Monday, December 10, 2012

Online law advice: Autism rate in Ontario and Gaps in Formulating an Action Plan

According to recent news reports, the autism rate in Ontario is estimated to be one in 88 children. In fact, the average age for a child to be diagnosed with autism in Ontario is 3. You can imagine how this can be a heart-breaking wait for parents, particularly as they would eb the first ones to notice and perhaps document the early signs at the time of birth itself. While all experts agree that a child who is diagnosed with autism requires to be put into treatment, parents cannot do so easily without funds from the state. Why? The answer is simple. Therapy for autism in Ontario requires them to shell out $60,000 for a year.

Despite promises by politicians to improve this grim scenario, there has been very little action in tackling this fast growing developmental disorder. Canada's Charter of Rights states that every Canadian citizen has access to equal rights, including people with disabilities. No one has any doubts that autism is a disability.While some say that Ontario is on the right track, many point out that enough is not being done to help or support the affected families.

What is worse, once given a diagnosis, the wait for services can be as long as four years — a damaging loss of time for a child.

Autism Therapy: The Way forward
Some of the simplest solutions are the toughest to implement. But I believe these can work wonders in bridging the gap between the waiting period and the actual treatment process :

1. Reduce the waiting period with planned medical intervention that can be spread out into diagnostic phases. The authorities will have to differentiate between how public and private therapy can enter this picture at varied time slots.

2.  Parents require a free therapy counselling system that provides them with integrated service solutions that will not cost them at all. 

3. As the age of the autistic child increases, parents will have to tackle crises after crises. There is an urgent need to develop proactive involvement between the parent and the counselor to find a tailor made action plan for the autistic child.

What is sad is that in India, the scenario is much more bleaks. There is rampant red tapism, procedural delays and many other factors that make it very difficult for parents of autistic children to give them fair opportunities. In fact, there isn't enough proven statistics on autistic children in India, what treatment processes they undergo and what the role of the government is in helping them move forward. 

We live in a world where laws appear more humane than the people. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wildlife Laws: Should India learn something from Bangkok's Smiling Elephant Law

India should probably take a cue from countries that actually work on wildlife laws rather than just legislate on them.

There is a law in Thailand that is called as the ‘Smiling elephant’ law. People who are caught feeding the elephants will be fined and may even face a prison sentence of up to six months. 'Begging' elephants are common in Thailand the the authorities are taking a tough stand by passing such stringent laws to curb the same. 
Another instance is that of the Hagenbeck's Tierpark that is well known for taking care of elephants for over a century. It is also recognized for keeping animals in a carefully prepared environment. The keepers have brought out a handbook that is based on their experience while handling elephants and other animals in the Park. 
Such initiatives are not forthcoming in India and perhaps not documented in the first place because most of the mahouts and keepers in Parks are not encouraged to document their findings in the first place. Thus, we lose considerable first hand data and reporting that can be useful for understanding and improving India's wildlife laws.

Bangkok voted as Asia's No 1 Travel Destination

The Seoul Times online reported that Bangkok has been voted as Asia's No 1 travel destination in Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards. It is interesting that  Bangkok was rated ahead of other world-class destinations such as Vancouver, Sydney and Buenos Aires. You can read the full report here. Also, do read my post on the use of coconuts in Thai food in case you had missed it earlier.

What's your dream destination? When do you plan to visit it? 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ireland's Abortion Laws: Culprit is Lack of Medical Consensus, Not Religion

As a lawyer, I don't want to take a stand for nor against legalised abortion – but it is indeed a tragedy that a young Indian woman called Savita lost her life and died of septicaemia after three days, mainly because the doctors denied her request to have an abortion, knowing very well that she was having a miscarriage. 

By citing the Irish abortion law and expressing their decision to not grant her request, the Irish doctors, with full knowledge of the implications of such a decision on her life, had purposely failed in  their first and foremost duty as medical professionals - to save lives.

Why didn't the Irish doctors consider inducing birth early? That would have been permissible as per Irish law. If nothing else, in all probability, it would have been medically possible for the doctors to have saved Savita without flouting the Irish abortion law. To me, this case is more about medical protocols and consensus than a ridiculously hyped religious approach to the issue of abortion. Yes, that may be there but this problem could have been solved if some kind of a medical consensus had been formulated on time.  It marks an institutional failure that should never have happened in a country like Ireland.

Interestingly, in India, the discussion is ridiculously pinned on the religious angle. We are constantly debating on the right and wrong of religions dictating choices on abortion. 

How predictable! We in India need a religious angle to everything to make the discussion more 'fervent and popular' with the laypersons as well as the so called social intellectuals.  It also becomes an opportunity to lament all that is wrong because of religion. While the fact is that all that is wrong is in our own interpretation and practice of it.

Savita's case may become a textbook study for human rights students or it may signal a new chapter in international law.  What the world needs is a more humane approach by medical practitioners and a keenness to drive home ethical accountability and responsibility with more transparency.

This applies not only to Ireland but to all countries where such systemic failures in the healthcare sector costs precious lives.

What are your views on the abortion laws in your country esp if applied to life-threatening situations such as Savita's case? Do let me know your thoughts.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Diwali greetings 2012 from Axess Legal Corp

The year 2012 has been a significant one for Axess Legal Corp. I thank God for guiding us every step of the way. Many acquaintances and references that came from the legal fraternity became an important part of our transition this year. 

The most interesting thing about Axess Legal Corp is that we have not been chasing clients or networking to gain high profile matters. We do not mislead clients into believing anything that is ethically not acceptable to us. In fact, we have not used any kind of publicity to advertise what we do. Our motto has been simple. To serve, to bring access to justice to those who deserve it. From Day one, we have fought cases of every type wholeheartedly.  

This year, in May, we set up a new office and hired a very talented young team to join us in the journey that we have ahead of us. The team has been carefully handpicked for not just talent but their attitude to work and clients. Yes, the fact that they are young and willing to learn new things and work hard hours makes us proud that we have the right team on board. 

There is no doubt that we have a long way to go. What we value most is that your prayers, good will, and enthusiasm have helped us in every step of the way. This has nothing to do with money and everything to do with the values that we embrace as a growing organization and you have helped us value it even more.

Diwali greetings and wishes to all of you dear friends from Axess Legal Corp (ALC).     I thank you all for the encouragement that you have extended to me personally. Wishing you and your loved ones everything auspicious that this festive occasion is sure to bring, I hope that you will include ALC in your loving thoughts too.  

Happy Diwali! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Snapshots from Solang Valley, Manali

It's been over a year since my parents visited Delhi. So it was a pleasure to have them visit us last month. They reached on October 18 and we took off to the hills. Here are some snapshots I wanted to share with all of you. The weather had turned cold and it seemed as though it would snow. We put on our winter wear a tad too early. But it protected us from the chill.

When we visited Solang Valley in Manali, my six year old son Jyotiraditya (Adi as we call him at home) totally enjoyed the cable car ride right up to the top of the mountains. It was a wonderful experience.  

Of all the pictures we clicked, this last one we clicked in Solang Valley is my favorite. 

What about you? Do you plan to take off with your loved ones in November - December?  What's your favorite holiday spot?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Free Legal Advice: Welcome to the wonderful modern Bar

Lawyers are no different from other professionals. The good side and the flip side are all there. For instance, social snobbery can be discovered as an art and at its best heights within the conversations that we as lawyers tend to have about others.

Here's a real conversation between senior lawyers from the book Baby Barista and the Art of War, that is a must read for every budding and senior lawyer who is a practitioner of the litigation system:

Boss: I don't know what the world is coming to these days.

Head of Chambers: Even ten years ago. Extraordinary, really. Sometimes I just don't recognize the world we live in."

Boss: Yes. To think that over half of our next door chamber's tenants are now non-Oxbridge."

"Do you think its catching?"

"It certainly seems to be."

"Well, I think we need to guard against it as a matter of top priority."

My take on this interesting conversation: Welcome to the wonderful modern Bar.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pharmacists can't be forced to give "morning after pills" if they have religious objections: Illinois appellate court

An interesting ruling came in from the Illinois appellate court stating that the state cannot force pharmacies and pharmacists to sell "morning after pills" if they have religious objections. Many have hailed this as a great victory for religious freedom and for pro-life health professionals. 

The Huffington Post has reported the details relating to this story here.  If a court in India gave a judgement like this, can you imagine the hue and cry that would have been raised particularly the usual bouts of outrage on social media sites? Now that would be highly entertaining for lawyers and everyone in general, isn't it? 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Children's Rights under Indian Laws: How you can get cracking

Everywhere I go, I like to observe how children behave. A happy child is so hard to find these days because their world has fast become an imitation of the adult world. Today's kids are dressed up in the most expensive branded clothes, playing on tech savvy gadgets and even wearing make up to school. 

Children's Rights: Who is a Happy Child?
Several decades ago, one would have defined a happy child as one who has a happy and secure childhood. Today, that definition would draw glares from cynics.

But there is one law that I strongly believe that every Indian can implement and make it happen no matter what the circumstances are.

Children's Rights: Ten Steps to get Cracking for their well-being and happiness
1. You can put your foot down and say a strong "NO" to child labor. Walk out of shops where children are made to work. Do not employ children to look after your own children. You are behaving no differently from an employer of child labor then.

2. If there is a child who is being put to work, try and make contact with the parents and persuade them to send the child to a school. 

3. You could help raise funds if you team up with like minded friends and all of you can pool in for the child's school expenses without burning your savings. 

4. Go through the websites of the Women and Child Development ministries both Central and State. Jot down some of the key points so that you are aware of children's rights especially those that are beneficial for under privileged children. 

5. Don't expect journalists and politicians to whip up solutions for problems that you can also pitch in to tackle. Research a little on the Integrated Child Protection Scheme, the Mid day Meals scheme, the Charters on the Rights of the Child and so on. These provide valuable information on many facets that can help improve the lives of underprivileged children.  

6. Check out the Web to find out more about Juvenile Justice Boards, Child Welfare Committees and the Legal Services Authorities Act. 

7. You could get in touch with NGOs or associations that are keen to work and help improve the livles of underprivileged children. 

8. Alternatively, once you are aware of the laws, you can step up efforts to bring together a community of likeminded well-to-do aprents who want to volunteer for such initiatives. You could volunteer to teach children who have difficulties in reading, writing and speaking. 

9. You can also contact children's rights activists and organizations if you want to be more involved with helping underprivileged children.

10. Most importantly, look around your neighborhood and see what you want to improve there before you head out to far places. There may be an orphanage nearby that needs good clothes for their children and you could probably get cracking on organizing it. You could even sponsor medical check ups for the children who need medical attention. Whatever you do, decide to do it with an open, happy mind.

Children's rights are many, so are laws. But all of it bears fruit only if every one of us can pitch in and do something valuable for those children who are made to work. There is no better way to contribute to the well being and happiness of all children of this nation. 

Last but not the least, buy a copy of Oliver Twist  and read it. You will get an idea of what I am talking about. It's your duty and mine to make India 'a shining place' for all children.

Do you feel strongly about a specific issue that would incite you to come forward and form a community for it? That'd be interesting to know about. Do share your thoughts pls.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

TP Kelu Nambiar: The Passing Away of a Masterful Legal Wizard

Growing up, one always heard with anticipation the court room sagas of  TP Kelu Nambiar. His illustrious career is well known, so is his legal expertise. It wouldn't be incorrect to say that Kelu Nambiar was more than a lawyer to most Keralites.In one way or the other, every one had either heard about him, read about him or knew about his courtroom wizardry.To many, he was a terror in the court room, a masterful legal wizard who demonstrated the craft of ‘advocacy’ in all its finest facets. 

I knew him personally because my father knew him well. Nambiar sir was some one I grew up seeing. I used to see him very often and therefore, it is difficult to express in words about his demise. In my memories, what flashes to my mind: little knick-knacks that he would hand out to me affectionately like an uncle would to nephews and nieces.

Judges say many things about his expertise and that his clarity coupled with his boldness had been his greatest strengths. Many young lawyers would sit back, watch and take notes of Kelu Nambiar in action. His dialogues, his engagement with the Bar and the Bench and even his legal submissions - all of it demonstrated a dynamic edge, breathing life into the legal position of any case he was representing. 
There are also those who say he had a very short temperament and was egoistic with clients. However, I am not personally aware of it. As I mentioned before, he was like a loving uncle to me. 

Among the few books that I treasure in my collection, there is the book written by him. It has advice to young lawyers and was published by the Kerala Bar Council. This is a gem of a book that will inspire and guide the generation of lawyers to come. I treasure it.
Newspapers reported that "His demise is a shocking blow to the legal profession and to the court as a democratic institution." His illustrious career and decades of thoroughness in the field of litigation deserve more than a passing mention in print.  

I have no words to say more because it would be too personal. Rest in Peace, sir.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How important is your doctor's handwriting?

According to a recent news report by Zee News online, the Maharashtra government is all set to help the medical fraternity in the state to create awareness about handwriting legibility amongst doctors. 

The purpose of this initiative is to prevent prescription errors due to sloppy writing. This will also help to check pharmaceutical malpractices and any possible legal hassles that may be likely. 

Take out your doctor's prescription and try making sense of it. Readability is an issue or perhaps it is sloppy writing. 

Every time you see a prescription that is difficult to read, you almost rely on the pharmacist to dig out its real name and meaning. You may not even know if the pharmacist substitutes it with something else. Can you imagine what this can lead to in smaller towns and villages where the people may not  understand the prescribed drug? 

More states should emulate this move and Medical Councils should spearhead initiatives like this that are beneficial for the public.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Foreign University Immigration scams hit Indian students hardest

There has been furore among Indian students and their families, following the London Metropolitan University's (LMU) licence being revoked by the UK Border Agency, making it legally impossible for LMU to authorize Tier 4 visas to international students, including those from India. 

Immigration Scam at London Metropolitan University

A report by The Guardian titled "London Metropolitan University is there to educate, not police" states that the UK Border Agency's sponsorship system permits universities "to accept international students on to their courses on condition that they enforce immigration controls." As per existing laws, all these affected students who have been registered with the university have to leave within 60 days unless they find a place in another institution that can sponsor them for visas.

Immigration Scam and Petition for Amnesty of terminated International Students

The Guardian has also reported that a petition for an amnesty of these terminated international students has been called for urging that the students should be allowed to complete their studies while the problems in LMU are being sorted out. However, the role of any University including that of LMU is to educate, not police - a perspective that is being agreed on by most educational as well as legal experts.

Media reports Indian students are hit hardest by this immigration scam

Several media reports suggest that the hardest hit students are most likely to be the Indians. Though many of these students are well aware of immigration scams, few research into the foreign institutions they apply for with a well founded, objective approach. The focus on the possibility of immigration scam goes largely ignored. 

From any perspective, it is unjust that these international students who have already cleared all processes to gain admission at a well established institution in the UK will now have their dreams dashed. These students and their families are now in a state of panic because there is no clear idea as to what the transition is going to be like. The way forward looks vague and bleak prospects loom large.

Metro Cities in India looking to become 'French Riviera'?

Increasingly, metropolitan cities in India are becoming more Western in terms of their lifestyle, employment opportunities, education facilities and so on. Look at metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru among others. 

Metro Cities in India become hubs for niche market areas 
You are likely to find an increasing number of 'niche market' areas in these cities that cater to the super rich socialites who don't want to be clubbed with the city's more obvious 'middle class.'

On Twitter, I read a tweet by @primaveron stating 'South Bombay feels like the French Riviera! So many foreigners! And marvellous weather!'

In Delhi, you can visit GK 2, Defence Colony and Khan market that continue to attract most foreigners who are visiting the city. It also attracts the increasingly affluent crop of Indians who don't worry about buying outrageously expensive 'organic' spices like turmeric, coriander powder and so on from Fabindia, an elite retail outlet that caters to the subtly emerging preferences of foreigners who look to take back something 'ethnic' from India and also cater to affluent Indian preferences. You also have the very posh area called Sunder Nagar that houses the rich, the famous and the infamous. 

But where do the poor in the Metro cities live? They continue to live in the outskirts of the cities where slums fester, the gutters spill over and are not cleaned for years and their children continue to live in terrible squalor because no one really cares. That is the ugly side of nearly every metro city in India.

City of Kochi gets its share for niche shopping and fine dining 
In Kerala, the constant flow of Gulf money has spilled over and become visible in its peoples'  obsession to build double storeyed, palatial looking houses. Fine dining restaurants are fast becoming a rage too. In the city of Kochi, for example, you have specific shopping areas and restaurants that are frequented mostly by the affluent class. 

A recent addition to the city of Kochi is the Bay Pride Mall on Marine Drive that attracts children, youths and families from either affluent families or those with an NRI background.The Oberon Mall is also another recent example of how affluence is fast paving the way for 'niche market' areas in Kochi which has still not been recognized as a 'metro city.' 

My question to you is this: Whichever part of the world you are from, how do you relate to the emergence of 'niche market' areas? Whom do they typically attract? What makes them popular in the region that you come from? Do they cater to a different kind of super luxury lifestyle adapters? 

If you could give some names and details as I have mentioned here, that would be interesting information too.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Law Attorneys and Law Firm in Delhi

Work is a topic that we talk about frequently because many people are not always content with the kind of work they do for a living. People ask me if I am happy being a lawyer. The truth is, yes, I enjoy what I do and therefore, it makes me happy. Typically people assume that a law attorney's life is colorless and dull. The truth is that it is the most money spinning, fastest and exciting career opportunity if you have the right mindset and values to support you.   

In general, few people see the job profile of law attorneys as something that can be both growth oriented and interesting. The general impression is that law attorneys get more holidays than school kids. Nothing could be farther away from the truth. A law firm in Delhi teaches you what the real grind is all about.  

Learning the Basics from a Law Firm in Delhi 
There are many things that I learned from working in a law firm in Delhi than in law college. Examples:

1. In college, you can bunk your class and take notes later to catch up with what you missed. You can't do that at work simply because your actions send out reactions and impacts the lives of several others. You simply can't bunk 'court' because you have a duty to be true to your client and to safeguard your client's interest as your own. You learn to be client-focused, responsible and ethically accountable.

2. In college, you have fixed timings. A law firm in Delhi works 24X7 including on Sundays.

3. In college, you enjoy the time you debate, discuss and beat about the bush to win a moot court. In real court, it is a real bloodless battle. It's not merely a debate or a discussion. It's a matter of bread and butter. 

4. It's also a matter of perception management - how do the judges perceive the crafting of your representation, how does your client perceive your interactions with the bench and how do your colleagues in the legal fraterning - other law attorneys - how they rate you from am the benches. All of it is so subtle but as real and powerful as a bloodless battle.

5. In college, you can skip classes or lectures that bore you. In court and in office, you can't afford to. So you have to create an eco system around you that keeps you constantly interested in the job and on the job.

6. In college, you don't have to be too respectful of your seniors. But as a law attorney, you can't flip them over. Every year of seniority does count at some level or the other. 

7. In college, you have fun.  But at work, you can combine fun with recognition, career growth and making your dreams come true by helping others who are in need and in helping them to sort out the really messy issues in their lives. You get a real opportunity to serve and be champions of issues that affect the society. Better still, you can choose your own cause and battles. You can decide where to draw the line, where to draw the blood, when to hit below the belt if required. In short, you can choose as well as direct the battle in the quest for justice.

What do you think about your college years and the work environment that you have chosen to be in today? Do share your thoughts and interesting experiences.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Identification Card is mandatory for Non AC Train Travel

Identity proof or carrying an identification card is fast becoming mandatory for just about anything in India. For instance, when you try to travel by the Indian Railways, the menace of tickets being transferred and sold by touts under fictitious names is a serious issue. So, it will become mandatory soon for all train passengers who are traveling in the non-AC reserved class to carry their ID proof or identification card. Till recently, those who traveled by non-AC did not have to furnish their ID proof. But that will change with this proposed law.

Identification Card: Types You Can Carry on Train Journey
Carry one of these valid ID proofs the next time you are on a train journey:

  1. Your voter ID card
  2. Your passport
  3. Your PAN card
  4. Your driving licence
  5. Your photo identity card that is issued either by the central or the state government
  6. Your student identity card
  7. Aadhar card
  8. Nationalized bank passbook with photograph
  9. Any credit cards that are issued by banks with a laminated photograph
Typically, what ID proof do you carry in your wallet or purse in case of an unexpected identity verification is checked or called for? 

Wildlife Conservation Laws & Environmental Legal Requirements to Protect the Wild Buffalo

Wildlife conservation laws and the environmental legal requirements continue to be discussed and widely debated on in many circles. But the fact is this: most development activities that are undertaken in wildlife areas tend to cause interference in the forest and also affects the privacy of wildlife. These are ultimately issues that triggers a negative impact on wildlife. 

Wildlife Conservation Laws: The National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016)

To avoid such a conflict from escalating, the Central government, the state governments and the Union territories are expected to evolve better preservation strategies in consultation with the Wildlife boards.

There are several wildlife conservation laws but here, let's take a look at the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016). This Act aims to provide adequate protection to wildlife even in areas such as:

(i) government forests outside PAs
(ii) pvt forests interspersed with conserved areas like tea, coffee and cardamom gardens
(iii) farmlands
(iv) wastelands
(v) wetlands of birds
(v)catchment forests
(vi)turtle nesting sites
(vii)pastures for livestock

Environmental legal requirement to protect the Wild Buffalo 

The Centrally Sponsored Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats Scheme 2009 highlighted the importance of protecting the habitat of the Wild Buffalo. It also deals with recovery programmes State governments in India have to enforce this environmental legal requirement by taking up initiatives such as legal wildlife program training. They have to come up with implementing proper course of action, management planning, eco-development activities and so on. 

In TN Godavarman Thirumulpad vs Union of India, the State of Chattisgarh took the stand that they do not have sufficient funds to undertake various programs to protect the wild Asiatic buffalo. The Asiatic buffalo is reported as one of the world's most impressive and magnificent animal. 

The Supreme Court held that the steps taken by the state to conserve the wild buffalo is far from satisfactory. It was observed that areas outside the protected areas within the forest have the maximum number of man-animal conflict as the animals fall prey to poachers easily in these places. 

The Supreme Court directed the State to take steps to initiate wildlife training programmes for the offocials of the State Forest Department. With this judgment, the Supreme Court clearly laid down that wildlife protection is the government's constitutional duty.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Indian Law: Why Copywriters are not and cannot be Government Servants

Most lawyers and bloggers like to discuss popular topics. The not-so-popularlydiscussed legal cases are the ones that catch my real attention and interest. One such case is what I am going to discuss here. It is based on the Supreme Court’s judgment in State of West Bengal vs W.B. Registration Copywriters Association (2009) 14 SCC.
Are copywriters actually document writers?

When we talk about copywriters, the reference is not to those who are in the advertising industry. In the context of Indian law, we refer to them as document writers. For decades, these document writers are considered as the extended arms of lawyers. They are highly trusted and essential to for the Sub-Registrars/Revenue authorities. While there is no clear process that can pinpoint how these legal ‘experts in document writing' emerged, the fact is that courts and lawyers depend on their expertise particularly in cases pertaining to transfer of property, ownership of property, title deeds and so on.  Take a look at any age old document of any property. You will be able to refer to a detailed narration of the devolution of ownership. Even the minute details will be recorded by these document writers. 

West Bengal Registration of Copywriters Rules of 1999
The West Bengal Registration of Copywriters Rules of 1982 were replaced by the West Bengal Registration of Copywriters Rules of 1999. Following this, the copywriters made a grievance before the Administrative Tribunal that they should be absorbed as Lower Division Clerks based on two grounds: 

Firstly, the State Government had absorbed extra muharrirs as LDCs and therefore these copywriters should be given the same treatment. Secondly, they were already doing the same work as was done by LDCs.

Core issue boils down to one serious question of law: Is there any master-servant relationship between copy writers and the State Government under which the State Government is obliged to absorb copy writers as LDCs?

Indian Law: Existence of Master-Servant Relationship between Copywriters and State Government
The Administrative Tribunal dismissed the copywriters’ applications; the High Court had a contrary view and held that there is a master-servant relationship. The High Court also directed that the State Government should create a separate cadre for copywriters and absorb them by framing separate rules for them.

Supreme Court on Copywriters as per West Bengal Registration of Copywriters Rules of 1982

Following this, the Supreme Court reversed the High Court judgment.

1.      Copywriters are mere licensees.
2.      Copywriters do not do any government duty. They are merely required to copy deeds which are to be presented for registration. Making that copy does not amount to doing government duty.
3.       Copywriters are not controlled in their matters of attendance, working hours, leave, pension and output of work by the Government.
4.      Copywriters are not paid from government coffers. They are paid by private parties who require those copies for the registration of their deeds.
5.      There is no fiduciary relationship between the Government and the copywriters.
6.      Grant of licence for copywriting does not amount to creating a service. Therefore, there is no master-servant relationship between copywriters and government.
There’s an interesting case is from GB Pant University of Agriculture & Technology vs State of Uttar Pradesh (2000) 7 SCC 109. Here, the question was whether the employees of a cafeteria run in the University can be recognized as regular employees of the said University. It was held that they are employees of the University.
However,  a legal comparison of this case with that of the copywriters was not encouraged by the Supreme Court.
Master-Servant Relationship as per Indian Law
In this case, a ruling pertaining to UPSC vs Girish Jayanti Lal Vaghela (2006) 2 SCC 482: 2006 SCC (L&S) 339 was widely discussed as it had laid down the following four factors pertaining to the contract of service were laid down: (see SCC page 487, para 6)

“a) the master’s power of selection of his servant
b) the master’s responsibility if paymentof wages or other remuneration
c) the master’s right of suspension or dismisaal
d) the master’s right to control the method of doing work
A study of the decision in UPSC vs Girish Jayanti Lal Vaghela suggests that the rules for appointment were given considerable importance. The Rules merely provided the manner in which the licensees were to be created and controlled but there are no rules for appointment of any service. There is a distinction here that is of legal importance here. That is one of the key points that the Supreme Court took into consideration while deciding this matter pertaining to the copywriters.

Friday, January 6, 2012

January 2012: It's Winter

Winter has hit Delhi, NCR and now it's becoming colder by the day. This evening, there were light thunderstorms too. Watched it fall with a cup of steaming coffee in my hands.My thoughts took me to a passage that I had read long time ago (written by Andrew Wyeth) but felt apt now:

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - 
the loneliness of it - the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it,
the whole story doesn't show."

What's your favorite season of the year? 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy 2012

Wishing you all a very happy, prosperous and successful year in 2012!