Urdu poetry in Indian Judgments: Courting Pragmatism in Adjudication

“tere mathe pe ye anchal to bahuthi khuub hai lekin tu is anchal se ik parcham bana leti to achchha tha.”

(Meaning: While the raiment covering your head is good, it would be better if you made a banner of it.)

– Annie Nagaraja and Ors. vs. Union of India and Ors. [1]

A Division Bench presided by Justice Kailash Gambhirand Justice Najmi Waziri, quoted the abovementioned couplet of the celebrated Urdu poet Asrar ul Haq ‘Majaz’ [Majaz Lakhnavi – (1911-1955)]. This was cited while the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi was adjudicating on the service conditions of women serving the Armed Forces of the Union. The judgment is one amongst many embodying the Indian judiciary’s fascination with literature. It comes as no surprise, then, that Indian judges have occasionally espoused inter-textuality in their judgments. While sifting through the lines of Urdu couplets or the works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Arthur Schopenhauer and Shakespeare [2], lyrics of songs, George Eliot[3] and even lyrics by Bob Dylan[4], the judges have affirmed the value of literature to a robust and progressive legal practice.

Pertinently, a multitude of forces extrinsic to law channel its development and continually test the confines of judicial ingenuity. An illustration can be seen in the judicial citation of Urdu poetry to develop the legal discourse. In the most perplexing of matters (be it euthanasia[5] or the plight of sex workers[6] or the juveniles[7] or the issue of honour killing[8])our judges have been quoting Urdu poetry of prominent poets like Mirza Ghalib, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, etc.

While it does not offer any normative guidance or affects the gravitas of rulings, the couplets do offer support to the conventional legal edifices and act as vehicles of compassion.

The legal fraternity has been jousting with Urdu poetry and expressions in diverse ways. Not only are Urdu expressions used in daily dealings but have also pervaded the legislative enactments and even the courtroom proceedings. Urdu expressions like Vakalatnama, Roz Namcha, Dafa, Halafnama, Banam, are still widely employed in the alleys of law.  

In this regard, to exemplify the recurrent usage of Urdu poetry by the Courts, the following section lists out excerpts from some recent judgments. These are:

I. Babu Lal vs. State (24.02.2012 – DELHC)[9]

“Lagta Hai Shaher Me Naye Aaye Ho,

Ruk Gaye HoRaah, Haadsa Dekhkar.

2. The above couplet reflects the general insensitivity in the Metropolitan city whenever a heinous crime is committed in full public view in broad day light. Most of such cases remain “untraced” as the eye witnesses prefer not to come forward leaving the police with no clue about the occurrence or the offender.”

II. Kanak Singh and another vs. State of U.P. and Others (09.08.2012 – ALLHC)[10]

“The Court would therefore end with a note, both for the aged petitioner and the young respondent by acknowledging the low ebb of morality resulting in moral turpitude by quoting the famous lines of an Urdu poet.

III. Munavvar-ul-Islam vs. Rishu Arora (09.05.2014 – DELHC)[11]

“43. …. The 18th century renowned Urdu poet Meer Taqi Meer describes it, some may say sardonically, as:

Meer ke deen-o-mazhab ko poochhtey kya ho ab, Un-ney toh kashqa khaincha, dair mein baitha, kab ka tark Islam kiya.

(It’s been a while since he applied a tilak, ensconced himself in an idol-house, abandoned Islam, You ask about Meer’s religion now)”

IV. Shahnawaz Zaheer vs. Government of NCT of Delhi (29.04.2015 – DELHC)[12]

“Upon the demise of the parents of the children, the plaintiff Mr. Mohd. Shahnawaz Zaheer took the children into his family-fold and for the past two years has been raising, nurturing and caring for them as his own. The goodness in caring for children – any children – can never be overemphasized. This value has been elegantly articulated by the noted Urdu poet Nida Fazli:

Ghar se masjid hai bahut duur, chaloy uun kar lein Kisee rotey hue bachche ko hansaya jaye.

(The place of worship is far, so let us then make a crying child happy.)

The plaintiff has arranged for the children’s religious instruction according to the community to which their deceased father belonged viz. Punjabi Hindu. The children’s grades in school have improved.

“17. The essence of human endeavour in caring for innocent lives has been aptly and beautifully expressed by renowned Urdu poet Javed Akhtar in the following words:

“Jo mazhab ho jo zaat ho

Jo bhi naam ho uska,

Insaan wohi hai jisko

Mohabbat karna aaye.

Kaho jo agar masoom

Miley usko rahon mein,

Usey gair nahin samjhe

Badhke usey apna-ey.”

(Whatever be the religion or creed, only the one who can love is human; like the one who embraces as one’s own, an orphaned child in life’s way.)”

V. Ashok Kumar Aggarwal vs. CBI and Ors.(13.01.2016 – DELHC)[13]

“A couplet by Daag Dehlvi is apropos to the conduct of the CBI:

“Khoob parda hai ki chilman se lage baithe hain Saaf chupte bhi nahin, samne aate bhi nahi. “

-Daag Dehlvi

92. A couplet by Kaif Bhopali is apposite:

“Janab-e-‘kaif yeh Dilli hai ‘Mir’ o ‘Ghalib’ ki, Yahan Kisi Ki Taraf-dariyan Nahin Chaltin.”

-Kaif Bhopali”

However, despite being widely hailed to connect the dots between “law and pragmatism”, the literary texts, including Urdu couplets,should be used diligently.  Interpretive intricacies might surface due to unknown contexts. Apart from this, care must be taken not to parochially allude to the relevant literature and not to thrust it beyond what it can justifiably achieve.

This article has been authored by Ms. Surbhi Kapur from Team LawSkills.

WE will be there at Jashn-e-Rekhta from 14 to 16 December, 2018 at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Delhi. Visit us at JeR. For more details, visit the JeR website by clicking here.

[1] MANU/DE/2573/2015; 04.09.2015 – DELHC

[2] Navtej Singh Johar and Ors. vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (06.09.2018 – SC) : MANU/SC/0947/2018

[3] Hitesh Bhatnagar vs. Deepa Bhatnagar (18.04.2011 – SC) : MANU/SC/0428/2011

[4] M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India (UOI) and Others- (13.04.2017 – SC) : MANU/SC/0422/2017

[5] Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug vs. Union of India (UOI) and Ors. (07.03.2011 – SC)- MANU/SC/0176/2011

[6] Budhadev Karmaskar vs. State of West Bengal (02.08.2011 – SC)- MANU/SC/0881/2011

[7] Sanat Kumar Sinha vs. The State of Bihar through Chief Secretary and Ors. (05.04.1990 – PATNAHC)- MANU/BH/0424/1989

[8] Bhagwan Dass vs. State (NCT) of Delhi (09.05.2011 – SC)- MANU/SC/0568/2011

[9] MANU/DE/0926/2012

[10] MANU/UP/1750/2012

[11] MANU/DE/1126/2014

[12] MANU/DE/1457/2015

[13] MANU/DE/0058/2016

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Supreme Court Clarifies Right of Borrower to File Securitization Application

The Supreme Court, on 1st November, 2018, elucidated upon when a borrower can seek remedy against wrongful recourse taken by the creditor against the secured asset (Hindon Forge Pvt. Ltd. vs The State of Uttar Pradesh   MANU/SC/1250/2018). The current legal situation can be understood in the following manner –

Issue: The issue to be determined by the Supreme Court was whether a securitization application under Section 17(1) of the Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (“SARFAESI Act/the Act”),at the instance of the borrower, against a notice for possession was maintainable even before physical or actual possession of secured assets is taken by the banks/financial/lending institutions to facilitate the measures prescribed under Section 13(4) of the Act read with Rule 8 of the Security Interest(Enforcement) Rules, 2002 (“the Rules”).

Impugned Judgment: In the impugned judgment,the full bench of the Allahabad High Court had concluded that unless a borrower loses actual physical possession, he cannot take recourse to provisions of Section 17(1) of the Act. Thus, it was held that losing of mere symbolic or constructive possession, not amounting to a ‘measure’ under Section 13(4), was not sufficient to avail this remedy by approaching the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT). 

Decision: The Supreme Court (SC), however, set aside the impugned judgment by holding that the borrower/debtor can approach the Debts Recovery Tribunal under section 17 of the Act at the stage of the possession notice referred to in rule 8(1) and 8(2)of the 2002 Rules. It made the following pertinent observations –

  • Once a notice under Section13 (2) is sent by the creditor, the borrower gets a period of 60 days to repay his dues, on failure of which, the creditor may take recourse to the measures provided under Section 13(4). However, the borrower can raise objections or provide explanations to the creditor under which the creditor can either consider or reject through communication sent under Section 13(3-A)[1]. This right of the borrower to make representation to the creditor does not empower the borrower to move the DRT since no measure has been taken against him under Section 13(4)as yet.
  • The mode of taking possession of secured assets of the borrower is governed by Rule 8 of the 2002 Rules. Rule 8(3), referring to taking of actual possession of secured asset, is an alternate mode to those prescribed under Rules 8(1) and 8(2) – by delivery of possession notice and affixation on property and publication. Thus, when possession is taken under Rules 8(1) and 8(2), i.e., symbolic/statutory possession, section 17 still gets attracted, as this is one of the measures referred to in section 13(4) that can be taken by a secured creditor.Therefore, the borrower will have the right to move the DRT in case of any irregularity on part of the creditor while exercising his powers under Section 13(4).
  • Restoration of possession of secured assets is one relief that can be granted by the DRT under Section 17(3). However, the contention that such relief would necessarily require the actual possession to have been transferred from borrower to creditor in the first place under Section 13(4) is erroneous as various other remedies, apart from restoration, can be availed under this omnibus provision against any wrongful recourse taken by the creditor.

[1] Inserted in the Act as a result of the SC’s decision in the case of Mardia Chemicals.

This article has been authored by Varnika Jain from Team LawSkills.

Supreme Court’s Ban on Firecrackers – 10 Things You Need to Know

While hearing a plea requesting complete ban on the bursting of firecrackers, the Supreme Court, on 23rd October, 2018, revisited and refined its previous orders on this matter. Although the apex court ruled against imposing a blanket ban, it did order certain restrictions to be imposed on the sale and use of firecrackers, not just for Diwali but for other religious and general celebrations as well. Here’s what the Court had to say –

  • Only green crackers and improved crackers with reduced omissions will be allowed to be manufactured and sold.
  • No sale of crackers is to take place via e-commerce sites. In case of any such sale taking place, the e-commerce site will be held liable for contempt by the Court. Monetary penalty can also be imposed on them.
  • Crackers can only be sold through licensed traders.
  • On Diwali and all other religious festivals, bursting of crackers is allowed only between the time of 8 pm – 10 pm.
  • On Christmas and New Year’s, this time window shall be between 11:55 pm -12:30 am to allow for midnight celebrations during these days.
  • This prescribed time limit is to be applicable throughout India.
  • Within Delhi, crackers can only be burnt in designated areas which shall be notified by the Court next week.
  • Only those crackers with decibel sounds within previously permitted limit shall be allowed to be manufactured and sold.
  • Barium salts in the making of firecrackers has been banned. Moreover, the PESO shall review the chemical composition of these firecrackers and submit its report to the Court.
  • PESO will ensure fireworks with permitted chemicals only to be purchased/possessed/sold/used during Diwali and all other religious festivals, of any religion whatsoever, and other occasions like marriages, etc. It shall test and check for the presence of banned chemicals like Lithium/Arsenic/ Antimony/Lead/Mercury.

Troubled by the deteriorating air quality index of the country, particularly the NCR, the Supreme Court has sought to check any further and possibly irreparable harm to the air we breathe in through its judgment in the absence of a legislation to this effect. It has also called for various public awareness campaigns to be held in schools and by the Government to apprise citizens about the ill-effects of burning firecrackers.

This article has been authored by Varnika Jain from Team LawSkills. To continue your legal education and/or to give your career a professional leg-up, check out our self-paced e-learning courses on soft and professional skills as well as the law on lawskills.in.

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All You Need to Know About Sexual Harassment at Workplace

India’s #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have begun, and how! Certain  industries have been identified as virtual cesspools of harassing and abusive conduct. Even people in the know have been known to turn a blind eye towards this rampant evil. However, another problem which has come into the limelight is that most people are not even aware about the kind of conduct that is wrong and abusive, especially at the workplace. This could be because India did not have well-defined laws to prevent sexual harassment at places of employment before the 2013 legislation based on the Vishakha Guidelines. Even after coming into force of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, most workplaces still lack a structure, procedure and mindset to deal with such situations. More often than not, this lack of streamlining ends up worsening the situation for victims and survivors of harassment.  Thus, today we have for you a simple FAQ to apprise you of the various facets of sexual harassment so that you can protect yourself from potential harassment and simultaneously ensure that your actions or those of people around you are not unwittingly causing harassment of your colleagues –

Q. What do you mean by a ‘workplace’?

A. As per the Act, a workplace comprises both organised and unorganised sectors including corporations, NGOs, Government organisations, residential houses (with respect to hired domestic help), educational and health institutions, service providers, cooperative societies, etc.

Workplace includes all such places where women either work or visit during the course of their employment. Thus, a hotel in which a female employee is attending a conference on behalf of her employer would also constitute a workplace.

Q. What conduct constitutes sexual harassment?

A. Briefly stated, sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual gesture or behaviour. It can be direct or indirect. It can include, but is not limited to, the following –

  • Sexually coloured remarks,
  • Physical contact and advances,
  • Showing pornography or obscene or sexist material,
  • Demanding sexual favours in return for a promised promotion or better work profile (called Quid Pro Quo harassment), or
  • Berating, demoting or giving poor performance reviews when someone rejects your advances (called Retaliatory harassment),
  • Serious or repeated offensive remarks, such as teasing related to a person’s body or appearance;
  • Offensive comments or jokes;
  • Inappropriate questions, suggestions or remarks about a person’s sex life.
  • Unwelcome social invitations, with sexual overtones commonly understood as flirting or Intimidation, threats and blackmail.

While this list may not be exhaustive, it provides a fair yardstick to assess workplace conduct against.

The above illustrations also portray how such harassment is usually perpetrated by an employer, senior, supervisor, etc., against a female employee. This skewed balance of power makes sexual harassment even more dangerous. Thus, any action of a senior which makes a subordinate employee feel uncomfortable or violated needs to be reviewed carefully.  A clear distinction needs to be drawn between welcome and unwelcome conduct. Moreover, every person’s private space needs to be respected.

Q. What system is required to be put in place by employers to address instances of sexual harassment?

A. Firstly, every employer/organisation should ensure that they have a strictly implemented HR policy against harassment. This would prevent people from thinking they can get away with it without facing any consequences.

Secondly, the HR department should conduct annual anti-sexual harassment awareness and training programs which should be mandatory for all employees. This will enable employees to identify signs of harassment around them even if the victims are too scared to speak out.

Thirdly, every organisation having ten or more employees should constitute an Internal Complaints Committee to address instances of sexual harassment at the workplace in a timely manner.

Where an organisation has less than ten members, complaint against sexual harassment can be filed with the Local Complaints Committee (“LCC”) which is a government instituted body.

Q. What is an Internal Complaints Committee?

A. An Internal Complaints Committee (“ICC”) is supposed to be made up of at least four members in the following manner:

  • A Presiding Officer who is a woman employed at a senior level at the workplace;
  • At least two members from amongst other employees who should have experience in women’s issues or have some legal knowledge;
  • At least one external member who can either be from an NGO or another organisation that works for women’s issues, or who has expertise in sexual harassment matters (like a lawyer).

It is important to ensure that at least half of this committee is made up of women.

Q. What is the complaint mechanism and process?

A. A female employee who has faced sexual harassment at her workplace can file a written complaint with the ICC within three months of its occurrence. If there are more than one instances, then she can file complaint within three months from the date of the last incident.  In case she is unable to submit the complaint on her own, then the ICC can allow another person, conversant with the incident, to file the complaint on her behalf and with her prior permission.

The ICC is then obligated to conduct and complete its inquiry into the matter within 90 days of receipt of the complaint. After completion of inquiry, the Committee gets a further 10 days period to submit its report to the employer/organisation containing its conclusions, recommendations and proposed action to be taken.

The accused and the victim can appeal against such report within 30 days if they do not agree with or aggrieved with any part of it.

The employer/organisation needs to implement such recommended action within two months of receiving the ICC’s report.

Q. What measures/punishment can be taken against the offender?

A. Depending upon the nature of the harassment, various punishments can be meted out to the offender, such as, termination from service, undergoing a counseling session or carrying out community service. Deduction of compensation payable to the aggrieved woman from the wages of the respondent may also be inflicted as punishment.  This compensation shall be based on the mental trauma, pain, suffering and emotional distress caused to the aggrieved employee; the loss of career opportunity due to the incident of sexual harassment; medical expenses incurred by the victim for physical/ psychiatric treatment.

Note: The Indian law against workplace sexual harassment only accounts for women as victims and men have been excluded from its ambit. Further, in order to take other legal measures against an offender, a separate criminal case would have to be filed against him.

For more information on workplace sexual harassment, visit http://www.lawskills.in or avail the benefits of a unique e-learning course by clicking here!

This article has been authored by Varnika Jain from Team LawSkills.

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Triple Talaq Ordinance – What it means for Muslim Marriages

On 19th September, 2018, The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2018 (commonly known as the Triple Talaq Ordinance) was enforced after being signed by the President. Earlier, the Supreme Court, in the case of Shayara Bano vs. Union of India (MANU/SC/1031/2017), had declared Triple Talaq or Talak-ul-Biddat to be illegal. Further, the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 was introduced and passed in Lok Sabha on December 28, 2017 and is currently pending in Rajya Sabha.

Talaq-e-biddat refers to the practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce. The Government opined that this practice had not been curbed despite the SC’s judgment and, hence, the present Ordinance was promulgated to deal with this issue.

The Ordinance makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal. For the purpose of this Ordinance, talaq denotes talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq pronounced by a Muslim man resulting in instant and irrevocable divorce.

Let us take a look at the key features of this Ordinance and its implications –

Pronouncement of Talaq to be an Offence – Declaring of talaq by a Muslim husband to his wife is now a cognizable[1] offence, attracting up to three years of imprisonment with a fine. Arrest can be made in this regard if the information has been provided by:

  • the married woman (against whom talaq has been declared), or
  • any person related to her by blood or marriage.

However, this offence is bailable in nature provided that the Magistrate has heard the aggrieved woman and is satisfied of the existence of reasonable grounds to grant such bail.

This offence has also been made compoundable. This means that if the parties so desire, they can settle the dispute and stop the legal proceedings by mutual agreement. The terms of settlement shall, however, be decided by the presiding Magistrate.

Provision of Subsistence Allowance:  A Muslim woman, against whom such talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for the upkeep of her dependent children.  The amount of this allowance will be determined by the Magistrate.

Custody of Children:  As per this Ordinance, any Muslim woman against whom such talaq has been declared can seek custody of minor children. The question of custody and the manner of its execution shall be determined by the Magistrate.

The abolishment of Triple Talaq has sparked a huge debate with vehement points and counter points being raised from both ends of the spectrum. However, till the fate of the Bill remains undecided in the Parliament, the Triple Talaq Ordinance will remain the law of the land unless struck down by the Supreme Court.

[1] In case of cognizable offences, the police does not require a warrant before making arrests.

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Dear Lawyers, Here’s Why Legalese is the Solution to All Your Problems!

My boss told me today “the only tool a lawyer has is his words!”

I am a young lawyer,  a topper of my  batch at law school. I thought I was a rock star till I started working. I could see  myself floundering, especially when it comes to drafting documents or presenting arguments despite having a sound knowledge of law.

My senior, Mr. Sharma, called me one day and asked,

“So Abhijeet, let’s say that Mr. Bakshi and I are in the High court for this property dispute that has been going on for past 10 years. We want to hear your argument. How are you going to convince us that our analysis is wrong?”

I must admit I  was caught off guard. I thought of all the moots that I had aced and still found myself  struggling  for almost half an hour, hopping from one point to another, never really making a coherent statement.

I was actually relieved when Mr. Sharma shifted his attention back to Mr. Bakshi and left me  out of the discussion for a while. By the end of the talk, I  could see clearly that I had not even begun to make a mark, forget about having influenced them with my ideas.

Later in the evening my boss  called me  once again and said, “I caught you by surprise, didn’t I Abhijeet?

I was tongue-tied because I knew I  had failed. I didn’t say anything.

“You need to learn something a lot of lawyers never understand,” said Mr. Sharma.

“A lawyer is a professional speaker. He talks for his living. So, whenever you say something as a lawyer, you are making a professional presentation. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in court arguing or talking to a client or giving a speech. There are some basic rules for lawyers and for any kind of speech that he makes; he should sound like one to make an impact.”

“So Sir, what should I do?”

“Legalese- get a grasp of that! Legal English is different from general or business English, and a good knowledge of both is not sufficient to be able to function effectively in the legal profession.

Legal English is about use of English in legal documents, client advisory, negotiations and presentation before the Judge.”

“It is the solution to your problems.” Mr. Sharma added.

This article has been authored by Rituparna Prasoon from Team LawSkills

To hone your skills at Legal English, enroll for this course today!

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Blockchain Technology – An Amateur’s Guide

You (Person A) want to electronically send a monetary amount to Person B. You access your wallet via an electronic key. You initiate the transaction. This transaction is broadcast to a particular network. The entities on this network will verify that you have enough value in your wallet in order to transfer the desired amount to Person B. Once verified, they will confirm the transaction. The money can then be moved from your wallet to Person B. This monetary transfer will be recorded in a long chain of other transactions, making it permanent and immutable.

How is the above e-transaction unique from other non-cash transactions?

  • There is no bank/third-party authority sitting between Person A and Person B who is handling the transaction.
  • A permanent, unchangeable record of this transaction is created.
  • The transaction is made over an underlying technology called blockchain, in which other entities on the same network confirmed the transaction and created a record of the transaction.
  • The value transferred is in the form of digital currency/crypto-currency.

Blockchain. Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencywhat does all this mean?

These ‘buzz-words’ have seeped into our daily conversation; however, they are widely misunderstood and often confused to be similar concepts. Let us understand them and know more about their uses and application –

  • What is Blockchain?

Simply put, blockchain is a form of ‘distributed ledger’ – a record (i.e. ledger) which is distributed (i.e. it is decentralized and is not regulated by a single entity). On a distributed ledger, any transaction or data entered is confirmed by other entities on that network, and is, thus, recorded.

Blockchain is unique in the fact that the data exchanged over it is stored in blocks which are linked to each other. This linked chain is continuously growing as it does not delete old data – it simply adds another block containing new, verified data. These blocks are connected with cryptography. Data over a blockchain cannot be tampered with or changed.

To sum up, blockchain is an underlying technology with many applications (such as digital currency transaction illustrated above), much like the internet with its many uses and applications (such as email, social networking, etc.).

  • Why Blockchain?

In the illustration shown above, Person A could transfer value to Person B over blockchain without needing a bank or any other intermediary; instead, the role of the intermediary (verifying and recording the transaction) was ‘distributed’ amongst other entities on that network, making the transaction transparent and efficient.

Since there is no intermediary/authority – transparency and efficiency created due to the underlying blockchain technology has made blockchain attractive and malleable to almost any scenario where multiple participants who may not know/trust each other are required to share data in order to perform a certain function.

  • Then, what is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, is just one of the many applications of the blockchain technology. Why, then, is the term Bitcoin commonly used alongside the term blockchain and is, more often than not, conceptually confused?

The answer to this allows us to briefly delve into the history of blockchain.

Cryptocurrency was officially introduced in 2008 by an anonymous entity/entities calling himself/herself/themselves Satoshi Nakamoto in a paper titled ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’ which spoke about electronic (non-physical) cash transactions without resorting to a financial institution. The paper explained an underlying technology for making cryptocurrency transactions, which is now known as blockchain.

With Bitcoin being the first use-case of blockchain technology and the reason blockchain technology was discovered – the two terms are frequently used together, and therefore, are often confused.

  • To what else can blockchain technology be applied?

The chart below shows some useful applications of blockchain, with real-life examples of companies that have implemented them.

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Indian view towards blockchain and cryptocurrency – conservative yet evolving

After several public notices warning users about the risks of cryptocurrency/virtual currency (such as hacking, malware attacks, volatility in the value of cryptocurrencies etc.), the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), by a notification dated April 6, 2018, prohibited all regulated entities under it from dealing in virtual currencies or dealing with entities that deal in virtual currencies.

Simultaneously, the RBI is also investing in research and exploring the potential of blockchain technology as a part of the Indian financial framework. In January 2017, RBI’s research arm – the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) – published a white paper titled ‘Applications of Blockchain Technology to Banking and Financial Sector in India’. Later that year in September, IDRBT announced that they were working on a model blockchain platform on which various applications can be built. Similarly, NITI Aayog, the Indian government’s think tank, is also working on a national strategy for blockchain applications which can be implemented in India.

Blockchain & Cryptocurrency – An interesting segment to follow in the coming years

To conclude, blockchain technology has a variety of applications, many of which are being explored by Indian authorities as well as governments of several countries such as South Korea and Dubai. India’s dubious outlook towards virtual currencies is shared by many; however, there are several countries and organisations that are embracing it.

Though cryptocurrency and blockchain technology have been around for many years, their innovative applications and ever-growing uses are still being explored, tested, exploited and implemented throughout the world.

This article has been contributed by Anvitaa Pattani. To read our earlier article on the legal aspects of Blockchain Technology, click here.  

To enroll for a free certification course on Blockchain Technology and become an industry expert, click here.

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