116 B, Mittal Towers, Nariman Point, Mumbai, India

June 30, 2021
Bombay High Court upheld the constitutional validity of TRAI’s Broadcasting 2020 Tariff Order Rules and Regulations
On 30th June 2021, the Bombay High Court upheld the constitutional validity of the Section 11 of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2017 along with the amendments to the the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulation 2017 (“Impugned Regulation”) and the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) (Eighth) (Addressable Systems) Tariff Order, 2017. (“Impugned Order”).

By virtue of the Impugned Regulation and Impugned Order, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (“TRAI”) has introduced the twin condition for formation of bouquet of channels. The said condition are as follows:
  1. The sum of the maximum retail prices per month of the a-la-carte pay channel forming part of a bouquet shall in no case exceed one and half times of the maximum retail price per month of such bouquet; and
  2. The maximum retail price per month of any a-la-carte pay channel forming part of such bouquet shall in no case exceed three times the average maximum retail price per month of a pay channel of that bouquet.
Additionally, TRAI also restricted the broadcasters from including any channel in the bouquet if the a-la-carte price of that channel exceeds INR 12/-.  TRAI has imposed further restrictions on bouquet formation by mandating that number of bouquets cannot be more than the number of a a-la-carte channels of the broadcaster.

The broadcasters including Indian Broadcasting Foundation and the Film and Television Producers Guild of India challenged the Impugned Regulation and Order along power of TRAI under Section 11 to promulgate such rules on the ground that that Impugned Regulation and Order as being ultra vires to Article 14, 19(1) (a) and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.

While pronouncing the Order on 30th June 2021, the Bombay High Court conveyed the parties they have uphold the constitutional validity of Impugned Regulation and Order except one of the conditions of the twin conditions. The copy of the judgement is awaited as the same is not uploaded on the website of the Court.

Derogatory’, ‘Defamatory’, ‘Malicious’ or ‘Mischievous’ statement by Advocate can lead to suspension: Bar Council of India notifies amendment to Bar Council of India Rules

The Bar Council of India has amended its rules, making any statement made in Electronic or Social Media, which is indecent or derogatory, defamatory or motivated, malicious or mischievous against any Court or Judge or any member of Judiciary, by any Advocate shall be a ground for his/her suspension or disqualification.

In a Gazette Notification of June 25, 2021, the two new amendments brought into the Bar Council of India Rules i.e.  “Section-V – Duties towards Society and Bar: [Under Section 49(1)(c) of the Advocates Act, 1961] and “Section-VA: - Code of conduct and Disqualification for members of Bar Councils: [under Section 49(1)(a)and (ab) of the Advocates Act, 1961].

The Amended Rules says that an Advocate shall conduct himself/herself as a gentle gentleman/gentle lady in his/her day to day life and he/she shall not do any unlawful act. The Amended Rules further prescribes for Code of Conduct and procedure for declaring disqualification.

The Rules clarify that a healthy and bona-fide criticism made in good faith, shall not be treated as a "misconduct".

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BCI forms committee to review new social media rules for advocates, rules to stay in abeyance for 3 weeks
The BCI, through its Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, has put out a press release keeping in view the concern of the Bar and its members all around the country regarding an earlier gazette notification wherein the BCI had amended its rules, making any statement made in Electronic or Social Media, which is indecent or derogatory, defamatory or motivated, malicious or mischievous against any Court or Judge or any member of Judiciary, by any Advocate shall be a ground for his/her suspension or disqualification.

It is further mentioned that the Committee shall be requested to submit its report within 3 weeks. Thereafter, the Council will proceed to act in accordance with the provisions of Advocates Act, 1961, until then the new rules shall be kept in abeyance.

The latest press release came up after The High Court of Himachal Pradesh refused to hear the petition challenging the said amendment.
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Bar Council of India introduced “The Advocates (Protection) Bill, 2021”
In the wake of recent reports from different parts of the country about attacks on lawyers and considering recent incidents of assault, criminal force, intimidation and threats caused to Advocates, a seven-member committee was nominated for framing the draft of the bill keeping in mind the problems and challenges faced by the advocates and their family members.

The committee has proposed a draft Bill which inter-alia  elaborates the definition of ‘act of violence’ committed against the advocates such as harassment, coercion, assault, criminal force or threat impacting the living or working conditions of advocates; any harm injury, danger to life within courts or otherwise, coercion to reveal any privilege communication or material of an advocate and to withdraw his vakalatnama, or stopping from appearing/ act/ plead before the court, any loss or damage to any property or documents or materials which such advocate is bound to old under law, usage of derogatory language during the course of the judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings.

In addition to providing compensation, further, the Bill states the punishment of such offences except grievous hurt with an imprisonment for a term not less than 6 months and may be extended to five years and fine up to one lakh rupees and if the offence under this act is done for the second time, an imprisonment for a term not less than 1 year which may be extended to ten years be given to such offender.
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Delhi High Court issued new practice directions in respect of matters where bank guarantees are required to be furnished in Court
In compliance of the directions given by the Delhi High Court in case titled “Ircon International versus Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd.”, the registry has issued a new practice direction which provide as follows:
  1. Such term shall be to the effect, that in case the Bank Guarantee is not renewed, at least ten days before the expiry of the Bank Guarantee, by the party at whose instance the Bank Guarantee has been furnished, the Bank shall, without any further demand by the beneficiary or reference to the party at whose instance the Bank Guarantee has been furnished, proceed to encash the Bank Guarantee and remit the amount thereunder to the beneficiary under the Bank Guarantee.
  2. The Bank Guarantees, both at the time when they are initially furnished and even at the time of their renewal, be verified through video conferencing, unless one, or the other party-for good valid reasons, insists or production of authorised officer from the bank before the Court for the purpose of verification which that party has to satisfy the Hon’ble Court/ Registrar by giving reasonable reasons for permitting the physical production of authorised/competent officer.
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