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Daily Current Affairs 20/12/2022


  1. Decriminalisation of offences under GST

  2. Deepfake technology

  3. Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022

  4. Recusal of Judges

District Mineral Foundation Decriminalisation of Offences Under GST


In a recent meeting, the 48th GST Council meeting, which was chaired by the Finance Minister, recommended to decriminalise certain offences that were listed in Section 132 of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017.


GS III: The Economy of India

The following are the article's dimensions:

  • Council on GST

  • What was illegal under the GST before it was repealed?

  • Which of the offences under the GST law are subject to the provisions of the IPC and the CrPC?

  • What have the recommendations been to reduce the severity of the GST offences?

  • How will the removal of criminal penalties affect society?

  • Additional measures suggested to ease commercial transactions

  • Way to move forward


The Goods and Services Tax Council is a constitutional body that is responsible for making recommendations to the Union and State Governments on issues that are associated with the Goods and Service Tax.

According to the newly amended Constitution's Article 279A (1), the President is required to establish the GST Council within sixty days of the date that Article 279A takes effect in order to comply with the constitutional mandate.

The Constitution (One Hundred Twenty-Second Amendment) Bill, 2016, was presented in the Parliament with the intention of bringing about the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax across the nation. On August 3, 2016, the Rajya Sabha approved the bill, and on August 8, 2016, the Lok Sabha approved the bill.

The Goods and Services Tax Council (GST Council) is an apex member committee that is responsible for modifying, reconciling, or procuring any law or regulation based on the context of the goods and services tax in India.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council is in charge of any rule revisions, new rule enactments, and price adjustments for goods and services sold in India.

The following individuals make up the council's membership:

The Minister of the Union's Finances (as chairperson)

Minister of States for the Union who is in charge of finances or revenues (as members)

The ministers of state governments who are in charge of finances or taxation, along with any other ministers who have been nominated by their respective state governments (as members).

Concerning what matters the GST Council decides to make recommendations,

Goods and services that may be subject to or exempt from the GST; taxes, cesses, and surcharges that are levied by the centre, the states, and local bodies that may be subsumed in the GST;

a threshold limit of turnover below which goods and services may be exempt from GST; model GST laws, principles of levy, apportionment of IGST, and principles that govern the place of supply;

rates, including floor rates, with bands for the application of GST; rates;

Discounted prices in order to acquire additional resources in the event of a natural disaster;

Special provisions with regard to Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand; Any other matter relating to the goods and services tax, regarding which the Council may decide.

What was illegal under the GST before it was repealed?

Tax evasion:

Since the introduction of GST, there has been a discernible rise in the incidence of tax evasion, with numerous cases of taxpayers employing multiple strategies to avoid indirect tax coming to light. These cases have led to the discovery of numerous tax evasion schemes.

Tax authorities are making extensive use of technology and data derived from e-way bills and GST returns in their ongoing efforts to detect and prevent tax evasion.


The Goods and Services Tax (GST) law establishes stringent penalties and guidelines that taxpayers are required to adhere to. This is done to ensure that intrastate or interstate trade of goods goes smoothly, as well as to combat corruption and maintain an efficient tax collection system.

The Goods and Services Tax Law includes provisions for two distinct types of penalties. It's possible for them to go in both directions at the same time.

In the event that statutory provisions are violated, the authorities within the department have the power to levy monetary fines in addition to seizing the offending party's goods as a form of punishment.

In addition to being provided for by the GST Law, criminal penalties include incarceration and fines; however, these punishments can only be handed down by a criminal court following a successful prosecution.

The provisions pertaining to penalties can be found in Sections 122 to 131 of the CGST Act of 2017, while the provisions pertaining to prosecution and compounding can be found in Sections 132 to 138 of the same act.

The duration of the offender's incarceration:

The length of the prison sentence is determined by the amount of tax that was intentionally avoided, the amount of Input Tax Credit (ITC) that was improperly claimed or used, or the amount of refund that was fraudulently claimed.

The preceding section further classifies offences into two categories: those that can be cognized and are eligible for bail, and those that cannot be cognized and are not eligible for bail.

Furthermore, it has been observed that many instances of noncompliance fall under the purview of both the compounding and prosecution categories of penalties.

Which of the offences under the GST law are subject to the provisions of the IPC and the CrPC?

In accordance with the CGST Act, a group of two or more individuals who agree to commit an illegal act such as tax evasion, fraud, etc., will be held liable for their participation in a criminal conspiracy if they carry it out.

Criminal conspiracy is defined in Section 120A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Section 120B of the same code discusses the punishment for that offence.

The manner in which an arrest is carried out is governed by Section 46 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

A commissioner has the authority to issue a warrant for the arrest of a person pursuant to Section 69 of the CGST Act if the commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that the person in question has committed any violation of Section 132.

According to the Criminal Procedure Code, Section 67, if a summons is issued outside of the local authority, a duplicate copy of the summons should be sent to the Magistrate of that outside authority to be served. This is required in the event that the summons is to be served.

While Section 165 of the Criminal Procedure Code governs searches conducted by police officers, Section 67 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act specifies that only an officer with a rank equal to or higher than that of joint commissioner is able to give written permission for an inspection or search.

What have the recommendations been to reduce the severity of the GST offences?

The minimum tax amount required to initiate prosecution under GST will increase from one crore to two crore, with the exception of the offence of issuing invoices without the supply of goods or services or both.

Bringing the compounding amount down from its current range of being between 50 and 150% of the tax amount to being between 25 and 100% of the tax amount,

removing the criminal penalties for certain offences that are outlined in Section 132 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act of 2017, such as intentionally tampering with physical evidence, obstructing or preventing any officer from doing his duties, and failing to supply information.

How will the removal of criminal penalties affect society?

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a brand-new taxation system that incorporates a number of features that have never been seen before anywhere in the world.

The fact that the law is still being worked on and is in its infant stages makes it difficult and uncertain to put the law into effect.

There are times when the decisions and rulings of different courts are at odds with one another. The government is making continued efforts to simplify the legal system.

The process of complying with the GST, especially when it comes to granular reporting, is noticeably more onerous than it was before the GST was implemented.

Because of this, it is essential to acknowledge that the imposition of penal provisions in an environment with a lack of clarity significantly alters the way in which businesses perceive risk and uncertainty, which in turn has a direct impact on their capacity to conduct business.

There are already sufficient penalties in place within the law that act as a deterrent against evading taxes.

Even before they engage in any kind of business activity or investment, potential investors may be put off by the worry that they will face criminal sanctions for matters that are insignificant, trivial, or petty.

Additional measures suggested to ease commercial transactions

Reimbursing individuals who were unable to register and improving access to online markets for smaller businesses are two important recommendations.

When the contract or agreement for the supply of services, such as construction of flat/house and long-term insurance policy, is cancelled and the time period for the issuance of credit note by the concerned supplier has passed, there was no procedure for unregistered buyers to claim a refund of the tax that they had already paid for the service. This was the case in situations where the contract/agreement for the supply of services was terminated.

The Council proposed an amendment to the CGST Rules, 2017, as well as the publication of a circular, in order to prescribe the procedure for the filing of an application for a refund by unregistered buyers in such instances.

Way to move forward

If the above decriminalisation of GST offences is implemented with adequate checks, then prosecution, arrest, and imprisonment in GST cases would only be necessary in the rarest of rare cases of hard, habitual, deliberate defaulters and blatantly specific fraudulent practises. This would reduce the number of cases significantly.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms, faceless adjudication and appeals, private ruling and mediation, and so on are all examples of the types of resolution mechanisms that could be used to address other, less significant complaints.

-Source: "The Hindu"

Technology Relying on Deep Fakes Context:

The Cyberspace Administration of China, which serves as the country's cyberspace watchdog, is in the process of implementing new regulations that will become effective on January 10 and are intended to limit the application of deep synthesis technology and reduce the spread of disinformation.


Science and Technology for Grade Three

The following are the article's dimensions:

  • About the process of Deep synthesis

  • What is a deepfake?

  • The new Chinese policy to combat the spread of deep fakes

  • Actions to be taken in response to the dangers posed by deep fakes

  • Way to move forward

About the process of Deep synthesis

Utilizing various forms of technology, such as deep learning and augmented reality, to generate text, images, audio, and video for the purpose of creating virtual environments is what is meant by the term "deep synthesis."

Deepfakes are one of the most infamous uses of this technology; they involve the substitution of one person's face or voice for that of another using synthetic media. This is one of the most notorious applications of this technology.

Because of advancements in technology, it is becoming increasingly difficult to spot deepfakes.

What is a deepfake?

Deepfakes are a collection of fabricated images and audio that have been pieced together using machine-learning algorithms for the purpose of disseminating false information and replacing the appearance of a real person, their voice, or both with artificial likenesses or voices that are similar to the real ones.

It has the ability to create people who do not already exist, as well as give the impression that real people have said and done things that they have not actually said or done.


In 2017, an anonymous user on Reddit gave himself the user name "Deepfakes," which is where the term deepfake was first used.

This user created pornographic videos using Google's open-source, deep-learning technology, and then posted them on the internet.

Face-swapping, also known as digital editing, was used to manipulate the videos in question.

Deepfakes, an anonymous user, swapped out real people's faces for those of famous people.

Where would one put it to use?

Among other illegal activities, it is used to create pornographic videos featuring famous people, fabricate news stories, and commit financial fraud.

It is now being put to use for nefarious purposes such as identity theft, financial fraud, scams and hoaxes, election manipulation, social engineering, automated attacks designed to spread disinformation, and election manipulation.

Deepfake technology has been utilised to successfully impersonate a number of high-profile individuals, including former Presidents of the United States Barack Obama and Donald Trump, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, the Chief Executive Officer of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, and the Hollywood celebrity Tom Cruise.

The new Chinese policy to combat the spread of deep fakes

The policy mandates that users and service providers of deep synthesis must ensure that any content that has been altered through the use of the technology is clearly labelled and can be tracked back to its original source.

The regulation also requires individuals who use the technology to edit the image or voice of another person to notify and obtain consent from the individual whose image or voice is being edited.

When reposting news generated by the technology, the original source must come from one of the news outlets on the list that has been approved by the government.

According to the new regulation, companies that provide services related to deep synthesis are required to not only comply with local laws but also respect ethics and maintain the "correct political direction and correct public opinion orientation."

The implementation of such a policy begs the question: why?

Deep synthesis could potentially be used in illegal activities such as online scams or defamation, according to China's cyberspace watchdog, which expressed concern regarding the unchecked development and use of deep synthesis.

The most recent action taken by the nation is aimed at mitigating the potential dangers that may result from the operations carried out by platforms that make use of either artificial intelligence or virtual reality to modify any online content.

If China's new policies are successful, they may serve as an example for other countries and provide a policy framework that other countries can model after.

Responses to the dangers posed by deep fakes include the following:

Effective and ethical countermeasures against the threat posed by malicious deepfakes can be provided by collaborative actions and collective techniques spanning legislative regulations, platform policies, technology intervention, and media literacy.

Literacy in the media:

The most powerful weapon in the fight against disinformation and deep fakes is media literacy on the part of both consumers and journalists.

Efforts need to be made to improve people's media literacy in order to cultivate a more critical public. As consumers of various forms of media, it is imperative that we have the ability to decode, comprehend, translate, and make use of the information we come across.

Even a brief intervention with media understanding, which includes gaining an understanding of the motivations and context, can lessen the damage. Improving people's familiarity with various forms of media is a prerequisite for tackling the difficulties posed by deep fakes Legislative regulations:

The production and dissemination of malicious deepfakes can be discouraged through the implementation of meaningful regulations, which should be followed by a collaborative discussion involving representatives from the technology industry, civil society, and policymakers.

Answers provided by technology:

Additionally, we require technology solutions that are both user-friendly and easily accessible in order to identify deep fakes, authenticate media, and amplify authoritative sources.

The next step is that deepfakes, which enhance people's agency by making it possible for them to create new possibilities for themselves despite any limitations they may have. However, as more people are able to get their hands on synthetic media technology, the possibility of being exploited also rises. Deepfakes have the potential to cause irreparable harm to reputations, to fabricate evidence, to defraud the general public, and to undermine faith in democratic institutions. To combat the danger posed by deep fakes, each of us needs to accept the responsibility of being a critical consumer of media on the internet, giving ourselves time to reflect and reconsider what we share on social media, and participating in the effort to find a solution to the information epidemic.

-Foundation: "The Hindu"

Bill for the Protection of Individuals' Digital Data, 2022


The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has recently announced that the deadline for receiving comments from the general public on the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 has been extended to January 2.


GS II: Politics and Administrative Structure

The following are the article's dimensions:

  • Bill pertaining to data that is based on seven principles

  • The scope of the Bill's applicability

  • Key aspects of the proposed legislation

  • There have been a few objections to the bill.

Bill pertaining to data that is based on seven principles

The first principle states that "the usage of personal data by organisations must be done in a manner that is lawful, fair to the individuals who are concerned, and transparent to the individuals."

The second principle states that personal data must only be used for the purposes for which it was collected and states that this cannot be done for any other reason.

The third principle addresses the reduction of the amount of data collected, while the fourth principle places an emphasis on the accuracy of the data collected.

The fifth principle states that any personally identifiable information that is gathered must not be "stored perpetually by default," and that instead, storage must be constrained to a predetermined amount of time.

According to the sixth principle, there should be adequate safeguards to ensure that "no unauthorised collection or processing of personal data" takes place.

The seventh principle states that the "person who decides the purpose and means of the processing of personal data should be accountable for such processing" (also known as "the principle of accountability").

The scope of the Bill's applicability

Processing of personal data collected within the territory of India, regardless of whether the data was collected online or offline and later digitised.

Processing of personal data outside of India, if the processing is related to creating profiles of people in India or providing goods and services to people in India. For the purposes of this discussion, "profiling" refers to "any form of processing of personal data that analyses or predicts aspects concerning the behaviour, attributes, or interests of a Data Principal."

Does not apply to the following:

processing of personal information by means other than automation

offline personal data

personal information that is processed by an individual for any personal or domestic purpose personal information that is contained in a record that has been in existence for at least one hundred years personal data about an individual that is contained in a record that has been in existence for at least one hundred years

The Data Principal and Data Fiduciary provisions are key components of the bill.

The person whose information is being compiled into a database is referred to as the "Data Principal" in the proposed legislation.

The phrase "Data Fiduciary" refers to the entity (which can be an individual, company, firm, or state, among other possible examples) that decides the "purpose and means of the processing of an individual's personal data."

The law also acknowledges that in the case of children, which is defined as any user who is under the age of 18, their parents or legal guardians will be considered to be their "Data Principals." This is a recognition that the law makes in the case of children.

Personal data

"any data by which or in relation to which an individual can be identified," the definition of personal data in the law states, "is considered to be personal data."

When we talk about processing, we're referring to "the entire cycle of operations that can be carried out in regard to personal data." According to the bill, processing data would include everything from the initial collection of data to its subsequent storage.

Additionally, the bill ensures that people should be able to "access basic information" in the languages that are listed in the eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution.

In addition, the bill makes it abundantly clear that individuals are required to provide their consent prior to the processing of their data and that "every individual should know what items of personal data a Data Fiduciary wants to collect and the purpose of such collection and further processing."

In addition, the notice of data collection must be written in language that is unambiguous and simple to comprehend.

People also have the right to withdraw their consent from a Data Fiduciary at any time.

Significant Data Fiduciaries

The bill also discusses "Significant Data Fiduciaries," which are individuals who manage a significant amount of personally identifiable information.

The Central government will determine who is designated under this category based on a number of factors ranging from the volume of personal data processed to the potential risk of harm to the potential impact on the sovereignty and integrity of India.

According to the note that provides an explanation of the bill, "this category is required to fulfil certain additional obligations in order to enable greater scrutiny of its practises."

both a data auditor and a data protection officer.

These types of organisations are going to be required to hire a "Data Protection Officer" who will act as their representative.

They will serve as the primary point of contact for the resolution of complaints.

In addition to this, they will be required to hire an impartial Data auditor who will assess whether or not they are in compliance with the act.

Right to erase data, right to nominate

The owner of the data will have the legal right to demand that any errors or inaccuracies in the data that was collected by the data fiduciary be rectified.

They will also have the right to nominate a person who will exercise these rights in the event that the data principal passes away or becomes unable to do so for some reason.

The bill also provides customers with the right to file a complaint against a "Data Fiduciary" with the Data Protection Board in the event that the consumer does not receive a response from the company that is satisfactory to them.

Cross-border data transfer

Additionally, the bill allows for the storage and transfer of data across international borders to "certain notified countries and territories."

Having said that, the note goes on to say that "an assessment of relevant factors by the Central Government would precede such a notification."

Financial penalties

The draught also proposes to impose significant penalties on businesses that suffer data breaches or fail to notify users when breaches occur. These businesses would be held liable for any damages that result.

A fine of up to Rs. 250 crore may be levied against entities that fail to implement "reasonable security safeguards" to prevent breaches of individuals' personal data.

According to the proposal, the Data Protection Board, which will be a new regulatory body that will be established by the government, will have the authority to levy a fine of up to 500 crore against a person for non-compliance if it is determined that the violation was significant.

There have been a few objections to the bill.

There had been use of language that was left open to interpretation, such as "as necessary" or "as may be prescribed."

It did not appear that the Bill would work toward protecting people; rather, it would ensure that the government would keep all of its power without being subject to any checks or balances.

When this bill is signed into law, the government will have the authority to exempt not only government agencies from having to comply with the provisions of this bill, but also any entity that is collecting user data. This power was given to the government by this bill.

The Indian executive branch has a long history of abusing its power in order to gain more authority. In the event of a data breach, individuals do not have the legal right to demand compensation. They are not entitled to the portability of data.

-Foundation: "The Hindu"

Judges Who Refuse to Serve


Recently, a judge on the Supreme Court (SC) decided that she could not hear a writ petition that was filed by Bilkis Bano in opposition to a decision made by the Gujarat government to release 11 men who had been sentenced to life in prison for gang-raping Bilkis Bano during the riots that occurred in 2002.


GS II: Politics and Administrative Structure

The following are the article's dimensions:

  • Regarding Recusal

  • What steps are involved in the recusal process?

  • Concerns Regarding the Recusal

About Recusal

Abstention from participation in an official action, such as a legal proceeding, because of a conflict of interest on the part of the official or administrative officer who is presiding over the action is the act that is referred to as abstention.

Although recusals are not governed by any official regulations, the Supreme Court has discussed the issue in a number of its previous decisions.

The Supreme Court of India decided in the case Ranjit Thakur v. Union of India (1987) that the standard for determining whether or not there is a possibility of bias is the reasonableness of the apprehension in the mind of the party.

The judge is required to take into account the viewpoint of the party that is currently in front of him in order to determine whether or not he is biassed.

The following is the reason for my refusal:

It is possible for a judge to decline to hear a case in which there is a conflict of interest. This is done so that the judge does not give the appearance that his decision was influenced by bias.

Being formerly or currently associated, either professionally or personally, with one of the parties involved in the case is one of the many scenarios that can give rise to a conflict of interest.

acted as a representative for one of the parties in a case and took part in its proceedings.

Conversations with individuals who are not or are lawyers as well as those who are.

An appeal has been lodged with the Supreme Court regarding a decision from the High Court (HC) that the Supreme Court judge may have issued while serving on the HC.

In a matter concerning a company in which he holds shares, unless he has disclosed his interest and done so in a manner that is acceptable to all parties involved.

The idea behind the practise derives from the fundamental tenet of legal due process, which states that no one can act as a judge in his or her own case.

What steps are involved in the recusal process?

Because it is up to the judge's conscience and discretion to determine whether or not there is a potential conflict of interest, the decision to recuse is typically made by the judge himself or herself.

Many judges do not provide the attorneys involved in the case with an oral explanation of their reasons for recusing themselves from the case. Some accounts present the causes in the order that they occurred.

In certain circumstances, the judge learns about it from the attorneys for the parties involved or from the parties themselves. After receiving a request to do so, the judge is given the option to recuse themselves from the case at their own discretion.

Although there have been times when courts have refused to recuse themselves from a case despite the fact that they do not see a conflict of interest but only because such a suspicion was raised, there have also been times when judges have recused themselves from some cases.

In the event that a judge takes a recusal, the matter is brought before the Chief Justice to be assigned to a new bench.

Concerns Regarding the Recusal

Abdication of duty is another term that can be used to describe recusal. The judge's role as an adjudicator is one that is fiercely independent, but maintaining institutional civilities is a separate and distinct responsibility.

Justice Kurian Joseph, writing a separate opinion for the NJAC judgement in 2015, emphasised the importance of judges providing reasons for their recusal as a means of increasing transparency in the judicial system.

It is the duty of each individual, as reflected in their oath, to be transparent and accountable. As a result, a judge is required to indicate reasons for his recusal from a particular case in order to comply with the constitutional duty.

Some people make requests for recusal with the intention of intimidating the court, getting even with a "inconvenient" judge, clouding the issues at hand, causing obstruction and delaying the proceedings, or impeding the administration of justice in any other way possible.

-Foundation: "The Hindu"

District Mineral Foundation


The district of Keonjhar in Odisha is the one that has received the most money from the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) scheme in India. Over the course of the last seven years, the district has spent a total of 3,000 crore rupees on the scheme; however, the district has only just recently decided who the real beneficiaries are.


GS II: Intervention and Policies Adopted by the Government

The following are the article's dimensions:

  • The District Mineral Foundation in a Nutshell

  • About Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY)

The District Mineral Foundation in a Nutshell

District Mining Funds (DMFs) are statutory authorities that are established by state governments in districts that are impacted by mining.

DMFs were initially established as a result of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act of 2015.

They are trusts that aren't for profit, but they work in the best interest of the people and places that are negatively impacted by mining-related activities.


The primary mission of a DMF, which is mandated by the law, is to advance the well-being of the communities and individuals whose lives have been negatively impacted by mining in some way.

The state government holds the view that low-income residents of the area, including members of native tribes, have the legal right to share in the profits made from the exploitation of natural resources in the area.

About Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY):

Using the money raised by the District Mineral Foundations, the program's objective is to improve the quality of life in regions and among the populations that have been negatively impacted by activities related to mining (DMFs).

The goals of the scheme are to carry out a variety of social welfare and economic development projects and programmes in mining-affected areas so as to supplement projects and plans that are already being carried out by the State and the Central Government.

To lessen or compensate for the adverse effects that mining has on the environment, human health, and the socioeconomic conditions of those who live in mining districts, steps should be taken.

in order to guarantee that the population that will be affected by mining operations will have access to means of subsistence that are viable over the long term.

-Foundation: "The Hindu"


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