Karnataka High Court Current Affairs - 2019

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Karnataka High Court quashes ED freeze on Greenpeace Bank Accounts

The Karnataka High Court has quashed the order of Enforcement Directorate (ED) which froze the bank accounts of Greenpeace India. The court noted that the validity of the ED order has lost its efficacy on account of efflux of time as the period of 60 days has expired.

The accounts of the Greenpeace India were frozen on the account of the alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). The freezing of accounts had led to a financial crisis for the organisation and forced it to reduce its workforce substantially.

Why the accounts were frozen?

The Enforcement Directorate had alleged that Greenpeace India had incorporated Direct Dialogue Initiatives India Pvt Ltd (DDIIPL) in 2016 after the Central government had cancelled Greenpeace India’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act licence in September 2015 for allegedly violating norms.

The ED argues that DDIIPL was created to facilitate the operational activities of Greenpeace. ED also alleged that DDIIPL spent around Rs 21 crore for its expenses since it was set up, “with no substantial revenue generation so far”.

Greenpeace India had strongly objected to the ED claims and had stated they would provide the government authorities with required financial details as they do not have anything to hide. Alleging the claims of ED as false and frivolous, Greenpeace India had said that false claims and accusations were part of a larger design to muzzle democratic dissent in the country and had challenged the order of ED in the Karnataka High Court.

Greenpeace India

Greenpeace India is the Indian arm of the international NGO Greenpeace. The NGO mainly works in the area of environmental conservation. Greenpeace through non-violent, creative confrontation aims to expose environmental problems and to force the solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.

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Supreme Court stays High Court verdict against 85% pictorial warning on tobacco

The Supreme Court has stayed Karnataka High Court order reducing size of pictorial warnings on packages of tobacco products to 40% of the package space from earlier 85%. The apex court took decision saying that health of citizen has primacy and emphasised on importance of public health and harmful effects of tobacco products.

Background

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) in 2014 had amended Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules prescribing mandatory 85% statutory warnings space on both sides of tobacco packaging telling consumers that cigarette smoking and tobacco chewing were harmful to health. These rules were framed under Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.

Karnataka High Court judgment

In December 2017, Karnataka High Court judgment had quashed MoHFW rules that mandated pictorial health warnings to cover 85% of tobacco product packaging space, holding that they violated Constitutional norms.  However, it made it clear that 40% pictorial health warning rule, which existed prior to amendment rules, will remain in force.

It had held that rules framed by MoHW in 2014 was violation of the Article 77 (Conduct of Business of Government of India) and Transaction of Business (ToB) rules framed under it as subject of tobacco control and legislation was not attached to one department or Ministry. Moreover, these rules are also contrary to Article 19(1)(g) (right to practise any profession,or to carry on any occupation, trade or business).

Month: Categories: National

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