2018 SCC Vol. 10 December 21, 2018 Part 4

A Eulogy to Dr. Avtar Singh: A tribute to Dr. Avtar Singh (Author of popular books on civil and commercial law), who passed away on October 1, 2018. [Remembering Dr. Avtar Singh by Professor B.B. Pande, (2018) 10 SCC J-1]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 11(6) and (9) — Appointment of arbitrator by Court — When permissible: Appointment of arbitrator by Court is permissible when one party failed to act in terms of arbitration agreement. [Trans Asian Shipping Services (P) Ltd. v. Beacon Shipping Lines Ltd., (2018) 10 SCC 521]

Assam Panchayat Act, 1994 (17 of 1994) — S. 15(1) — Compliance with the mandatory condition of convening of/presiding over of a no-confidence motion meeting, against the Gram Panchayat President, by the Deputy Commissioner/his delegated authority — Waiver of: A mandatory provision of law requires strict compliance but there are situations where even if a provision is mandatory, non-compliance would not result in nullification of the act, such as when a certain requirement or condition is provided in a statute for the benefit or interest of a particular person, the same can be waived by him if no public interest is involved. [Padmini Singha v. State of Assam, (2018) 10 SCC 561]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 41 R. 22: Issues decided in favour of appellant, not having been challenged by respondent, held, cannot be readjudicated by appellate court. [Biswajit Sukul v. Deo Chand Sarda, (2018) 10 SCC 584]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — S. 89 and Or. 27 R. 5 — Reference of disputes to arbitration on request of parties: In this case disputes arose between the appellant Company, a Government of India undertaking and the State through its authority MHADA, in relation to land and to resolve the disputes appellant filed a writ petition before the High Court but the same was dismissed on the ground that the proper remedy would lie in filing a suit in the civil court. During the course of the proceedings challenging the order of the High Court, the parties, requested for referring the matter to a sole arbitrator and left it to the Court to pass appropriate orders in that behalf including an order appointing an arbitrator to decide the dispute(s) by an award. It was held that considering the status of the parties and the mandate contained in Or. 27 R. 5 CPC, the disputes arising between the parties, including the dispute which was the subject-matter of the writ petition/appeal, referred to the sole arbitrator for his decision. [Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd. v. MHADA, (2018) 10 SCC 634]

Consumer Protection Act, 1986 — Ss. 10 and 16 — Appointment as part-time female Member of Consumer Commission: In this case, on basis of performance of candidates, in select list names of R-2 and appellant appeared at Sl. Nos. 2 and 3 respectively. Hence held, R-2 was more suitable than appellant for appointment. Further, in absence of any rule or executive instruction appointment of appellant on ground that she had more public experience, unsustainable and liable to be set aside. High Court correctly opined that addition of public experience was uncalled for. [Meena Verma v. State of H.P., (2018) 10 SCC 614]

Contempt of Court — Nature and Scope — Nature and Scope of contempt proceedings: Contempt proceedings are quasi-criminal in nature. Standard proof, applicable is therefore that of proof beyond reasonable doubt. In this case, filing of false affidavits and hence committing contempt of court by appellant not having been proved beyond reasonable doubt, finding of contempt against him, set aside. [R.S. Sehrawat v. Rajeev Malhotra, (2018) 10 SCC 574]

Contract and Specific Relief — Formation of Contract — Offer and Acceptance: Under S. 7 of the Contract Act, 1872 in order to convert a proposal into a promise, the acceptance must be absolute and unqualified. Reference to a future formal contract does not create a binding contract, when the parties do not intend to be bound until a formal contract is signed. [PSA Mumbai Investments Pte. Ltd. v. Board of Trustees of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, (2018) 10 SCC 525]

Courts, Tribunals and Judiciary — Judiciary — Judicial Accountability and Transparency — Open justice — Use of technology: Live streaming of court proceedings easily accessible for public viewing is feasible considering the advancements in technology. Writ petition seeking such live streaming of important cases of Supreme Court and for framing of guidelines for regulating same, allowed. [Swapnil Tripathi v. Supreme Court of India, (2018) 10 SCC 639]

 Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 439 — Bail — Grant of, by High Court — Validity of: In this case, it was held that High Court was not justified in going into evidence on record in such depth which amounted to ascertaining probability of conviction of accused. Also, High Court failed to appreciate several crucial factors which indicated that it was highly inappropriate to grant bail. Hence, order granting bail was set aside. [State of Orissa v. Mahimananda Mishra, (2018) 10 SCC 516]

 Education Law — Medical and Dental Colleges — Affiliation/Recognition: Expert in Information Technology and its wider application, N (as suggested by Amicus Curiae), directed to give concrete suggestions at the earliest regarding the use of technology/Artificial Intelligence/Computers for inspection of institutions by Medical Council of India (MCI). Liberty was given to take assistance from IT companies. [Al Azhar Medical College & Super Speciality Hospital v. Union of India, (2018) 10 SCC 567]

Environment Law — Air Pollution — Vehicular Pollution — Vehicular Emission in Delhi: NGT made Odd-Even Scheme applicable to everyone without any exemption. During pendency of case, direction of NGT applying Odd-Even Scheme to everyone, exempted in case of women and two-wheelers. [Government (NCT of Delhi) v. Vardhman Kaushik, (2018) 10 SCC 633]

Family and Personal Laws — Guardians and Wards — Custody of Child/Minor: Interim directions of High Court on custody and visitation rights, modified. [Rajiv Vijayasarathy Ratnam v. Savitha Seetharam, (2018) 10 SCC 523]

Limitation Act, 1963 — S. 3 and Art. 65 — Filing of suit within the stipulated limitation period: In order to decide the question of limitation as to whether the suit is filed within time or not, the Court is mainly required to see the plaint allegations and how the plaintiff has pleaded the accrual of cause of action for filing the suit. [Ghewarchand v. Mahendra Singh, (2018) 10 SCC 588]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — S. 173 r/w S. 96, Or. 20 R. 4(2) and Or. 41 R. 31 CPC — Compensation: Reduction of compensation in appeal without adverting to factual and legal issues involved, not permissible. Full and fair and independent consideration of the evidence at the appellate stage, is necessary. [Sudarsan Puhan v. Jayanta Mohanty, (2018) 10 SCC 552]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 304-B — Dowry death: In this case, soon before death of bride, she was subjected to cruelty/harassment in connection with demand for dowry. High Court upheld conviction of appellant-accused husband. Testimony of father and sister of deceased regarding incident was trustworthy. Presumption under S. 113-B, Evidence Act, that accused committed dowry death, also made out. Trial court rejected defence version, having advantage of watching demeanour of witnesses. The Supreme Court held that the view taken by both courts below were not manifestly perverse, hence, conviction of appellant, confirmed. [Jagjit Singh v. State of Punjab, (2018) 10 SCC 593]

Property Law — Adverse Possession — Mortgage — Possession of Mortgagee: Respondent/original plaintiff filed a suit praying for redemption of mortgage and for recovery of possession, on the basis of a document dt. 20-3-1959 styled as “simple mortgage” while the defendant claimed that subsequent to the same an unregistered document dt. 12-11-1960 was entered into between the parties under which the original plaintiff conveyed the title of the property in its favour. Following the ruling in Rukmani Ammal, (2006) 1 SCC 65, wherein it was held that once the mortgagee is claiming to be an absolute owner of the property, his/her status as mortgagee comes to an end and his/her possession becomes adverse to the original owner, in the present case, the order of the trial court dismissing the suit and accepting the plea set up by the defendant i.e. that with effect from the document dt. 12-11-1960 the possession of the defendant became adverse to the original plaintiff, upheld. [Venugopal Padayachi v. V. Pichaikaran, (2018) 10 SCC 548]

Rent Control and Eviction — User/Non-user/Misuser/Non-occupation of premises: In this case, appellant urged that premises let out for sawmill are now being utilised for manufacturing of grills which amount to change of user. The Supreme Court held that on a perusal of agreement, it is clear that there is no restriction placed on respondent tenants to run business only relating to sawmill. Tenant was given liberty to carry on any other business as well. In absence of any negative covenant user does not amount to user for purpose other than for which premises were leased. [Ravi Chand Mangla v. Dimpal Solania, (2018) 10 SCC 610]

Service Law — Police — Pay — Parity in pay/Pay scale: Claim of pay parity by Ministerial employees of Police Department with Executive Force, not sustainable. [S.H. Baig v. State of M.P., (2018) 10 SCC 621]

U.P. Kshettra Panchayats and Zila Panchayats Adhiniyam, 1961 (32 of 1961) — S. 15(2) — Notice of No-confidence motion: S. 15(2) only provides that a written notice of intention to make motion signed by at least half of total elected members together with a copy of proposed motion, is to be delivered to Collector. Jurisdiction of Collector is only to scan notice to find out whether it fulfils essential requirements of a valid notice, which is summary in nature and cannot be a detailed inquiry. Collector should not assume power to enter into an arena or record a finding on seriously disputed questions of facts relating to fraud, undue influence or coercion. His only duty is to determine whether there has been a valid notice as contemplated under S. 15(2). [Kavita v. State of U.P., (2018) 10 SCC 569]

U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Rules, 1952 — R. 285-I — Auction-sale of property for recovery of unpaid dues of workmen — Validity of: Since the amount of Rs 56 lakhs towards unpaid workmen dues were not paid despite the citation and recovery certificates, the property/vacant land of private respondents was put to auction. The Supreme Court held that through their conduct, in failing to file objections to the auction-sale and making an application and accepting the excess amount recovered from the auction-sale, private respondents waived off their rights in respect of the auction-sale and acquiesced in the auction-sale. Thus, private respondents are estopped from challenging the auction-sale in any manner whatsoever. [Pravesh Kumar Sachdeva v. State of U.P., (2018) 10 SCC 628]

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