ALL HANDICRAFTS SHOULD GET GI TAGS TO PROTECT IDENTITY - Business Guardian
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ALL HANDICRAFTS SHOULD GET GI TAGS TO PROTECT IDENTITY

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While advocating for legal protection for handlooms and handicrafts, Rajni Kant, director of the Human Welfare Association stated that “the fabric of India has to be safeguarded.” In terms of Purvanchal’s fabric, our handlooms and handicrafts, whether Gorakhpur terracotta, Banarasi sarees, or Bhadohi carpets, require legal identification and protection. It is about more than just our handloom sector; it is also about our cultural legacy.

Because it is linked to job chances for crores of people in the country through entrepreneurship and startups, legal protection is essential. It occurred as a result of our failure to preserve and defend it. So that there is no confusion, all handicrafts should be labelled with a geographical indication (GI). It is necessary to take steps to resurrect forgotten handicrafts.

Rina Dhaka, a fashion designer, talks about popularising khadi through many channels, including fashion shows and Bollywood films. “We need to make khadi a regular part of our lives, not only on exceptional occasions.” Artists, singers, and other performers get patents, copyrights, and trademarks to protect their work because it is their personal property, but what about community properties such as Lucknow’s chikankari, Gorakhpur’s terracotta work, and others? If not protected, both the artist and the artwork will perish.

INTRODUCTION

Geographical Indications of Goods are described as an attribute of industrial property that relates to a geographical indication designating a nation or a location within that country as the country or place of origin of a product. On September 15, 2003, the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999 went into effect. This is a general law aimed at providing better protection to India’s indigenous peoples. The Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai is in charge of the registration.

SHOULD HANDICRAFTS GET GI TAGS TO PROTECT IDENTITY?

The Geographical Indicators of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999 allows handicrafts (including handlooms) to be registered as geographic indications (GI). Handicraft (& Handlooms) are included under Section 2(f) of the Act, which specifies that “items” include agricultural, natural, and manufactured goods, as well as handicraft (& Handlooms) and industrial goods. According to Section 7(3) read with Section 17 of the Act, handicraft artists and weavers can be registered as Authorized Users for registered Geographical Indications. Any person claiming to be the producer of products for which a geographical indication has been registered under section 6 may apply in writing to the Registrar in the appropriate way for authorization to use the geographical indication.

As of July 31, 2016, 1152 GI Authorized Users for handcraft (& Handloom) items had been registered under the Act. Geographical indicators are protected and conserved in a variety of nations and regional systems using a variety of methods, frequently combining two or more methods. A geographical indicator can be protected in three ways: So-called “one-of-a-kind” systems (i.e. special regimes of protection), Techniques focusing on business operations, such as administrative product clearance schemes, using collective or certification marks.

WHAT RIGHTS DOES A GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION PROVIDE?

A geographical indication right allows those who have the right to use the indicator to prevent it from being used by a third party whose product does not meet the requirements. In places where the Darjeeling geographical indication is protected, for example, producers of Darjeeling tea can prohibit the use of the word “Darjeeling” for tea not cultivated in their tea gardens or prepared according to the requirements outlined in the geographical indicator’s code of practise. However, the holder of a protected geographical indication cannot prevent someone from creating a product using the same procedures as those specified in the indicator’s specifications. A geographical indicator is generally protected by obtaining a right over it.

BENEFITS OF GI TAGS

1. The items are legally protected.

2. Prevents people from using GI tag items without permission.

3. It enables customers to obtain high-quality items with required characteristics while also ensuring their authenticity.

4. Increases the demand for GI tag items on national and international markets, hence promoting the economic prosperity of GI tag manufacturers.

Smriti Irani, the Union Textiles Minister, has stated that the GI designation benefits not just weavers and craftsmen, but also customers. The GI label guarantees that you’ll get the right goods at the right price, straight from the weaver or craftsman. Irani further stressed the significance of raising consumer awareness about the issue. Noting that many of the issues in GI arise after acquiring GI registration, the minister emphasised the need of raising awareness of the significance of GI among all stakeholders in order to improve the law requirements’ execution. Irani declared that a GI assistance desk would be established shortly in every government-run service centre forweavers and craftsmen.

This would help to close the information gap between the centre and the field, allowing weavers and craftspeople to profit from GI. This is being done to improve governance, as part of the government’s ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas’ developmental ideology.

She also established a helpline for craftsmen who make handicrafts. The minister further stated that the government has decided to provide a 75% tuition subsidy to children of weavers and artisans from BPL households who wish to pursue NIOS and university education.

Ajay Tamta, Minister of State for Textiles, stated that GI adoption would be extremely beneficial to the handicraft and handloom sectors, particularly in terms of protecting and preserving the rich cultural heritage associated with them, as well as contributing to the social and economic empowerment of handloom weavers and handicraft artisans. Through the supply of necessary information, the artisan helpline would empower the last person on the street.

The government wants to confer geographical indicator (GI) designation on over 75 specific items that are unique to an area, as well as an overall brand identity for handcrafted products from India, in order to combat cheap imitations and boost the brand equity of Indian handicrafts.

A product’s GI defines it as having originated in an area where its quality, reputation, or other characteristics are mostly related to its location. Although handloom items such as Pochampalli sarees and Chanderi silk already enjoy intellectual property rights protection under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, this is the first time handicrafts have been granted GI classification.

To improve their exposure and sales in the global market, the government is progressively attempting to brand items that are unique to India. After losing the patent on Basmati rice in 1999, India realised the realities of IPR challenges with its unique products.

GEOGRAPHICAL VARIATION EXAMPLES

Assam’s iconic golden-yellow Muga silk has been given Geographical Indication designation by Chennai’s GI Registry, bringing joy to the makers. This is the first time an Assamese product has received the famous GI designation. The registration, which was completed on July 20, 2008, was based on the distinctiveness of Muga silk and its traditional heritage, which is intimately intertwined with that of Assam, according to sources. Muga silk is produced by the Assamese silkworm Antheraea assamensis. It has a golden colour and a lustrous texture. With each wash, the shine improves. The mekhela-chador, traditional clothing worn by brides and ladies participating in bihu dances, is also made from it. Muga is a very popular product in Japan, where it is used to make kimonos.

Khadi styling should begin at this stage.This is the method to bring people together, but you won’t find a single family who is. When a top model or a Bollywood celebrity wears khadi, it is certain to be emulated by the younger generation, bringing us closer to our own fabric. The Jamdani craftsmanship of Akbarpur is an example of such disappearing handicrafts. Jamdani cloth was widely used across the country.

The Kashmiri Pashmina received the Geographical Indications of Goods patent, which is similar to intellectual property rights. However, due to the worldwide economic downturn, the gains that were meant to flow from the patent have been washed away. The Kashmiri Pashmina is experiencing the same difficulties as another ancient Kashmir valley product, carpets. As it stands, the Pashmina is suffering from the proliferation of fakes, which is decimating the original since clients are unable to tell the difference between an original and an imitation Pashmina. Similarly to how thousands of artisans are leaving the carpet manufacturing business for greener pastures, traditional weavers are abandoning the pashmina industry as revenue has plummeted, owing to global market recessionary tendencies.

CONCLUSION

Geographical Identification was introduced in the handloom sector to protect product identity, but weavers are experiencing problems with duplication after receiving GI. Geographical Indication may be used by anybody in the region of origin who manufactures the good according to defined criteria; nevertheless, because of its relationship to the place of origin, a GI cannot be issued or licenced to anyone outside that location or who is not a member of the approved producers group.

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Disproportionate assets case: Delhi High Court stays Lokpal proceedings initiated against Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren

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Disproportionate assets case: Delhi High Court stays Lokpal proceedings initiated against Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren

On Monday, the Delhi High Court has stayed the proceedings initiated by Lokpal of India under the provisions of the Lokpal & Lokayuktas Act, 2013 against Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Chief and Rajya Sabha MP Shibu Soren in connection with a disproportionate case of assets.

The bench comprising of Justice Yashwant Varma observed and has passed an order on Soren’s plea challenging the validity of the said proceedings, claiming that the same was ex facie bad in law and without jurisdiction.

In the present case, the proceedings were initiated by Lokpal of India pursuant to a complaint dated August 5, 2020 filed by BJP’s Nishikant Dubey. Therefore, it has been directed by the CBI to make a preliminary enquiry into the Complaint under section 20(1)(a) of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. It was claimed by Soren that the said order was not served on him.

While claiming the complaint was false, frivolous and vexatious, Soren in his plea submitted that according to section 53 of the Act and there is a statutory bar against the Lokpal of India assuming jurisdiction to investigate or inquire into any Complaint made after the expiry of seven years from the offence alleged.

The plea reads that the initiation of the proceedings under the Complaint, or at the very least, continuation thereof, once it has been demonstrated by the preliminary inquiry that it pertains to alleged acquisitions prior to the 7-year period and is clearly barred by statute, without jurisdiction and the same is liable to be quashed.

Further, the petition filled submits that the maximum period of 180 days for completion of preliminary enquiry from the date of Complaint expired on February 1, 2021. In this backdrop, it has been stated that by this time, only on July 1, 2021, the comments were sought from Soren which is beyond the prescribed statutory period.

The plea adds that the final preliminary enquiry report was submitted by the CBI on 29.06.2022, about a year and a half after expiry of the 180- day period. Such purported report is void and null and non-est in the eyes of law and cannot be received or considered by the Respondent No.1.

Thus, the court took note of the order passed by Lokpal of India dated August 4, 2022 directing that proceedings under section 20(3) of the Lokpal Act be initiated to determine whether a prima facie case existed to be proceeded against Soren. It is Soren’s case that the order was passed without considering the preliminary objection on jurisdiction being raised by him.

In the said order, the court noted that all the Lokpal of India recorded was that the comments received from the petitioner were forwarded to CBI so as to examine and submit an enquiry report.

It was ordered by the court that the challenge to assumption of jurisdiction by respondent no. 1 (the Lokpal of India) has neither been answered and nor dealt with. Matters require consideration. Subsequently, there will be a stay of proceedings pending before the Lokayukta.

Accordingly, the court will now hear the matter on 14 December.

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DELHI HC SETS ASIDE MURDER CONVICTION & LIFE SENTENCE OF MAN WHO WAS UNPRESENTED BY LAWYER; REMANDS CASTE BACK TO TRIAL COURT

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DELHI HC SETS ASIDE MURDER CONVICTION & LIFE SENTENCE OF MAN WHO WAS UNPRESENTED BY LAWYER; REMANDS CASTE BACK TO TRIAL COURT

The Delhi High Court in the case Narender @ Lala v. State Of NCT Of Delhi observed and has set aside the orders of conviction for murder and sentence of life imprisonment awarded to a man in 2018 who was unrepresented by a lawyer before the Trial Court. Thus, the Delhi High Court has remanded the case back to the Trial Court for cross examination of certain prosecution witnesses.

The division bench comprising of Justice Mukta Gupta and Justice Anish Dayal observed and was of the view that there had been a grave miscarriage of justice to the man as when number of witnesses were examined, he was not represented by a counsel and that the legal aid counsel, who was present before Trial Court and was appointed on the same day and asked to cross- examine the witnesses on the same day.

On March, 2018, Narender was convicted for offence of murder punishable under section 302 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. On 4th May, 2018, he was sentenced by the Trial Court for life imprisonment and also to pay a fine of Rs. 10,000.

In the present case, the case of the prosecution was that the man had committed murder of his wife by strangulating her to death.

In a appeal, it was argued by the man that during the substantial course of trial, he was not represented by a lawyer and hence the trial in the absence of a lawyer had seriously prejudiced him. He thus sought recalling of all the prosecution witnesses and thereby ensuring a fair trial.

The Court observed that the manner in which the trial is conducted, there was a serious denial of fair trial to the appellant and the appellant is required to be given an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses i.e., the witnesses examined in the absence of the lawyer, or the lawyer having been appointed on the same day from the legal aid and is asked to cross-examine the witnesses.

Further, the court remanded the back to Trial Court for cross-examination of ten prosecution witnesses. Also, the court directed the Trial Court Judge to follow due process of law and also to record the statement of the man under Section 313 CrPC and permit leading the defence evidence if so required.

The Court ordered that the case be listed before the learned Trial Court on 26th September, when Superintendent Tihar Jail will product the appellant before the learned Trial Court and the learned Trial Court is requested to expedite the trial and conclude the same preferably within four months.

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SUPREME COURT REFUSES TO ENTERTAIN PLEA CHALLENGING EXCLUSION OF SC/ST RESERVATION IN JHARKHAND DISTRICT JUDGES APPOINTMENT

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SUPREME COURT REFUSES TO ENTERTAIN PLEA CHALLENGING EXCLUSION OF SC/ST RESERVATION IN JHARKHAND DISTRICT JUDGES APPOINTMENT

The Supreme Court in the case Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Educational And Cultural Trust v. Hon’ble High Court Jharkhand And Ors. observed and has refused to entertain a plea challenging the non-inclusion of reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes communities in the process of appointment of District Judges in pursuant to an advertisement issued in March, 2022 by the High Court of Jharkhand. The present petition claimed that the exclusion of reservation violates Jharkhand State Reservation Policy and constitutional guarantee under Article 16(4). Apart from this, it is also in derogation of a resolution being passed by the High Court vouching to implement reservation in the Jharkhand Superior Judicial Service.

The bench comprising of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and the Justice Hima Kohli observed and has granted liberty to the petitioner to file a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution before the Jharkhand High Court.

The court while considering that the process of appointment as per the concerned notification is underway, Justice Chandrachud asked the petitioner to approach the High Court with respect to future appointments.

It stated that “For the future you can file a petition before the High Court… We will give you liberty to approach the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution.”

The bench of Justice Chandrachud observed that the Decisions of the Administrative side of the High Court can be challenged before the judicial side of the High Court. You can move the High Court.

In the present case, a writ petition challenging a similar notification was filed in 2017 before the High Court, which was eventually dismissed. It was observed by the High Court that there is no duty vested in the authorities to reserve seats for all posts, more particularly in higher judiciary. Moreover, it had already initiated the appointment process, the High Court opined that it cannot alter the rules midway. Thus, the appeal filed before the Apex Court was also dismissed.

However, in 2018 the Full Court of the Jharkhand High Court had agreed in principle to grant reservation in the recruitment for Jharkhand Superior Judicial Service. The advocates belonging to the SC/ST/OBC communities in 2021 had made representations to the Chief Justice of the High Court requesting for the implementation of the Reservation policy in appointment of District Judges (direct entry from Bar)/ superior judicial service. The impugned notification was issued without incorporating reservation for SC/ST/OBC communities in March 2022.

Mr. Arvind Gupta, Advocate on Record has filled the present petition.

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Right to contest election is not a fundamental right; it is only a right conferred by statute: Supreme Court

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Don’t compare Turban, Kirpan with Hijab: SC

The Supreme Court in the case Vishwanath Pratap Singh vs Election Commission of India observed that the right to contest an election is not a fundamental right but only a right conferred by a statute.

The bench comprising of Justice Hemant Gupta and the Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia observed while dismissing a Special Leave Petition filed by Vishwanath Pratap Singh that an individual cannot claim that he has a right to contest election and the said stipulation violates his fundamental right, so as is required under the Act, to file his nomination without any proposer.

Also, the court imposed a cost of Rupees one lakh on Singh.

In the present case, Singh had first approached the Delhi High Court challenging a notification issued by Election Commission of India for election to Rajya Sabha after he was not allowed to file his nomination without a proper proposer being proposing his name. His contentions were rejected by the High Court that his fundamental right of free speech and expression and right to personal liberty has been infringed.

While dismissing the SLP, the Apex Court observed that the writ petition before the High Court was entirely misconceived.

The bench observed while referring to earlier judgments viz Javed v. State of Haryana, (2003) 8 SCC 369 and Rajbala v. State of Haryana (2016) 2 SCC 445 wherein it was stated that the right to contest an election is neither a fundamental right nor a common law right. It is a right conferred by a statute.

However, the Supreme Court in Javed (supra) had made the following observations: Right to contest an election is neither a fundamental right nor a common law right and it is a right conferred by a statute. At the most, in view of Part IX having been added in the Constitution of India that a right to contest election for an office in Panchayat may be said to be a constitutional right and a right originating in the Constitution and given shape by a statute. But even if, it cannot be equated with a fundamental right. It is stated that there is nothing wrong in the same statute which confers the right to contest an election also to provide for the necessary qualifications without which a person cannot offer his candidature for an elective office and also to provide for disqualifications which would disable a person from contesting for, or from holding, an elective statutory office.

It was held in Rajbala (supra) that the right to contest for a seat in either of the two bodies is subject to certain constitutional restrictions and could be restricted further only by a law which the parliament made.

Further, the court added that Singh did not have any right to contest election to the Rajya Sabha in terms of the law made by the Parliament.

The Court stated while dismissing the SLP that the Representation of People Act, 1950 read with the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 has contemplated the name of a candidate to be proposed while filling the nomination form. However, it cannot be claimed by an individual that he has a right to contest election and the said stipulation violates his fundamental right, so as to file his nomination without any proposer as is required under the Act.

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Post-conviction compounding of offences is permissible: Himachal Pradesh High Court

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The Himachal Pradesh High Court in the case Shri Kantu Ram v Shri Beer Singh recently observed that a court, while exercising powers under Section 147 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and can proceed to compound the offences even after recording of conviction by the courts below.

The bench comprising of Justice Sandeep Sharma observed in a case where the revision Petitioner, who was convicted under Section 138 of the NI Act by the Magistrate Court and was aggrieved by subsequent dismissal of appeal by the Sessions Court and had agreed to pay the amount due and settle the matter.

Thus, the petitioner had sought compounding of offences.

In the present case, the respondent admitted the factum with regard to receipt of the amount due from the accused and expressed that the prayer made on behalf of accused for compounding of offence can be accepted.

However, the High Court allowed the prayer and the offence committed by the Petitioner under Section 138 NI Act was ordered to be compounded.

The Court observed that the Reliance was placed on Damodar S. Prabhu V. Sayed Babalal H. (2010) 5 SCC 663, wherein the Apex Court has categorically held that court, while exercising power under Section 147 of the NI Act and can proceed to compound the offence even after recording of the conviction by the courts below.

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‘Pensionary benefits to employee, who is removed from service for misconduct, is not at par with those who retire on superannuation’

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The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court in the case Bashir Ahmad Wani v Jammu and Kashmir Grameen Bank and Another recently observed and stated that an employee who is removed from service for misconduct is not at par with those who is being retired on superannuation.

The bench comprising of Justice Sanjeev Kumar observed while dismissing the pension claim made by a former employee of the J&K Grameen Bank, who was removed from service in 2011.

In the present case, the petitioner had sought benefit of the J&K Grameen Bank (Employees) Pension Regulations, 2018 whereby provision was made for terminal benefits.

However, the court disallowed the claims on two grounds:

Firstly, that at the time of removal of the petitioner from service when there were no norms, rules or regulations providing for the benefit of pension to the employees of the respondent-Bank.

In the year 2011, the employees of the respondent-Bank were governed by the J&K Grameen Bank ( the Officers and Employees) Service Regulations, 2010… it is abundantly clear that it does not prescribe imposition of a penalty of removal along with the pensionary benefits.

Secondly, it was opined by the court that though the 2018 Regulations had been made applicable to those employees who were in service between 1st day of September, 1987 and 31st day of March, 2010 and the employees retired from the services of the Bank before 31st day of March, 2018, however, this leeway cannot come to aid of the Petitioner.

The Curt observed that the reason for finding that the Petitioner was not an employee who had “retired” on superannuation from the bank. Rather, he was “removed” for misconduct.

The Court stated that the regulations apply to those employees who retired from the service of the Bank before 31.03.2018 and not the employees who were terminated for misconduct. Viewed thus, the order of removal of the petitioner dated 02.09.2011 holding the petitioner entitled to terminable benefits and cannot, by any stretch of reasoning, be construed to be an order of removal with the benefit of the pension. Neither, the petitioner, at the time of his removal from service, nor with the promulgation of Pension Regulations of 2018, is entitled to the benefit of pension.

Accordingly, the court dismissed the petition.

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