2020 SCC Vol. 3 (Page 184-End)

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 11 and 8 — Arbitrability of disputes in question: Excluded/excepted matters i.e. matters excluded from the purview of arbitration agreement and referable to a named person/authority for adjudication, by consent of parties is non-arbitrable. Decision on excluded/excepted matters, as in present case by such named person/authority qua such excluded/excepted matters, in present case being delay in completion of work and levy of liquidated damages, would be binding. [Mitra Guha Builders (India) Co. v. ONGC, (2020) 3 SCC 222]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — S. 149: Power to make up deficiency of court fees should not permitted to be misused to abuse process of court. Plaintiff must file suit in the correct form, seeking proper reliefs, as warrranted by the facts of the case, and value its suit in bona fide manner. [Atma Ram v. Charanjit Singh, (2020) 3 SCC 311]

Colliery Control Order, 1945 — Cls. 3, 3-A, 4, 4-A and 4-B — Price Fixation — Authority of North Eastern Coalfields (NEC), Assam to enhance price for LSS consumers: In this case, Resolution dt. 16-11-1996 passed by the Linking Committee, specifically stipulates that the price to be charged from the appellants was to be decided by NEC, Assam as prevalent at any point of time. In view of this specific treatment of pricing along with reference to Appellant 1 as linked unit, said Resolution has to be construed to mean that treatment of the appellant as a linked unit was for purpose of regular supply of coal. Pricing factor was separated from such deemed linking. It is clear from Agenda Item 23 of the said meeting wherein reference has been made to SSF units and cokery units which had been allocated coal. It was these units to be treated as linked units. Distinction between allocation and linking clearly emerges from the said decision of the Linking Committee. It is a fact that treatment of Appellant 1 as a linked unit was fiction. Such fiction was replaced by reality on basis of specific provision in Resolution (Agenda Item 24) so far as pricing is concerned. As Resolution dealt with “linking” and “pricing” separately, fiction linking could not be extended to actual pricing. [S.K.J. Coke Industries Ltd. v. Coal India Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 270]

Constitution of India — Art. 137 — Review Petition — Rejection of, in Nirbhaya Gang Rape case: Hearing of petitions in open court declined. Order under review did not suffer from any error apparent warranting its reconsideration, hence, review petitions rejected. [Pawan Kumar Gupta v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 3 SCC 239]

Constitution of India — Art. 137 — Review under — Nirbhaya case (Gang rape in bus, December 16, 2012, Delhi) — Brutal, barbaric gang rape, unnatural sex and assault, leading to death of victim: In this case, there was no error apparent on face of record in appreciation of evidence or findings of judgment under review. None of grounds raised in review petition call for review of judgment. Review petition is not for rehearing of appeal on reappreciation of evidence over and over again. A party is not entitled to seek review of judgment merely for purpose of rehearing of appeal and a fresh decision. Hence, review petition stands dismissed. [Akshay Kumar Singh v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 3 SCC 431]

Constitution of India — Art. 21 — Informant acting as investigating officer: Rights of accused are undoubtedly important, but so are rights of victim. Law has to cater wider variety of situations as appear in society. While interpreting law, higher judiciary considers such exceptions as are called for without disturbing pith and substance and original intention of legislature. Principle of fair trial is constant, ongoing, evolutionary process continually adapting itself to changing circumstance and, therefore, higher courts endeavour to strike right balance while interpreting law. Societal interest mandates that law laid down in Mohan Lal, (2018) 17 SCC 627 cannot be allowed to become springboard seeking acquittal irrespective of all other considerations pursuant to investigating and prosecution when law in that regard was unclear. Applying prospective declaration of law, it is deemed that all actions taken contrary to declaration of law, prior to day of declaration are validated. Hence, all pending criminal prosecutions, trials and appeals prior to law laid down in Mohan Lal case shall continue to be governed by individual facts of case. [Varinder Kumar v. State of H.P., (2020) 3 SCC 321]

Constitution of India — Art. 366(29-A)(d) r/w Arts. 246(4), 286 and 297 — Jurisdiction of State to levy sales tax when the vessel/ship/tug involved is used in the territorial waters of India, which are deemed to be Union Territory: For the purposes of Art. 366(29-A)(d), the taxable event is the transfer of the right to use the goods regardless of when or where the goods are delivered for use. Thus, the deemed sale takes place at the site where the right to use the goods is transferred i.e. it is of no relevance where the goods are delivered under the right to transfer to use them. In this case, the agreement was signed in Mangalore, but the vessel was used in the territorial waters of India. It was held that the situs of the deemed sale was in Mangalore. Thus, the transaction was liable to be taxed by the authorities concerned in the State of Karnataka. [Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd. v. State of Karnataka, (2020) 3 SCC 354]

Constitution of India — Arts. 19(1)(a) & (2) — Internet, cyberspace and social networking: Freedom of speech and expression through medium of internet enjoys constitutional protection under Art. 19(1)(a). Any restriction on the same must be in accordance with Art. 19(2), inclusive of the test of proportionality. [Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India, (2020) 3 SCC 637]

Constitution of India — Sch. VI Paras 2, 4, 5 & 20 — Exclusive jurisdiction of District Council Court to try suits and cases where both parties belong to Scheduled Tribes category: Noti. dt. 7-2-2017 appointed Additional Judge to District Council Court for trial of offences punishable with death, transportation of life or imprisonment of not less than five years. In expression “suits and cases”, “cases” includes trial of criminal case which had occurred in notified autonomous district, so long as victim and complainant are both from Scheduled Tribes. Fact that State is de jure complainant in all criminal cases, would not affect this position. [State of Meghalaya v. Melvin Sohlangpiaw, (2020) 3 SCC 711]

Consumer Protection — Services — Banking/Shares/Securities and other Financial Services — Delay in submission of insurance claim by lending bank qua cover obtained on behalf of borrower, as per terms of loan agreement — Compensation for, when not grantable: In this case in pursuance of the loan agreement, an insurance cover was obtained by the Bank on behalf of the borrower. A fire took place on the premises of the borrower and the hypothecated assets were destroyed, but the insurer not having accepted the claim, a consumer complaint was filed before SCDRC. SCDRC allowed the complaint and the Bank was directed to forward the claim of the insured to the insurer. In appeal, NCDRC found that the claim was submitted by the Bank nearly six-and-a-half years after the incident of the fire and was time-barred, and went on to foist the liability on the Bank. In this case, considering that the only direction of SCDRC was for the Bank to forward the insurance claim to the insurer, which had not been challenged by the borrower and that there had been a one-time settlement of the borrower with the Bank, the order of NCDRC holding the Bank liable to compensate the borrower in respect of the insurance claim, set aside. [SBI v. New India Assurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 258]

Consumer Protection — Services — Banking/Shares/Securities and other Financial Services: Non-replacement/Encashment of lost/stolen or mutilated or defaced Indira Vikas Patras (IVPs) purchased in cash does not amount to deficiency of services. [Supt. of Post Office v. Jambu Kumar Jain, (2020) 3 SCC 764]

Consumer Protection — Services — Insurance — Cause of incident of fire i.e. whether accidental or caused by insured — Determination of: In this case, it was held that the concurrent findings of the forums below, being findings of facts cannot be interfered. The presence of hydrocarbons at the site is not conclusive to infer that fire is caused by insured/use of kerosene, considering the material used in construction of store/premises. Further, whether the fire took place by a short circuit or any other reason, as long as insured is not the person who caused the fire, the Insurance Company cannot escape its liability in terms of the insurance policy. [Canara Bank v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 455]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 389 — Bail during pendency of appeal — Interim relief: Punitive harshness should be minimised and restorative devices to redeem the man, even through community service, meditative drill, etc. should be innovated. [Prahladbhai Jagabhai Patel v. State of Gujarat, (2020) 3 SCC 341]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 482 — Quashment of proceedings — Criminal liability arising out of contract with a company: To establish dishonest intention at time of entering of contract, it is necessary to implead the company, and to make specific allegations against officer(s) of company against whom proceedings have been filed, to either constitute their direct liability or vicarious liability. In absence of all of the above, held, criminal proceedings are not maintainable. [Sushil Sethi v. State of Arunachal Pradesh, (2020) 3 SCC 240]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 482 — Quashment of proceedings: In this case, while civil suit was pending, complaint came to be filed alleging that the agreement produced by appellant in the suit was a false and fabricated document. In view of conclusive opinion of appellate court that the agreement was not a forged document, very substratum of criminal complaint vanishes. Hence it was held that it will only be a complete abuse of process of law to allow appellants to be prosecuted. [Mukul Agrawal v. State of U.P., (2020) 3 SCC 402]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 482 — Quashment proceedings — Material that may be considered by High Court: The evidence produced by the accused in his defence cannot be looked into by the court, except in very exceptional circumstances, at the initial stage of criminal proceedings. The High Court cannot embark upon the appreciation of evidence while considering the petition filed under S. 482 CrPC for quashing criminal proceedings. If a prima facie case is made out disclosing the ingredients of the offence alleged against the accused, the Court cannot quash a criminal proceeding. [Rajeev Kourav v. Baisahab, (2020) 3 SCC 317]

Criminal Trial — Sentence — Death Sentence — Execution of — Nirbhaya Rape case: In this case, as convicts were not proceeding to avail legal remedies within a week as stipulated by High Court, liberty granted to petitioner to obtain fresh date for execution of death warrant. However, clarified that pendency of present SLP would not be impediment for trial court to consider prayer on its own merits. [Union of India v. Mukesh, (2020) 3 SCC 453]

Customs — Valuation — CBEC clarification dt. 28-11-2001 — Duty of customs, where the unclaimed/uncleared goods are sold by tender/auction: In this case, the importer had imported CTV kits and such goods were permitted by the Customs Department to be kept in warehouse for one year in terms of S. 59. The bond period expired but the importer did not clear the imported goods and also did not pay the rent for the warehouse. The imported goods were put for sale through auction under S. 63(2) with a valuation of imported goods at Rs 1,52,04,176 but could not be sold. Ultimately, the goods were sold by tender sale in which the highest bid received was of Rs 41,44,555. The Supreme Court held that this case was not a case of levy of customs duty on the importer as the importer had not sought the release of goods within the permitted period of warehouse. Thus, in view of the CBEC clarificatory Circular dt. 28-11-2001, held, the customs duty has to be paid on the basis of sale proceeds realized from the sale of the goods kept in a warehouse and not on the basis of the customs duty payable at the time of filing the bill of entry or on the date of expiry of permitted period of warehouse. In this case, directions were given to ascertain the customs duty keeping in mind the dispensation indicated in the enabling provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 and Ch. 21 of Central Board of Excise and Customs Manual read with circular dated 20-11-2011 and to adjust the same as per the priority specified in S. 150(2) of the Customs Act, 1962. [Union of India v. Associated Container Terminals Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 756]

Customs Act, 1962 — S. 130-A r/w S. 129-B: Calling for a statement from the Tribunal by High Court is not mandatory. Considering that S. 130-A(4) opens with the word “if”, held, it is not mandatorily required to call for a statement from the Tribunal in every case, where a reference is made and High Court has a discretion on the facts of each case either to do so or not to do so. [CCE v. Adani Exports Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 754]

Election — Democracy and General Principles — Criminalisation of politics/Electoral Reform: There is increase in incidents of criminals i.e. persons against whom criminal cases were pending at different stages, entering politics. Directions issued in Public Interest Foundation, (2019) 3 SCC 224, not complied with. Political parties failed to explain why candidates with pending criminal cases have been selected as candidates. Directions issued by exercising powers under Arts. 129 and 142 of Constitution, for compliance with the above directions in Public Interest Foundation case. [Rambabu Singh Thakur v. Sunil Arora, (2020) 3 SCC 733]

Evidence Act, 1872 — Ss. 65-A and 65-B — Electronic records — Admissibility of: In view of Anvar P.V., (2014) 10 SCC 473, pronouncement of Supreme Court in Shafhi Mohammad, (2018) 2 SCC 801, needs reconsideration. With the passage of time, reliance on electronic records during investigation is bound to increase. Law therefore needs to be laid down in such regard with certainty. Therefore, it is appropriate to refer instant matter to larger Bench. [Arjun Panditrao Khotkar v. Kailash Kushanrao Gorantyal, (2020) 3 SCC 216]

Government Grants, Largesse, Public Property and Public Premises — Affirmative Action Schemes, Pension and Other Schemes — Pension Schemes — Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980 — Paras 3 and 4 — Fixation of cut-off date for grant of SSS Pension to participants of Goa Liberation Movement, Phase II — Validity: Vide G.O. dt. 17-2-2003, under relaxed criteria, Freedom Fighters Pension was granted to participants of Goa Liberation Movement Phase II (1954-1955) who were in receipt of State pension by 1-8-2002. In this case, R-1 was granted State pension on 11-3-2008 w.e.f. 1-12-2007. The evidence indicated that issue of cut-off date was deliberated by GOI and cut-off date was consciously fixed. The Supreme Court held that when benefit is granted in relaxation of Scheme, it is open for Government to put conditions for eligibility. Further held, object of SSSP Scheme, 1980 was to grant Freedom Fighters Central Pension to those who fulfil eligibility which was clearly fulfilled in including Goa Liberation Movement also under the Scheme. Besides, relaxation granted by Order dt. 17-2-2003 was not the object of Government. Scheme dt. 17-2-2003 had intelligible differentia and also nexus with object. When relaxation is granted to limited category, others not covered by Scheme cannot claim violation of any right. Right of equality can be claimed only by those who fulfil eligibilities under the SSSP Scheme, 1980. [Union of India v. Sitakant S. Dubhashi, (2020) 3 SCC 297]

Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 — Ss. 13 and 9 — Divorce — Facts that may be considered — Facts arising subsequent to filing of divorce petition — Second appeal in divorce proceedings: Framing of substantial question of law on basis of criminal complaint filed by wife alleging harassment for dowry, said complaint having been filed subsequent to filing of divorce petition by husband on ground of mental cruelty, not proper. [Mangayakarasi v. M. Yuvaraj, (2020) 3 SCC 786]

Income Tax Act, 1961 — S. 43-B: The deduction of MODVAT credit of excise duty that remains unutilised at the end of the relevant accounting year, not permissible. The unutilised credit in MODVAT scheme cannot be considered as a sum actually paid by the assessee. [Maruti Suzuki (India) Ltd. v. CIT, (2020) 3 SCC 718]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — S. 12 (as amended w.e.f. 16-8-2019) — Time-limit for completion of insolvency resolution process — Extension of, in the interest of justice: In this case, Homebuyers’ association filed an application before NCLT seeking clarification as to the manner in which the voting percentage of the allottees (homebuyers) will be reckoned in CoC, which remained pending for considerable time. Further, constant experimentation went about at different level due to lack of clarity on matters crucial to the decision-making process of CoC and also in view of the recent legislative changes, the scope of resolution plan stood expanded. Further, there was unanimity between all the stakeholders that liquidation of JIL must be eschewed. In exercise of powers under Art. 142 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court directed that the 90 days’ extended period [as provided under amended S. 12(3) IBC] be reckoned from the date of the present order instead of the date of commencement of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Act, 2019. [Jaiprakash Associates Ltd. v. IDBI Bank Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 328]

Labour Law — Dismissal — Interference by Labour Court/Tribunal/Judicial review/validity — Interference with concurrent findings of fact — Scope: Setting aside of dismissal order by Division Bench of High Court relying upon circular issued subsequently, not proper. [A.P. SRTC v. N. Danaiah, (2020) 3 SCC 267]

Land Acquisition Act, 1894 — Ss. 54, 23, 28 and 34 — Delay in filing appeal: Appellant is not entitled to interest for period of delay in filing appeal. The fact that at time of condoning of delay while admitting delayed appeal, no condition was imposed is irrelevant. [Nimna Dudhna Project v. State of Maharashtra, (2020) 3 SCC 255]

Limitation Act, 1963 — Arts. 54 and 113 — Applicability of Art. 54 or Art. 113 — Agreement to sell with fixed date of performance, entered into prior to acquisition proceedings in respect of suit property: In this case agreement to sell provided for date of performance (and which was later extended), thus attracting first limb of Art. 54 which provides that time from which period begins to run is from “the date fixed for performance”, ruling out applicability of second limb of Art. 54 which provides “…if no [date of performance] is fixed, when the plaintiff has notice that performance is refused”. Plaintiff was all along ready and willing to perform its part of the contract, and even obtained quashment of the acquisition proceedings. Thus, held, Art. 113 of the Limitation Act would apply and the right to sue accrued when subsequent to the quashment of the acquisition proceedings, the respondent-plaintiff served a notice upon the appellant-defendants to execute the sale deed and the defendants refused to execute the sale deed. As suit for specific performance was filed within three years thereof, said suit was correctly held by High Court to be within time. [Vundavalli Ratna Manikyam v. V.P.P.R.N. Prasada Rao, (2020) 3 SCC 289]

Limitation Act, 1963 — S. 27 & Arts. 65 and 64 — Acquisition of ownership by adverse possession — Nature of rights acquired by adverse possessor: Use of adverse possession as a sword by plaintiff is permissible in view of three-Judge Bench decision in Ravinder Kaur Grewal, (2019) 8 SCC 729. Person claiming acquisition of title by adverse possession can now file a suit for declaration of title and possession, based on his adverse possession. [Narendra Kumar Tripathi v. Karuna Auddy, (2020) 3 SCC 220]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 493 — Cohabitation caused by man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage — Ingredients of offence whether present — Determination of: In this case, on 21-7-2013, ring ceremony was performed and date of marriage between the appellant and victim was scheduled for 19-11-2013. On 16-8-2013 appellant established physical relationship with victim misleading her that, now since the marriage is finalised and only ceremony of “pheras” remains to be performed. The Supreme Court held that to constitute an offence under S. 493 IPC, the allegations in FIR must demonstrate that appellant had practised deception on the victim causing a false belief of existence of lawful marriage and which led her to cohabit with him. Insofar as offence under S. 493 IPC was concerned, since FIR does not disclose the commission of any offence under the said section and thus continuance of criminal prosecution under S. 493 IPC would amount to abuse of process of the court. However, insofar as offence against appellants under Ss. 3/4, Dowry Prohibition Act was concerned, since the allegations disclose the commission of cognizable offence in the FIR, it was not a fit case to exercise power under S. 482 CrPC. Charge-sheet under S. 493 IPC was quashed. However, in respect of charge-sheet under S. 3 r/w S. 4, Dowry Prohibition Act, the appeal stood dismissed. [Arun Singh v. State of U.P., (2020) 3 SCC 736]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 217 and 221: In this case, intentional disobeying of directions of law and intentional allowing accused persons to escape from place of occurrence was not proved by prosecution against appellant-accused police officer. Hence, reversal by High Court of his acquittal by trial court, thereby, convicting him under Ss. 217 and 221, set aside on consideration of evidence adduced by prosecution and acquittal of appellant, restored. [V. Rajaram v. State, (2020) 3 SCC 200]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/34 and 201/34: In this case of death by strangulation body was recovered from well. The circumstances which were relied upon by prosecution to prove guilt of accused, were not complete. The circumstances were not leading to conclusion, that in all human probability, murder must have been committed by accused. Hence, conviction of accused, was reversed. [Mohd. Younus Ali Tarafdar v. State of W.B., (2020) 3 SCC 747]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 376(1) and 450 — Alleged rape of married lady after house trespass — Conviction of accused solely relying upon deposition of prosecutrix — Sustainability: In this case, material contradictions were present in deposition of prosecutrix. Further, neither any independent witness nor even medical evidence supported prosecution case. FSL report also not supported prosecution case. Variation in prosecutrix’s version about giving complaint, present. Prosecutrix failed to pass tests of “sterling witness”. Delay in lodging FIR, also present. Presence of enmity/dispute between both parties with respect to land, evident from records. In absence of any other supporting evidence, it was held that accused was entitled to benefit of doubt, hence, conviction was reversed. [Santosh Prasad v. State of Bihar, (2020) 3 SCC 443]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 406, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 114 — Cheating and forgery — Criminal proceedings for — When not sustainable: When issue as to genuineness of documents, forgery of which was the basis of the criminal proceedings, was pending consideration in civil suit, FIR ought not to have been allowed to continue in this case as it would prejudice the interest of parties and the stand taken by them in the civil suit. Rajeshbhai Muljibhai Patel v. State of Gujarat, (2020) 3 SCC 794]

Rent Control and Eviction — Arrears of Rent/Default/Tender of Rent/Striking off Defence — Arrears of rent: Disconnection of electricity by lessor for default in arrears of rent, maintenance and electricity charges, permissible. [Infinity Infotech Parks Ltd. v. Shiva Jute Mills (P) Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 262]

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 — S. 18: The waiver of pre-deposit condition for filing an appeal before DRAT is not permissible, even when the auction-sale is challenged by the guarantor and not the primary borrower. A guarantor or a mortgagor, who has mortgaged its property to secure the repayment of the loan, held, stand on the same footing as the borrower and if guarantor/mortgagor other than the primary borrower wants to file an appeal, he must comply with the terms of S. 18. Union Bank of India v. Rajat Infrastructure (P) Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 770]

Service Law — Age — Date of birth: Prayer for change in date of birth at fag end of career is not permissible. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. v. Shyam Kishore Singh, (2020) 3 SCC 411]

Service Law — Age — Date of birth: Prayer for change in date of birth at fag end of career is not permissible. Kirloskar Bros. Ltd. v. Laxman, (2020) 3 SCC 419]

Service Law — Age — Date of birth: Prayer for change in date of birth at fag end of career is not permissible. Eastern Coalfields Ltd. v. Ram Samugh Yadav, (2020) 3 SCC 421]

Service Law — Appointment — Eligibility conditions/criteria: Non-appointment as candidates in question (contempt petitioners in this case) did not meet eligibility criteria, or did not take part in selection process, or did not opt for the specific vacancies concerned, held, proper and could not amount to contempt of orders of Court directing State to fill vacancies concerned in accordance with law. [Sanjai Kumar v. Prabhat Kumar, (2020) 3 SCC 184]

Service Law — Departmental Enquiry — Judicial review/Validity — Interference with findings — Scope: Power of judicial review conferred on constitutional court or Tribunal is not that of an appellate authority but is confined only to decision-making process. Only when finding recorded by disciplinary authority is not supported by evidence or is unreasonably arrived at, writ court can interfere with finding of disciplinary authority. Parameters when High Court shall not interfere in disciplinary proceedings stated. [State of Karnataka v. N. Gangaraj, (2020) 3 SCC 423]

Service Law — Promotion — MACP Scheme: In terms of Circular dt. 12-9-2012 issued by Ministry of Railways benefit under MACP scheme granted to employees who had qualified and were appointed under promotion quota after clearing LDCE. Hence it was held that enquiry in respect of appointments of respondents to post of ECRC was required in terms of Circular dt. 12-9-2012 as well as Cl. 129 of Indian Railway Establishment Manual, Vol. 1 dealing with filling up posts of ECRCs. Since Tribunal as well as High Court had failed to consider said issue, matter remanded to Tribunal for consideration afresh. [Union of India v. Rosamma Benny, (2020) 3 SCC 407]

Service Law — Resignation: Resignation cannot be deemed as “voluntary retirement” on completion of qualifying service for purposes of pensionary benefits. Resignation is different from “voluntary retirement” and applicable legal consequences are distinct. “Resignation” cannot be substituted for “voluntary retirement” based on employee’s tenure. [BSES Yamuna Power Ltd. v. Ghanshyam Chand Sharma, (2020) 3 SCC 346]

Service Law — Seniority — Determination of seniority — Deputationist — Absorption in deputee department: In this case, latter part of OM dt. 29-5-1986 envisaged that seniority would not be granted where transfer is “not strictly in public interest”. R-1 absorbed at his own insistence consequent to repeated representations despite departmental communication wanting R-1 to go back to his parent cadre. Hence the Supreme Court held, such transfer by absorption can hardly be stated to be “strictly in public interest”, much less in public interest. Further held, where conditions for absorption categorically stated that absorption would be “deemed to be new recruitment” and previous service would be counted for all purposes “except his/her seniority in cadre” and R-1 having accepted it without demur, seniority list prepared as a sequitur thereto was valid. Besides, this was not a case of transfer but of deputation and thus, principle of person moving to another cadre would squarely apply and such deputee would also be governed by terms and conditions of absorption. The High Court erred in relying on OMs dt. 29-5-1986 and 27-3-2001 in terms of which period of deputation was to be counted for seniority purposes ignoring latter part of OM dt. 29-5-1986. However, considering that R-1 had earned promotion in meantime and demoting him at this stage would be rather harsh, seniority list directed to be maintained by creating ex cadre/supernumerary post. [Govinda Chandra Tiria v. Sibaji Charan Panda, (2020) 3 SCC 803]

Service Law — Termination of Service — Termination order — Consequential termination order — Operation of: In this case, termination order of appellant being consequential to reversion order reverting senior to post of appellant, held, did not operate independently of said reversion order. Said reversion order having been stayed by Court, such stay would automatically result in stay of consequential termination order of appellant. Dismissal of independent writ petition of appellant challenging the termination order, thus held, was inconsequential. Rana Pratap Singh v. Vittiya Evam Lekha Adhikari,(2020) 3 SCC 478]

Service Law — Transfer of Employee/Service — Generally — Transfer: Employee, held, cannot claim a posting as of right to a place of his choice. [Union of India v. Deepak Niranjan Nath Pandit, (2020) 3 SCC 404]

Specific Relief Act, 1963 — S. 16(c) — Decree for specific performance — Readiness and willingness of plaintiff to perform his part of the contract — Essentialities to be considered: Mere plea that plaintiff was ready to pay consideration, without any material to substantiate this plea, cannot be accepted. It is not necessary for plaintiff to produce ready money to establish its readiness and willingness to pay the consideration, but it is mandatory on his part to prove that he had the means to generate consideration amount within the time-frame contemplated in the contract. [C.S. Venkatesh v. A.S.C. Murthy, (2020) 3 SCC 280]

Specific Relief Act, 1963 — S. 38: In this case, there was bare suit for injunction against trespass and for peaceful enjoyment of property by plaintiff whose possession was not disputed. The Supreme Court held that the questions of title and ownership are not precluded from consideration. Each case will have to be examined on its own merits keeping in view the nature of the pleading put forth before the trial court and the understanding of the case with which the parties have gone to trial. [Jose v. Johnson, (2020) 3 SCC 780]

Taxation — Concession/Exemption/Incentive/Rebate/Subsidy — Exemption — Possible scope of: Future levies i.e. levies imposed after the exemption notification comes into existence, not to be presumed to be within the contemplation of Government when issuing exemption notification i.e. Government cannot be presumed to have projected its mind into the future and granted exemption in respect of taxes which may be levied in the future. [Unicorn Industries v. Union of India, (2020) 3 SCC 492]

Telecommunications Laws — Licence Fees — National Telecom Policy, 1999 Regime — Licence agreement between Government of India and telecom service providers — Bindingness of: Gross revenue/Adjusted gross revenue, as defined under Cl. 19 of licence agreement between Government of India and telecom service providers under National Telecom Policy, 1999 Regime, valid. Contra proferentem rule of construction is not applicable, when there is no ambiguity. Doctrine of unconscionable bargaining is not applicable to commercial contracts. The jurisdiction of TDSAT does not extend to adjudication of validity of the terms and conditions incorporated in the licence of a service provider. [Union of India v. Assn. of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India, (2020) 3 SCC 525]

Transfer of Property Act, 1882 — S. 108 — Unauthorised Occupant/Trespasser: In this case there was reduction of damages/compensation for unauthorised occupation by lessee, as awarded by trial court, in the interest of justice, considering that the lessee was a Consumer Cooperative Wholesale Store which had already vacated the leased premises and would be put in a financially precarious position owing to the burden imposed. [Periyar District Consumer Coop. Wholesale Stores Ltd. v. B. Balagopal, (2020) 3 SCC 775]

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