SCC online Weekly Rewind | Episode 29th with Devika Sharma

SCC Online Weekly Rewind Episode 29th ft. Devika Sharma, Senior Editorial Assistant is out now. The written episode along with the video episode can be watched and read below.

Most Important Stories

Federal Court of Australia

 How DABUS, an Artificial Intelligence System, was given the status of an “Inventor”?

In a very interesting issue, Federal Court of Australia became the first judicial authority to recognize AI machines as inventors of patents. The decision centered around the question whether Artificial Intelligence Systems can be an inventor for the purposes of the Patent Act, to which the Court asked that:

If the output of an artificial intelligence system is said to be the invention, who is the inventor? And if a human is required, who? The programmer? The owner? The operator? The trainer? The person who provided input data? All of these? None of these?

Court expressed that, in some cases it may be none of these. In some cases, the better analysis,  is to say that the system itself is the inventor. That would reflect the reality. And you would avoid otherwise uncertainty. And indeed that may be the case if the unit embodying the artificial intelligence has its own autonomy. What if it is free to trawl the internet to obtain its own input or training data? What about a robot operating independently in a public space, having its own senses, learning from the environment, and making its own decisions? And what about the more exotic, such as a mobile unit on Mars left to its own devices and not seeking instructions from Earth?

Justice Beach in light of these observations, stated that “we are both created and create. Why cannot our own creations also create?

Thus, in this remarkable decision Court while noting that the name of the inventor can be non-human, held that DABUS, an AI, can be an inventor.


Model loses assignment because of wrong haircut, negligent medical treatment at ITC Maurya salon: NCDRC’s striking decision on ITC’s liability

Have you ever gone to a salon and something unfortunate like a haircut you wished for went all wrong accompanying a bad hair treatment leading to a burnt scalp?

Well, a salon at ITC Maurya became responsible for causing this to a model who came in for the haircut right before a week of her interview. In its striking decision, the National Consumer Forum while expressing that “Women are emotionally attached to their hair”, granted Rs 2 crores compensation as she was not only given wrong haircut but in fact was also subjected to medical negligence.

Supreme Court

Imprisonment for life is equivalent to rigorous imprisonment for life: Supreme Court

In a case where a man was convicted for killing his wife on the suspicion of her infidelity and was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life, Supreme Court has refused to go into the question of propriety of specifying rigorous imprisonment while imposing life sentence and has held that imprisonment for life is equivalent to rigorous imprisonment for life.

Will long possession of a property by a caretaker/servant entitle him to acquire an interest in property? SC decides

In an interesting case, the Supreme Court has succinctly declared that a caretaker/servant can never acquire interest in the property irrespective of his long possession and the caretaker/servant has to give possession forthwith on demand.

Kerala High Court

Can DNA test be conducted to determine legitimacy of a child in a divorce petition without the child being on the party array?

Can DNA test be conducted to determine legitimacy of a child in a divorce petition?

The Kerala High Court answered this question when it recently held that it would be permissible for a court to direct the holding of a DNA examination, to determine the veracity of the allegations constituting the grounds for divorce if a strong prima facie case is made out.

Priest of Temple commits penetrative sexual assault on young girl: Ker HC observes which God would accept obeisance and offerings of such Priest or make him a medium?

Observing that “When a man abandons his wife and children, roving vultures wait to prey on not only the abandoned woman, but also the helpless children”, the Kerala High Court noted horrendous act of a temple priest who took an abandoned woman and her three children under his wing and repeatedly molested the elder girl child in the presence of her siblings. Expressing anguish, the Court said “We wonder which God would accept the obeisance and offerings of such Priest or make him a medium?”. Upholding his conviction for rape, the High Court awarded the maximum sentence of life imprisonment to the priest.

Competition Commission of India

 By now you must have come across the decision centered around the dispute with regard to Maruti Suzuki v. It’s dealers. And in case you have not, I have got you covered:

The Competition Commission of India has imposed a penalty of Rs 200 crores on Maruti Suzuki India limited, on finding that Maruti Suzuki used to impose penalties on its dealers for violating its ‘Discount Control Policy’. The CCI held that Maruti Suzuki India Limited was not a third-party in the enforcement of the Discount Control Mechanism, as claimed by it. When a significant player such as MSIL imposes minimum selling price restrictions in the form of maximum discount that can be offered by the dealers, Resale Price Management can decrease the pricing pressure on competing manufacturers. 

The backdrop of this case was that the dealers were discouraged from giving extra discounts, freebies, etc. to consumers beyond what was permitted by MSIL. If found to be violating the Discount Control Policy, the dealers were threatened with imposition of penalty, not only upon the dealership, but also upon its individual persons, including Direct Sales Executive, Regional Manager, Showroom Manager, Team Leader, etc., and stopping of supplies.

Bombay High Court

Fear of stigma, not being believed and being blamed: 17-year-old girl leaving a note to her mother explaining ill deeds of her uncle who sexually harassed her, ended her life

Sexual violence knows no boundaries, it occurs in every country, across all parts of society. The Bombay High Court while noting a case of sexual harassment caused to a child aged 17 years due to which she took the step of ending her life, rejected the bail of the accused.

In this horrendous incident, the miserable fact was that this young girl was hesitant to disclose the ill intentions of the accused who was her own uncle. In a note scribed by the deceased, she had opened her mind to her mother wherein she spoke about her uncle’s ill deed and also offered an explanation as to why she concealed it from her mother. She expressed her helplessness. She suffered the consequences mutely for a year.

Hearing this harrowing incident, the High Court penned down that a child may be subjected to sexual abuse or exploitation at home too. Unfortunately, we have not been able to create an atmosphere in the society where parents, teachers and adults in company of the child can identify signs of abuse and make sure children received care and protection.

To exercise rights, can contractual employees approach a permanent employer? Bom HC verdict determines

Reiterating the well-settled position that contractual employees are not the employees of the principal employer, the Bombay High Court held that

Contractual employees are engaged through contractors, their service conditions are governed by the contracts between them, hence in case of any grievance, they shall approach the contractor and not a principal employer.

Court also observed that these employees work with the principal employer through contractor, only during the contract period. After the contract period is over, their contractor may enter into a contract with another establishment and shift them to work there. From that view of the matter also, they cannot be treated like permanent employees of the principal employer, and therefore, they cannot claim voting rights at par with the permanent employees.

Delhi High Court

Person accused under S. 307 IPC if entered into a compromise with victim, can Court quash criminal proceedings in light of settlement?

Emphasizing on the gravity of seriousness of Section 307 of the Penal Code, the Delhi High Court observed that:

“…an offence under Section 307 IPC will fall under the category of heinous offence, and therefore, has to be treated as a crime against the society and not against the individual alone and the proceedings under Section 307 IPC cannot be quashed only on the ground that the parties have resolved the entire disputes amongst themselves.”

Since in this case, the victim was stabbed with a dangerous weapon i.e. a knife and the injuries caused were of such nature that they would have caused death in ordinary circumstances, the High Court declined to quash the criminal proceedings.

On what basis is an employee compulsory retired? An account of Compulsory Retired, IRS Officer 

Opining that an order of compulsory retirement is not a punishment, nor it attaches any stigma to an employee, the Delhi High Court expressed that:

Fundamental source of compulsorily retiring an employee of the Government is derived from “Doctrine of Pleasure” which springs from Article 310 of the Constitution of India.

If any employee of the Union of India has succeeded in litigation(s), that does not mean that looking to the overall service record of the employee, after certain age as per rules, he cannot be retired by the Union of India. It ought to be kept in mind that compulsory retirement is a subjective satisfaction which has been formed on the basis of the entire service record.

In this case, the petitioner was an officer of the 1985 batch of the Indian Revenue Service. In exercise of powers under Rule 56(j) of Fundamental Rules, respondents had compulsorily retired the petitioner.

Madras High Court

Are Courts bound to protect the interests of the “deity” in temple? Madras HC’s ruling on “Deity” in temple a “Minor”

Asserting that “Deity” in the temple is a “minor” and the court should be astute to protect the interests of an idol in any litigation, the Madras High Court held that,

When the trustee or the Executive Officer or the custodian of the idol, temple and its properties, leave the same in lurch, any person interested in respect of such temple or worshipping deity can certainly be clothed with an ad hoc power of representation to protect its interest.

Kerala High Court

 “If leniency is taken, just considering the fact that she is a young lady, it will be a shame for the whole judicial system”; HC dismisses bail application of infamous fake lawyer

Kerala High Court dismissed the bail application of one Sessy Xavier, the infamous fake lawyer. The Bench stated,

“The illegal activities adopted by her that too before the court of law has to be dealt with an iron hand. If leniency is taken, just considering the fact that she is a young lady, it will be a shame for the whole Judicial system and would shake the confidence of the public in judicial system.”

Read here…

 United States District Court, North District of California

 Apple: A monopolist under Federal or State Law? A win for Epic or Apple?

 While issuing a permanent injunction, stating Apple could no longer prohibit developers linking to their own purchasing mechanisms, the United States District Court for the North District of California held that Epic Games failed to show how Apple Inc. was operating an illegal monopoly.

 Epic Games Inc. sued Apple Inc. alleging violations of federal and state antitrust laws and California’s unfair competition laws based upon Apple’s operation of its App Store. 

Trial did show that Apple was engaging in anti-competitive conduct under California’s competition laws. Further, the Court concluded that Apple’s anti-steering provisions hide critical information from consumers and illegally stifle consumer choice.

Since Apple has created an ecosystem with interlocking rules and regulations, it is difficult to evaluate any specific restriction in isolation or in a vacuum. Thus, looking at the combination of the challenged restrictions and Apple’s justifications, and the lack thereof, the Court found that common threads run through Apple’s practices which unreasonably restrains competition and harm consumers, namely the lack of information and transparency about policies that effect consumers’ ability to find cheaper prices, increased customer service, and options regarding their purchases.

Apple employs these policies so that it can extract supra-competitive commissions from this highly lucrative gaming industry.

Apple Inc. and its officers, agents, servants, employees, and any person in active concert or participation with them were permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from

  • including in their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing and
  • communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app.

Legislation Updates

Electronic Duty Credit Ledger Regulations, 2021, notified 

The Central Board of Indirect taxes and Customs has notified the Electronic Duty Credit Ledger Regulations, 2021. The Regulations provide for

  1. Issuance of duty credit in the scroll
  2. Creation of E-scrip 
  3. Registration and Validity of e-scrip
  4. Suspension or cancellation of duty credit 

Goa | Dues Recovery and Settlement Scheme 2020-21 extended till 31.10.2021 

The Government of Goa has extended the last date for clearing the dues on water charges for all Domestic & non-domestic water consumers under the Dues Recovery and Settlement Scheme 2020-21 till October 31, 2021, vide notification dated September 16, 2021.

The scheme applies:

  • To those water consumers who have defaulted on dues up to 31st October 2020,
  • The defaulting water consumers whose cases are referred to Revenue Recovery Court as on October 31, 2020
  • Those water Consumers whose installations are either temporarily or permanently disconnected as on October 31, 2020. 

Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021 to come into force on September 24, 2021 

The Central Government notified September 24, 2021 as the date on which the provisions of the  Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021(8 of 2021) will come into force.

IRDAI extends timelines for issuance of electronic policies and dispensing with physical signatures on the proposal forms 

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has issued extension of timelines for Issuance of Electronic Policies and dispensing with Physical Signatures till March 31, 2022.

No TDS under section 194A on interest payment to a member of scheduled tribe of specified areas under section 10(26) of IT Act

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)  has issued a notification  that no deduction of tax shall be made on the following payment under section 194A of the Income-tax Act, 1961, which specifies, Interest other than “interest on securities”, made by a scheduled bank located in a specified area, to a member of Scheduled Tribe residing in any specified area, as referred to in clause (26) of section 10 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 subject to specified conditions.

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