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The Bread Scare – Should We Expose Ourselves to Cancer

In a recent report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) released on Monday (23 May 2016) an alarming fact has come to the notice of the Public. The CSE says that nearly 84% of 38 commonly available brands of pre-packaged bread, including pav and buns, tested positive for potassium bromate and potassium iodate, which is banned in many countries as they are listed as “hazardous” for public health. Potassium bromate and potassium iodate are carcinogenic i.e. it can cause cancer.

The Central Government is set to ban use of potassium bromate as food additive in the next 15 days, following the CSE study that claimed presence of cancer-causing chemicals in bread. The move comes after the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recommended a ban on use of potassium bromate in the bread industry. “Potassium bromate is one of 11,000 food additives that are allowed in food business. After careful consideration, the FSSAI has decided to remove potassium bromate from the list of permissible additives,” FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal said.

This harsh reality, that bread-makers are exposing the common man to cancer is nothing short of a criminal act and the bread-makers should be held accountable and prosecuted for such a grave offence. The Indian law provides adequate measures of protection in several laws. However the bread-makers have thrown caution to the winds and only look at profit motive exposing the public to such a dangerous health hazard as cancer. It is believed potassium bromate and potassium iodate helps to preserve bread for a longer time hence it is being used in the production of bread and bakery products.

Under The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 an article of food is deemed to be adulterated if the said food does not meet the nature, substance or quality as expected by the purchaser; or if the food contains any substance which affects the nature and quality of the food; or is a cheaper substance which is being substituted for the food; or if the food is deemed to be contaminated, or poisonous or is injurious to the health of the person consuming it. The provisions of the PFA Act mandate that the manufacturer of the food article is under a responsibility to ensure that the food manufactured meets the specifications and quality mentioned in the Act. The Food Health Authority has the power to take action against any manufacturer if they do not meet the standards set out in the PFA Act.

Under the PFA Act any person guilty of breaching of PFA Act and selling adulterated and sub-standard food article is liable to prosecution and fine. Punishment can range from one year to six years depending on the offence committed and in case of death of a consumer the manufacturer will be liable for imprisonment for life.



Senior Associate

The Indian Lawyer



“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” –  Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Common understanding of freedom of speech is that we are free to say anything we want, as long as our speech does not interrupt upon the ‘fundamental freedoms’ of others. The idea is that one’s freedom of speech must not cause ‘harm’ to others.

Freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India has been regarded as the second most important right after the right to life of a citizen. However, it is not an absolute right, there are restrictions specified under Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India. Rights come hand in hand with responsibilities.

According to Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution, the legislature is empowered to impose certain restrictions on free speech under the following heads:

  • Security of the State
  • Friendly Relations with Foreign States
  • Public Order
  • Decency and Morality
  • Contempt of Court
  • Defamation
  • Incitement to an Offence, and
  • Sovereignty and Integrity of India

If one takes a closer look at these imposed restrictions, it becomes clear how often this very ‘Freedom of Speech’ is subject to misuse.

In recent times, it appears to be the most misused right in India, especially on the internet. If one spends more than two minutes on the Internet, one will probably come across trolling, bullying, insincere but deliberately hurtful comments and other things that no one would say on another person’s face.

Freedom of speech on the internet is scaling new heights every day with complete disregard for the restrictions specified under Article 19(2). People post their views the moment they come across a statement. Mostly, it either gets a thumbs up or sarcastic criticism.

With the explosion of social media, internet trolling is becoming a big challenge, especially for women users on social media. In recent times, there is a growing voice against this online harassment especially faced by women in power, whether it’s celebrities, journalists or politicians. Men are also subjected to online abuse and hate speech, they are generally attacked on professional grounds whereas women have to tolerate personal attacks, including references to their bodies and sexual as well as actual threats of violence, particularly sexual violence.

While there have been growing voices to set up a mechanism to control online trolling, government officials believe, it is not possible to regulate or check online abuse and trolling as jurisdictions are territorial. While they do acknowledge the role social media has played as an instrument of promoting freedom of expression as well as empower people, some officials believe that if growing misuse of social media channels does not come down, the medium may burn itself out and lose credibility.

To be sure, freedom of speech does not mean the other side has an obligation to listen. But it also does not mean that the other side can be shouted down. Indeed, someone will say something that you consider obscene, tasteless, offensive or insulting to something or someone you value.

 The Indian law provides for prosecution as well as damages for misuse of freedom of speech. Hence people who take pleasure in bringing disrepute to others should caution themselves as the law can be stringent and punitive.

In conclusion, freedom of speech must always be accompanied by restrained in order not to cause damage or bring disrepute to others.



Senior Associate

The Indian Lawyer


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(Start Protecting Your Identity Today)

“But he that filches from me my good name/Robs me of that which not enriches him/And makes me poor indeed.” – Shakespeare, Othello.

Identity Theft (ID Theft) is the deliberate use of someone else’s identity, usually as a method to gain a financial advantage or obtain credit and other benefits in the other person’s name and to the other person’s disadvantage or loss.

ID Theft is used to refer to the fraud of impersonating someone else to steal money or get other benefits. The person whose identity is used can suffer various consequences when he/she is held responsible for the perpetrator’s actions. Examples include fraudulently obtaining credit card details, stealing money from bank accounts, establishing accounts with utility companies, renting an apartment or even filing bankruptcy using the victim’s name. The cyber impersonator can steal unlimited funds in the victim’s name without the victim even knowing about it for months, sometimes even for years.

Cases of identity theft fall under three broad categories: hacking social media accounts, stealing credit and ATM card details, and stealing employee data.


  • Memorise passwords don’t keep it noted anywhere.
  • Never give any of the personal information to anybody.
  • Get credit cards and business cards with the picture of the owner on them.
  • Do not put the credit card account number on the Internet (unless it is encrypted on a secured site.) Don’t put account numbers on the outside of envelopes, or on the cheques.
  • Monitor all the bank statements from every credit card every month. Check to see if there is anything that one does not recognize and call the bank to verify that the genuineness of the cash transaction.
  • Order the credit report at least twice a year. Review it carefully. If there is anything that appears fraudulent, immediately put a fraud-alert to the bank and contact the police.
  • Don’t carry your birth certificate or passport, unless necessary.
  • Cancel all credit cards that do not use or have not used in 6 months. Thieves use these very easily – open credit is a prime target.
  • Delete all information on a computer before selling, giving away, or disposing it off. While it may not be practical consider destroying the hard drive. If not practical, consider deleting or destroying the information contained on the drive.
  • Be careful at ATM’s and using Phone Cards. “Shoulder Surfers” can get your “Pin Number” and get access to another person’s account.
  • Use virus protection software always and make sure it’s updated regularly. Most AV (anti-virus) packages have an option to retrieve updates on a regular basis.

If you are a victim of identity theft immediately block the card. Give details of amount debited. Get a reference number.

A victim of Identity theft can file a complaint for online fraud and approach the Cyber Cell. For other fraud, lodge a complaint with nearest police station but before that you must collect evidence against the impersonator and then file a complaint attaching all the details.

Identity theft is a criminal offence and punishable under Information Technology Act. The punishment is imprisonment for 3 years and fine up to Rs. 1 lakh.



Senior Associate





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(Prevention is better than cure)

A lawyer is qualified to give a legal advice and assistance to clients and represent them in court or in other legal matters.

From signing a contract to buying a house, every phase is affected by the legal system. Thus, lawyers hold huge accountability in maintaining and adhering to a strict code of ethics.

A lawyer may specialize in different areas like intellectual property, environment law, bankruptcy, aviation, etc. They represent you in Court, business transactions and other legal proceedings wherein the law would be discussed. They act like a “repairman”, and fix what is broken on behalf of the Client.

Every legal matter does not require the use of an attorney. However, in many situations involving a legal dispute, one may not wish to take the risks of going through it alone without the advice of an experienced lawyer who can help out. In fact, while good legal representation may not be cheap, it can help in getting out of a number of sticky situations – such as a bad divorce, lost job, including broken agreements, lost claims, or worse, jail time.

While each person’s legal situation is different, a lawyer is required for the following reasons:

The law is complex:

The law is complicated in nature. In some situations even experienced     lawyers cannot represent themselves in court. Failing to hire a lawyer when starting a business, reviewing a contract or other situations with potential legal action can result in avoidable pitfalls.

Having a lawyer can save money:

A civil case could hurt financially in the long run while a criminal case may compel a person to spend time behind bars. Hence, hiring a lawyer at the right time and acting upon his/her advice can actually save money.

Lawyers know how to challenge (and sometimes suppress) evidence:

 A common man may not even know that a key piece of evidence is important for his case and can help him in winning the case. Only a qualified lawyer would be the correct person to assess the evidentiary value of documents that may be in the possession of a prospective litigant.

Attorneys understand how to properly file court documents and handle other legal procedures:

If you’re not an attorney, you may struggle with the deadlines and protocol for properly filling out and filing certain legal documents. One late or incorrect filing could delay your case or have the case thrown out altogether.

Prevention is better than cure:

Hiring a lawyer in many instances can help one avoid potential legal headaches down the road.  A lay man may not understand the terms of the contract that he has to sign and may end up signing a contract that would be counterproductive in the long run. Hence, engaging a lawyer can help to prevent future problems.


Sanchayeeta Das


The Indian Lawyer


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Limited Liability Partnership concept was introduced in India by way of Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008. It is a preferred mode of doing business in several Countries. A Limited Liability Partnership is a corporate business vehicle that provides both the benefits of a company and flexibility of a partnership firm i.e. limited liability and allows its partners the flexibility of organising their internal structure as a partnership based on a mutual agreement. This structure is available to small business start ups and service industries.

A corporate entity status enables LLP to be taken more seriously than a proprietorship/partnership status does. LLPs also have many advantages over proprietorships, partnerships and limited companies, as elaborated below:

  • A LLP is very easy to form with less formality. It can be formed with least possible capital. There is no minimum capital requirement.
  • A LLP is a legal entity, a juristic person established under the Act.It has its existence separate from its partners.
  • A LLP requires a minimum 2 partners while there is no limit on the maximum number of partners.
  • The liability of partners is limited to the contribution to the LLP, as it has separate legal entity from its partners. Their personal assets are free from the liabilities of LLP. Liability for repayment of debts and lawsuits incurred by the LLP lies on it and not on the partners.
  • In LLP, Partners unlike partnership are not agents of the partners and therefore they are not liable for the individual act of other partners in LLP, which protects the interest of individual partners.
  • In case of LLP, there is no such mandatory requirement to get their accounts audited. This is perceived to be a significant compliance benefit. Audit is not required unless capital exceeding Rs. 25 lakh or turnover exceeding Rs. 40 lakh.
  • In a LLP, there are less regulatory formalities and compliances. A LLP is required to file only two, namely, the Annual Return & Statement of Accounts and Solvency.
  • For income tax purpose, LLP is treated on a par with partnership firms. Thus, LLP is liable for payment of income tax and share of its partners in LLP is not liable to tax. Thus no dividend distribution tax is payable.
  • Provision of ‘deemed dividend’ under income tax law, is not applicable to LLP. Section 40(b): Interest to partners, any payment of salary, bonus, commission or remuneration allowed as deduction.
  • However, no such tax is payable in the case of LLP and profits of a LLP can be easily withdrawn by the partners.
  • In case of the death of the partner, a LLP will continue with other partners. The legal heirs of LLP will get the profit/contribution of the deceased partner. They are not entitled to become a partner of the LLP unless a LLP agreement can provide the same.
  • It is easy to become a Partner or leave the LLP or otherwise it is easier to transfer the ownership in accordance with the terms of the LLP Agreement and a partner can transfer his share of profit/loss in an LLP wholly or part subject to the LLP agreement.
  • If a LLP becomes insolvent and is wound up, only the assets of the LLP are used to clear its debts.The partners of LLP have no personal liabilities and are not made bankrupt and are free to operate as credible businessmen.
  • A LLP has an easy procedure to dissolve or wind-up.
  • There is less Government Intervention in a Limited Liability Partnership. Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 gives LLP the at most freedom to manage its own affairs. Partners can decide the way they want to run and manage the LLP, in form of LLP Agreement.
  • Body corporate can be a partner of a LLP.
  • As a juristic legal person, a LLP can sue in its name and be sued by others. The partners are not liable to be sued for dues against the



Senior Associate

The Indian Lawyer






All Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in India were governed by the TRIPS. Now for the first time Government of India has adopted a pro-active approach towards drawing a roadmap for IPR in the country and has come out with a Policy to improve investment climate in the country as well as promote innovation and improve national competitiveness; India has even declared this decade as the ‘Decade of Innovation.”

The Policy seeks to balance the goals of economic growth and social justice, and makes important recommendations towards the same. However, there are some areas where the Policy could have made more comprehensive recommendations. In particular, it would be important to ensure that India’s rich repository of traditional knowledge – particularly in areas like medicine – is offered the same level of intellectual property protection as other products and processes. In order to make the Policy a success it is  important for state governments to play the role of constructive partners in creating and maintaining a robust, equitable and predictable IPR regime. They can do this by establishing State level Innovation Councils and strengthen them through financial and other support.


The Policy lays down the following seven objectives:

  1.   IPR Awareness: Outreach and Promotion – To create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural   benefits of IPRs among all sections of society.
  2.   Generation of IPRs – To stimulate the generation of IPRs.
  3.   Legal and Legislative Framework – To have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights   owners with larger public interest.
  4.   Administration and Management – To modernise and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration.
  5.   Commercialisation of IPRs – Get value for IPRs through commercialisation.
  6.   Enforcement and Adjudication – To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating    IPR infringements.
  7.   Human Capital Development – To strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for   teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs.

Each program or activity under the objectives will be bench marked with the best parameters applicable to the Indian situation. Monitoring the progress of implementation of the National IP Policy, linked with performance indicators, targeted results and deliverables will be done.

As per Article 39 of the Constitution of India, “the State shall in particular, direct its Policy towards securing that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to serve the common good.” The National IPR Policy is contoured in a manner that it encourages greater use of exceptions and limitations to the otherwise exclusionary use of intellectual property, encourages the expansion of the public domain, secures proportionality in enforcement of IP rights, and promotes alternatives to IP.


Mayank Singh Raghuvanshi

Senior Associate

The Indian Lawyer





Though this is one of the most crucial aspects of a business or while purchasing an asset, this is completely ignored by one and all, in their poor understanding of the importance of well drafted documents. Most people do not grasp the consequence of poorly drafted documents which are very often a cut and paste job. It is only when disputes arise that people realise the mistake of not having considered the importance of a well drafted document.

Has anybody been able to understand why a person putting his entire life’s earnings in buying the much coveted flat or office fails to engage a good lawyer for drafting such a document. It is a general reaction that by taking a draft that is already available, that is, with the property dealer or available on the internet they can get a foolproof document. Mostly, such documents are driven by the fact that the person using it is saving pennies. Alas a fallacy as the so called foolproof document makes a fool of the person who has availed of it and it is a classic case of penny wise pound foolish. A well drafted document can save the client several legal headaches that are bound to arise when the drafted document is not customised or does not have essential information or fails to provide an indemnity in case things go wrong.

Even in the commercial world we have seen corporates making the mistake of using an earlier drafted document by merely changing the names and other details without realising the consequence of poorly drafted documents. When things go wrong the corporate can actually end up paying several hundred times the cost of a good document. In today’s fast moving commercial world rights and liabilities of parties must be set out in the written form and that too drafted by a lawyer well versed in commercial laws. Such timely action can prevent problems that would have routinely surfaced had the document been a poor draft.

Lastly and finally the most important aspect would be that when a party moves the Court or Arbitrators for enforcement of his/its legal rights, not much can be done by way of relief if the basic document that determines different aspects of the relation between the parties to the Contract are silent or missing. At the final stage no amount of oral arguments talking about the real intention of the parties can help the aggrieved party from getting relief.


Sushila Ram Varma

Chief Legal Consultant

The Indian Lawyer


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Under the Indian Laws, all agreements are contracts provided it is made by the free consent of parties competent to contract for a lawful consideration and with a lawful object. Any agreement entered into by a party without free consent would be void.

In order to constitute a valid contract both parties to a contract must willingly consent to the terms and conditions of the contract in order to  make the contract valid and legally binding.

Consent has been defined under the Indian Contract Act as two or more persons are said to consent when they agree upon the same thing in the same sense.

Consent is said to be free when it is not caused by-

  • Coercion
  • Undue influence
  • Fraud
  • Misrepresentation
  • Mistake

Any agreement that does not have free consent as defined aforesaid will be invalid and unenforceable.

Coercion would mean the committing or threatening to commit any illegal act or the unlawful detaining or threatening or threatening to detain any property to the prejudice of the person who is entering into the agreement.

Undue influence would be whether relations between the parties as such that one of the parties is in a position to dominate or prevail over the other and uses that position to take unfair advantage of the other.

Fraud means and includes a suggestion by one party to the other of the fact which the first party knows is not true or the active concealment of a fact by one person in order to use it for his advantage. It can also be a promise that has been made without the intention of performing it or with the intention to deceive the other party.

Misrepresentation means that a positive assertion of a material fact in a manner by the person making it though he knows is not true in order to take advantage. It could also mean causing the other party to make a mistake as to the substance of the subject of the agreement.

A party to a contract whose consent was caused by misrepresentation, may if he thinks fit, insist that the contract shall be performed and that he shall be placed in a position which he would have been placed had the representations be true.



Sushila Ram Varma

Chief Legal Consultant

The Indian Lawyer




It is widely believed that legal education is necessary only for one who wants to pursue law as a profession. But that is not true. Basic legal education is very important for all in their daily lives. Basic knowledge of law will help one to understand and tackle several problems, from consumer protection to fundamental rights. Knowledge of law informs you of your rights and your responsibilities towards society.

Information about the law enables one to reason out in an adverse situation. For an instance, a person who is caught by a police constable without cause and is threatened arrest will plead with the policeman not to arrest him as he has done nothing wrong. But if he has a little legal knowledge that he cannot be arrested without any warrant, he would behave differently instead of pleading.

Below are some basic laws that everyone must be aware of:

  1. While buying an immovable property (flat or land)-

A legal search of the property must be done. This is important because supposedly, if one bought a house without public notice or inspection, and it turned out that the owner did not have a clear title, it will obviously create legal problems.

  1. Cheque Bouncing-

Cheque bouncing has now become a serious offence. The moment a cheque bounces with the endorsement “insufficient Funds”, one should go to a lawyer and send the person a legal notice demanding his money. This has to be done within 30 days of the cheque having bounced. On receiving the notice the cheque issuer is required by law to pay the money within 15 days.

  1. Registration of documents-

Registration of all legal agreements related to immovable property worth more than Rs. 100/- is compulsory. These include Lease Agreements, Sale Deeds, Gift Deeds, etc.

  1. Police complaints-

While making police complaints, one should always take help from a lawyer. This is necessary because if the complaint ends up in court, the police complaint serves as an important piece of evidence.

  1. Limitation-

There is a limitation period for filing every civil and criminal case which one has to be aware of. Failure to adhere to the limitation period can result in a person’s losing his legal right to sue permanently.


Sanchayeeta Das


The Indian Lawyer