HC refuses to stall SIT probe into varsity sex scandal

Chennai:The Madras High Court has made it clear that it cannot stall the probe by the Special Investigation Team appointed by the Tamil Nadu Governor into the alleged sex scandal at Madurai Kamaraj University in the state.

A division bench of Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice P Rajamanickam said Thursday, “We cannot stay the probe by SIT, all we can do is only ask the university whether it has implemented the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act.” 

The bench also directed the university to file a report on the proper implementation of the Act in its institutions.

The direction came on a plea by Revolutionary Students Youth Front seeking to stall the probe conducted by the SIT and constitute a new team headed by a woman official to investigate the scandal in which assistant professor Nirmala Devi allegedly tried to lure college girls to offer sexual favours to higher officials.

When the plea came up for hearing, the Advocate General filed a status report, which said the professor “voluntarily” confessed during custodial interrogation that she tried to lure girl students of her college only to offer sexual favours to other two accused in the case Murugan and Karuppasamy.

It was further submitted that with the assistance of cybercrime cell the call data records (CDR) of Nirmala Devi, Karuppasamy and Murugan were obtained from Mobile Service Providers (MSPs).

The report said the records were analysed and relevant evidences of conspiracy was established.

“The calls made and received by the accused were analysed, and the concerned were summoned, examined and statements recorded. The calls among the three were corroborated based on the voluntary confession and the facts were verified,” it was submitted.

“The seizure of all digital evidences was done after following due legal procedure, the report added.

Nirmala Devi, assistant professor at Devanga Arts College in Aruppukottai, was arrested on April 16, a day after an audio clip went viral on the social media, in which she purportedly sought to persuade girls to consider extending sexual favours to senior officials of MKU, to which the college is affiliated.

HC restrains magazine from using ‘Aaj Tak’ trademark

New Delhi:The Delhi High Court has restrained a person, who runs a fortnightly magazine ‘Aaj Tak Aamne Saamne’, from using any name that is “deceptively or phonetically” similar to trademarks of a major media house.

The court’s order came after Living Media India Ltd, a media conglomerate that owns and operates news channels such as Aaj Tak, filed a suit for injunction against the person and one other. 

The Hindi news channel, Aaj Tak, hosts a programme called ‘Aaj Tak Aamne Saamne’.

The high court said there is a clear violation of the rights of Living Media India Ltd, which had filed a suit seeking injunction restraining a woman and one other from infringing and passing off trademarks ‘Aaj Tak’ or any other trademark “deceptively or phonetically” similar.

The order was passed against a woman, who claimed to own, print and publish the fortnightly magazine ‘Aaj Tak Aamne Saamne’ and its chief managing director, who is also the owner of a domain, aajtakaamnesaamne.com\ naajtakaamnesaamne.com.

Justice Jayant Nath directed them to pay damages of Rs 1 lakh to the media house.

As nobody appeared on behalf of the defendants despite service of notice, they were proceeded ex-parte by the court in September 2014.

The high court said the media house has established that it was the registered proprietor of the trade mark ‘Aaj Tak’ and it has a statutory right to the exclusive use of the same. 

“There is a clear violation of the rights of the plaintiffs (media house). It is also clear that the plaintiffs have been using their mark since 1995. The act of the defendants lacks bonafide. 

“The goods and services sold under the deceptively similar trade mark will also lead to passing off the goods and services of defendants as that of the plaintiffs,” it said.

The court passed the decree of permanent injunction in favour of the media house and against the defendants and restrained them and their representatives from using the trademark and the domain name.

HC seeks reply of UIDAI, Centre on plea raising concern over Aadhaar data security

The Delhi High Court today sought response of the UIDAI and the Centre on a plea raising concerns about Aadhaar data security and privacy of individuals, in the wake of several reported leaks of personal information of people from the Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI) database.

A bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Anu Malhotra issued notice and sought reply of the authorities on the plea which also urged the court to direct the Centre to either allow people to opt out of the system or delete the entire existing UIDAI data in view of the security breaches.

The bench listed the matter for further hearing on November 19.

The petitioner, Kerala-based lawyer Shamnad Basheer, has alleged in his plea that there were several breaches of the Aadhaar system leading to leakage of personal information of individuals since January this year and contended that UIDAI and the Centre were liable to compensate people whose data was compromised.

Referring to one such alleged breach, the plea said a media house had managed to gain access to the entire database by paying a sum of Rs 500.

It said the breach, which was acknowledged by UIDAI and later led to the lodging of a criminal case against those involved, was a result of a leak of the “access control” given to some individuals.

The petition has contended that the breaches occurred due to the “negligence and willful recklessness” on the part of UIDAI to adopt reasonable security measures to secure the private information.

It has also claimed that UIDAI was obligated to frame a comprehensive information security and privacy policy and sought action against the National Informatics Centre (NIC) for its alleged failure to adhere to security practices.

The plea has further sought setting up of an independent investigative committee to probe and audit all security and privacy breaches of the Aadhaar database.