Succession, Charity and Freedom of Speech

Dear Reader,

In this post I will be focusing on the Judiciary. I will analyse two judgements from the Supreme Court and one order from the Delhi High Court.

JUDGEMENT

Bombay High Court

Shri Jagannath Wamman Undre (Appellant)

VS

Smt. Yamunabhai Sitaram Kadam (Respondent)

FACTS OF THE CASE

The appellant and respondent are brother and sister respectively. Their father Waman Undre died on 15th April, 1944, leaving behind wife Shantabai, daughter Yamunabai (respondent) and son Jagannath (appellant). After the death of Waman, only Jagannath’s name alone was entered into the rights of the suit property.

At the time, he was a minor and, therefore, the name of his mother was mentioned as natural guardian. However Shantabai became mentally unsound and left the house in 1972. She died before a suit was filed by Yamunabai claiming her right to the inherited property.

The suit of Yamunabai was dismissed by the trial court and later granted by District Judge, Pune.

The latter decision was appealed by Jagannath in this Court. The Court dismissed the appeal. The court held that inherited property of a widow covered under the Hindu Succession Act shall devolve upon her children i.e., sons and daughters.

Left-Wing Analysis

According to leftism cultural rules and traditions must change with time. Leftists also believe that social inequalities must be removed and therefore support feminism because they believe that women have an inferior status compared to men in society.

The judgement states that the Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act 1937 gives a widow the right to inherit property from her husband the interest that he had. However the interest shall be limited and she shall not be the full owner of the property.

The judgement then cites the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 Section 14 of which states that property of a female Hindu whether acquired before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be held by her as full owner thereof and not as a limited owner.

These two Acts are cited by the court in affirming the decision of the Appellate Court in Pune and not allowing the brother to claim sole right over the property.

The fact that the judgement cites these two provisions shows that it satisfies the leftist ideology of gender equality and cultural reformation by giving the sister an equal right to the property as the brother and not following the pre-existing tradition of the widow not inheriting her deceased husband’s property.

Right-Wing Analysis

The Rightist ideology believes that cultural traditions must not be changed. It also believes that inequalities are necessary and that women should not have an equal status with men.

The Appellant argued that at the time of his father’s death Hindu custom did not allow the widow to inherit the father’s interest in the property, rather the property devolved directly to the son and not to the daughter.

On this basis he claimed that his sister should not have any right over their father’s property.

The Trial Court supported this argument but the District Court did not. The Bombay High Court dismissed the appeal.

This judgement went completely against the rightist ideology. This shows that Hindu Family Law supports the leftist ideology at least in matters of succession.

Libertarian Analysis

Libertarianism believes that the government should not make laws regarding the personal lives of the citizens. It holds custom to be a superior source of law to legislation with regards to family law.

The Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act and the Hindu Succession Act were passed by the Indian Government in order to reform the personal laws of Hindus.

The judgement supported the provisions of these laws over the customs of the people. This shows that this court did not support the libertarian ideology with regard to personal law.

Authoritarian Analysis

The authoritarian ideology believes that the government must make laws regarding the personal lives of the citizens. It holds legislation to be a superior source of law to custom with regards to family law.

The Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act and the Hindu Succession Act were passed by the Indian government in order to change the personal laws of the people.

The judgement supported the provisions of these laws over the customs of the people. This shows that this court supported the authoritarian ideology with regard to personal law.

Personal Opinion

I believe that this is a correct judgement. Although the Indian Constitution does not expressly state that Legislation is superior to Custom, Indian jurisprudence has held that principle to be true. Therefore the provisions of the Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act 1937 and the Hindu Succession Act 1956 should be held above the custom of the time, especially if it violates gender equality.

JUDGEMENT

Supreme Court

M/S D.J. Malpani (Appellant)

VS

Commissioner of Central Excise, Nashik (Respondent)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The appellant was a manufacturer of goods falling under The Central Excise Act, 1944. While selling goods, the appellant charged the customers invoices for the price of goods plus Dharmada, a charitable donation. The Dharmada was paid voluntarily and donated to a charitable organisation by the appellant.

However, the Superintendent, Central Excise, Nashik issued show cause notices and raised a demand of duty in respect of the Dharmada, claiming it was part of the price for the sale of manufactured goods and included it for computing assessable value.

Initially the Adjudicating Authority held that the Dharmada component was not part of the trading receipts and could not be included in the assessable value and dropped the demand for excise duty and the penalty. The same was re-iterated by the Deputy Commissioner.

Thereafter, an appeal filed by the Commissioner (Appeals), however, held that the Dharmada was liable to be included as a part of the assessable value and therefore the goods were liable to be assessed on the basis of their price plus Dharmada.

After several other encounters with the Tax Authorities the appellant finally went to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held that Dharmada is a charitable donation and cannot be incuded in the assessable value of the goods.

Left-Wing Analysis

The leftist ideology believes that the poor and suffering in the society must receive assistance from government welfare schemes. They do not believe that charity is the correct solution to the problem of poverty.

Welfare schemes of the government are funded by taxes levied upon the citizens. Therefore leftists believe that the government’s powers of taxation should be wide and expansive. They therefore do not believe that charitable donations should be tax exempt.

However the Supreme Court in this case adjudged that not only was a Dharmada a charitable donation, it was also exempt from taxation. This judgement does not share the leftist perspective on charity.

Right-Wing Analysis

The rightist ideology believes that the poor and suffering in the society must receive assistance from charities. They do not believe that government welfare schemes are the correct solution to the problem of poverty.

Charities are funded by donations received from the citizens. Therefore rightists believe that the government should encourage charitable donations. They believe that charitable donations should be tax exempt.

The Supreme Court in this case adjudged that not only was a Dharmada a charitable donation, it was also exempt from taxation. This judgement shares the rightist perspective on charity.

Libertarian Analysis

The libertarian ideology believes that the poor and suffering can be assisted by the government protecting their rights. They do not believe that government welfare schemes are the correct solution to the problem of poverty.

Libertarians disagree with rightists because they do not believe that the government should encourage charitable donations. They believe that it must be upto the individual to decide whether or not to give to charity. They also believe that welfare schemes should be abolished. They agree that charitable donations should be tax-exempt, but also believe that all incomes should be tax exempt.

The Supreme Court adjudged that charitable donations should not be assessed for taxation. This judgement slightly supports the libertarian position because it supports charity being exempt from taxation but it does support the government’s policy of encouraging charitable donations.

Authoritarianism

The authoritarian ideology believes that the poor and suffering must be assisted by the government preserving their security. They believe that the government can solve poverty by creating welfare schemes and strong security forces.

Authoritarians agree with leftists that welfare schemes are superior to charities. They disagree because while leftists believe that charities should be allowed to exist authoritarians believe that they should not. They believe that all assistance given to the poor must be done by the state, and agree with leftists in that they want the government’s powers of taxation should be wide and expansive.

The Supreme Court adjudged that charitable donations should be exempt from taxation. This judgement goes completely against the authoritarian perspective on taxation.

Personal Opinion

I agree with this judgement.

I agree with right-wingers who say that charitable donations should be exempt from taxation. I do agree with libertarians that the government should not encourage charitable donations, but should rather leave it up to the individual to decide. I disagree with their perspective on welfare schemes because I think that they should exist.

I disagree with leftists who believe that welfare schemes are superior to charities. I think that there are some instances when that is true and some instances when that is not true. I do agree however that welfare schemes are necessary. I also disagree with their opinion that charities should be taxed.

I agree with authoritarians that improving security will improve the lives of the poor. However I disagree with their opinion that charities should be abolished.

ORDER

Delhi High Court

Super Casettes Pvt Ltd.

vs

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjelberg

FACTS OF THE CASE:

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjelberg is the owner of a channel named Pewdiepie (which is the name he uses for himself) on the website Youtube. He has the highest number of subscribers on Youtube.

Last year T-Series’ Youtube channel of the same name gained in its number of subscribers and soon had the second highest number of subscribers on Youtube.

In response to this Pewdiepie uploaded a song named Bitch Lasagna in September 2018. This song was a diss track against T-Series. In this song he insulted and made fun of both T-Series and India.

T-Series sent a letter to Pewdiepie telling him to cease and desist, warning that they would file a case of defamation against him. On 7th October Pewdiepie had apologised for posting the first video when he said that the video was purely for fun and that he would not make any more of such videos.

However, despite that assurance on 31st March 2019, he uploaded another one called Congratulations after T-Series surpassed him and became the biggest channel. In this song he again insulted and made fun of both T-Series and India. After this video was uploaded Pewdiepie again surpassed T-Series in the number of subscribers.

Super Cassettes Pvt Ltd which owns T-Series filed a suit against Felix seeking to permanently restrain him from uploading the songs titled T-Series Diss Track/Bitch Lasagna and Congratulations on the grounds that they were defamatory and racist towards T-Series and Indians.

The Delhi High Court directed Youtube to remove the two videos from their website on the grounds that they were abusive, vulgar and also racist in nature. Youtube made the two videos inaccessible in India.

Left-Wing Analysis:

According to the Leftist ideology corporations should be regulated by the government. They do not believe that private businesses should be free to conduct their business in any manner possible as long as they don’t violate the rights of others.

The Delhi High Court has given an order that regulates the company’s conduct. Therefore this order supports the left-wing ideology.

Right-Wing Analysis:

According to the Rightist ideology corporations should not be regulated by the government. They believe that private businesses should be free to conduct their business in any manner possible as long as they don’t violate the rights of others.

The Delhi High Court has given an order that regulates the company’s conduct. Therefore this order does not support the right-wing ideology.

Libertarian Analysis

According to the Libertarian ideology the right to freedom of expression is absolute and cannot be infringed upon by the government unless it is used for inciting violence or defamation . They do not believe that speech that is offensive to others should be restricted.

The Delhi High Court has given an order that restricts Felix Arvid Ulf Kjelberg’s speech because it was offensive to T-Series. However it has not removed his removed his right to free speech. Therefore this order only slightly supports the libertarian ideology.

Authoritarian Analysis

According to the Authoritarian ideology the right to freedom of expression should not be protected by the government and can be infringed upon for any reason that the government deems fit. They believe that speech that is offensive to others should be restricted.

The Delhi High Court has given an order that restricts Felix’s speech because it was offensive to others. However it has not removed his right to free speech. Therefore this order only slightly supports the authoritarian ideology.

Personal Opinion

I am neutral in my opinion of this order. I do agree that the videos are defamatory and on that ground they should be removed. I also agree that the videos were slightly racist but do not believe that they should be removed on that ground.

I support the right-wing ideology that private corporations should not be regulated by the government and on that basis disagree with the order.

On the issue of free speech I am a complete libertarian. I believe that as long as someone does not call for violence or defamation, he or she should be free to say whatever they want. Although these songs did offend some people I disagree with the High Court that on that ground they should be removed. I do however agree with the High Court that the songs were defamatory and that on that ground they should be removed.

That was my analyses of the judgements of Shri Jagannath Wamman Undre VS Smt. Yamunabhai Sitaram Kadam, M/S D.J. Malpani VS Commissioner of Central Excise, Nashik, and the order of Super Casettes Pvt Ltd. vs Felix Arvid Ulf Kjelberg.

Thank you for reading.

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This is a blog titled 360 Degrees. It examines the legislative, legal and political issues of the day from all perspectives of the political compass.

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360 Degrees

360 Degrees

This is a blog titled 360 Degrees. It examines the legislative, legal and political issues of the day from all perspectives of the political compass.

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