2019 SCC Vol. 8 October 28, 2019 Part 2

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Ss. 47 and 115 — Exercise of power by executing court — Limitations on: It cannot travel beyond scope of decree/order. Any order passed by executing court by travelling beyond decree/order under execution would render such orders as without jurisdiction. [S. Bhaskaran v. Sebastian, (2019) 9 SCC 161]

Companies Act, 2013 — Ss. 212(6)(ii), (7) and 447 — Conditions imposed under S. 212(6)(ii) for grant of bail in connection with offences under S. 447 — Mandatory nature of: Restrictions under S. 212(6) with respect to grant of bail are in addition to those already provided in CrPC. Thus, it is necessary to advert to principles governing grant of bail under S. 439 CrPC. Specifically, heed must be paid to stringent view taken by Supreme Court towards grant of bail with respect of economic offences. [Serious Fraud Investigation Office v. Nittin Johari, (2019) 9 SCC 165]

Town Planning — Slum Rehabilitation/Development/Relocation — Redevelopment of land/slum rehabilitation: For permissibility of redevelopment of land/slum rehabilitation, when there exist disputes qua ownership/leasehold rights over the land, factors like principles of equity, balance of comparative hardship/mischief and availability of remedy by way of damages for injury caused to person claiming the leasehold rights over the land in question, are relevant. [Lullu Vas v. State Of Maharashtra, (2019) 9 SCC 175]

Right to Information Act, 2005 — Ss. 2(h)(ii) & (i) and Ss. 2(h)(a) to (d) — Applicability of RTI Act — Meaning and ambit of “public authority”: An NGO/society/institution not owned or controlled by Government, not having been created by an Act or notification, would still fall under ambit of “public authority” if it is substantially financed directly or indirectly by Government. Whether a body is substantially financed directly or indirectly by Government, would depend upon facts of each case and purpose of Act. [D.A.V. College Trust And Management Society v. Director Of Public Instructions, (2019) 9 SCC 185]

Specific Relief Act, 1963 — S. 5 — Recovery of possession of encroached upon land — Dispute as to boundaries — Encroachment of adjoining land — Matters to be established: In this case, it was held that the presumption as to accuracy of map drawn by Revenue Authorities validating claim of plaintiffs as to ownership of disputed strip of land under S. 83 of Evidence Act, 1872, could not be rebutted by defendant, even before Supreme Court as none of its arguments found to be tenable. Decree for handing over of possession of disputed land to plaintiffs, passed concurrently by three courts below, confirmed. [Rambhau Ganpati Nagpure v. Ganesh Nathuji Warbe, (2019) 9 SCC 202]

Armed Forces — Discharge/Dismissal — Interference with — When unwarranted: In this case, there was discharge of appellant, a habitual offender on account of seven red ink entries during his tenure of approximately 12 yrs, it was held that preliminary enquiry contemplated by Para 5(a) is not a court of enquiry into allegations against army personnel but has semblance of fair decision-making process keeping in view reply filed. Kind of enquiry required to be conducted depend on facts of each case. Test of preliminary enquiry is satisfied where explanation submitted by delinquent is considered and order passed thereon. In this case, appellant had not offered any explanation for his absence from duty on seven occasions except for giving vague family circumstance. Member of Armed Forces cannot take his duty lightly and abstain from duty at his will, hence, order of discharge was justified. Further held, court of enquiry stands specifically excluded under Para 5(a). [Satgur Singh v. Union of India, (2019) 9 SCC 205]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 11(6-A) r/w Ss. 11(4) and 11(6) and S. 7(2): Arbitration clause in document/agreement/conveyance compulsorily required to be stamped, but which is not duly stamped, is not enforceable, even post introduction of S. 11(6-A). Law laid down in SMS Tea Estates, (2011) 14 SCC 66, held, is in no way affected by introduction of S. 11(6-A), as said decision does not fall in expression “notwithstanding any judgment, decree or order of any Court” contained in S. 11(6-A). This is so, firstly, as enquiry by Court as to whether compulsorily stampable document, which contains arbitration clause, is duly stamped or not, is only an enquiry into whether such arbitration agreement exists in law, as it would not “exist” as a matter of law until such document is duly stamped. Secondly, it is enjoined by the provisions of the Stamp Act to first impound such document and see that stamp duty and penalty (if any) is paid before the agreement, as a whole, can be acted upon. Further, Stamp Act applies to such document as a whole and it is not possible to bifurcate the arbitration clause contained in such agreement. [Garware Wall Ropes Ltd. v. Coastal Marine Constructions And Engineering Ltd., (2019) 9 SCC 209]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302, 326-A and 460: In this case of death of woman due to acid attack, accused was sentenced to death, however, no particular depravity or brutality in acts of accused warranting classification of case as “rarest of the rare” was found, hence, death sentence commuted to life imprisonment. [Yogendra v. State Of M.P., (2019) 9 SCC 243]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 306 and 498-A: In case of abetment of suicide and cruelty, there is need to establish conduct of accused which drove deceased to commit suicide. As in this case allegations of cruelty, harassment, mistreatment, etc. by appellant-husband which allegedly drove deceased wife to commit suicide, were not established at all and were neither based on testimony of family of deceased, nor alleged letter written by deceased shortly before her death, hence, acquittal was restored. [Jagdishraj Khatta v. State Of H.P., (2019) 9 SCC 248]

Armed Forces — Discharge/Dismissal — On ground of red mark entries — When permissible: It is imperative for Commanding Officer, even after award of such entries, to consider nature of offences for which entries were awarded and other relevant factors, since mere award of four red entries does not make discharge mandatory. In this case, red mark entries were made for the first time at a time when appellant had almost completed pensionable service. In light of overall view of facts and circumstances, held, discharge not justified. Hence, set aside with grant of all consequential benefits. [Narain Singh v. Union of India, (2019) 9 SCC 253]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 r/w S. 34 — Murder — Circumstantial evidence: In this case there was murder of deceased by his neighbours, including appellant herein, due to previous enmity. Depositions of prosecution witnesses which stood rigour of cross-examination clearly supported prosecution version and established enmity between accused and deceased. This fact supported by PW 1, wife of deceased’s last seen evidence, her prompt complaint to police and forensic evidence which correlated recovered weapon to physical injuries on body of deceased, held, proves prosecution case beyond any reasonable doubt independent of extra-judicial confession. High Court, held, justified in upholding the conviction of appellant. [Sadayappan v. State, (2019) 9 SCC 257]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 — Murder by firing from firearm at close range near teashops in city: In this case, deceased was killed in close range firing by appellant at instigation of deceased appellant, who was his father. The cause of death, being haemorrhage and shock caused by bullet injury from firearm, was established by PW 5 (doctor). The fact that there was no exit wound, nor assault weapon nor bullet recovered was immaterial as unshaken eyewitness account was corroborated by medical evidence. As place of occurrence was near two teashops within a city, it cannot be said that there would not have been adequate lighting at night. Absence of residue of undigested food in stomach of deceased was also insignificant as process of digestion in normal, healthy persons may continue for a long time after death, hence conviction was confirmed. [Prabhash Kumar Singh v. State Of Bihar, (2019) 9 SCC 262]

Infrastructure Laws — Ports, Port Trusts and Maritime Boards — Demurrage Charges/Port Rents and Other Dues/Auction of Cargo/Goods: In this case, for the period prior to 29-1-2001, the user of facilities at Kandla Port, Gujarat for storing imported/exported cargo, was liable to pay tariff as per the scales and terms of Noti. dt. 4-11-1993. Noti. dt. 4-11-1993 had specified rent/usage charges for open space, covered space, containers, office accommodation, etc., which charges were payable dependent upon the space and the length of time used for storage. Traffic Manager issued a Circular dt. 31-8-1998 stating that due to congestion and overstacking at Kandla Port, problems had cropped up with regard to accounting, stacking and delivery of cargoes, etc. and non-availability of adequate storage space for export cargoes and to overcome this problem, storage of cargoes would not be allowed for more than two months and the same was challenged by the appellant/user of facilities at the port. It was held by the Court that it was clear from the Notes of the notification, that the notification had empowered and left it to the Traffic Manager to deal with the question of unauthorised occupation, including the time-limits or period during which the goods could be authorised to be stored. Further, the notification had not specified when and in what circumstances use of the storage area would be treated as unauthorised as this was left to the wisdom of the Traffic Manager who was the person-in-charge and responsible for efficient and proper functioning of the Port operations and mandated to take the need-based decisions on the basis of prevalent facts and circumstances. In this case, validity of the notification not having being challenged, hence held that the Traffic Manager was competent to fix time-limit for storage and the levy of penalty for unauthorised occupation of the space for period beyond sixty days of storage as fixed vide the impugned circular and the circular was in conformity and in consonance with the notification and in particular Notes 1, 4 and 5 thereof. [Maheshwary Handling Agency (P) Ltd. v. Kandla Port Trust, (2019) 9 SCC 267]

Education Law — Employment and Service Matters re Educational Institutions — Appointment/Recruitment:  Separate interviews for post of Assistant Professor under general category and reserved category, held, illegal. Every person is first a general category candidate. Benefit of reservation is granted to SCs, STs, OBCs, etc. as is permissible in law. Concessions availed by reserved category candidates are in nature of age relaxation, lower qualifying marks, concessional application money, etc. If a reserved category candidate qualifies on merit, he will occupy general category seat. [Pradeep Singh Dehal v. State Of H.P., (2019) 9 SCC 276]

Rent Control and Eviction — Bona fide requirement of landlord: Once landlord established bona fide requirement on date of institution of case, it subsists irrespective of delay in adjudication of case. Declining relief to landlord on ground of delay is impermissible as it would encourage tenant to protract litigation. [D. Sasi Kumar v. Soundararajan, (2019) 9 SCC 282]

Environment Law — Development vis-à-vis Ecology: National, Urban and Rural Development — Constructed area which is to be treated as “built-up area” for reckoning environmental impact: Ruling in Goel Ganga Developers, (2018) 18 SCC 257, that municipal building laws regarding FSI and FAR are irrelevant for reckoning “built-up area” for environmental impact, held, not only does not in any way violate judgment of three-Judge Bench in Okhla Bird Sanctuary case, (2011) 1 SCC 744, but rather furthers the spirit of the law laid down therein. Concern of three-Judge Bench in Okhla Bird Sanctuary case, was not to reduce the ambit of “built-up area”, but rather to enhance it. [Goel Ganga Developers India (P) Ltd. v. Union Of India, (2019) 9 SCC 288]

Constitution of India — Arts. 226 and 227 — Exercise of power — Dismissal of writ petition at threshold where order under challenge itself based on earlier directions issued by High Court — Propriety of: In this case, it was held that as High Court did not examine certain important issues relating to release of land from acquisition proceedings, matter remanded for reconsideration. [Krishan Chander v. State Of Haryana, (2019) 9 SCC 292]

Government Grants, Largesse, Public Property and Public Premises — Cancellation of allotment: Remanding matter to competent authority for reconsideration of cancellation of allotment, not justifiable, where an aggrieved person had not even applied therefor and in the meantime, person to whom allotment had been validly made had altered its position based on the allotment. [Kasturibai Sukharam Khandelwal Trust v. Indore Development Authority, (2019) 9 SCC 299]

National Highways Act, 1956 — S. 3-J [as amended by National Highways Laws (Amendment) Act, 1997]: Said S. 3-J excluding applicability of LA Act, 1894 resulting in non-grant of solatium and interest in respect of lands acquired under National Highways Act, which were available if lands were acquired under Land Acquisition Act, 1894, held, violative of Art. 14 of the Constitution. [Union of India v. Tarsem Singh, (2019) 9 SCC 304]

Government Contracts and Tenders — Contractual Obligations and Rights — Privity and Third-Parties’ Obligations and Rights: In this case, there was no privity of contract between Central Government and appellant contractor. Contract of appellant was with Municipal Council concerned, which had invited tender for said contract under a Centrally sponsored scheme, without funds having been sanctioned for that municipality at the time by Central Government, nor were Central funds sanctioned for release before expiry of Scheme concerned. Though inter-governmental communication from Ministry of Urban Development sought release of Central funds there was no approval therefor from Finance Department. Since there was no approval from the Finance Department, held, appellant cannot claim such amount on basis of an interdepartmental communication where Ministry of Urban Development has sought release of funds from Ministry of Finance. High Court judgment declining to direct release of funds, was held, proper. [Madhoor Buildwell Private Limited v. Yeola Municipal Council, (2019) 9 SCC 350]

Evidence Act, 1872 — Ss. 101 to 104 and 111 — Pardanashin illiterate lady — Protection conferred by law upon: In this case, there were no pleadings by plaintiff as to her being pardanashin illiterate lady entitled to protection of law and that burden of proof should be shifted onto defendant to establish absence of fraud. Thus, it was held that protection of law afforded to such ladies could not be given, and onus of proof to establish that there was no fraud, could not be shifted onto defendant. [Ali Hussain v. Rabiya, (2019) 9 SCC 353]

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