2019 SCC Vol. 9 November 14, 2019 Part 4

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 or S. 304 Pt. I [S. 300 Thirdly] — Murder or culpable homicide — Injury if sufficient in ordinary course of nature to cause death — Medical evidence: In this case, there were inconsistencies regarding whether head injury (the fatal injury) was inflicted by accused. The deceased died next day of the incident. Giving benefit of doubt to accused, regarding sufficiency of injury to cause death in ordinary course of nature, conviction was altered from S. 302 IPC to S. 304 Pt. I IPC. [Satish Kumar v. State of Haryana, (2019) 9 SCC 529]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 22 R. 10 or Or. 1 R. 10 — Impleadment of transferee/assignee of rights and interest in suit property challenging sale of suit property to another, as plaintiff — Entitlement to: In this case, suit was filed by landowner against his power-of-attorney holder and appellants, challenging sale of land by former in favour of latter on ground that former had not been conferred power to sell. R-1 purchased suit land from plaintiff owner by execution of registered sale deed. After death of original plaintiff, R-1 filed application under Or. 1 R. 10 for impleading himself as plaintiff 2 in suit pending in trial court, alleging that LRs of original plaintiff i.e. R-2 (A to D) were trying to occupy suit land in collusion with appellants. Thereafter, LRs of original plaintiff executed registered declaration deed in favour of appellants confirming sale deed in their favour. Subsequently, pursuant to a settlement between LRs of original plaintiff and appellants, LRs filed memo/application (pursis) for unconditional withdrawal of suit. The Supreme Court held that  R-1 as assignee of rights and interest of original plaintiff and having vital interest in suit, was entitled to be impleaded in suit under Or. 22 R. 10, instead of Or. 1 R. 10. Mentioning of incorrect provision no impediment when court has power to pass appropriate order. [Pruthvirajsinh Nodhubha Jadeja v. Jayeshkumar Chhakaddas Shah, (2019) 9 SCC 533]

Constitution of India — Art. 227 — Maintainability — Alternative remedy/Exhaustion of remedies: Availability of remedy under CPC in cases of suits/proceedings before civil courts is near total bar to exercise of supervisory jurisdiction under Art. 227. [Virudhunagar Hindu Nadargal Dharma Paribalana Sabai v. Tuticorin Educational Society, (2019) 9 SCC 538]

Rent Control and Eviction — Eviction Suit/Trial: In this case repeated adjournments were taken by respondent tenant. The prescribed authority passed ex parte order of eviction against respondent tenant. Time-bound expeditious disposal of the order was directed by the Court. [Krishna Devi Maheshwari v. Surendra Surekha, (2019) 9 SCC 547]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/149, 323/149 and 147 — Murder — Eyewitness: In this case injury report of the related injured witnesses was absent. It was held that the infirmities which were pointed out were at best defects in investigation and did not raise doubts about credibility of related injured witnesses or the prosecution case as a whole, hence, conviction was confirmed. [Fainul Khan v. State Of Jharkhand, (2019) 9 SCC 549]

Service Law — Appointment — Compassionate appointment: In terms of Regn. 4(3) of the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation Compassionate Appointment Regulations, 2010  claim for both compassionate appointment and compensation cannot be made against appellant SRTC in case of death of employee occurring while travelling in vehicle of appellant Corporation. The dependants of employee who claim both compensation under MV Act and compassionate appointment from appellant-Corporation are not on same footing as dependants of deceased employee who claim under MV Act against private owner or insurance company, and compassionate appointment from appellant-Corporation, thus forming a separate class. Art. 14 forbids class legislation but does not forbid reasonable classification for purpose of legislation. Besides, intention of Regn. 4(3) is to obviate liability of Corporation from payment of compensation under Act and to provide compassionate appointment to same person. Thus, there is rational nexus between basis of classification and object sought to be achieved. Hence, Regn. 4(3) is valid. [Rajasthan SRTC v. Danish Khan, (2019) 9 SCC 558]

Customs Act, 1962 — Ss. 130-E and 130 — Appeal before Supreme Court — When maintainable: Appeal qua violation of conditions of exemption notification by assessee is maintainable only before High Court. Upon a conjoint reading of Ss. 130 and 130-E, it can be seen that an appeal shall lie to High Court against every order passed in appeal by the Appellate Tribunal, if the High Court is satisfied that the case involves a substantial question of law. An appeal is maintainable before Supreme Court only if any question having relation to the rate of duty is involved or if it relates to value of goods for the purpose of assessment. [Commr. of Customs v. Motorola (India) Ltd., (2019) 9 SCC 563]

Town Planning — Colonisation/Development Project: In this case, there were hindrances in completion/full implementation of colonisation scheme due to negligence of coloniser in paying licence fee as required under scheme, and various other disputes between allottees and colonizer. Arbitrator designated as Court-Appointed Committee and clarifications and directions issued for full implementation of the scheme. It was clarified that arbitrator appointed by Court shall function as a Court-Appointed Committee and not as an arbitrator appointed under Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. [Okhla Enclave Plot Holders’ Welfare Assn. v. Union of (India), (2019) 9 SCC 572]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 498-A, 114 and 323: In this case, cruelty and physical assault of deceased was alleged against father-in-law, appellant (A-1) and brother-in-law (A-3), and cruelty alone against sister-in-law and mother-in-law (A-4 and A-5). All relatives of husband other than appellant father-in-law were acquitted. It was held that evidence against father-in-law is also not sufficient to uphold his conviction alone, hence, he was acquitted. [Kantilal v. State of Gujarat, (2019) 9 SCC 603]

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 — S. 138 — Dishonour of cheque — Death of convicted accused — Liability of legal heirs in such case, if any: Legal heirs, in such case, are neither liable to pay fine nor to undergo imprisonment. However, they have right to challenge conviction of their predecessor, only for the purpose, that he was not guilty of any offence. [M. Abbas Haji v. T.N. Channakeshava, (2019) 9 SCC 606]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 375 & Expln. 2 thereunder and S. 90 — Meaning of “consent” with respect to S. 375: “Consent” with respect to S. 375 involves an active understanding of circumstances, actions and consequences of proposed act. Individual who makes a reasoned choice to act after evaluating various alternative actions (or inaction) as well as various possible consequences flowing from such action or inaction, consents to such action. Where a woman does not “consent” to sexual acts described in main body of S. 375, offence of rape has occurred. While S. 90 IPC does not define term “consent”, “consent” based on a “misconception of fact” is not consent in the eye of law. Thus, in case of woman engaging in sexual relations on false promise to marriage, her “consent” is based on “misconception of fact”, and such sexual act(s) will amount to rape. [Pramod Suryabhan Pawar v. State Of Maharashtra, (2019) 9 SCC 608]

Criminal Trial — Sentence — Death sentence — Parliament as repository of will of the people: Legislature has distanced itself from propounders of “No-Death Sentence” in “No Circumstances” theory as recently in 2019. Significantly, by 2019 Amendment of S. 6, POCSO Act, 2012, death sentence has been introduced as a penalty for offence of aggravated penetrative sexual assault on a child below 12 yrs. If Parliament, armed with adequate facts and figures, has decided to introduce capital punishment for the offence of sexual abuse of a child, in 2019, the court hitherto will bear in mind the latest Legislative Policy even though it has no applicability in a case where the offence was committed prior thereto. Judicial precedents rendered before this recent amendment of 2019 came into force, therefore, ought to be viewed with a purposive approach so that the legislative and judicial approaches are well harmonised.  [Ravi v. State of Maharashtra, (2019) 9 SCC 622]

Armed Forces — Disability Pension — Requirements for entitlement to — Absence of disability or disease noted at time of enrolment: There can be no mechanical application of principle that any disorder not mentioned at time of enrolment is presumed to be attributed or aggravated by military service. Question is whether because of being posted in harsh and adverse conditions, military personnel suffered disability. Further held, Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensioners Awards, 1982, themselves provide that certain diseases ordinarily escape detection at time of physical examination which have intervals of normalcy unless adequate history is given. Hence, mere fact that schizophrenia was not detected at time of enrolment would not lead to presumption that disease was aggravated or attributable to military service. Each case has to be decided on its own merit on parameters whether duties assigned to individual led to stress and strain leading to psychosis and psychoneurosis. [Narsingh Yadav v. Union of India, (2019) 9 SCC 667]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 403, 406, 420 and 506-B — Cheating — Breach of trust: Where there exists a fraudulent and dishonest intention at time of commission of offence, as appeared to be the case in this case, accused having agreed to sell lands to victim, which had been sold prior to agreement between accused and victim, etc., law permits victim to proceed against wrongdoer for having committed an offence of criminal breach of trust or cheating. [Lakshman v. State Of Karnataka, (2019) 9 SCC 677]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/149 and 148 — Murder: In this case, eyewitness account was belied by medical evidence. There was unnatural conduct of related eyewitnesses and evidence linking recovered firearms and vehicle allegedly used in offence, to accused was also absent. Hence, reversal of conviction, confirmed. [Prem Singh v. Sukhdev Singh, (2019) 9 SCC 683]

National Highways Act, 1956 — Ss. 3-G(5) & (6) — Compensation — Determination of: Madishetti Bala Ramul, (2007) 9 SCC 650 is not applicable to matters governed by NH Act, 1956. If amount determined by competent authority under the 1956 Act is not acceptable to either party, they may apply to Central Government to appoint arbitrator to determine the same. [Union of India v. Balwant Singh, (2019) 9 SCC 687]

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