Maternity Benefits for Women in India

With every passing year more and more women in India are getting employed and working hand in hand with men members of the family. But, one event that is integral to the life of most of the married women is pregnancy and delivery. It’s a phase of life that involves living at home with the infant and care taking. Hence, the maternity leave facility. Many of us aren’t much aware that the Government of India has already passed a Maternity bill in 2016 and its details.

As per the bill, a woman employee is eligible to get full paid leave in order to take care of the child and herself. It also protects the employment during the time and is applicable to all business organizations with a work force of over 10 employees. Here is a rundown the bill features

maternity benefits for women in India

  • The maternity leave for working women bearing first or second child is set to 26 weeks. Earlier it was 12 weeks only.
  • For the 3th child or more the leave is only 12 weeks.
  • Maternity benefit of 12 weeks is also applicable to a woman who adopts a child below three months and commissioning mothers as well. Commissioning mothers are those who use their egg to create an embryo that is planted in another woman.
  • The bills also mentions working from home facility if the nature of work is such that the employee can work from home, in case employer and the woman both agree.
  • The bills states that an organization with more than 50 employees need to provide crèche facilities for working mothers and even the facility to visit the child in the crèche four times a day for feeding and resting as well.
  • The maternity benefits need to be intimated to the woman employee in writing at the time of appointment.

The maternity benefit bill is passed by the Parliament in the Lok sabha for the purpose of regulation of employment of woman in all areas of the working like circus, mines, shops or establishments with 10 or more employees.

Multinational companies have already included these benefits and many majors are still jumping the bandwagon offering not maternity leaves but flexi-hour working with full pay as well. One of the company in Bangalore has even offered 1 year career break without salary for maternity. MNC’s are even providing additional benefits that are not mentioned under the maternity benefits bill. In order to woo women employee companies making lucrative offers that include benefits like parental counselling, insurance benefits, maternity tie-ups with hospitals, transport reimbursement to name a few. Another well- known banking sector firm has offered a package of 1.32 lacs only for child care to women in addition to salary.

Well, there are many more corporate who are willing to adopt the flexible maternity policies in India because they are well aware that maternity is one such milestone in the lives of women when they decide to quit their jobs.

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Lifting the Restriction of Advertising for Lawyers in India

As of now, as per the Indian Law, Lawyers are not allowed advertise. But, the founder president of the Indian Lawyers Association (ILA), a California based NRI advocate has a different opinion. Navneet Chug is also the founder of South Asian Bar Association of South California (SABA) and is of the opinion that the restriction on advertising in India for lawyers needs to be lifted. Other than that he is the founder of SABA North America (SABANA) with 27 chapters that represent over 10,000 Indian lawyers residing in Canada and USA besides Indian Bar Association.

He harped upon the issue of BCI not able to regulate the ‘black sheep’ amongst the lawyers and not even providing any freedom to them. He also mentioned that in the United States of America the State controlled Bars are responsible for regulating advocates in an effective way. Furthermore, BCI is putting obstacles like age bar for law degrees as well which is in a way hindrance to the field of law. In USA the law that restricted lawyers from advertising was lifted in the year 1971 and today there are umpteen lawyers filling up the yellow pages with ads about their services and utilizing many other traditional mediums as well for showcasing their services.

Having said that, the Indian law firms are also trying to find a creative way out of this problem. They are promoting their work by organizing seminars and conferences as well as by getting into partnerships with NGOS, to name a few. As per the president of the Society of Law (SILF), such promotional activities are not listed under the prohibition of advertising rule 36 of the Bar Council and hence it is not considered a promotion or violation of the rule. As per Bhasin, the world is becoming a smaller place after globalization and there is a dire need to change the norms. In 2008, the government did ease the rule by allowing lawyers to create website with little information, but that it did not address the problem as such.

Many law experts feel that BCI is still following the norms that had been created in the stone age even when we are living in the Tesla age and thinking of creating colonies on Mars. Present day, there are many law firms that are already opening offices overseas with information online on their websites in those countries even when they want to do the same in India but aren’t able to do so due to the prohibition here.

Well, it seems the experts and lawyers are looking to broaden their horizons utilizing the advertising tool thus making it inevitable for the BCI to think about bring about a reformation in their rules and ethics thus allowing the Indian lawyers to offer their services across borders and flourish in their profession.

Misconduct of Lawyers in India – A Few Case Examples

Even though there is no definition as such for misconduct in the advocate’s act of 1966 but it does mean breach in discipline to say the least. Furthermore, it’s not possible to decide on what all would be included under misconduct and there is every possibility of addition or omission of something or the other intentionally or unintentionally.

The court has held that conduct that makes anyone unfit for his profession or embarrasses or damages the administration of justice’s reputation may be deemed as misconduct. The conduct that makes any advocate unworthy of continuing as the member of the legal profession or is not deemed fit for undertaking the responsibilities that have to be performed, he or she is chargeable of misconduct and is punishable under the same.

Misconduct of Lawyers in India1

 

Some of the important cases that did bring the lawyers under the scanner and punished them if found guilty include the following-
1. Deliberate delay in filing a suit
In one such case, the court found the lawyer guilty of deliberately delaying the suit filing procedure when the complainant accused the advocate of doing it in the connivance with the other side. The lawyer’s license was suspended for two years by the deciding committee.

2. Forged Document Handover
In one such case the advocate was found guilty for handing over forged stay order while in reality no stay order was passed by the court. The committee after looking into the facts held the lawyer guilty for misconduct of serious nature and ordered for the removal of his name from the Bar Council Register of Delhi.

3. Defrauding illiterate clients
One of the cases of misconduct involved taking the signatures on blank water marked paper for defrauding a client. The committee found the advocate guilty of the act.

4. Intentional delay in appearing in the court
A complainant had alleged that her lawyer took money and still did not appear in the court for the proceedings due to which she lost the case. The committee held the advocates conduct deliberate and suspended his practice for the period of two years

5. Advocate engaged in carrying out business actively
An advocate was found guilty by the committee in actively engaging in working as a printer, editor and published for the weekly ‘Aaj ki Janata’ inspite of being an advocate. The Committee found him guilty as per rule 47 of BCI, which prohibits an advocate from engaging in personal business.

Well, the committee decides on the punishment pertaining to professional misconduct after thorough cross examination and it comes under the advocates act 1966. As for contempt of court the punishment is different and not the same as professional misconduct.

 

KLE Society’s Law College is one of the best law colleges in Bangalore, Karnataka and also ranked second best law college in Bangalore, India.

Artificial intelligence, Laws and the Road Ahead

Artificial Intelligence is the need of the hour, but their working unlike human commands is automated to an extent, in the sense that over a period of time they develop their own decision making on the basis of mechanically analyzing user data over time. Obviously, the objective is to have machines produce atleast results that are similar to humans if not better in term of outcomes. After the major blunders related to data protection namely involving the social media giant Facebook with respect to Cambridge Analytica, the concerns have grown by leaps and bounds.

Particularly in India, the data protection system is not yet upto the mark and catching up with the pace at which AI is growing, it’s definitely a cause of concern. Additionally, if the artificial intelligence based system undertakes any actions that does not involve direct application of human mind and leads to any sort of loss, who is to blame? Is the Artificial Intelligence system to be blamed?

Answers to these questions remain unanswered even though the supreme- court has already passed the decision about ‘right to privacy’ as a duly enforceable fundamental right. Dealing with these challenges in absence of the legislation only points towards the right being restricted to paper without being implemented.

So, is there a way ahead and if yes, how to go about it. Well, as per law pundits, there needs to be a law system in place that deals with issues relevant to artificial intelligence discrepancy besides that the AI system is subject to all the laws that a human apparently is. Furthermore, the government also needs to put a law in place to protect the data and also around intimation/ permission policy before using the data of individual users.

Perhaps, as we climb the ladder of innovation in terms of artificial intelligence and its capabilities, it’s equally critical to be aware of the simultaneous requirements of upgradation of the law and the framework interpretation in the country.

Honor Killing and Protection of Marriages in India

Almost a decade back, special law proposed by the National Commission for Women (NCW) has already been put in place to deal with honor killings. As per the Supreme Court adults are free to marry a person of choice and therefore it is illegal to hurt or punish such couples by the clan members ‘Khap’ or any group of community members.

Even though, honor killings have taken over 250 lives already since 2015 and the numbers are only going up rather than going down as the reputation of a family is stake. An honor killing, is killing or homicide that is carried out by the family member of the family due to their belief that their family member who has married outside the caste has brought shame and dishonor to the family and also has violated their caste or religion principles. The other reasons for honor killing include being a rape victim, dressing in a way that is cited as inappropriate, having sex outside marriage or being in a relationship against the will of the family.

Honor Killing and Protection or Marriages in India

Most often the victims of honor killing are women and not men.
Even after killing, most often the killers do not face any social stigma from the community because their community approves of it.

Honor killings are most common in northern part of India, more in Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Even though even South India, Gujarat and Maharashtra do report such incidences and it is prevalent in these regions too.

Here are few reasons that are known to lead to honor killings –
Casteism – Even though we have advanced so much, the caste system is still prevalent in India and there is no denying about that. It is still rigid and a reason behind such heinous crimes.

Governance Issues – Even today there is no formal governance in villages and panchayats and khaps are still rampant.

Mentality – Due to the prevalent caste system in India even today a marriage outside caste is a taboo of some kind and the mentality hasn’t yet changed even after centuries and progress in various fields in the society.

Khap Panchayat – These used to be panchayats like parallel government of sorts created by upper caste and affluent people and communities in order to consolidate position and power. These Khap’s are more or less dominated by males and they possess a lot of illegal authorities like demanding payments from couples, boycotting certain families or people, harass a couple, intimidate or murder them or boycott them.

Well, still the road to success looks like a distant dream because honor killing is prevalent and is not decreased significantly even after the Supreme court passed the special law. Hence, there is more to be done, particularly spreading awareness in the regions most affected about the validity of the Khap Panchayats.

Justice System For Juvenile Offenders in India

Juvenile offenders are those Indian citizens who are not adults or are not above 18 years of Age. Many of them are subject of juvenile delinquency which is about committing crime on a regular basis or as a habit by these teenagers. Obviously, the law for adult criminals and those under 18 years of age is different in India and is governed by a lot of factors.

There is a juvenile justice board in India which looks into the juvenile offenders and decides on the course of action or punishment for them and there are certain protocols that need to be adhered to while dealing with cases that involve juvenile. Here’s a run down –

juvenile Offenders in India

1. When there is a police case or FIR filed or the police catch hold of a juvenile offender, he or she is to be kept under the charge of a special juvenile officer or child welfare officer, who is responsible for producing the child or teenager before the Juvenile justice Board.

2. To conclude on the course of action based on whether the offence or crime was petty or heinous one, an enquiry is carried out. The offense is petty or serious or heinous nature and the child is below 16 years of age, the board may decide on the following punishments considering the crime type –

a. Advice the child and let him or her go home
b. Ask the child to go through counselling
c. Fine the parents of the child
d. Ask the child to do community service
e. Release the child on probation subject to good conduct
f. Direct the child to live in special home for not more than three years

3. For crimes of heinous nature by children above 16 years the board can decide on a trial for the child as adult. But, the child cannot receive any life imprisonment or death sentence without any sort of release possibility.

There are observation or special homes for offenders where these offenders stay for a short time. But, the conditions in these homes are not as required according to many experts. There is a great need for this homes to provide educational activities and training to the kids living there, as the homes do not have any structured activity for them, it ultimately leads to no improvement. There’s this saying ‘an idle mind is a devils workshop’, so there is a dire need to carry out proper rehabilitation of juvenile offenders and building infrastructure where informal systems like voluntary organizations, families and communities are involved and the whole system is transparent enough, is when we can help the juvenile offenders learn a lesson and work towards living a better life once they are out.

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SPORTS LAW IN INDIA – THE PRESENT SCENARIO

India is a huge country and a land of umpteen sports. While sports like cricket have been followed like a religion, present times have brought about a progressive change and many other sports have are being followed now like never before. The ministry of youth affairs and sports is responsible for handling the administration and funding of sports. The cabinet minister heads the ministry and the national sports federation manages it.

As the form of recreation has grown by leaps and bounds and India has become a brimming venue for holding many national and international events during its time that rules and regulations are also in place. Hence the need to have sports laws in place and thus banish the grey areas. The UN has already recognized sport as a way of promoting health, education, and development, hence the need to streamline the field with suitable law system.

sports law in india

In India presently there is no state legislation to regulate sports. The government had undertaken the infrastructure development task and excellence achievement task in sports but the administration and sports activities are in hands of autonomous authorities like Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Sports Authority of India (SAI), Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Though these governing bodies to receive the government’s aid as they are registered under the societies registration’s act of 1860.

As far as sports policy in India is concerned, the national sports policy 1984/2001 is already in place with was brought into force in the year 1984 but it was realized only later that the bill was not complete and even the implementation.  Hence in 2001, a bid was reformulated to revise the bill with guidelines as follows –

  • Procedures to be laid down for autonomous bodies and federations for making government aid and assistance available.
  • Define responsibilities of different agencies for undertaking and promoting sports.
  • Identify the sports federations with coverage eligibility under the set guidelines

This was the policy which leads the lawmakers to give importance to sports thus making way for inclusion of sports in the constitution at the seventh schedule in the state list.

The other organizations include sports law and welfare association of India, a non-profit organization that works for the advancement of ethical sports law in India and sports promotion. Another being sports authority of India, set up in 1984 by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, its objective is bringing excellence into sports.  Then there is the National Sports Federation, SAI, National Anti-doping agency. But, like the USA has a systematic approach towards sports law and has divided the area in amateur, professional and international categories with relevant laws for each, there is no such approach in India and moreover, there are many grey areas also that have come forth and which indicate maladministration in sports.

With many sports gaining popularity and due to their immense reach, it is important that the loopholes in the law system are looked into with keen interest and laws are passed which favor the sports without any kind of bias.

 

APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS FOR EDUCATION– OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE SOCIETY OF INDIA (UK)

Oxford and Cambridge are two renowned names in the world when it comes to quality education.  Again the ever increasing costs of education and living in foreign countries can blow big holes to your pockets.  The competition for scholarships has also increased over the years and has lead to fewer students opting for courses in places like Cambridge or Oxford.  Yet, students who are aspiring for pursuing courses at these prestigious institutions have a chance to get scholarships of merit through some non-profit organizations which do offer scholarships. These scholarships are also available for law students seeking to pursue their higher education in these universities.

One such institution is the Oxford and Cambridge Society of India (OCSI).  A non-profit organization that is located in New Delhi, India and has been helping out aspiring students with their higher education through scholarships.

The scholarships are awarded for the part cost of education for undergraduate, postgraduate, as well as research education in the aforesaid two universities in the United Kingdom. Here are a few details about the scholarship, its eligibility criteria, and last date to apply for the year 2018.

Scholarship Institutions

  • University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Scholarship  Courses

Besides Law education, the scholarship is available for any field of study at these universities mostly except a few that are for specific courses in the university.  The level of education includes

  • Ph.D. course research
  • Postgraduate courses of one-year or more
  • Taught as well as research-based Master’s degree programs of any duration
  • First bachelors or second Bachelor’s degree course

Though there is an eligibility criterion you need to fulfill if you are seeking the scholarship and it includes the following pre-requisites:

  1. Indian Citizenship
  2. Indian Resident
  3. Age limit – not above 30 years as on Sept 1, 2018
  4. Schooling and Graduation from School or University in India

Application

The date for sending your duly completed application forms was May 15, 2018. You may try next time if this time you haven’t been able to.

 

For detailed information and Application Forms Contact:

Secretary
The Oxford and Cambridge Society of India
C/O Bharat Kumar, 366, Sector 15-A
Noida, 201301
Email: scholarships@oxbridgeindia.com

Well, as you see the application due date is over. But none the less, if you are an aspiring student looking out for admission to these elite educational institutions, consider The Oxford and Cambridge society of India as the catalyst to your dreams and try to win a scholarship for your higher education and try for it in 2019.

Does India Need a Space Law?

India has established itself amongst biggies like USA and Russia when it comes to Space Projects. It has been so since inception but the recent milestone where in 2017 February where it launched over 100 satellites in space signals commercialization and is probably the result of India proving its mettle when it comes to cost friendly space projects. The monumental launch of Chandrayaan in 2004 and the cost friendly mangalyaan(mars orbiter Mission) which was made at just 11% of the cost at which USA made its Maven Mars Orbiter- Maven cost around $ 672 million while mangalyaan cost $74 million only paved the path to other nations taking notice of India’s prowess in Space. With Mangalyaan, India did achieve many other feats, one of being the fourth space agency after Soviets, Nasa and the ESA and the second to enter the orbit in its first attempt historically behind ESA.

Does India Need a Space Law

Hence, saying that India is already at par with space giants like Soviet and NASA wouldn’t be wrong. Now looking at not only these giants but countries like Germany, Netherlands, Ukraine and Canada as far as legal framework is concerned, there’s no denying that they are well aware about the need for space law and have cemented it meticulously.

Yes, there are five international treaties already brought into force by the United Nations. While India has only signed one treated it has ratified the other four. It has been around four decades since India’s space journey started but it is yet to do the enactment over it. Though polices determined by the constitution of India as well as the satellite communications policy and even while our articles numbered 51 and 73 do show their respect for international treaty obligations and law for preservation of peace and security internationally, India is yet to create or obligate it legally.

It is time that the government of India which presently supervises the ISRO seriously thinks about revising the space laws in the country as it is slowly moving to self-sufficiency. It is already into outsourcing but only to a certain degree like component manufacture and the recent move to outsource manufacture of satellite to the private sector. Besides it has also signed a treaty with a private startup for launch of a spacecraft that will attempt a moon landing. This is sure going to help ISRO to focus on more important projects. Hence, the need of space law that is user friendly and is in the interest of both the government as well as the operator whenever liabilities arises due to damage.

Take the case of the international dispute between India and Japan over an Indian satellite on its way back to earth with debris over a Japanese village. As per the treaty for International Liability for damage caused by Space objects signed in the year 1972, India has to pay the compensation for it but there is not international space law that can help determine the quantum of damage.

Lastly, Space has also turned out to be of significance to 21st century warfare and hence considering the advantage India can get in a space war strategy or security planning, it does become important to consider devising and bringing space law into effect.

Supreme Court of India to Rethink on Decrimilization of Homosexuality

As we all are know, the supreme court has passed a law criminalizing gay sex, but here’s some good news for the LGBT community. The Supreme court recently decided to rethink their decision about the ban. The decision comes as a definite ray of hope for the community and was taken by the Supreme court on January 10, 2018 wherein the court declared about the re-examination of the Section 377 of IPC banning carnal intercourse against nature’s order with any man, animal or woman. This act is a punishable offence with as long as life time imprisonment punishment for the convicted. Since 16th Century by the British when India was amongst one of its colonies, is when the idea of criminalizing gay sex came into existence.

LGBT community

Though the Supreme courts decision has given the LGBT community a small bit of a reason to celebrate, there are already some representatives of India’s right wing who are all set to extinguish this little revolutionary spark. As per a known Parliamentarian’s opinion, nobody would have any issues with what they do within four walls of their respective homes but if they bring it, celebrate it or flaunt it publically like creating gay bars to attract partners, etc., it needs to be punished and hence the need of Section 377. While he has also made statements calling homosexuality as a genetic flaw, this sentiment seems to have full support of the Indian middle class. Many other known politicians and ministers have gone to extent of calling it a curable disorder and also claiming that homosexuality is against the law of nature and hence the LGBT community needs to be completely disenfranchised.

While fact of the matter is that we already have studies to prove that homosexuality is not something that has cropped up recently, but it has been there since centuries. The living proof is Mesolitic rock art that has depictions of same sex intimacy scenes and is on display already in natural history museums. There is already documented proof as well written around 2345-2181 BCE, depicting the homosexual relationship of Pharaoh Neferkare and his general Sisene. Another one from the 7th Century BCE is a poem depicting love between two females written by Greek poet Sappho.

Yet, the LGBT has been living under constant fear of illegal detention, money extortion, blackmail and harassment by the law enforcement bodies. Besides, they have always faced the brunt of discrimination, abuse and are labelled by many as people with mental condition.

Perhaps, the Supreme court is aware that time has come to make some necessary changes in the centuries old law system of India and work towards eradication of the shame and stigma related to an individual’s sexual identity and create an environment of respect, dignity and equality for this gender.

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June 2018
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