Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In an appeal against the order where the Madras High Court had after giving detailed findings on merits, relegated to the statutory remedy of filing the appeal before Appellate Authority (Alternative Remedy) under section 45 IA (7) of Reserve Bank of India Act 1934, the bench of Arun Mishra and MR Shah, JJ ordered that the proceedings before the Appellate Authority will not be affected by the findings recorded by the High Court. It said,

“Since the petitioner has been relegated to the statutory remedy of filing the appeal, the observation made by the High Court shall not come in the way of the petitioner.”

The Court was hearing the case wherein the RBI had cancelled the registration of petitioner company Nahar Finance and Leasing Limited for non-compliance of the minimum criteria of net owned fund. Hence,

  • a Writ petition was filed by the said company challenging the order of the cancellation of registration on the ground of natural justice as the cancellation order showed that the RBI rejected the replies of the company in one line.
  • The single judge granted time for compliance.
  • RBI filed a Writ Petition against the order of the Single Judge.
  • Division bench set aside the judgment of the Single Judge after deciding the matter on merits and relegated the parties to Appellate Authority (Alternative Remedy) under section 45 IA (7) of Reserve Bank of India Act 1934.

Advocate Swarnendu Chatterjee, in his plea, had argued that the High Court has,

“put a full stop which is akin to civil death of the petitioner companies even when it was relegating the matter to the appellate authority.”

The Madras HC verdict in Viswapriya Financial Services and Securities Limited V. Executive Director, Reserve Bank of India, No 1932 of 2015 was also referred to wherein the Honourable Division Bench remitted the matter to the Appellate Authority but refrained from giving any finding on merit and especially on similar issue regarding opportunity of being heard prior to cancellation of registration under section 45 IA (6) of Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 was also not given as the bench was remitting the matter to the Appellate Authority envisaged under subsection 7 to section 45 IA of Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. Pertinently the honourable Division Bench therein had directed the Appellate Authority to consider the matter independently without being influenced by the judgments of learned Single Judge and Division Bench.

[Nahar Finance and Leasing Ltd v. Regional Director, RBI, Special Leave to Appeal (C) No(s).17243-17245/2019, order dated 29.07.2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Dhiraj Singh Thakur, J., dismissed a writ petition filed against the order of Special Tribunal, whereby the Tribunal directed the appellate authority to adjudicate the appeal afresh keeping in mind Rule 52 of the Jammu & Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Rules, 1977 (the Rules).

The main issue that arose before the Court was whether Rule 52 of the Rules would be applicable in the instant matter.

The Court observed that the petitioner had participated in the appeal proceedings for more than 2 years. This action on the part of the petitioner suggests that it had elected to accept the order of the Tribunal. The Court referred to the Supreme Court judgment of Joint Action Committee of Airline Pilots Association of India (ALPAI) v. Director General of Civil Aviation, (2011) 5 SCC 435, wherein it was held that in case if a party does not speak or protests in a matter where he should, then such a party is estopped from challenging the outcome of such a dispute, this doctrine is known as doctrine of election. The Court further observed that while deciding the issue of limitation in terms of Rule 52, the appellate authority must also consider the contents of the main appeal and only after that it should form an opinion if the case requires interference or not. The rule does not leave it to the discretion of the Appellate Authority to choose in which cases it may decide to go into the merits to decide whether it is a case for the exercise of revisional powers.

The Court held that in the instant case the appellate authority had only touched the issue of limitation without giving any consideration to the main merits of the case and without proceeding to the contents of the appeal, it was impossible to form an opinion in terms of Rule 52 of the Rules. Resultantly, the petition was dismissed and the order of the Tribunal was upheld.[Rano Devi v. State of J&K,2018 SCC OnLine J&K 836, order dated 16-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Rajendra Menon, CJ, and V. Kameswar Rao, J. dismissed an appeal preferred by the writ petitioner against the order of the Writ Court allowing the petition filed by the respondents against the order of Chief Information Commission.

The appellant had filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The CPIO concerned refused to furnish the same while giving the appellant an opportunity to carry out inspection of the record and copies thereof. The appellant filed an appeal before the Appellate Authority prescribed under the Act. The Appellate Authority dismissed the appeal. Thereafter, the matter reached to the CIC who decided the matter in favour of the appellant and directed furnishing of certified copies while also recommending disciplinary action against the Appellate Authority. Challenging the order of CIC, a writ petition was filed by the Union of India which was allowed by the Writ Court. Aggrieved by the same, the appellant filed the instant appeal.

The High Court perused Section 20 of the Act and observed that it was clear that sub-section (2) thereof makes only a CPIO liable for disciplinary action. Further, it was also observed that an Appellate Authority under Section 19(1) is classified as an officer senior in rank to the CPIO. meaning thereby that the CPIO is a different authority from the Appellate Authority. The legislative intent was only to take a disciplinary action against CPIO and not against the Appellate Authority as was evident from Section 20(2). Thus, it was held that no penal action could be taken against the Appellate Authority under RTI Act. As such the appeal was dismissed. [R.K. Jain v. Union of India,2018 SCC OnLine Del 10957, dated 29-08-2018]