered continuous services; else the applicable tax slab for the income would apply.
Members are also entitled to withdraw monies from as advances from the PF account for purposes like marriage, education, medical treatment, purchase of residential property etc.
Contributed by:
Naqsha Biliangady
Advocate

THE MARRIAGE LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2010

The Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill 2010, proposes certain amendments to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the Special Marriage Act, 1954 with a view to make them more in conformity with the changing social conditions.

Following are the major amendments proposed for the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955:

-The waiting period of 6 months for a Section 13-B petition (mutual consent divorce petition) is proposed to be removed.

-New sections 13-C, D, E are proposed to be inserted making irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce. The parties should have lived apart for a minimum continuous period of 3 years before filing the petition, to avail this ground.

Following are the major amendments proposed to the Special Marriage Act, 1954:

-The waiting period of 6 months for a Section 28 petition (mutual consent divorce petition) is proposed to be removed.

-New Sections 28-A and 28-B are proposed to be inserted after Section 28, making irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce. The parties should have lived apart for a minimum continuous period of 3 years before filing the petition, to avail this ground.