Forced donations sought by housing societies illegal: HC

In a setback to housing societies who get members to make a ‘voluntary donation’ at the time of sale of flat, the Bombay high court has ruled such payments are illegal. A housing society cannot recover excessive transfer fee from a member under the guise of ‘voluntary donation’, the court has ruled.

“A cooperative housing society…is not expected to indulge in profiteering from members and, if such amount is earned, then it is taxable under the law. There is no bar on any member to pay a donation to the society, but it should be voluntary,” said Justice Bhatkar.

The judge remarked housing societies were known to charge extra from members. “Different ways are invented to earn more than legally permissible charges,” the judge said. The HC directed the society to refund Rs 4.75 lakh along with 8% interest from 2005.

In the present case, a former member had accused Alankar Sahkari Cooperative Housing Society of forcing him to make a donation. The member claimed he was facing financial distress and hence had decided to sell the bungalow plot in the housing society. The committee, he claimed, sought a donation of Rs 5 lakh for their approval.

The member paid the amount in April 2005 and, once the sale was through, filed a dispute before the cooperative court in December 2005, seeking a refund of the amount paid under duress. The cooperative courts ordered the refund, which was challenged by the society in the high court.

The society referred to a communication by the member that he was donating the amount voluntarily. The high court refused to accept this admission. “A person facing financial crises will not donate Rs 5 lakh. There is a ceiling of Rs 25,000 for transfer fees,” the judge said. “From this conduct of taking immediate steps… and challenging the transaction, it can be safely concluded the amount was not a donation.”

Shibu.Thomas@timesgroup.com

Times Of India – 030918

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New visa rules Indian passport holders need to know

If you are an Indian passport holder and travel often, chances are that you have had to face visa issues once or more.

As of 2018, 59 countries offer visa on arrival or visa-free travel to Indian passport holders. But that is hardly any consolation, given that most countries in Europe and the Americas still require you to get that visa stamped on your passport.

However, in what comes as slight relief to Indian passport holders, visa rules have been relaxed a little.

ALSO SEE: Most powerful passport 2018 is an Asian country. See where India ranks

There is a new set of visa rules in place and if you hold an Indian passport, this might ease your travel a bit.

Take a look at the new rules:

1. If you’re transiting through the international zone of any airport in France, you don’t need an airport transit visa any longer.

2. If you are travelling to Oman, you can now get a month-long tourist visa on arrival in the country for an amount of 20 Omani Riyal (Rs 3,700). But this rule holds only if you reside or hold an entry visa to the US, Canada, Australia, UK, Japan or Schengen states. Your spouse and children accompanying you can also get a visa on arrival.

3. Travelling to Myanmar is now a cakewalk if you are planning to drive into the country. You need to display your e-visa at the checkpost. The e-visa can be obtained in two days.

4. UAE is now granting a 10-year long-term visa to highly-skilled professionals and investors who are willing to visit the country. These visas are granted to specialists in science, medicine and research. Visas are also being granted to “exceptional students.”

5. Israel has now cut down its visa fee for Indian passport holders from Rs 1,700 to Rs 1,100. You need to apply for a visa in the B2 visa (business, tourism or meeting or conference) category in order to avail the new price.

6. Travelling to Uzbekistan from India is also easier now. Submit your e-visa application three days before your trip. You can get a single-entry e-visa for a 30-day period.

7. UAE has announced new visa rules to promote tourism in the Emirates. Between July 15 and September 15 every year, UAE is offering visa-free travel to dependents below 18 years who are accompanying you. This means if you are travelling to Dubai or Abu Dhabi for a family holiday and have kids below 18 years, your kids travel visa-free.

8. In a bid to increase tourism in the country, Saudi Arabia is now issuing tourist visas to women aged 25 and above even if they are visiting the country without being accompanied by a man. This is the first time Saudi Arabia has relaxed visa rules on this front. The new visa rules come after Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman promised a “moderate, open Islam” in the country.

9. Japan is one of those Asian countries whose visa rules for Indian passport holders used to be at par with probably the US or European countries. But Japan has now relatively eased travel to the country for holders of Indian passport. If you are applying for a short-term stay in Japan or a multiple-entry visa, you don’t need to show an employment certificate or explanation letter stating the reason for your visit. You need your visa application form along with a valid and recent photograph and proof of your financial stability if you are travelling for tourism purposes. If your trip to Japan is business-related, you need documents to prove your affiliation to the enterprise.

10. Indian passport holders can now get visa on arrival in Zimbabwe. India is among the 28 countries that Zimbabwe has relaxed visa rules for.

YET TO BE IMPLEMENTED

If you are transiting through Dubai and Abu Dhabi, you can now obtain a free transit visa for two days. The transit visa can be extended to four days from two at an additional cost of 50 Dirham (Rs 970).

https://www.indiatoday.in/lifestyle/travel/story/new-visa-rules-indian-passport-holders-need-to-know-1327544-2018-08-30

Aadhaar is a Mass Surveillance Tool – Snowden

Aadhaar is a Mass Surveillance Tool and There Should Be Criminal Penalty for Its Misuse, says Edward Snowden
Labelling Aadhaar as mass surveillance tool created by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and supported by those in power for political benefits, globally known whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned that due to linking the UID with everything, Indians could face a civil death.
He also recommended criminal penalty, including jail, for anyone demanding Aadhaar for providing a service that is unrelated with social benefits from the government.
Speaking at the fifth edition of ‘Talk Journalism’ in Jaipur via video conferencing on 11 August 2018, Snowden, who exposed mass surveillance programs run by the US government, intelligence agencies and big corporations, warned about excessive abuse and privacy violation through demanding Aadhaar for everything by the government and private players.
“You will be tracked, monitored, and recorded in a hundred different ways and not just by UIDAI, but by the Aadhaar number they created that is being used by every other company and every other group in society,” Snowden said.
“There should be a criminal penalty on those seeking Aadhaar number for providing any service and they should be sent to jail, if required, for this crime. It has become so vulnerable that if you search a number on the internet, you will get all information of a person,” Snowden said while referring to the RS Sharma Aadhaar exposure episode.
Moments after RS Sharma, Chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), shared his Aadhaar number on Twitter with a challenge to ‘harm him’ on 28 July 2018, several people revealed his personal information, like permanent account number (PAN), his date of birth, mobile numbers, and residential address. Some even claimed to have created a profile on e-shopping sites using these credentials. (Read: Aadhaar: TRAI chief RS Sharma’s challenge boomeranged as his personal info gets disclosed)
Snowden feels Aadhaar should be used only for social benefit from the government and not for any other service from the government as well as private players. “The biggest crime behind this system is that it is being used for things that are unrelated to what the Government is paying for. To open a bank account, to buy a train ticket, or for more and more services they are demanding not just the number but physical (biometric) verification of your ID card. All these players and corporates have 100 ways of monitoring and abusing your privacy through this system,” he added.
Commenting on how the UIDAI phone number landed on all Android phones in the country, Snowden raised questions on user rights and privacy in India. A few days ago, millions of Android phone users found UIDAI helpline number 1800-300-1947 in their contact list. While UIDAI tried to distance itself from the helpline number controversy, Google took the blame. It stated, in 2014, the UIDAI helpline number was ‘inadvertently coded’ in Android release given to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or mobile makers.
Snowden, however, expressed concern over this explanation from Google and overall the episode where a number was ‘pushed’ in mobile phones without the knowledge or explicit consent from the user. He said, “Google has about 95% or so market share in India, which is extraordinary. Almost everyone in India uses an Android phone. When you have that kind of position, it is very difficult to make a change that affects the mobile phone of every user in the country and yet somehow, they managed to push this phone number to everybody.”
“UIDAI should make people aware of how Aadhaar can be misused instead of transferring the blame on Google and pretending not to have any knowledge of the fact. The number of things they (UIDAI) always say is that their data is safe, their biometrics are secure. The idea is not that you can go on the internet and access anyone’s Aadhaar information directly, but that it is being leaked all over the place. There is an unrelenting train of scandals about Aadhaar, and they should respond to this in a reasonable way. They should be addressing the criticism and reforming the system instead of saying any criticism of us is illegitimate, it is scare-mongering,” he added.
The global whistleblower, who heads FreedomofPress, also talked about the importance to have free press in a democracy. He said, Rachana Khaira, the journalist from The Tribune, who was able to buy access to Aadhaar system and thus to personal details for just Rs500, deserves an award and not police complaints.
There are several people, especially youngsters, who freely share every bits and piece of information with others, without understanding their right to privacy or its implications. One of the reason could be the statements from the government to not to worry about privacy, data security and rights. “Where did that argument originate from? The answer is from Nazi Germany. But in a free society this should be the opposite. You do not need to explain why you have a right. You do not need to explain why your personal data is valuable or why you need your privacy,” Snowden said.

Using Food to achieve Good Health

The owner of the Radhakrishna restaurant and Golden Chariot restaurant opposite to Stopper Shop, S.V. Road, Andheri (West), Mumbai….Mr. Harish Shetty had diabetes, High Blood pressure and Uric acid problem. He changed his diet and got healthy without taking medicines. Inspired by his healthy eating which relieved him of his ailments, he started a restaurant called “Aharveda”
“Aharveda”
Address – Viral Apartments, Opposite Shoppers Stop,  S. V. Road, Andheri West, Mumbai , Tel – 40722211/40722212  Time – 12 pm to 8 pm. No food served after 8 pm
Website – https://aharveda.com/

They also have lunch and dinner delivered at door step services Monday to Saturday.

What’s special about Aharveda?
An Aharveda diet does not use oil, ghee, dairy products or sugar, yet it isn’t about eating boiled vegetables for lunch and dinner.
In fact, you could be tucking into a mouth-watering avial or vegetable makhanwala, and gajar halwa. Surprised?
Enjoy a raita made out of peanut curd instead of dairy yoghurt, aloo parathas with gluten-free rajgira flour instead of wheat, and pulao with wari. And no more saying ‘no’ to shrikhand or payasam.
Palm jaggery, dates and figs make your desserts guilt-free.

Harish Shetty in conversation with Deepti Bhatnagar at Aharveda.

And,,, and interview with the inimitable Cyrus Broacha

ISI marked water pouches found unsafe

PRESSNOTE-18/E&R/Aug 18

ISI marked water pouches found unsafe

60% brands failed tests; water in pouches contaminated with bacteria

Ahmedabad, 9August 2018

Grahak Sathi (August-September 2018), the National Consumer Magazine in Hindi published by Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), Ahmedabad, recently released findings of its in-house comparative product testing laboratory of ten brands of packaged drinking water (pouches).

Packaged drinking water is water from any source, which has been treated and disinfected to make it fit for human consumption and then packaged in bottles or pouches. The pouches were tested for two microbiological parameters – aerobic microbial count and coliform bacteria –and assessed for labelling.


Water pouches banned in Ahmedabad
In a welcome move, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation announced a complete ban on production and use of packaged water pouches commemorating World Environment Day on 5 June 2018. The theme for the day was ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. Our testing of water pouches was conducted much before the ban was announced. Water pouches have been banned in Rajkot as well. Maharashtra has banned water pouches of less than 200 ml capacity.


The test findings were alarming. Sixty per cent of the brands failed to comply with the parameters though they all carried an ISI mark. This means they could be fake products or carrying false ISI labels. It is compulsory for all manufacturers who intend to set up drinking water processing units to obtain the ISI mark from the Bureau of India Standards (BIS). However, illegal manufacturing units do thrive across the country, endangering people’s health.

CERC’s test findings on bottled water in 1998 created ripples in the country. The findings revealed that only three brands out of the 13 tested conformed to the standards. Twenty years down the line, the situation is no better.

KEY FINDINGS(See table for detailed results)

  • Aerobic Microbial Count: As per the BIS limits, the total viable colony count shall not exceed 20 per ml at 37°c in 24 hours and 100 per ml at 20 to 22°c in 72 hours. Five samples of water pouches had total viable colony count more than the prescribed limit at 37°c in 24-hour microbial count. Five samples of water pouches had total viable colony count higher than the prescribed limit at 20 to 22°c in 72-hour microbial count.

Significance of parameter: The Aerobic Microbial Count test determines the total number of aerobic bacteria and is an indication of the bacterial populations of any sample.

  • Coliform bacteria: As per the BIS limits, Coliform bacteria shall be absent in any 250 ml sample. One sample of water pouch had Coliform bacteria.

Significance of parameter: The presence of this group of bacteria is considered to be an indicator of the degree of unhygienic practices during production. Coliform bacteria can cause bloody diarrhoea, vomiting, gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections and typhoid.
Packaged Drinking Water: Test Results

Brands/Areas1 Rank2 Overall
Score3
(%)
Net weight
(ml)
Price
 (Rs.)
Aerobic Microbial Count Coliform bacteria Labelling Score4
At 37°C At 20-22°C
Limits Shall not exceed 20/ml in 24 hours Shall not exceed 100/ml in 72 hours Absent in 250 ml
Passed brands
Bac-free
(Navrangpura)
1 90 200 2 0 41 Absent 25
Zion 
(Memnagar)
2 85 250 2 0 0 Absent 10
Aquafeel
(Vijay Crossroads)
3 73 200 2 0 87 Absent 20
Jay
(Stadium Road)
4 66 250 2 0 77 Absent 10
Failed brands
Assure 
(Ashram Road)
250 2 67 215 Absent
Aquata
(Memnagar)
200 2 278 620 Absent
ABM
(Shahibaug)
250 2 1280 2400 Present
Shayona
(Delhi Chakla)
250 2 18 820 Absent
Pavandeep
(Asarva)
250 2 381 1215 Absent
Fasters
(Commerce Six Roads)
200 2 107 95 Absent
Weightage (%) 25 25 25 25

Notes:
1Areas in Ahmedabad from where the samples were collected
2Only the four brands that passed were rated and ranked. The six brands that failed were not given overall score or rank
3The Overall Score was calculated by giving equal weightage (25%) to the four parameters– Aerobic Microbial Count at 370C, Aerobic Microbial Count at 20-220C, Coliform bacteria and labelling
Labelling score was calculated as the weighted score out of 25

Inadequate labelling 
All pouches carried the ISI mark. Only one pouch displayed batch number (Bac-free) and two had FSSAI manufacturing licence number (Aquata and ABM).  Three pouches mentioned the processing date and best before date (FastersAquafeel and Bac-free). Ironically, seven brands mentioned: “Best before one month from date of processing/packing” but they did not mention the date of processing/packing itself!

The labels in all brands mentioned name of the product (i.e. drinking water) brand name, name and address of processor, net volume, treatment of disinfection and directions for storage.

Best Buy 
Our Best Buy is Bac-free which obtained the highest Overall Score. Not only did Bac-free perform well in the microbiological parameters, it also got the highest labelling score. The label on the Bac-free pouch carried the manufacturing date, best before date and batch number. All this information is very important from the consumer’s viewpoint. The label on the Zion (which was ranked second) pouch had none of this information.

Areas of Action 

  • Since all the pouches tested had ISI mark, but 60% failed to comply with the standards, BIS should look into the possibility of them being fake products.
  • BIS should test samples regularly to safeguard the health of consumers.
  • The regulatory authorities should take strict action against manufacturers who do not give the required labelling information.

Grahak Sathi’s conclusion
The demand for packaged drinking water, especially water pouches which are popular among low income groups, is rising. The regulatory and monitoring authorities should ensure that packaged water offered for sale is safe and free from harmful organisms. Pouch packaged drinking water comes under mandatory BIS certification norms. Hence it is a matter of concern that 60% of the samples failed to comply with the standards. Consumers should go for bottled water which is likely to be safer. 

To read the complete story click on (http://online.fliphtml5.com/xjof/gpbf/ )
For further information please contact
Ms Pritee Shah (O) 079-27489945/46   (M) +91 99048 63838

Deemed Conveyance

Deemed Conveyance is a hotly discussed & debated topic these days among the Members of Co- Operative Housing Societies. The credit for these discussions & debates goes to the drive run by Government of Maharashtra for the Deemed Conveyance of the Societies. The Media is also contributing to the information flow on this subject.

The Members of Co- Operative Housing Societies are looking for information on the subject of Deemed Conveyance.

Deemed-Conveyance.in is an initiative of IamResilient Technologies Pvt. Ltd. The objective of Deemed-Conveyance.in is to offer authentic information on the subject for the benefit of Members of Societies Planning to go ahead with the Deemed Conveyance of their Property (Land & Structures).

http://www.deemed-conveyance.in/