Mar 1, 2021

Sting Operations in Media

 Disclaimer: The note/s given below is/ are a compilation of information taken from various sources. The references to the sources are provided at the end. The views expressed in the note/s are those of the concerned student/s/ intern/s. The blogger or the compiler will not be responsible in any manner whatsoever regarding the authenticity of the information provided in the note/s. 

These notes are being compiled to help the students for educational purposes during Covid-19 pandemic.

 

INTRODUCTION

A Sting Operation is an operation designed to catch a person committing a crime by means of deception. A complicated confidence game planned and executed with great care. The word sting derives its origin from American usage to mean a police undercover operation designed to ensnare criminals. The word sting is a synonym for the expression set a trap to catch a crook and this article uses the term in that sense. In more refined terms, it can be called Investigative Journalism or Undercover Journalism. Sting Operation is an information-gathering exercise; it looks for facts that are not easy to obtain by simple requests and searches, or those that are actively being concealed, suppressed or distorted. An informed citizenry the bedrock of a democracy, holding the government accountable through voting and participation requires investigative journalism which cannot sustain itself on asymmetric dissemination of information. In many cases, the subjects of the reporting wish the matters under scrutiny to remain undisclosed. Among the most popular programmes in India, are those reporting on corruption and misdeeds of politicians and government officials.

TYPES OF STING OPERATIONS IN INDIA

Sting Operations are undertook with a view to look into the working of the govt. or to see whether the acts of any individual is against the public order. On the basis of the purpose Sting Operations can be classified as positive and negative. Positive Sting Operation is one which results in the interest of the society, which pierces the veils of the working of the government. It is carried out in the public interest. Due to positive sting operation society is benefited because it makes government responsible and accountable. It leads to the transparency in the government. On the other hand negative sting operations do not benefit the society, but they do harm the society and its individuals. It unnecessarily violates the privacy of the individual without any beneficial results to the society. These types of Sting operations if allowed then it will hamper the freedom of the individuals and restricts their rights. Here are some examples which we can distinguish as positive and negative sting operations.

 

1. Positive Sting Operations:  Positive Sting Operation is one which results in the interest of the society, which pierces the veils of the working of the government. It is carried out in the public interest. Due to positive sting operation society is benefited because it makes government responsible and accountable. It leads to the transparency in the government.

# Sting operations on ultra-sound centers carried out by the Health officers in Karnataka for serious enforcement’’ of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act which bans sex determination of foetuses and consequent abortion of female ones to stop female foeticide.

# The Ministry (by the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act and Programme Code), has prohibited the transmission of Cineworld channel for 30 days for showing objectionable content. Because it offended good taste and decency and it was obscene and likely to corrupt public morality and was not suited for unrestricted public exhibition

# An operation by an online news site called Tehelka to catch top politicians and army officers taking bribes from journalists posing as businessmen.

# An operation in which a journalist posing as a struggling actress met actor Shakti Kapoor, who promised in the televised footage that his secretary would introduce her to movie producers and directors.

 

2. Negative Sting Operations: Negative sting operations do not benefit the society, but they do harm the society and its individuals. It unnecessarily violates the privacy of the individual without any beneficial results to the society. These types of Sting operations if allowed then it will hamper the freedom of the individuals and restricts their rights. Instances over the years have shown that though sting operations do expose corruption in some cases, sometimes they seriously violate the rules of journalism in the pursuit of profit and short-term sensationalism.

# The Delhi High Court on Friday, 7th September, 2007, issued notices to the Delhi government and city police after taking suo motu cognisance of media reports alleging that a sting operation carried out by a TV channel, which claimed to have exposed a sex racket run by a government school teacher Uma Khurana, for allegedly luring her pupils into prostitution has now been revealed to be completely fabricated and was fake and distorted.

 

# The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 7th February, 2007, issued notices to a private news channel and its reporter for carrying out a sting operation carried out in the year 2004, which allegedly showed a non-bailable warrant could be procured against any person by paying a hefty amount in the court.

These incidents are an example of how a sting operation can go wrong and become an exercise in trapping an innocent person. India TV’s chief editor, Rajat Sharma, said that there was no violation of privacy in exposing such matters as political corruption or the trading of jobs for sex in Bollywood, a practice known in movie and theatrical business lore as the casting couch. If you are serious about exposing certain social evils, there is no other option but to use sting operations.

DO WE REALLY NEED STING OPERATIONS?

The media plays an important role in a democratic society. It acts as the fourth institute outside the Government. Sting operations are methods of uncovering information. Although, the Indian Constitution does not expressly mention the liberty of the press, it is evident that the liberty of the press is included in the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1) (a). Various Constitutions have guaranteed free press or media as a fundamental right. Freedom of press is a special right under art. 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India, 1950 but it has certain restrictions. The democratic credentials are judged by the extent of freedom the media enjoys in a particular state. Further the media has a right to impart the information to the public. Freedom of speech includes freedom to communicate, advertise, publish or propagate ideas and the dissemination of information. Furthermore Art. 19(1) also incorporates within itself right to receive information about any event, happening or incident etc. The heart of journalism has to be public interest and Sting operations, serve public interest.

In Romesh Thappar v. State of Madras Court said, …. The public interest of freedom of discussion (of which the freedom of press is one aspect) stems from the requirement that members of a democratic society should be sufficiently informed so that they may influence intelligently the decisions which may affect themselves. ….In some the fundamental principle involved here is the peoples’ right to know.

This concept of peoples’ right to know, which was found to be so essential for democracy, was located by the Court in Article 19(1)(a) in Bennett Coleman and Co. v. Union of India observing thus:

“Although Article 19(1)(a) does not mention the freedom of the press, it is settled view of the Court that freedom of speech and expression includes freedom of the press and circulation.”

 

The Court held:

Press has a fundamental right to express itself; the community has a right to be supplied with information; and the Government has a duty to educate the people within the limits of its resources.

Justice Mathews ruled in the case of State of UP v. Raj Narain, The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything that is done in a public way by their public functionaries. Their right to know is derived from the concept of freedom of speech.

In S.P. Gupta v. Union of India, No democratic Government can survive without accountability and the basic postulate of accountability is that people should have the information about the working of the Government.

In Prabha Dutt v. Union of India the Supreme Court upheld the right claimed by the press to interview prisoners that the right claimed by the Press was not the right to express any particular view or opinion but right to means of information through the medium of interview of the prisoners.

In Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Private Ltd. and Ors v. Union of India and Ors. , the Court emphasized that the freedom of press and information were vital for the realization of human rights. The court relied upon the Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

WHY NO TO STING OPERATIONS?

With great power comes great responsibility, therefore the freedom under Article 19(1)(a) is correlative with the duty not to violate any law. Every institution is liable to be abused, and every liberty, if left unbridled, may lead to disorder and anarchy. Television channels in a bid to increase their Trade Related Practices (TRP’s) ratings are resorting to sensationalized journalism. Sting operations have now become the order of the day. The carrying out of a sting operation may be an expression of the right to free press but it caries with it an indomitable duty to respect the privacy of others.

In Time v. Hill the U.S. Supreme Court said: The constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech to press is not for the benefit of the press so much as for the benefit of all the people. The same principle was followed by Mathew, J. in Bennett Coleman and Co. v. Union of India.

Article 19(2) - An Exception to Article 19(1): It is however pertinent to mention that, freedom of speech and expression of press is not absolute but is qualified by certain clearly defined limitations under Article 19(2) in the interests of the public.

In Romesh Thappar v. State of Madras, and Brij Bhushan v. State of Delhi the Court firmly expressed its view that there could not be any kind of restriction on the freedom of speech and expression other than those mentioned in Art 19(2) and thereby made it clear that there could not be any interference with that freedom in the name of public interest even when Clause (2) of Article 19 was subsequently substituted under the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951 by a new clause which permitted the imposition of reasonable restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression of media.

Against Right to Privacy: This is the most burning issue in the entire world today. Article 12 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) defines Right to Privacy as-No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence not to attack upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to protection of law against such interference or attack.

Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India provides for nothing in sub clause (a) of clause ( 1 ) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

'Freedom of Press' has been held to be a part of the Fundamental Right of 'Freedom of Speech and expression' guaranteed by article 19(1) (a) to the citizens of India. Is had been held that 'Freedom of Press' is necessary for exercise of fundamental freedom of citizens of 'speech and expression'. And so 'Freedom of Press' cannot be termed as unconstitutional and void. And as the Constitution says this can only be exercised till it does not harm the decency/morality of a person.

The individual who is the subject of a press or television ‘item’ has his or her personality, reputation or career dashed to the ground after the media exposure. He too has a fundamental right to live with dignity and respect and a right to privacy guaranteed to him under Article 21 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court, Kharak Singh v. State of UP held that right to privacy is inherent under Article 21. The Delhi High Court observed that right to privacy that flows from Article 21 couldn’t be invoked against private entities. It can not be denied that it is of practical importance that a precarious balance between the fundamental right to expression and the right to ones privacy be maintained. ‘Right to Privacy’ has ceased to have any pragmatic value where ‘sting operations’ define the order of the day. The right to privacy is an alleged human right, which may restrain both government and private party action that threatens the privacy of individuals. It has been recognized as a fundamental right by the Hon’ble SC under Article 21.

The Supreme Court in R. Rajagopal and Another v. State of Tamil Nadu and Others are true reminiscence of the limits of freedom of press with respect to the right to privacy:

A citizen has a right to safeguard the privacy of his own, his family, marriage, procreation, motherhood, child bearing and education among other matters. No one can publish anything concerning the above matters without his consent - whether truthful or otherwise and whether laudatory or critical. If he does so, he would be violating the right to privacy of the person concerned and would be liable in an action for damages. Position may, however, be different, if a person voluntarily thrusts himself into controversy or voluntarily invites or raises a controversy.

In another landmark judgment which addressed the issue of privacy was the telephone tapping case- People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India the Court observed:

The right to privacy by itself has not been identified under the Constitution. As a concept it may be too wide and moralistic to define it judicially. Whether right to privacy can be claimed or has been infringed in a given case would depend on the facts of the said case….

Against Public Morality: There is the classic ethical problem that haunts all sting operations: can you hold somebody responsible for a crime that he would not have committed if you hadn’t encouraged him? The essence of all entrapment is that you promise a man a reward for breaking the law and then, apprehend him when he takes the bait. All sting operations involve making people commit crimes that they would not otherwise have committed and are therefore immoral. It is against the public morality and decency and hence falls within the purview of Article 19 (2).

The 17th Law Commission in its 200th report has made recommendations to the Centre to enact a law to prevent the media from interfering with the privacy rights of the individuals.

 

PROBLEMS WITH STING OPERATIONS

The classic ethical problem that haunts all sting operations: - can you hold somebody responsible for a crime that he would not have committed if you hadn’t encouraged him? The essence of all entrapment is that you promise a man a reward for breaking the law and then, apprehend him when he takes the bait. A defence that can be taken by the accused that the act had been committed as a result of inducement, and which he (the accused) did not intend himself to commit, or, in cases where lack of consent constitutes the offence, such as rape, that the consent had been implied by the inducement, where because of the ‘trap’ laid down for the accused, the impression given was that an offence had not been committed.

Fundamental rights can’t be enforced against the individual or private entity: When Maneka Gandhi sued Khushwant Singh over certain references to her in his autobiography Truth, Love and a Little Malice saying that it was a violation of her privacy, she lost the case. It is precisely because of this lack of legislation that we have numerous Sing Operations taking place almost daily thereby obtruding upon individual privacy. However, despite the growing invasion of privacy, there is no Indian legislation that directly protects the privacy rights of individuals against individuals.

 

Conflict of Laws: Although on one hand, the Constitution confers the fundamental right of freedom of the press, Article 105 (2) provides certain restrictions on the publications of the proceedings in Parliament. In the famous Searchlight Case , the Supreme Court held that, the publication by a newspaper of certain parts of the speech of members in the House, which were ordered to be expunged by the Speaker constituted a breach of privilege.

Another major problem which we face today is against whom the sting operation is allowed? Some are of the opinion that it must be allowed against the public servants. The definition of Public Servant is given in 2(c) of The Prevention of Corruption Act. Again a problem comes that can we have sting operation against the public servants when they are not in their course of duty? There are so many problems which arise because we do not have proper legislation. We can say the root of all these problems is the lack of legislation first and any thing after.

They Do Not Reduce or Prevent Recurring Crime Problems: Few scientific studies of stings have shown that particular crimes were prevented long term. Where the relevant data were collected, it is commonly shown that the targeted crime was reduced as a result of the sting, but for only a limited period—at best, three months to a year. In fact, since most studies showing any extended crime reduction benefits of sting operations have also reviewed other police responses used with the operations, it cannot be concluded that stings, on their own, solve a recurring crime problem.

They May Increase Crime: A number of well-conducted studies have shown that, contrary to expectations, sting operations may actually increase the targeted crime because they provide new opportunities to offenders to commit the crime when they use decoys, baits, and the actual selling or receipt of stolen goods.29 Furthermore, when police assume undercover roles, such as drug dealer, they may themselves be victimized, thus making possible new crimes that were not the sting’s target. This raises a serious ethical issue concerning the role of police (and government generally). The police role is to reduce crime, not increase it. If sting operations are found to increase crime, they are surely very difficult to justify, regardless of the benefits described above. However, at least one careful study found that sting operations did not increase crime in the two projects studied [PDF]. 30 This suggests that there is no hard-and-fast rule concerning the facilitating effects of stings on crime rates, and that the possible effects of each sting operation may be specific to crime type and location.

They May Be Deemed Unethical : The ethical deficit of sting operations their detractors most often put forward is that their use of deception is simply another form of lying, and lying is morally wrong, period. And is it ethically worse if the deceiver holds a government office? Police defend their actions on two main grounds: (a) the moral and social benefits of a successful sting operation far exceed the ethical cost of using deception; and (b) citizens have given the police the right to use a degree of coercion to protect the community, and deception is “soft” coercion compared with other types police may use, such as tough interrogation techniques (which themselves may include lying and deceiving the offender).

The Government May Overreach: Is it the government’s role to construct enticements and situations that encourage all citizens to commit a crime? The studies of selling stolen goods, for example, in bars and other places, have found a remarkably high proportion of ordinary people prepared to buy stolen articles, people who, had they not been provided the opportunity to do so, would not have committed the crime. Thus there is a very strong potential for the government to overreach. Indeed, there is a strong incentive to do so, given the positive publicity that is likely to follow the sting operation, even if no offenders were convicted.

There are Privacy Issues: The invasion of privacy is much greater in sting operations because police surreptitiously collect far more information about non offenders as well as offenders, and in many instances, where there are no offenders at all until the sting operation reaches a critical point. Do citizens have a right not to be spied on? This is an old ethical problem in policing that is intensified by sting operations that rely almost entirely on these tactics.

 

POSITION OF STING OPERATION IN INDIA

In India we have no specific law which governs such operation and also we have no judicial pronouncements till today which guides such operations or the acts of the media. But a person can go to the court under different laws to protect his rights and freedom. We have wiretapping which is a part of sting operation is regulated under the Telegraph Act of 1885. In 1996 decision by the Supreme Court which ruled that wiretaps are a serious invasion of an individual’s privacy The Court also laid out guidelines for wiretapping by the government, which define who can tap phones and under what circumstances. Only the Union Home Secretary, or his counterpart in the states, can issue an order for a tap. The government is also required to show that the information sought cannot to be obtained through any other means. The Court mandated the development of a high-level committee to review the legality of each wiretap. Tapped phone calls are not accepted as primary evidence in Indian courts.

Apart from the common law, the Supreme Court has recognized a constitutional origin as well. So, firstly, a private action for damages may lie for an unlawful invasion of privacy under The Law of Torts. These sting operations also violates right to privacy which according to the Supreme Court is guaranteed under Article 21- right to life and personal liberty. As we are provide that the freedom of expression guarantee in Article 19(1)(a) is not absolute therefore the constitution provides with Article 19(2) which protects the public interest morality and decency. A person who welcomes media interest in his life will not be able to claim a right to privacy as easily as a ‘private individual’. There is vast room for interpretation, especially with terms such as ‘private affairs’ and ‘public interest’; and interpretation will be made by the regulatory authority even though the onus on proving that a particular publication was in public interest lies with the media house. Undoubtedly, the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court will certainly influence interpretation The Apex Court has always upheld the importance of an informed citizenry. A ‘sting operation’ with a genuine motive to create awareness of wrongdoing, cannot be proscribed or prohibited.

SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS

Scope

Any action should be judged by its intent and its outcome. The efficacy of sting operation in uncovering misdeeds can never be undermined. If used as a tool of establishing public order and bringing to light the misdeeds and misdemeanours of corrupt persons, then the role of sting operation as a cleansing tool should be welcomed. It, no doubt, brings to light invaluable evidence that can help the judiciary in deciding with a fair degree of certainty and swiftness. It can act as a deterrent for corrupt public servants as well. Before doing wrongful deeds, such as taking a bribe, they will be more careful, as the advent of technology has now ensured that a sting operation can be conducted in such a manner that it can catch the target completely unaware. Thus, I find that as an aid to collecting evidence and as a social deterrent, a sting operation has scope if conducted with restraint and accountability.

Limitations

·       Unfortunately, no law regulates sting operations in India, thus making it prone to misuse. Such operations can be conducted with the sole purpose of tarnishing the image of an individual. With state of the art technology being used nowadays, we may not be able to distinguish a real sting operation from a concocted one. Once telecast, it creates such an indelible impression before the naive and gullible public, that the reputation of the framed person gets tarnished forever, even if at a later stage, it is found out that the operation was fabricated.

·       Without any law in place regulating sting operation, the question of invasion of privacy will always be under discussion. Though one can initiate a private action for damages for an unlawful invasion of privacy under torts, it has to be accepted that this phenomenon is a serious threat to privacy. Everybody has the right to lead his life in his terms and unlawful transgression into public life can never be supported.

·       Another limitation of the sting operation is that it is being increasingly misused by many television channels to increase viewership. There being no law, there is no effective regulation. Thus the whole purpose gets defeated. Employing sting operations for political vendetta is another pertinent issue. It is not unusual to employ reporters or others to conduct stings for destroying the political career of any particular individual. 

·       On the other side of the coin is the issue of police harassment against any well-meaning person who has done operation with honesty and purpose. People in high offices, if they see their reputation is at stake, often use the State machinery to harass, intimidate and coerce journalists, to prevent such footage being produced before the court as a piece of evidence.

It would also be interesting to find out whether evidence from sting operations actually speed up the judicial process or helps in unearthing the real truth and aid in quicker conviction. A classic example is the Narada Sting Operation Case which happened 6 years ago. The probe by CBI, ED, and the Parliamentary Ethics Committee is still on and several PILs have also been lodged. But even after so many years, we are yet to see the case come to its logical conclusion.

Guideline or legislation, if framed, should address the following specific areas:

·       The agency conducting the sting operation should see to it that it is being done in public service and there should be elaborate mechanisms to ensure the same.

·       Every sting operation should address the issue of individual privacy and freedom of the individual.

·       Strict penal provisions should be there for punishing individuals and agencies that conduct sting operations with political and ulterior motives or for the purpose of increasing viewership of any channel or readership of a newspaper.

·       Similarly, penal provisions should also be there if it is found out that a sting operation has been conducted with the sole purpose of tarnishing the image and reputation of an individual.

·       There should be a regulatory body within the media fraternity to control all aspects of sting operations. Since any outside regulation would amount to the interference of freedom of the press, it is desirable that either the Press Council of India or any other body be entrusted with this responsibility.

·       Information collected from sting operations should be made admissible in court but only if it is found that the said information is not concocted and not gathered for an ulterior motive.

 

RULES OF REPORTING IN STING

The rules are as following:

• The channel must convince others that the sting operation has been carried out in and for the best interest of the public and people at large in this country.

• While producing any news bulletin or the news related current affairs, no channel is allowed to expose the personal life of any person.

• No channel is allowed to record in any form, the conversation with any person, without his/her prior permission.

• While broadcasting any such sting operation, it will have to be withheld or stopped, if any objection is raised by the concerned or any involved person or party.

• Both the parties have the right to approach the court of law at any given time but prior to that, the transmission or telecast of the concerned item or program will have to be stopped.

 

FINAL REMARKS

The Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry must favour the introduction of a clause to address Sting Operations in the Broadcasting Bill. The Ministry must make a clear distinction between stories that amount to an invasion of privacy and those which expose corruption or have political implications. However, Sting Operations which expose corruption and tell stories with political implications will be allowed, as any attempt to proceed against them would be seen as an effort to stifle the media. Sting operations raise serious ethical issues that the media rarely consider while carrying them out. The Indian media use the expressions “undercover investigation” and “sting operation” as if they were one and the same thing. There is an irony in the conflation of these terms because in this country, undercover investigations are almost always sting operations.

 

REFERENCES

http://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l166-Sting-Operation.html

https://blog.ipleaders.in/admissibility-sting-operation-evidence-india/

https://www.latestlaws.com/articles/sting-operations-legal-or-illegal-by-vedangini-bisht/

 

Compiled by:

Deepika Saini

B.A. (Hons.) Journalism

Batch of 2022

Lady Shri Ram College for Women

 

 

This is Ambala Prison Radio

 


·      Haryana Prisons complete first phase of Prison Radio in the state


·      This is the oldest prison in Haryana
·      This prison has witnessed the execution of Nathu Ram Godse
·      Prison Radio is the brainchild of prison reformer Vartika Nanda

 

Central Jail, Ambala has launched its prison radio, being third in the state.  It is inaugurated by Shri Rajeev Arora, IAS, ACS Home & Jails, Shri K. Selvaraj, IPS, Director General of Prisons, Haryana and Shri Lakhbir Singh Brar, Superintendent of Ambala Jail and Dr. Vartika Nanda, Founder, Tinka Tinka.  The Prison Radio in Haryana is the brainchild of India’s leading prison reformer Vartika Nanda. She heads the Department of Journalism in Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University and is the founder of Tinka Tinka, a movement on prison reforms.

 

The jail radio is aimed at addressing vital communication need of 1100 inmates lodged in this jail. This jail is one of the three central jails of Haryana and also a historical jail of India which witnessed the execution of Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi in the year 1949. The purpose of the prison radio is to promote art, creativity and harmony in the jail.

 

21 inmates were chosen as Radio Jockeys from the Haryana Prisons, out of which 6 are from the Ambala jail. They were part of an intense radio presentations skill training program organised in December 2020 by Dr. Vartika Nanda. Following this, first prison radio of the state was inaugurated in Panipat on January 16 by Shri Ranjeet Singh, Jail Minister of Haryana, Shri Rajeev Arora, IAS, ACS Home & Jails, Shri K. Selvaraj, IPS, Director General of Prisons, Haryana and Shri Devi Dayal, Superintendent of Panipat Jail and Dr. Vartika Nanda, Founder, Tinka Tinka. Later, prison radio commenced operations in District Jail, Faridabad in the same month.

 

Prison radio in Ambala will operate from a specially designed studio in the jail premises for an hour on a daily basis. According to Shri Rajeev Arora, ACS Home & Jails, “This prison radio is certainly going to change the perception of outsiders towards inmates and will also help them reform through the process.” Speaking on the occasion, Director General of Prisons, Shri K. Selvaraj said, “One can easily see the change in the lives of inmates because of prison radio. This launch marks the completion of the first phase of prison radio in Haryana and we are now beginning the second phase in 4 other jails. He expressed his deep satisfaction at the progress made by inmates in both the jails where prison radio has been recently operationalised. Shri Lakhbir Singh, Superintendent of the jail remarked,” We are pleasantly surprised to see inmates enthusiastically engaging on a daily basis for executing the preparatory steps of prison radio. It has increased peace and tranquility in the jail environ.  The jail room became a place of happiness and creativity and it will continue to be the one. ”

 

Vartika Nanda, who has conceptualised and trained the inmates, commented, “I had launched first prison radio in District Jail, Agra in 2019 and have been observing the change that prison radio has brought to the lives of inmates. So far 21 inmates of Haryana Prisons have earned the identity of being Radio Jockeys and we are hopeful that this skill will help their reformation and reintegration into the society. I am already in the process of finalising module for the next phase of prison radio in the state.”

 

Haryana has 19 jails and the state plans to start prison radio in almost all the jails to help in the reformation process of inmates. Interestingly, a prison library has also been recently opened in District Jail, Panipat to further improve the levels of literacy in jails and help inmates in a better contribution towards jail radio. This prison library is also an initiative of Tinka Tinka Foundation.

 






Feb 25, 2021

Prison Radio in Faridabad

 January 28, 2021

Faridabad Jail Radio was launched by K. Selvaraj, IPS, Director General of Prisons, Haryana, Jai Kishan Chiller, Superintendent and Vartika Nanda.
This is in the series of the launch of prison radios by Tinka Tinka Foundation in different jails. 






 


Prison Radio in Panipat

 

Panipat Jail Radio was released by Ranjit Singh, Jail Minister, Rajeev Arora, IAS, ACS, Home & Jail Department, Government of Haryana, K. Selvaraj, IPS, Director General of Prisons, Haryana, Vartika Nanda, Founder of Tinka Tinka Foundation and Devi Dayal, Superintendent Jail on January 16, 2021.  




Feb 24, 2021

Prison Radio in Haryana

Tinka Tinka Foundation initiated the process to start prison radio in different jails of Haryana. It started with the audition of inmates from three jails of Haryana and later on, helped to start prison radios in these jails. 




















#vartikananda #tinkatinka #jail #prisonreforms #humanrights 

Feb 5, 2021

MLE: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS


 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS (IPR)

Disclaimer: The note/s given below is/ are a compilation of information taken from various sources. The references to the sources are provided at the end. The views expressed in the note/s are those of the concerned student/s/ intern/s.. The blogger or the compiler will not be responsible in any manner whatsoever regarding the authenticity of the information provided in the note/s. These notes are being compiled to help the students for educational purposes during Covid-19 pandemic.

IPR: An Overview

The general assumption about property is that it is something movable or immovable tangible thing, which is most of the time expensive one. However, as it is very much indicative from the word ‘intellectual’, the ‘intellectual property’ can be understood as the property created by mind like some ideas, inventions, literary or artistic creations etc which are intangible most of the time but can be converted into tangible things. We all know that the owners of movable or immovable tangible properties possess legal rights over their property and every country has laws to protect such properties of their citizens from any kind of encroachment or any illegal authority claimed over them.

            However, it is sad to know that till recently the creations of mind, the product of intellect of people were not considered as equivalent to the physical properties and that’s why there were no significant and sufficient laws to protect such properties. Perhaps it was so because of no monetary value associated with the intellectual properties.

It was only in 1995 that a significant step was taken and the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) was formed at the end of seven years of negotiations from 1986 to 1993, as part of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations of the GATT. The TRIPS Agreement came into force on the 1st of January 1995, with the establishment of the World Trade Organization (Puri & Varma, 2005).

It does not mean that there were no laws related to intellectual properties in India. Laws were there but they were not enough to protect the intellectual properties rights of the people. The people and government had not thought to protect their ancient knowledge by any specific law. Indians always believed in knowledge sharing and that’s why the medicinal uses of turmeric, basil, neem etc were in public domain since long and yet it was not protected under any law. It was only after the controversy of claims over the medicinal uses of turmeric and neem and claims over basmati rice by American companies that people in India became aware about their intellectual property rights and a need of strong laws were felt. Also the commercial interest of the people compelled many companies and individuals to protect their intellectual properties.

There are several definitions given to intellectual property. One of the best definitions of intellectual property was given by World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO):

“Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.”

Similarly, there are several definitions of intellectual property rights. One of the best definitions among them is given by World Trade Organisation (WTO):

“Ownership of ideas, including literary and artistic works (protected by copyright), inventions (protected by patents), signs for distinguishing goods of an enterprise (protected by trademarks) and other elements of industrial property.”

 

It is obvious from the above definition given by WTO that the intellectual property rights are mainly of three types:

  1. Copyright
  2. Patents
  3. Trademarks

Some of the important features of IPR are as following:

  1. Intellectual Property Rights are legal rights, which result from intellectual activity in industrial, scientific, literary & artistic fields. These rights Safeguard creators and other producers of intellectual goods & services by granting them certain rights to control the use of their creations or products. (WIPO, 2008). Protected IP rights like other property can be a matter of trade, which can be owned, sold or bought.
  2. They allow creators, or owners, of patents, trademarks or copyrighted works to benefit from their own work or investment in a creation.(WIPO).
  3. IPR are largely territorial or country specific rights except copyrights which is global in nature in the sense that it is immediately available in all the members of the Berne Convention. (Saha, n.d.)
  4. Legal protection is granted to the owner or creator of the Intellectual property under different related acts. That means inventions, designs and other industrial innovations can be protected under Patent Act, trademarks can be protected under Trademark Act and Copyright Act covers literary works (such as novels, poems and plays), films, music, artistic works(e.g. drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures) and architectural design.
  5. The protection given under these Acts are for a definite period of time depending upon the law of the country.

 Tracing the history of IPR in India

The history of IPR in India can be traced back to as early as 1957, when first time The Copyright Act was introduced for Indians with some modifications to the similar kind of act which was already existing and was borrowed from the  British but was very much similar to United Kingdom Copyright Act.  Actually the East India Company had already introduced the Copyright Act in India in 1847 out of its own interest but it was merely a reflection of Copyright Act of Great Britain which was already into existence for almost one century. In 1914, the then Indian legislature enacted a new Copyright Act which merely extended most portions of the United Kingdom Copyright Act of 1911 to India. Thus the modern Copyright Act of India has seen a long and complicated journey of 150 years. Today, the Copyright Act of 1957, the Copyright Rules, 1958 and the International Copyright Order, 1999 govern the copyright protection in India. (Adukia R.S., n.d.)

 

Just like the Copyright Act, the Patent law in India had also seen many dawn and dusks. From being introduced in 1856, it underwent amendments for eleven times in the years 1859, 1872, 1883, 1888, 1911, 1920, 1930, 1945, 1950, 1952, to the commencement of The Patents Act, 1970. (Ibid).Though even after 1970, many changes in the Patent Act have been done but this year is like a milestone in the history of IPR because this Act remained in force for almost 24 years till 1994 without any change. After that three amendments were done in the Act of 1970 in the years 2000, 2003 and finally in 2005 which is in force till date. The Act has now been radically amended to become fully compliant with the provisions of TRIPS (Saha, n.d.)

The Trademark Act of 1999 is culmination of sustained effort towards such an Act since 1860. A specific Indian Trademark Act was passed in 1940 which was replaced by Trademark and Merchandise Act, 1958 and finally Trademark Act 1999 was enforced by the Government of India in compliance with the TRIPS obligation on the recommendation of the World Trade Organisation.

 List of laws related to intellectual properties in India:

  1. The Copyright Act, 1957, the Copyright Rules, 1958 and International Copyright Order, 1999.
  2. The Patents Act, 1970, the Patents Rules, 2003, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (Patents Procedure) Rules, 2010 and the Patents (Appeals and Applications to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board) Rules, 2011
  3. The Trade Marks Act, 1999, the Trade Marks Rules, 2002, the Trade Marks (Applications and Appeals to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board) Rules, 2003 and the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (Procedure) Rules, 2003

Apart from these laws the following laws have been enacted to protect newly recognized species of intellectual property in India:

4.  The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 and the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Rules, 2002
5.    The Designs Act, 2000 and the Designs Rules, 2001
6.   The Semiconductors Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act, 2000 and the Semiconductors Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Rules, 2001
7.    The Protection of Plant varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001 and The Protection of Plant varieties and Farmers Rights’ Rules, 2003
8.   The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and the Biological Diversity Rules, 2004 Intellectual Property Rights (Imported Goods) Rules, 2007

(Adukia R.S., n.d.)

 Main types of Intellectual Property Rights

It is already stated in the overview section that there are three main types of IPR: Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks. As per the very significant feature of IPRs, they allow creators, or owners, of patents, trademarks or copyrighted works to benefit from their own work or investment in a creation. These rights are outlined in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides for the right to benefit from the protection of moral and material interests resulting from authorship of scientific, literary or artistic productions (WIPO). Let us discuss these types of IPR in detail:

Copyright

It is often heard to be said by people that ‘why shouldn’t I use it; is it your copyright?’ May be they don’t know all the provisions under this right, however from such statements it is clear that they have some understanding of this right. Before looking at the provisions of Copyright Act in Indian context, let us see how World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has described it:

Copyright law is a branch of that part of the law which deals with the rights of intellectual creators. Copyright law deals with particular forms of creativity, concerned primarily with mass communication. It is concerned also with virtually all forms and methods of public communication, not only printed publications but also such matters as sound and television broadcasting; films for public exhibition in cinemas, etc. and even computerized systems for the storage and retrieval of information. Copyright deals with the rights of intellectual creators in their creation. Most works, for example books, paintings or drawings, exist only once they are embodied in a physical object. But some of them exist without embodiment in a physical object. For example music or poems are works even if they are not, or even before they are, written down by a musical notation or words. Copyright law, however, protects only the form of expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. The creativity protected by copyright law is creativity in the choice and arrangement of words, musical notes, colors, shapes and so on. Copyright law protects the owner of rights in artistic works against those who “copy”, that is to say those who take and use the form in which the original work was expressed by the author.
(WIPO, 2008)
 
In tandem with the description of Copyright Law given by WIPO, here in India too Copyright is a right given to the creator of an original literary or artistic work. Literary work also includes computer programs and software and is protected in India under copyright. The total term of protection for literary work is the author’s life plus sixty years.

As per Copyright Act, 1957,  "copyright" means the exclusive right subject to the provisions of this Act, to do or authorise the doing of any of the following acts in respect of a work or any substantial part thereof, namely:-

(a) in the case of a literary, dramatic or musical work, not being a computer programme, -

(i) to reproduce the work in any material form including the storing of it in any medium by electronic means;

(ii) to issue copies of the work to the public not being copies already in circulation;

(iii) to perform the work in public, or communicate it to the public;

(iv) to make any cinematograph film or sound recording in respect of the work;

(v) to make any translation of the work;

(vi) to make any adaptation of the work;

(vii) to do, in relation to a translation or an adaptation of the work, any of the acts specified in relation to the work in sub-clauses (i) to (vi);

(b) in the case of a computer programme,-

(i) to do any of the acts specified in clause (a);

“(ii) to sell or give on commercial rental or offer for sale or for commercial rental any copy of the computer programme: Provided that such commercial rental does not apply in respect of computer programmes where the programme itself is not the essential object of the rental.”

(c) in the case of an artistic work,-

(i) to reproduce the work in any material form including depiction in three dimensions of a two dimensional work or in two dimensions of a three dimensional work;

(ii) to communicate the work to the public;

(iii) to issue copies of the work to the public not being copies already in circulation;

(iv) to include the work in any cinematograph film;

(v) to make any adaptation of the work;

(vi) to do in relation to an adaptation of the work any of the acts specified in relation to the work in sub-clauses (i) to (iv);

(d) In the case of cinematograph film, -

(i) to make a copy of the film, including a photograph of any image forming part thereof;

(ii) to sell or give on hire, or offer for sale or hire, any copy of the film, regardless of whether such copy has been sold or given on hire on earlier occasions;

(iii) to communicate the film to the public;

(e) In the case of sound recording, -

(i) to make any other sound recording embodying it;

(ii) to sell or give on hire, or offer for sale or hire, any copy of the sound recording regardless of whether such copy has been sold or given on hire on earlier occasions;

(iii) to communicate the sound recording to the public.

(Source: Copyright Office, India.)

Thus in nutshell, it can be said that, “Copyright is the set of exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. Copyright lasts for a certain time period after which the work is said to enter the public domain. Copyright ensures certain minimum safeguards of the rights of authors over their creations, thereby protecting and rewarding creativity.”

 Patent

Again I would give an example from our day-to-day life that when somebody often says something, people say that this is his patent dialogue means that statement is created and used by him. Thus people have a fair idea of what patent is. Let us see how it is defined by various persons and organisations. According to The Law Lexicon (2001) “The word patent means the exclusive privilege granted by the sovereign authority to an inventor with respect to his invention”

Similar to this definition a more elaborated definition of patent is given by WIPO as follows:

 

A patent is a document, issued, upon application, by a government office (or a regional office acting for several countries), which describes an invention and creates a legal situation in which the patented invention can normally only be exploited (manufactured, used, sold, imported) with the authorization of the owner of the patent. “Invention” means a solution to a specific problem in the field of technology. An invention may relate to a product or a process. The protection conferred by the patent is limited in time (generally 20 years). Patents are frequently referred to as “monopolies”, but a patent does not give the right to the inventor or the owner of a patented invention to make, use or sell anything. Thus, while the owner is not given a statutory right to practice his invention, he is given a statutory right to prevent others from commercially exploiting his invention, which is frequently referred to as a right to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention. Simply put, a patent is the right granted by the State to an inventor to exclude others from commercially exploiting the invention for a limited period, in return for the disclosure of the invention, so that others may gain the benefit of the invention. The disclosure of the invention is thus an important consideration in any patent granting procedure.

(WIPO, 2008)

 

In compliance with TRIPS and WIPO, in India too “A Patent gives a monopoly right to a person who has invented a new and useful product or a new process of making a product or an improvement or modification of an existing product or process. It is a statutory grant conferring exclusive right to manufacture the patented product or manufacture a product according to the patented process for a limited period of time, that is, a period of 20 years.” (Puri & Varma, 2005). According to the Patent Act, 1970, Patentable inventions are new products or processes, involving inventive steps and capable of being made or used in an industry. It means the invention to be patentable should be technical in nature and should meet the following criteria –

  • Novelty: The matter disclosed in the specification is not published in India or elsewhere before the date of filing of the patent application in India.
  • Inventive Step: The invention is not obvious to a person skilled in the art in the light of the prior publication/knowledge/ document.
  • Industrially applicable: Invention should possess utility, so that it can be made or used in an industry.

Whereas non-patentable inventions within the meaning of Section 3 of Patents Act, 1970 are:

(a) an invention which is frivolous or which claims anything obviously contrary to well established natural laws;

(b) an invention the primary or intended use or commercial exploitation of which could be contrary to public order or morality or which causes serious prejudice to human, animal or plant life or health or to the environment; (For e.g. process of making brown sugar will not be patented.)

(c) The mere discovery of a scientific principle or the formulation of an abstract theory (or discovery of any living thing or non-living substances occurring in nature);

(d) the mere discovery of a new form of a known substance which does not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance or the mere discovery of any new property or mere new use for a known substance or of the mere use of a known process, machine or apparatus unless such known process results in a new product or employs at least one new reactant;

(e) a substance obtained by a mere admixture resulting only in the aggregation of the properties of the components thereof or a process for producing such substance;

(f) the mere arrangement or re-arrangement or duplication of known devices each functioning independently of one another in a known way;

(g) a method of agriculture or horticulture; (For e.g. the method of terrace farming cannot be patented.)

(h) any process for the medicinal, surgical, curative, prophylactic, diagnostic, therapeutic or other treatment of human beings or any process for a similar treatment of animals to render them free of disease or to increase their economic value or that of their products; (For e.g. any new technique of hand surgery is not patentable)

(i) plants and animals in whole or any part thereof other than micro-organisms but including seeds, varieties and species and essentially biological processes for production or propagation of plants and animals;

(j) a mathematical or business method or a computer programme per se or algorithms;

(k) a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or any other aesthetic creation whatsoever including cinematographic works and television productions;

(I) a mere scheme or rule or method of performing mental act or method of playing game;

(m) a presentation of information;

(n) topography of integrated circuits;

(o) an invention which in effect, is traditional knowledge or which is an aggregation or duplication of known properties of traditionally known component or components.

(p) Inventions relating to atomic energy and the inventions prejudicial to the interest of security of India.

(Source: Intellectual Property Office, India)

 Trademarks

Trademarks can be in the form of letters, numerical or words or signs, symbols, drawings, three dimensional shapes, music or audio, fragrances, colors; anything which identifies any good or service. It helps consumers in identifying the authentic goods and services. It protects the owner’s right to exclusively use the trademark or authorise other person to use it in lieu of payment. According to WIPO (2008), “A trademark is any sign that individualizes the goods of a given enterprise and distinguishes them from the goods of its competitors.” This definition mentions about two aspects of trademarks, which also can be referred as the functions of the trademarks. These aspects are – “Individualisation of goods which provides authenticity and identity to the product” and “It helps in distinguishing the products of one enterprise from the other enterprise”.  Though these two are different aspects of trademarks, they are also interdependent and that’s why WIPO suggests looking at them together for all practical purposes. Individualisation of goods and services for consumer by using trademarks does not mean that the consumers must be informed about the actual person who has manufactured it or who is trading it. It only has to create trust of the consumer into the enterprise. In compliance with the definition given by WIPO, in India too, the Trademarks Act, 1999 explains,

Trade mark means a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others and may include shape of goods, their packaging and combination of colours; and—

(i)      in relation to Chapter XII (other than section 107), a registered trade mark or a mark used in relation to goods or services for the purpose of indicating or so as to indicate a connection in the course of trade between the goods or services, as the case may be, and some person having the right as proprietor to use the mark; and

(ii)    in relation to other provisions of this Act, a mark used or proposed to be used in relation to goods or services for the purpose of indicating or so as to indicate a connection in the course of trade between the goods or services, as the case may be, and some person having the right, either as proprietor or by way of permitted user, to use the mark whether with or without any indication of the identity of that person, and includes a certification trade mark or collective mark;

(Source: Ministry of Law, India)

This explanation gives rise to two key features of Trademark: Trademark must be distinctive and trademark must be used in commerce. There are mainly four types of trademarks - Trademark, Servicemark, Collectivemark, Certification Mark. The Trade Marks Act, 1999 (TMA) protects the trademarks and their infringement can be challenged by a passing off or/and infringement action. The Act protects a trade mark for goods or services, on the basis of either use or registration or on basis of both elements.

Geographical Indication of Goods

There are many products which are known by their geographical origin, whether by name or by symbols; like “Champagne,” “Cognac,” “Roquefort,” “Chianti,” “Pilsen,” “Porto,” “Sheffield,” “Havana,” “Tequila,” “Darjeeling”—are some well-known examples of such names with which the products of certain nature and quality are associated. According to WIPO (2008), “the term is intended to be used in its widest possible meaning. It embraces all existing means of protection of such names and symbols, regardless of whether they indicate that the qualities of a given product are due to its geographical origin (such as appellations of origin), or they merely indicate the place of origin of a product (such as indications of source). This definition also covers symbols, because geographical indications are not only constituted by names, such as the name of a town, a region or a country (“direct geographical indications”), but may also consist of symbols. Such symbols may be capable of indicating the origin of goods without literally naming its place of origin. Examples for such indirect geographical indications are the Eiffel Tower for Paris, the Matterhorn for Switzerland or the Tower Bridge for London.”

In compliance with WIPO, the Geographical Indications of Goods (registration and protection) Act, 1999 explains:

 

“geographical indication”, in relation to goods, means an indication which identifies such goods as agricultural goods, natural goods or manufactured goods as originating, or manufactured in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and in case where such goods are manufactured goods one of the activities of either the production or of processing or preparation of the goods concerned takes place in such territory, region or locality, as the case may be. Explanation.—For the purposes of this clause, any name which is not the name of a country, region or locality of that country shall also be considered as the geographical indication if it relates to a specific geographical area and is used upon or in relation to particular goods originating from that country, region or locality, as the case may be;

(Source: Ministry of Law, India)

Some examples of Indian Geographical Indications are - Solapur Chaddar, Solapur Terry Towel, Basmati Rice, Darjeeling Tea, Kanchipuram Silk Saree, Alphanso Mango, Nagpur Orange etc. 

Designs

The concept of protection for designs whether industrial or ornamental emerged as a result of industrial revolution, mass production, increasing competition among enterprises and globalisation. After globalisation, the competition among enterprises increased severely; which forced every enterprise to make its own identity and along with other factors of identity, designing is also an important factor. This is the reason that a separate protection laws for design, or ornamentation was felt and it was introduced at a global as well as national level. According to WIPO, “Industrial design refers to the creative activity of achieving a formal or ornamental appearance for mass-produced items that, within the available cost constraints, satisfies both the need for the item to appeal visually to potential consumers, and the need for the item to perform its intended function efficiently.”

Here in India, as per the Design Act, 2000, the definition was given as”

“design” means only the features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament or composition of lines or colours applied to any article whether in two dimensional or three dimensional or in both forms, by any industrial process or means, whether manual, mechanical or chemical, separate or combined, which in the finished article appeal to and are judged solely by the eye; but does not include any mode or principle of construction or anything which is in substance a mere

mechanical device, and does not include any trade mark as defined in clause (v) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958 or property mark as defined in section 479 of the Indian Penal Code or any artistic work as defined in clause (c) of section 2 of the Copyright Act, 1957.

(Source: Intellectual Property Office, India)

A unique design for any product not only attracts the consumers but also the producing company acquires much more praise, which it can’t afford to lose. It not only enhances its prestige and reputation but also provides a thrust for economic gain. These designs can be pertaining to a wide variety of products of different industries like handicrafts, medical instruments, watches, jewellery, house wares, electrical appliances, vehicles and architectural structures anything. It is majorly for aesthetic purpose.

Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design

The layout of transistors on the semiconductor integrated circuit or topography of transistors on the integrated circuit determines the size of the integrated circuit as well as its processing power. That is why the layout design of transistors constitutes such an important and unique form of intellectual property fundamentally different from other forms of intellectual property like copyrights, patents, trademarks and industrial design (Adukia R.S., n.d.). As per the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act, 2000 in India:
 
“layout-design” means a layout of transistors and other circuitry elements and includes lead wires connecting such elements and expressed in any manner in a semiconductor integrated circuit;
“semiconductor integrated circuit” means a product having transistors and other circuitry elements which are inseparably formed on a semiconductor material or an insulating material or inside the semiconductor material and designed to perform an electronic circuitry function;
(Source: Ministry of Law, India)

 Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights

India; primarily being an agrarian economy; intended to recognise and protect the rights of the farmers  keeping in mind their contribution towards conserving and improving the plant varieties which is essential for agricultural development of the country.  This was also essential to facilitate the growth of seed industry in India and boost the research and development in agriculture. With these visions; an Act was passed “to provide for the establishment of an effective system for protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants” in 2001. It was called “the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001” and was implemented in 52nd year of Republic of India. As per this Act:

         “variety”, means a plant grouping except micro-organism             within a single botanical taxon of the lowest known rank,             which can be—

(i) defined by the expression of the characteristics resulting from a given genotype of that plant grouping;

(ii) distinguished from any other plant grouping by expression of at least one of the said characteristics; and

(iii) considered as a unit with regard to its suitability for being propagated, which remains unchanged after such propagation,

and includes propagating material of such variety, extant variety, transgenic variety, farmers’ variety and essentially derived variety.

(Source: Ministry of Law, India)

 

Such an Act was essential for protecting and encouraging the rights of the farmers; who strive to increase the varieties of plants and put their effort to develop new plants and the quality of seeds.

Biological Diversity

India; being a country of rich biodiversity; possesses very rare traditional knowledge which can lead it to use biological resources as assets. Since the world has realised the importance of environment and biodiversity, it has been remained a constant effort to protect the biodiversity anywhere in the world and with this commitment United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity was organised at Rio De Janeiro on 5th June, 1992 and India became one of the signatory of this convention.  By signing this convention, India and other signatories got sovereign rights over their biological resources. Such rights were considered necessary “to provide for conservation, sustainable utilisation and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of utilisation of genetic resources and also to give effect to the said Convention.” Such concerns formed the ground for India to pass an Act “to provide for conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the use of biological resources, knowledge and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto” in 2002. It was called the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and was enacted by Parliament in the 53rd year of the Republic of India. As per this Act:

 “biological diversity” means the variability among living organisms from all sources and the ecological complexes of which they are part and includes diversity within species or between species and of eco-systems;

 “biological resources” means plants, animals and micro-organisms or parts thereof, their genetic material and by-products (excluding value added products) with actual or potential use or value, but does not include human genetic material;

(Source: Ministry of Law, India)

 Not only because India was party to the Convention on Biological Diversity, but also to safeguard and conserve our rich biological diversity, sustainable use of their components and to be able to share their knowledge with others without losing proprietorship over them, such an Act was essential for India.

The Need for Protection

Same as necessity is the mother of invention; new inventions in any field are necessity for the growth of human civilisations. It is necessary to protect the human capacity to create or invent new things from being exploited by any other person or organisation without the permission of the creator or inventor. Such protection in the form of legal rights would encourage people for further innovation without any fear of exploitation. These inventions or creations may lead the country towards economic growth and prosperity of its people. In return, the company or people responsible for such inventions are rewarded by providing legal rights over their inventions so that no one can use it without their permission. Thus the protection of intellectual properties can balance the interests of the innovators and the public interest at the same time by satisfying their humane expectations and providing a conducive environment for creativity and invention which can be used in larger interest of the human beings.

            Apart from the broad views on need of protection of intellectual properties, some crude realities are that the society has moved from agrarian to industrialisation to globalisation and so the form of competitions also moved beyond fair values. In today’s highly competitive world, where one side consumers are having a number of choices and they are considered as kings of the market, other side they themselves fell prey to the unfair competition prevailing in the market and get cheated. In such scenario, not only fair companies and products need legal protection but consumers also need to be protected from such unfair competition among the companies in the market. In free market system which is led by competitions, unfair means are bound to be used. These cannot be checked by self regulation and a strong legal system is essential to prevent the creator, inventor as well as consumers from any kind of exploitation.

 References:

  1. Adukia R.S.( n.d.). Handbook on Intellectual Property Rights in India. New Delhi.
  2. Biological Diversity Act, 2002(Source: Ministry of Law, India)
  3. Copyright Act, 1957 (Source: Copyright Office, India.)
  4. Design Act, 2000 (Source: Intellectual Property Office, India)
  5. Geographical Indications of Goods (registration and protection) Act, 1999(Source: Ministry of Law, India)
  6. Patent Act, 1970(Source: Intellectual Property Office, India)
  7. Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001(Source: Ministry of Law, India)
  8. Puri, M & Varma, A. 2005. Intellectual Property Conventions and Indian Law. Working Paper. Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, New Delhi.
  9. Saha, R. (n.d.). Management of Intellectual Property Rights in India. New Delhi.
  10. Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act, 2000 (Source: Ministry of Law, India)
  11. Trademarks Act, 1999(Source: Ministry of Law, India)
  12. World Intellectual Property Handbook. 2008. WIPO Publications.

Important websites visited:

www.ipindia.nic.in - Intellectual Property Office, India

www.patentoffice.nic.in – Patent office, India

http://copyright.gov.in/ - Copyright Office, India

www.wipo.int – World Intellectual Property Organisation

http://www.wto.org – World Trade Organisation

#Media Laws and Ethics