2022 SCC Vol. 5 Part 4

SCC Part

   

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 23 R. 3-A and Or. 7 R. 11(d) — Bar under Or. 23 R. 3-A on suit seeking to set aside compromise/consent decree on ground that compromise on which decree is based was not lawful — Applicability of: An independent suit challenging compromise/consent decree on ground that it is not lawful is not maintainable. Proper remedy for challenging compromise/consent decree on ground that it is not lawful, reiterated, is to approach the same court, which had passed the compromise/consent decree, which the plaintiff in present case had already done by filing an appropriate application. Said application, held, to be decided in accordance with law, though the plaint in the suit in question had been rightly rejected. [Sree Surya Developers & Promoters v. N. Sailesh Prasad, (2022) 5 SCC 736]

Contract and Specific Relief — Contractual Obligations and Rights — Particular Contractual Forms — Auctions/Tenders — Generally: Highest bidder in auction does not acquire any right to have that bid accepted merely because it is the highest bid. Acceptance of highest bid or highest bidder is always subject to conditions of holding the auction and the right of highest bidder is always provisional to be examined in the context in different conditions in which auction has been held. [State of Punjab v. Mehar Din, (2022) 5 SCC 648]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 156(3), 190, 200, 482, 154(1) and 154(3) — Power of Magistrate under S. 156(3) — Prerequisites for exercise of, and Manner in which to be exercised: Application under S. 156(3) CrPC without affidavit duly sworn by complainant cannot be entertained by Magistrate. [Babu Venkatesh v. State of Karnataka, (2022) 5 SCC 639]

Education Law — Employment and Service Matters re Educational Institutions — Reservation of Seats/Quota/Exemption/Relaxation/Priority and Affirmative Action —Dereservation/Interchangeability of reserved seats: In this case, for recruitment to post of Elementary Trained Teachers (ETT), candidates belonging to OBC category claimed appointment against 595 posts of SC/ST category remaining unfilled on account of “non-availability” of eligible candidates in said category, on basis of Policy Letter No. 17246 dt. 17-3-1954. It was held that in terms of S. 7 of the 2006 Act, dereservation of any reserved vacancy which is to be filled by direct recruitment or promotion cannot be done by appointing authority but can possibly be directed only by Department of Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes after recording satisfaction, and if necessary or expedient in public interest. Further held, Policy Letter No. 17246 which was withdrawn on 11-11-1964 but later restored vide Letter dt. 20-6-1974 was not in contravention of S. 7, but rather in spirit of the 2006 Act. Moreover, considering that advertisement for recruitment was issued in the year 2015-16, issuance of direction after 6 yrs of notifying selection list for filling unfilled vacancies of SC/ST category by OBC candidates would be unjustified. Besides, selection list prepared in the year 2016 cannot survive long lapse of time to fill vacancies after interchangeability. [Mandeep Kumar v. State (UT of Chandigarh), (2022) 5 SCC 800]

Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923 — S. 3 — Employer’s liability to pay compensation: Contention raised before Supreme Court for the first time by respondent that it was not liable to pay compensation since appellant did not possess driving licence to drive commercial goods carrier, not entertained. In absence of any challenge to impugned judgment by respondent assessing appellant’s disability as 70% partial permanent disability instead of 100% as found by Commissioner and hence, proportionately reducing amount of compensation, employer cannot dispute its liability to pay compensation since it was held liable by High Court. [Arjun v. Iffco Tokio General Insurance Co. Ltd., (2022) 5 SCC 706]

Government Contracts and Tenders — Formation of Government Contract — Modes of entering into a Government Contract — Public Auction/Tender — Cancellation of auction/Re-auction/Re-tender/Scope of judicial review: Unless and until it was found that there was any material irregularity and/or illegality in holding public auction and/or auction-sale was vitiated by any fraud or collusion, it is not open to set aside auction or sale in favour of highest bidder on basis of some representations made by third parties even in a public interest litigation, on ground that value of property might have been much more. [K. Kumara Gupta v. Sri Markendaya & Sri Omkareswara Swamy Temple, (2022) 5 SCC 710]

Government Grants, Largesse, Public Property and Public Premises — Affirmative Action Schemes, Pension and Other Schemes — Pension Schemes — Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980: Stipulated conditions for entitlement to benefit of Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980 must be satisfied. Factors that may be considered and Material that may be relied on for determination of the same, discussed. [Union of India v. Krishna Modi, (2022) 5 SCC 731]

Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 — S. 24 — Interim maintenance — Entitlement to and Quantum of — Relevant factors: Reduction in capacity to pay of the person liable to pay the maintenance is relevant factor while determining maintenance. [Uma Priyadarshini S. v. Suchith K. Nair, (2022) 5 SCC 659]

Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 — S. 33-C(2) — Recovery of money due from employer — Jurisdiction of Labour Court — Scope — Principles clarified: In application under S. 33-C(2), Labour Court has no jurisdiction to adjudicate dispute of entitlement or basis of claim of workmen and can only interpret award or settlement on which claim is based. Further held, without prior adjudication or recognition of disputed claim of workmen, proceedings for computation of arrears of wages and/or difference of wages claimed by workmen not maintainable. Lastly, benefit sought to be enforced under S. 33-C(2) must necessarily be pre-existing benefit or one flowing from preexisting right. [Bombay Chemical Industries v. Deputy Labour Commr., (2022) 5 SCC 629]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — S. 29-A(h) — Non-eligibility for submitting a resolution plan — Requisites for: Existence of personal guarantee invoked by creditor is sufficient to render disqualification against the person executing guarantee, even when the application seeking initiation of insolvency resolution process is filed by some other creditor. Once an application for insolvency resolution is admitted on behalf of “a creditor” then the process would be one of rem, and therefore, all creditors of the same class would have their respective rights on a par with each other. The word “such creditor” in S. 29-A(h) has to be interpreted to mean similarly placed creditors after the application for insolvency application is admitted by the adjudicating authority. Therefore, what is required to earn a disqualification under the said provision is a mere existence of a personal guarantee that stands invoked by a single creditor, notwithstanding the application being filed by any other creditor seeking initiation of insolvency resolution process. [Bank of Baroda v. MBL Infrastructures Ltd., (2022) 5 SCC 661]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — S. 30 — Voting on alternative resolution plans: For a resolution plan which may be viable, feasible and of acceptable financial matrix and which is not against the provisions of S. 30(2), if majority of the members having voting shares approve it but fall short of the 75% (now 66%) limit as prescribed and later on it comes to the notice of one or other members that because of the failure, the corporate debtor will be liquidated, it is always open to the members to change their opinion subsequently with the approval of the rest of the members of committee of creditors, but it should be within 270 days. However, to make resolution plan successful, though it is open to committee of creditors to change its opinion by assenting in favour of one or other plan, committee of creditors once it has voted in favour of the resolution plan cannot change its views. [DBS Bank Ltd. v. Sharad Sanghi, (2022) 5 SCC 694]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — Ss. 61, 9, 7 and 238-A: Reliance on new/additional documents at the appellate stage to establish acknowledgement of debt is not permissible, without granting an opportunity to the opposite side to respond to such documents. Order admitting application under S. 9, on the basis of such documents, set aside, and matter remanded to adjudicating authority whilst taking the additional documents on record. [Wizaman Impex (P) Ltd. v. Kedrion Biopharma Inc., (2022) 5 SCC 810]

Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 (37 of 1966) — Ss. 125 to 127 —Commencement of proceedings for acquisition of reserved land under the 1966 Act: Expression “no steps as aforesaid” in S. 127 has to be read in the context of the provisions of the 1894 Act and now the 2013 Act. Mere passing of a resolution by the Planning Authority or sending a letter to the Collector or even to the State Government, held, cannot be treated as the commencement of the proceedings for the acquisition of the land under the 1966 Act and/or the 1894 Act or now the 2013 Act. [Kolhapur Municipal Corpn. v. Vasant Mahadev Patil, (2022) 5 SCC 758]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302 and 148 — Large number of accused involved: For determination of culpability of each accused there is necessity of parsing evidence carefully in respect of each accused. In this case, deceased was hacked to death with hunting sickles, culpability of the 11 accused (Accused 1 to 11), determined after appreciation of evidence. [M. Nageswara Reddy v. State of A.P., (2022) 5 SCC 791]

Service Law — Dismissal/Discharge — Judicial review/validity — Limited scope of judicial review under Arts. 226 or 136 of the Constitution in respect of disciplinary proceedings/dismissal: Power of judicial review in such cases is well circumscribed by limits of correcting errors of law or procedural errors leading to manifest injustice or violation of principles of natural justice and is not akin to adjudication of case on merits. [UCO Bank v. Krishna Kumar Bhardwaj, (2022) 5 SCC 695]

Service Law — Pension — Generally — Nature of: Pension is not a bounty but a right and cannot be arbitrarily dealt with. In this case, held, existing provisions of the Bank (Employees) Pension Regulations, 1995 could not have been amended with retrospective effect, taking away accrued rights, that too merely on basis of Joint Note signed between Indian Banks’ Association and Officers’ Association having no statutory basis. No government order, notification or circular can substitute or amend statutory rules or regulations framed under authority of law. [Bank of Baroda v. G. Palani, (2022) 5 SCC 612 ]

Service Law — Selection Grade — Benefit of — Delay/Laches in seeking: In this case, it was held that suit instituted in the year 2010 after compulsory retirement of respondent on 4-1-2003 for granting benefit of selection grade, was clearly beyond residuary period of limitation and thus, time-barred. [Rajasthan SRTC v. Sadhu Singh, (2022) 5 SCC 634]

U.P. Trade Tax Act, 1948 (15 of 1948) — S. 3-H r/w Ss. 4-A and 3 — State Development Tax — Benefit of S. 3-H(3) i.e. adjustment to allow exemption under S. 4-A as per Noti. dt. 31-3-1995: Column 5 of said notification specifies the rate of reduction of tax, that is, reduction or exemption on proportional basis. Column 5 specifies the monetary limit up to which the exemption is permissible. Applying the plain language interpretation, held, the benefit of adjustment mentioned in S. 3-H(3) should be as per monetary limit specified in Column 5 of said Notification. It is a general rule of interpretation of taxing statutes that there is no room for any intendment and they are to be read in the light of what is clearly expressed and enforced literatim or ad verbum. There are no equitable considerations or implications or assumptions or presumptions as to import provisions to supply any assumed deficiency in taxing statutes. Clarified that in case any of the respondent assessees or other assessees have availed the benefit of one-time settlement schemes, the Trade Tax Department would not be liable to refund any amount payable as the said assesses would be bound by the declarations made and benefit granted under the said settlement scheme. [CTT, U.P. v. Santosh Kumar Kushwaha, (2022) 5 SCC 752]

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