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News Analysis

  • 27-02-2021

Fugitive Economic Offender (GS Paper 3 Economy)

The Westminster Magistrates Court in London has allowed India’s extradition request against businessman Nirav Modi.

Nirav Modi is wanted in connection with the ₹13,758 crore Punjab National Bank fraud.

What next?

The order will be sent to the Secretary of State for the United Kingdom’s Home Department for further action. 

The Secretary of State has to take a decision within two months or seek an extension from the High Court.

Unless there is an appeal, a requested person must be extradited within 28 days of the Secretary of State’s decision to order extradition (subject to any appeal).

Appealing the Secretary of State’s decision in the High Court is only possible with the court’s permission.

Fugitive economic offender:

A special court, in December 2019, declared diamond businessman Nirav Modi, the key accused in the $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, a fugitive economic offender, on a plea of the Enforcement Directorate.

A person can be named an offender under the law if there is an arrest warrant against him or her for involvement in economic offences involving at least Rs. 100 crore or more and has fled from India to escape legal action.

The procedure:

The investigating agencies have to file an application in a Special Court under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act containing details of the properties to be confiscated, and any information about the person’s whereabouts.

The Special Court will issue a notice for the person to appear at a specified place and date at least six weeks from the issue of notice.

Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears. 

If not the person would be declared as a Fugitive Economic Offender based on the evidence filed by the investigating agencies.

The person who is declared as a Fugitive Economic Offender can challenge the proclamation in the High Court within 30 days of such declaration according to the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.

 

Fugitive Economic Offender eg classes

Govt. to monitor OTT content (GS Paper 2 Governance)

For the first time, the government has brought in detailed guidelines for digital content on both digital media and Over The Top (OTT) platforms.

This is being done under the ambit of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021.

While all the rules have been framed and notified under the existing Information Technology (IT) Act, the administrative powers for regulation of OTT and digital news sharing platforms shall be under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B).

Overview of the rules:

There is a provision for a three-tier grievance redressal mechanism.

First level- OTT provider: Here, the grievance redressal system will be at the level of each OTT provider. 

Each complaint will have to be addressed within 15 days.

Second level- a self-regulatory body: If the complaint is not satisfactorily addressed, then the complainant can scale it up to a self-regulatory body collectively established by the OTTs.

This body will be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, a High Court, or an independent eminent person from the field of media, broadcasting, entertainment, child rights, human rights or other relevant fields.

This self-regulatory body also has “censuring” powers in case of any incriminating content.

At the third tier, the government has equipped itself with overriding powers in the form of “oversight mechanism”. 

An inter-ministerial committee will perform this function and it will largely have the same powers as the collective self-regulatory body of the OTTs.

Applicability:

The new guidelines place more onus on nearly all such companies which provide a platform to host, share, view or modify content, while also including for the first time, entities which are in the business of either creating or distributing news online under the ambit of an online intermediary.

Safe harbor provisions:

The government has made social media intermediaries more liable for the content being shared on their platform by following due diligence, failing which the “safe harbor provisions” will not be applicable to them.

These safe harbor provisions have been defined under Section 79 of the IT Act, and protect social media intermediaries by giving them immunity from legal prosecution for any content posted on their platforms.

A grievances redressal and compliance mechanism:

Social media intermediaries will also be required to have a grievances redressal and compliance mechanism, appointing a grievance officer whose name and contact details will have to be shared, a resident grievance officer who shall have an office in India and will be an Indian passport-holding citizen, and a chief compliance officer.

The chief compliance officer, who will have to be present in India, shall be responsible for ensuring the platform’s compliance with the IT Act and the rules notified Thursday.

Identification of the first originator of the information:

Social media intermediaries, upon being asked either by the court or by a government authority, will be required to disclose the first originator of the mischievous tweet or message, as the case may be.

The platform will, however, be liable to disclose the originator of the message “only for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of an offence related to sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order”.

Fair opportunity:

Social media companies have been asked to give users a chance for explanation and a fair opportunity to be heard before removing access to their accounts.

Compliance of ethics and rules:

A self-regulatory body, headed either by a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge or an independent eminent person, shall also be formed, which will ensure the compliance of ethics and rules by online digital news platforms.

“Emergency” powers:

“In case of emergency nature” the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, may “if he is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient and justifiable” give orders to block access.

Such orders can be released “without giving an opportunity of hearing” to the publishing platform.

 

Govt. to monitor OTT content eg classes

Swachh Iconic Places (GS Paper 2 Governance)

Ministry of Jal Shakti has announced selection of 12 sites for transforming them into ‘Swachh Tourist Destinations’ under Phase-IV.

The 12 sites are:

Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra

Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh

Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan

Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan

Ramdevra, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, Telangana

Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha

Rock Garden, Chandigarh

Dal Lake, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir

Banke Bihari Temple, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh

Agra Fort, Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Kalighat Temple, West Bengal

About Swachh Iconic Places (SIP):

It is an initiative of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation under Swachh Bharat Mission.

It aims to take iconic places and their surroundings to higher standards of Swachhata, so that all visitors benefit and also take away home the message of cleanliness.

It is a collaborative project with three other central Ministries: Urban Development, Culture, Tourism; all levels in the concerned States and more importantly, Public Sector and Private companies as partners.

Initiatives taken up under Swachh Iconic Places initiative:

Improved sewage infrastructure 

installation of Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) 

drainage facilities 

improved sanitation facilities

water vending machines 

solid and liquid waste management (SLWM) set-up 

structure restoration 

lighting arrangements 

beautification of parks 

roads maintenance 

better transport facilities in approach and access areas besides at the main sites.

 

Swachh Iconic Places eg classes