Post-Retirement Planning for Senior Citizens – Sucheta Dalal

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If ill-treated, elderly parents can take back property gifted to son: Bombay HC

Elderly parents, if ill treated, can take back property gifted to their son, says the Bombay High Court. Upholding an order passed by the Maintenance Tribunal, the Bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Anuja Prabhudesai said under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, the gift deed can be cancelled.

According to a report from the Economic Times the Act, passed in 2007, has provisions that protect parents and elderly persons who have signed away their property or assets to a person so that they would be taken care of, but are then left destitute.
Quoting the Bench, the report says, “The gift deed was made at the request of the son and his wife. It is implied that the elderly father and his second wife would be looked after by them after transfer of 50% share in the flat. Obviously, the son and his wife though ready and willing to look after the father were unwilling to do so in respect of the second wife. In the above circumstances, we do not find any error in the order (cancelling the gift deed), therefore, we are not inclined to entertain this petition.”
Sharing details of the case, the report says, the senior citizen, after death of his wife, wanted to remarry. At that time, his son and daughter-in-law requested him to transfer 50% share in his flat at Andheri, which he did in May 2014. However, after the marriage, the son and daughter-in-law started insulting second wife of the senior citizen, and both were forced to leave their Andheri flat. The father then filed application in the Maintenance Tribunal, which ruled in his favour. However, the son challenged this order in the High Court.

Dilution of the RTI act by SC judgements

A meeting was convened to discuss the mis-interpretation of the RTI act due to precedence setting judgments made by the Supreme Court. Several prominent RTI activists were present for this meeting.

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Supreme Court & RTI – Powerpoint presentation

http://www.livelaw.in/supreme-court-judgments-on-rti-act-2005-wither-transparency/

Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.7bn damages to 22 women in case linking cancer with Talc products

The verdict is the largest J&J has faced to date over allegations that its talc-based products cause cancer.

A Missouri jury on Thursday ordered Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to pay a record $4.69 billion to 22 women who alleged that the company’s talc-based products, including its baby powder, contain asbestos and caused them to develop ovarian cancer.

The verdict is the largest J&J has faced to date over allegations that its talc-based products cause cancer.

The company is battling some 9,000 talc cases. It has denied both that its talc products cause cancer and that they ever contained asbestos. It says decades of studies show its talc to be safe and has successfully overturned previous talc verdicts on technical legal grounds.

Thursday’s massive verdict, handed down in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, comprises $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages, according to an online broadcast of the trial by Courtroom View Network.

J&J in a statement called the trial “fundamentally unfair” and said it would appeal the decision.

J&J shares fell $1.31, or 1%, to $126.45 in after-hours trading following the punitive damages award. They had risen $1.52 during regular trading.

The jury’s decision followed more than five weeks of testimony by nearly a dozen experts on both sides.

The women and their families said decades-long use of Baby Powder and other cosmetic talc products caused their diseases. They allege the company knew its talc was contaminated with asbestos since at least the 1970s but failed to warn consumers about the risks.

Disappointed with verdict, says company

“Johnson & Johnson is deeply disappointed by the verdict, which was the product of a fundamentally unfair process,” the company said in a statement. It remained confident that its products do not contain asbestos or cause cancer.

“Every verdict against Johnson & Johnson in this court that has gone through the appeals process has been reversed and the multiple errors present in this trial were worse than those in the prior trials which have been reversed,” J&J said, adding that that it would pursue all available appellate remedies.

J&J has successfully overturned talc verdicts in the past, with appeals courts pointing to a 2017 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that limits where personal injury lawsuits can be filed.

Of the 22 women in the St. Louis trial, 17 were from outside Missouri, a State generally regarded as friendly towards plaintiffs. The practice of combining plaintiffs in such jurisdictions, commonly criticised as “forum shopping” by defendants, will be challenged on appeal.

Mark Lanier, lawyer for the women, in a statement after the verdict, called on J&J to pull its talc products from the market “before causing further anguish, harm, and death from a terrible disease.”

“If J&J insists on continuing to sell talc, they should mark it with a serious warning,” he said.

The majority of the lawsuits that J&J faces involve claims that talc itself caused ovarian cancer, but a smaller number of cases allege that contaminated talc caused mesothelioma, a tissue cancer closely linked to asbestos exposure.

The cases that went to trial in St. Louis effectively combine those claims by alleging asbestos-contaminated talc caused ovarian cancer.

Previous talc trials have produced verdicts as large as $417 million. But that 2017 verdict by a California jury, as well as other verdicts in Missouri, was overturned on appeal, and challenges to at least another five verdicts are pending.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioned a study of various talc samples from 2009 to 2010, including of J&J’s Baby Powder. No asbestos was found in any of the talc samples, the agency said.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/johnson-johnson-to-pay-47bn-damages-in-case-linking-cancer-and-baby-powder/article24408535.ece

Due Dates For Co-Operative Society in Maharashtra,

Your dates with Co operative Department if you are an office bearers of Housing Society.

Kindly find the references date and month wise course of action and below are some important dates:

1. Finalisation of Accounts – 15th May.
1A Documents to be kept for members inspection 16th May to 31st May

2. Accounts to be handed over for Audit -1st June.

3. Audit Completion: 31st July.

4. Audit Report Upload – 31st August or 15th September.

5. AGM Date – 30th Sept (to be held on or before).

6. Mandatory Annual Return by Society – by 30th Sept.

7. Mandatory Return by Society About Auditor Appointment – One month from AGM or 31st October.

8. Online Audit Order Generation by Auditor – 31st October.

9. Audit Rectification Report by Society: 3 months from the date of submission of report by auditor.

10. Rectification Report Upload by Auditor through Audit login: Once received from Society.

Post office can’t delay refund if investment contrary to rules

When rules governing postal deposits are changed through a gazette notification about which neither the government official nor the consumer is aware, how would it affect the investor?

Case Study: Arulmigu Sri Sankaranareyanan, a charitable trust, placed a deposit of Rs 50,000 with the Kovilpatti Post Office in Tamil Nadu on 21.9.1996. The deposit was accepted by the postal department even though it was in contravention with the Post Office Savings Bank General Rules which debarred institutional investments in Post Office Time Deposit Accounts. The mistake was detected by the postal authorities in mid-August,1997.

The postal department then sent a letter to the trust on 24.12.1997, asking it to close the deposit account.

As a special case, the postal authorities offered to pay a interest of 3% per annum. The trust did not respond and instead approached the District Forum by filing a complaint against the Union of India through the Superintendent of Post Offices. The case was contested, stating that the interest was not payable since the deposit was in contravention with the rules.

After considering the rival contentions, the forum allowed the complaint and held the postal department liable to pay interest. This order was challenged but the appeal was dismissed. The postal authorities then finally approached the National Commission in revision.

The National Commission observed that the earlier institutions were allowed to invest in postal time deposits, which was later disallowed under a notification issued on 8.3.1995. It relied on the Supreme Court’s judgment in Arulmighu Dhandayudhapaniswamy v/s The Director General of Post Offices, Department of Posts & Ors. in Civil Appeal No. 4995 of 2006 decided on 13.7.2011, where it had been held that ignorance of law on part of the investor is no excuse, and it is presumed that the citizen is aware of every notification published in the government gazette.

So under normal circumstances, no interest whatsoever—not even the 3% interest offered—would be payable on the deposit since the investment was in contravention of the rules.

The national commission also observed that once it was noticed that the investment was contrary to law, it was the duty of the postal department to forthwith refund the principal amount without interest instead of waiting for the investor to close the account.

Failure to do so would be a considered a deficiency in service, for which the investor would be entitled to claim compensation.

Accordingly, by its order of 11.6.2018 delivered by Justice V K Jain, the National Commission held the postal authorities liable to refund the deposit along with the offered rate of 3% interest from the date of investment till the date when the mistake was detected, and thereafter at 12% per annum from 31.8.1997 onwards.

Conclusion: An investor has to exercise caution when investing in government schemes as even though the dealing officials may be ignorant and callous, it is the consumer who has to suffer the loss.

(The author is a consumer activist and has won the Govt of India’s National Youth Award for Consumer Protection. His email is jehangir.gai.columnist@outlook.in

How passengers are taken for a ride by the Indian Railways 

I travel a lot by train in India. I have been using Shatabdi Express trains in two different parts of India lately. On the Southern Railway route, it has been the Chennai-Bengaluru and Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysuru Shatabdi trains, all of which provide a ‘No Food’ option in addition to the usual veg or non-veg. As per observations and chats with the passengers and crew, about 30% of the passengers on these trains opt for the “No Food” option. The savings are substantial, Rs200-250 plus GST, and for half that amount of money you can pick up much better meals and beverages on the platform at Chennai, Bengaluru and Mysuru.

On the Northern Railway route, it has been the New Delhi-Ludhiana and the New-Delhi Amritsar Shatabdi trains, which do not provide the “No Food” option. As a passenger you are forced to opt for veg or non-veg, wherein breakfast is tolerable but dinner is most certainly inedible, and not worth the Rs200-250 one pays, plus the GST charged. It is estimated that 30% or more of the passengers return the food untouched.
The quality of hygiene and food handling is suspect on both trains, though marginally better in the South, and as for the oil content – it is rumoured that the excess oil used is as a standby for the generators roaring away at either end of the trains. I have enough photographs of water being stored in toilets and food being stored next to garbage bins; in addition, plastic crockery and cutlery used is given a ‘dry-cleaning’ using a dirty rag within the line of sight of the passengers.
All this and more, generate among the​ catering and​ serving staff nothing but contempt for the passengers being force-fed this swill on the Northern Railway routes.​Public grievances result in catering staff, who get the phone numbers presumably from pliant railway officials, calling up and threatening this writer. Life goes on.​ Meanwhile, Indian Railways continues to collect compulsory food charges, despite multiple announcements about making food optional on these trains.
One big reason is that the corruption in catering services keeps the senior babus well supplied with good food. I have also seen what they are served in their homes as well as in their saloons and during travel.​
Game of Free Insurance?
‘Free’ insurance is provided to all who book Indian Railway tickets online through IRCTC. This costs the Indian Railways 92 paise per passenger, of which there are millions who book online over IRCTC every day: one estimate puts it at about 2 million tickets booked online every day. That’s about Rs1.8 lakh paid as insurance premium on our behalf to a variety of private insurance companies every day, about making it about Rs75 crore per annum. The payout is supposed to be Rs10 lakh per death, if claimed, if nominee details are filled out. Otherwise, there is no payout unless legal heir is established. Assuming a figure of about 300-500 insurance liable deaths per annum ​ on Indian Railways, that is about Rs5 crore at best.
​And please be aware of how difficult it will be to collect. If at all.​
The rest, about Rs70 crore, is money for jam. But even that is not enough!
The trick here is to get the passenger to place the nominee details on the policy. IRCTC and therefore the Indian Railways have an interesting trick here – instead of collecting the nominee details at the time of the passenger making the booking, ​they ​wait till a ​working ​day later, after the​ charting is done and the waiting list, seat or berth number is allotted,​ not just is confirmed, to ​provide the contact details of the passengers, to the insurance companies, who then wait one more working day to send an email to the passenger to ​collect the nominee details. By this time, unless the journey is more than ​two days​-and-a-half, the journey is over and providing or collecting nominee details is of no use to anybody.
Assuming about 20% of the travellers are on waiting lists that get confirmed (tatkal, quotas and more make up the rest), it means that 20% of passengers get the message to add a nominee AFTER the journey is over. God help them (or their nominees) ​if they suffer an accident in this period.
​Where does that collected money go? That is also why no government insurance company is in the list, by the way! The joys of privatisation of insurance!​
No safe exit at Delhi station
Bridges collapsing over railways lines has been covered in some detail lately. The truth is that railway passengers are like sacrificial lambs being thrown to the wolves. A trip to the New Delhi railway station teaches you so much more about the attitude that the Indian Railways has towards it passengers than what any amount of expensive consultants or foreign trips or grandiose plans can.
It is fascinating to see the multiple reasons why and how life is made difficult for pedestrians and commuters at New Delhi railway station.
# The “local trains”, or EMUs as they are known here, are brought on to island platforms in the middle instead of the more easily accessible Platform 16 and 1 at the edges and closer to the Metro and the buses respectively.
# The walking path from Gate No 1 and 5 of New Delhi Metro Rail underground station to the escalators and entry to the New Delhi railway station is heavily barricaded by Delhi Police as well as broken pavement, making it impossible to walk safely.
# Exits from all the escalators and stairs are heavily blocked by auto-rickshaws and black-yellow cabs whose drivers are apparently exempted from any of the NO PARKING rules applied to private cars and cabs.
# The embark and disembark points for buses are about a kilometre away from the platforms on each side, Ajmeri Gate and Pahargunj, and as expected, soaked in filth and human waste.
# Of course, the innermost lanes on both sides are “reserved” for the minor VIPs; the bigger VVIPs and VIPs and Railway people have their own “State Entry Road”. Which is where, by the way, at one time there used to be a cycle parking. Now there is no cycle parking.
# On the Ajmeri Gate side, the entry for drop-and-go has been barricaded shut, so people are forced to enter the pay-and-park area-which is where they end up if not careful about using the other entry lane meant for premium parking which is even costlier!
It really does not matter to people which formation is in power, nor are they bothered about whether Indian Railways is under the Ministry of Railways that is stuck in a colonial mind set. Delhi Metro, which gives up all responsibility at its turnstiles, Delhi Government (selected) which appears to be at war with Delhi Government (elected), Municipal Corp of Delhi (MCD) or New Delhi Municipal Corp (NDMC), which appear to be busy setting up their games or any of the hundreds of sponsored touts hanging around.
It is just that the same people spot that other railway station access and exit points in other parts of India appear to have improved while the Delhi options have come crashing down.
The fault lines of India are in Delhi. Too much mis-governance, too little progress, too many “authorities” cancelling each other out.
And it is all visible in the way we run our railway stations in Delhi, for, 99% of the people who use the facilities, only to be told how hundreds of crores of rupees have been wasted again.
(Veeresh Malik is an activist from Delhi, who continues to explore several things in life.)