Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: Md. Nizamuddin, J. disposed of a petition which was filed challenging the impugned order passed by the Deputy Commissioner of Revenue on the ground that the said impugned order was bad in law for the reasons that the petitioners being the owner of the goods in question, which had been detained without giving any opportunity of hearing to the petitioners under the relevant provision of Section 129 of the West Bengal Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017.

The Court noted that the petitioners claiming to be the owners of the goods in question, which had been detained, were ready and agreeable to pay the applicable tax and penalty as per amended provision of Section 129 of the said Act. The Court was of the opinion that the detained goods in question shall be released on making payment as per amended provision of Section 129(1) of the said Act and which was to be made by the petitioners within seven days from date and on receipt of such payment, authorities concerned shall release the detained goods in question within 72 hours from receipt of such payment and in the interest of justice and considering the fact that the petitioners being the owner of the detained goods in question could not get effective opportunity of hearing before passing of the impugned order, thus it was set aside and remanded to the authority concerned to consider afresh and pass a reasoned and speaking order in accordance with law after giving an opportunity of hearing to the petitioners or its authorised representative.[Precious Trade Link (P) Ltd. v. Assistant Commissioner of State Tax under Bureau of Investigation, 2022 SCC OnLine Cal 279, decided on 15-02-2022]

Ms Rita Chatterjee, Mr G. Jha, Mr Abhijat Das, Mr R. K. Jha: For the Petitioners

Mr A. Roy, Ld. GP, Mr S. Saha, Mr Debasish Ghosh, Mr N. Chatterjee: For the State

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A.P. Thaker, J. decided over a petition wherein the case of the petitioner was that the properties in question were originaly private properties of Guru Keshavdas, and after the death of Guru Keshavdas, Guru Karsandas became the Mahant and succeeded the properties under his Will. On the death of Guru Karsandas his chela Guru Atmaram became Mahant and succeeded to the properties of Guru Karsandas under his Will dated 08.12.1941. Thereafter, Guru Atmaram died leaving his Will dated 06-05-1947, appointing Guru Ranchhodas as Chela.

Second Class Magistrate Baroda held that Ranchhodas was shishya and heir of Guru Atmaram. However, the then District Magistrate set aside the order and held that Guru Ranchoddas had failed to prove that he was shishya of Guru Atmaram. Against that the petitioner had filed Civil Suit which came to be finally disposed of by the Supreme Court in appeal filed by Guru Ranchoddas with a finding that he has failed to prove that he was appointed as chela or shishya by Guru Atmaram. In the year 1968, during the pendency of the suit, one Vitthaldas Patel had applied for registration of the said Ramji Mandir as public trust. Assistant Charity Commissioner in this respect held that the properties of the Mahant were of his ownership and were not any properties of any trust. The said decisions had become final as there has not been any further proceedings undertaken under the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950.

Thereafter, Guru Ranchoddas under his Will appointed the deceased petitioner no.1 as his

Chela or heir. The Government of Gujarat took a decision to handover the property to the deceased petitioner no.1 immovable properties and cash of Ramji Mandir under temporary custody of Mamlatdar Vadodara.

After llistening to the arguments of the parties it was established that property in question does not belong to the government. Not only it appears fom the record that the property is of private property of late Mahant Atmaram but also the government has assessed the property as unclaimed property. The Court noted that the deceased petitioner was

declared to be a “Chela” or heir of Guru Ranchhoddas by his Will. The petitioner approached the Court of Civil Judge for Succession Certificate by filing Succession Application  and while it was pending decision to hand over the movable and immovable property in favour of the petitioner was taken by the then State Government and proceeding of entrustment of properties to the petitioner was initiated. In that view of the matter, the petitioner withdrew said Succession Application for issuance of succession certificate due to decision of earlier State Government of handing over movable and immovable property to the petitioner. Thus, the petitioner has relinquished his right to get succession certificate.

Next government had stayed the proceedings and intimated the Collector to keep inabayance of the order and granting the properties in favour of the deceased petitioner. Upon considering the averments made in the affidavit in reply it clearly appears that at no point of time any opportunity was given to the petitioner. It is tried law that any order affecting any legal rights of any person, an opportunity of being heard needs to be granted especially when there is one order passed in his favour in respect of moveable or immovable property and the same order has partly implemented. Therefore, it is immediate requirement of principles of natural law and before passing any adverse orders such persons needs to be granted appropriate opportunity of being heard.

The Respondents were directed to give appropriate opportunity to the petitioners of being heard for cancellation of the order of granting moveable and immovable property in favour of deceased petitioner 1.[Mahant Suryaprakash Ranchhoddas v. State of Gujarat, 2022 SCC OnLine Guj 94, decided on 02-02-2022]

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Uttarakhand High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: Manoj Kumar Tiwari, J., allowed petitions which were filed having the common question of law and facts thus were taken together with the consent of parties.

The petitioner was elected as Director/Member of Committee of Management of a Cooperative Society, namely, Buhuddesiya Narsan Gurukul Kisan Sewa Sahkari Samiti Ltd., Haridwar, on 23-07-2018 thereafter; he was elected as Chairman of the Committee of Management of the said Cooperative Society for a period of five years. On 08-08-2020, the Committee of Management passed a resolution for removal of the petitioner and two other persons (petitioners from the other petition) from the membership of Committee of Management of the Cooperative Society on the ground that they had absented from three consecutive meetings of the Committee of Management.

Petitioners then had approached the District Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, who had appointed an inquiry officer and based on the inquiry report District Assistant Registrar issued a notice to the Managing Director of the Cooperative Society concerned on 17-03-2021 calling upon him to show cause as to why disciplinary proceedings may not be initiated against him for fraudulently removing the petitioners from the membership of the Cooperative Society. It was further provided in the notice that petitioners shall be permitted to participate in the next meeting of the Committee of Management/Board of Directors. Later on, by the order dated 31-03-2021, passed by the Registrar in which he had set-aside the notice/order dated 17-03-2021 passed by District Assistant Registrar.

Counsel for the petitioner, Mr Jitendra Chaudhary & Mr B. N. Molakhi submitted that the order passed by the Registrar was passed without issuing any notice to the petitioners or without affording any opportunity of hearing to them.

The Court observed that Since the District Assistant Registrar in his order had provided that petitioners shall be entitled to participate in the next meeting of the Board of Directors/Committee of Management, therefore, it was incumbent upon the Registrar to provide opportunity of hearing to the petitioners before setting-aside the order/notice issued by the District Assistant Registrar.

The Court allowed the petition and held that since Registrar has passed the impugned order without hearing the petitioners, therefore, the impugned order, which has been passed in violation of principles of natural justice, cannot sustained.

[Krishna Pal Singh v. State of Uttarakhand, 2021 SCC OnLine Utt 491, decided on 21-05-2021]

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Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: Sanjeev Prakash Sharma, J., disposed of a petition which was filed against the order passed by the Additional Session Judge, Women Atrocity Cases No.1, Kota.

The counsel for the petitioner, Mr Sudhir Jain submitted that the complainant had challenged the order passed by the Learned ACJM, Kota whereby the protest petition filed by the complainant against the final report submitted by the Investigating Authority no. 229 of 2012 was rejected, however in the Revision Petition, the petitioners who were accused in the complaint were not given an opportunity of hearing.

The Court observed that at the stage of revision, the Additional Session Judge has not given the opportunity of hearing to the accused petitioners. The Court explained the judgment relied on by the counsel of the petitioner in Manharibhai Muljibhai Kakadla v. Shailesh Bhai Mohanbhai Patel, (2012) 10 SCC 517 wherein the Supreme Court had examined the law Section 401(2) of the Code and decided whether the complainant’s revision against the dismissal of his complaint, could have been decided without opportunity of hearing to the accused petitioner, relevant extract of which is given under,

            “53. We are in complete agreement with the view expressed by this Court in P. Sundarrajan 1 , Raghu Raj Singh Rousha2 and A. N. Santhanam3. We hold, as it must be, that in a revision petition preferred by complainant before the High Court or the Sessions Judge challenging an order of the Magistrate dismissing the complaint under Section 203 of the Code at the stage under Section 200 or after following the process contemplated under Section 202 of the Code, the accused or a person who is suspected to have committed crime is entitled to hearing by the revisional court. In other words, where complaint has been dismissed by the Magistrate under Section 203 of the Code, upon challenge to the legality of the said order being laid by the complainant in a revision petition before the High Court or the Sessions Judge, the persons who are arraigned as accused in the complaint have a right to be heard in such revision petition. This is a plain requirement of Section 401(2) of the Code. If the revisional court overturns the order of the Magistrate dismissing the complaint and the complaint is restored to the file of the Magistrate and it is sent back for fresh consideration, the persons who are alleged in the complaint to have committed crime have, however, no right to participate in the proceedings nor they are entitled to any hearing of any sort whatsoever by the Magistrate until the consideration of the matter by the Magistrate for issuance of process. We answer the question accordingly. The judgments of the High Courts to the contrary are overruled.”

The Court held that Additional Session Judge had fallen in error in not giving an opportunity of hearing to the accused petitioners and remanding the matter back to the concerned ACJM without giving opportunity of hearing the petitioner. The Court quashed and set aside the order and remanded the matter back to Additional Session Judge to give opportunity of hearing the petitioners before deciding the revision petition filed by the complainant.[Moti Lal Nayak v. State of Rajasthan, 2020 SCC OnLine Raj 2152, decided on 02-01-2020]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Uttarakhand High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: The Division Bench of Narayan Singh Dhanik and Ramesh Chandra Khulbe, JJ., disposed of a writ petition while giving certain directions in the matter filed by an officer in the Higher Judicial Service of the State of Uttarakhand seeking a writ of certiorari to quash the orders dated 24-11-2020 and 9-1-2021.

The petitioner was appointed as the Civil Judge (Junior Division)/Judicial Magistrate, Ist Class in the State of Uttarakhand in September, 2003 and he had joined his duties on 23-9-2003. He was promoted in the High Judicial Cadre in the year 2011. When he was posted as Ist Additional District Judge, Haridwar, a complaint was lodged against him on 19-3-2018 for the incidents allegedly happened on 31-1-2018 and 2-2-2018. The petitioner was placed under suspension by the High Court vide its order dated 22-4-2018. A chargesheet was thereafter issued to him and a sitting Judge of this Court was appointed as Enquiry Officer to enquire into the charges levelled against the petitioner.

The Court noticed that the Presenting Officer did not admit the official documents which were issued on the administrative side by the District Judge, Haridwar. Same was the position regarding the e-mail which was sent by the delinquent officer to the official e-mail account of the Hon’ble High Court. The Enquiry Officer had rejected the said application on the ground that none of the documents, in question, had been filed by the delinquent officer. The Court mentioned that in the Supreme Court judgment of M.V. Bijlani v. Union of India, (2006) 5 SCC 88 it was held that departmental enquiry was a quasi-criminal in nature. The Court further explained that the distinction between the departmental enquiry and a criminal trial has been considered elaborately by the Supreme Court in Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation v. Sri C. Nagarju, (2019) 10 SCC 367 and held that this Court would, ordinarily, not interdict a departmental enquiry during its progress, as it is always open to the delinquent officer to question the mode and manner, in which the disciplinary enquiry is conducted, even after the enquiry is concluded and before the final order is passed. The court held that although the disciplinary proceedings are quasi-criminal in nature, the charges are not required to be proved like a criminal trial i.e. beyond all reasonable doubt.

Bench while disposing of the petition held that since the above documents had already been filed by the delinquent officer before the Enquiry Officer, one more opportunity should be given to the delinquent officer to prove the said documents submitted in defence while issuing certain directions:

  • The Registrar General will provide the video recording/CCTV footage of the enquiry proceedings to the delinquent officer within a period of ten days from the date of completion of the enquiry proceedings. The cost thereof shall be borne by the delinquent officer.
  • The Presenting Officer will verify the genuineness of the documents dated 13.11.2017, 31.1.2018 and 19.3.2018 as mentioned in the impugned orders within a period of three days and the Presenting Officer will submit its report regarding genuineness of these documents before the Enquiry Officer on or before 5th February, 2021.
  • The Presenting Officer will produce the concerned official of the Computer Section of the High Court before the Enquiry Officer on 5.2.2021 as the defence witness. In case the Enquiry Officer is not available on 5.2.2021, the Enquiry Officer would be at liberty to fix another date for recording the statement of the said witness.

[Kanwar Amninder Singh v. High Court of Uttarakhand, 2021 SCC OnLine Utt 157, decided on 01-02-2021]

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Kerala High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: B. Sudheendra Kumar J., allowing the present petition, held, “power conferred on the Drug Disposal Committee is not an arbitrary power and the exercise of it shall be on proper and relevant considerations.”

Vehicle of the petitioner was seized by the police in connection with Crime registered under Sections 22(b) and 22(a) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and Section 77 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The petitioner filed representation before the Drug Disposal Committee for the release of the said vehicle to the petitioner. The Drug Disposal Committee, as per the impugned order, dismissed the representation. The grievance of the petitioner is that the petitioner was not granted an opportunity of hearing before passing the said order.

Court placed reliance on Smart Logistics (M/s.) Kozhikode v. State of Kerala, 2020 (5) KHC 139, where it was held that the power conferred on the Drug Disposal Committee is not an arbitrary power and the exercise of it shall be on proper and relevant considerations. It was further held that the Drug Disposal Committee has to hear the person who would be affected by its order on disposal of the conveyance.

While setting aside the impugned order, Court directed the Drug Disposal Committee to pass fresh order on the representation made by the petitioner, in accordance with law, as expeditiously as possible.[Abhijayan v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 266, decided on 15-01-2021]

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Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Division Judge Bench of Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Dr Yogendra Kumar Srivastava, JJ., disposed off a writ petition issuing directions emphasizing upon the rule of audi alteram partem.

The writ petition was filed seeking to challenge a communication where the petitioner has been directed to deposit an amount pursuant to an enquiry report within a specified time period failing which proceedings for recovery would be initiated against him.

The Court observed that there was nothing in the impugned order or in the enquiry report to show that any opportunity of hearing was afforded to the petitioner before passing the aforesaid order and also during the course of the enquiry. The Court explained that,

            “In administrative law the principle of audi alteram partem has been held to be a fundamental principle of the rules of natural justice. This requires the maker of a decision to give prior notice of the proposed decision to the persons affected and an opportunity to make a representation. The exercise of a power which affects the rights of an individual must be exercised in a manner which is fair and just and not arbitrarily or capriciously. An administrative order involving civil consequences must necessarily be made in conformity with rules of natural justice. Any decision which has been made without compliance of the aforementioned fundamental principle of natural justice i.e. the rule of audi alteram partem, cannot be sustained.”

The Court held that the impugned order being violative of the rule of audi alteram partem which is a fundamental principle of natural justice was unsustainable. The Court disposed of the writ petition with a direction to the respondent to issue a show cause notice to the petitioner within three weeks.[Jai Ram Yadav v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine All 1362, decided on 18-11-2020]

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Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph has reiterated the principles of natural justice as follows:

(1) Natural justice is a flexible tool in the hands of the judiciary to reach out in fit cases to remedy injustice. The breach of the audi alteram partem rule cannot by itself, without more, lead to the conclusion that prejudice is thereby caused.

(2) Where procedural and/or substantive provisions of law embody the principles of natural justice, their infraction per se does not lead to invalidity of the orders passed. Here again, prejudice must be caused to the litigant, except in the case of a mandatory provision of law which is conceived not only in individual interest, but also in public interest.

(3) No prejudice is caused to the person complaining of the breach of natural justice where such person does not dispute the case against him or it. This can happen by reason of estoppel, acquiescence, waiver and by way of non-challenge or non-denial or admission of facts, in cases in which the Court finds on facts that no real prejudice can therefore be said to have been caused to the person complaining of the breach of natural justice.

(4) In cases where facts can be stated to be admitted or indisputable, and only one conclusion is possible, the Court does not pass futile orders of setting aside or remand when there is, in fact, no prejudice caused. This conclusion must be drawn by the Court on an appraisal of the facts of a case, and not by the authority who denies natural justice to a person.

(5) The “prejudice” exception must be more than a mere apprehension or even a reasonable suspicion of a litigant. It should exist as a matter of fact, or be based upon a definite inference of likelihood of prejudice flowing from the non-observance of natural justice

The court was hearing the challenging the cancellation of tender on the ground that it was “impractical” to go ahead with such tender. It was argued that such cancellation was illegal and arbitrary and against the principles of natural justice.

Applying the aforementioned principles to the facts of the case, the Court came to the conclusion that the respondent has been kept completely in the dark so far as the cancellation of the award of tender in his favour is concerned, the audi alteram partem rule having been breached in its entirety. Prejudice has indeed been caused to his client from the fact that one year of the contract period has been taken away.

[State of UP v. Sudhir Kumar Singh,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 847, decided on 16.10.2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Vibhu Bakhru, J. while addressing the petitions filed in respect to the impugned list of directors stated to have been disqualified under clause (a) of Section 164(2) of the Companies Act, 2013, explained with reasons and logic, the scheme of Section 164(2) and Section 167(1)(a) of the Act that was materially amended by the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2018.

Facts of the case

The present petitions were filed, inter alia, impugning the list of directors that were disqualified for default on the part of companies concerned in filing the annual returns and financial statements for the Financial Years 2014-2016, under Section 164(2)(a) of the Companies Act, 2013.

Adding to the above challenge, another challenge placed by the petitioner was to the list of disqualified directors published subsequently for defaults pertaining to the FYs 2012-2014 and 2013-2015.

The above-mentioned lists represent the disqualification of petitioners from being appointed/re-appointed as directors for a period of 5 years under Section 164(2)(a) of the Act. Names of the companies in which the petitioners were holding office have also been struck off from the Register of Companies.

Following are the 4 grounds on which the impugned list has been challenged:

  • Action of the respondents in disqualifying the petitioner is arbitrary as the petitioners were not afforded an opportunity to be heard, which is in violation of principles of natural justice.
  • Section 164 which mandates the disqualification of directors, being penal in nature, could not be applied retrospectively.
  • On the interpretation of Section 164(2)(a), it is noted that the petitioners cannot be disqualified to be directors of the companies, which have not defaulted in filing their annual returns and financial statements for a period of 3 consecutive years.
  • Defaults under Section 164(2) results in directors being disqualified from being appointed/re-appointed as directors but does not result in them demitting office as directors.

In addition, the petitioners also impugn the action of the respondents in deactivating their DINs and DSCs.


Court concluded its decision by providing relevant reasoning for the same in respect to the provisions of Sections 164(2) and 167(1)(a) of the Act.

To clarify the subject of controversy in the present petition, Court stated that it is limited to interpreting the provisions of Sections 164(2) and 167(1) (a) of the Act and no challenge to the constitutional vires of the aforesaid sections have been placed.

Following are the questions that the Court addressed in the present petition:

1.Whether the provisions of Section 164(2)(a) are retrospective?

Controversy arises in the context of the submissions advanced on behalf of the petitioners that considering the defaults in filing financial statements and annual returns for the financial year ending 31.3.2014 (FY 2013-14) and prior years for the purposes of imposing the disqualification under Section 164(2) of the Act, tantamount to applying the said provisions retrospectively. This, according to the petitioners, is impermissible.

None of the counsel appearing for the respondents canvassed the proposition that the provisions of Section 164(2) of the Act would relate back to a period prior to its enactment. Thus, concededly, the said Section is applicable prospectively.

  • Controversy, essentially, relates to whether the default as contemplated in clause (a) of Section 164(2) of the Act, in respect of a financial year prior to the said provision coming into force, could be considered for the purposes of the said Section.

Thus in view of the Court’s opinion, Section 164(2) of the Act operates prospectively. Such prospective operation would entail taking into account failure to file the financial statements pertaining to the financial year ending 31.03.2014 on or before 30.10.2014

“Court finds no reason why such defaults should not be considered for the purposes of Section 164 of the Act. Merely, because the returns to be filed pertaining to a period prior to 01.04.2014, is of no relevance considering that the default in doing so has occurred after the provisions of Section 164 of the Act had become applicable.”

2. Whether a prior notice and an opportunity of being heard were required to be afforded to the petitioners before including their names in the impugned list and whether the impugned list is void as being violative of principles of natural justice?

 Principles of natural justice admit a considerable degree of flexibility and said rules can be suitably modified where it is expedient to do so. Principles of natural justice are not inflexible.

Court proceeded to examine the statutory provisions and applicability of the audi alteram partem rule. Section 164 (2) of the Act merely sets out the conditions which if not complied with would disqualify an individual a person from being reappointed or appointed as a director.

 This process does not entail any decision-making process on the part of the Authorities administering the Act. Authority is not required to pass any order disqualifying an individual. Thus, in the said circumstances, audi alteram partem rule would be inapplicable.

Hence the Court is of the view that the principles of audi alteram partem are not applicable given the nature of the provisions of Section 164(2) of the Act. However, even if it is assumed that disqualifying a director entails an administrative decision, there is a qualitative decision required to be taken by the authorities, the rule of affording a prior hearing cannot be readily inferred as a part of Section 164(2) of the Act.

 3.Interpretation of provisions of Section 164(2) of the Act.

Court noted the contention of the petitioners that the petitioners may be disqualified to act as directors of the concerned companies that had committed defaults as contemplated under Section 164(2)(a) of the Act – that is, had failed to file financial statements or annual returns for a continuous period of three financial years – but they are not disqualified to act as a directors of companies that are not in default.

High Court noted that no person who is or has been a director of company shall be eligible to be re-appointed as a director of ‘that company’ or appointed in any ‘other company’.

“Clause (a) of Section 167 (1) of the Act indicates that a Director would demit office if he incurs the disqualification under Section 164 of the Act. The proviso to Clause (a) of Section 167(1) of the Act was introduced with effect from 07.05.2018, by virtue of the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2018.”

 Whereas Section 164 disqualifies a person from being appointed/reappointed as a director, the import of Section 167(1)(a) is that such a director demits his office immediately on incurring such disqualification.

Proviso to Section 167(a) as introduced by the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2018 with effect from 07.05.2018, cannot be read in isolation and without reference to the proviso to Section 164(2), which was introduced by the same amending enactment.

Court further added to its decisions that, the petitioners would not demit their office on account of disqualifications incurred under Section 164(2) of the Act by virtue of Section 167(1)(a) of the Act prior to the statutory amendments introduced with effect from 07.05.2018. If they suffer any of the disqualifications under Section 164(2) on or after 07.05.2018, the clear implication of the provisos to Section 164(2) and 167(1)(a) of the Act are that they would demit their office in all companies other than the defaulting company.

Thus, in view of the above observations, Court found no infirmity with the impugned list to the extent it includes the names of the petitioners as directors disqualified under Section 164(2) of the Act. Court also rejects the contention that the impugned list is void as having been drawn up in violation of the principles of natural justice.

Court finds merit in the contention that the petitioners cannot be stated to have demitted their office as directors by virtue of Section 167(1) of the Act.

The Scheme of Section 164(2) and Section 167(1)(a) of the Act was materially amended by the Companies Amendment Act, 2018 by the introduction of the provisos to Section 164(2) and Section 167(1)(a) of the Act with effect from 07.05.2018.

Directors who incur disqualification under Section 164(2) of the Act after the said date, would also cease to be directors in other companies on incurring such disqualification.

Respondents were directed to reactivate the DIN and DSC of the petitioners. Court also clarified that petitioners would continue to be liable to pay penalties as prescribed under the Act. [Mukut Pathak v. Union of India, WP (C) 9088 of 2018 & CM Appln. No. 35006 of 2018, decided on 04-11-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: B.A. Patil, J. while allowing the appeal set aside the Judgment of the trial court with a direction to recall the witnesses who have not been cross-examined.

Asif Hussain, the appellant/accused in the instant case preferred this appeal against the judgment and order of his conviction and sentence for the offence punishable under Section 397 of Penal Code, 1860 passed by the Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge, Bengaluru City.

Sirajuddin Ahmed, Counsel for the appellant submitted that the trial court did not give full opportunity to the accused to cross-examine all the witnesses and passed the impugned order erroneously. 

In consonance to the Counsel for the appellant, M. Divakar Maddur, High Court Government Pleader submitted that the evidence of PW7 was not fully chief examined and for this no reason was assigned. 

The Court after analyzing the evidences given in the trial court observed that witnesses were examined. But, after the Public Prosecutor was done with the examination-in-chief, counsel for the accused took time for preparation. However, the court below rejected the prayer without any justifiable reasons and took that there is no cross examination. Moreover, PW7 was examined-in-chief in part. The cross examination of PWs 9 and 10 was not even recorded. The material witnesses who were examined before the Court were also not cross-examined. Thus, it was clear that principles of natural justice were not followed. 

The Court remitted back the matter and directed the trial court to expeditiously dispose of the case.[Asif Hussain v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine Kar 1600, decided on 04-09-2019]

Patna High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Anil Kumar Upadhyay, J. quashed an office order issued against a delinquent employee ruling that the disciplinary authority had not assigned reasons for the said order and had also not given an opportunity of hearing to the employee.

The instant petition was filed having been aggrieved by an office order inflicting upon him major punishment of stoppage of two annual increments with cumulative effect, censure, non-payment of salary for the period of suspension and punishment that he shall not hold the post of Headmaster-cum-Drawing & Disbursing Officer in future.

The Court noted that the petitioner had been proceeded against on the basis of charges submitted by the District Superintendent of Education, Munger. After enquiry report, second show cause notice was issued to him in the form of impugned office order. The said second show cause notice which recorded a finding different from that of the enquiry officer did not accord reasons for order and no opportunity of hearing was provided to the petitioner.

The Court placed reliance on dictum of  Apex Court in Punjab National Bank v. Kunj Behari Misra, (1998) 7 SCC 84 and observed that while the finding of enquiry officer is not binding on the disciplinary authority, but while differing with the finding disciplinary authority is required to assign reasons and provide opportunity of hearing so that the delinquent may have an opportunity to persuade it in respect of favourable finding of the enquiry officer. Further, Rule 18 of the Bihar Government Servants (Classification, Control & Appeal) Rules, 2005 made it obligatory for the disciplinary authority to follow the principles laid down in the Kunj Behari case.

In view of the above, the petition was allowed and impugned office order was quashed for being issued without following principles of natural justice and for being a non-speaking order.[Yogendra Paswan v. State of Bihar,2018 SCC OnLine Pat 2108, decided on 22-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Sanjay Karol, acting CJ. and Ajay Mohan Goel, J., decided a letters patent appeal, wherein the Court quashed the order passed against the appellant by the learned Single Judge, on grounds of violation of principles of natural justice.

Earlier, a writ petition was filed before the learned Single Judge directing the appellant to release certain compensation and benefits to the writ petitioner therein. However, it remains an undisputed fact that the appellant was not arrayed as a party by the writ petitioner in the writ proceedings. Before filing the instant appeal, the appellant had also filed a review petition before the learned Single Judge, which was dismissed.

Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court was of the view that this was a classic case where the petitioner was condemned unheard. The order was passed against the appellant without notice and without inviting his comments or reply. The Court held that in such a situation, principles of natural justice and audi alteram partem in particular, stood violated. The Court was of the view that the said order of the learned Single Judge was liable to be quashed on this ground alone.

Accordingly, the order of the learned Single Judge condemning the appellant unheard was quashed by the Division Bench. [NTPC Ltd. v. Gopal Dass, LPA No. 66 of 2010, order dated 2.2.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench of the Delhi High Court emphasized on the importance of Natural Justice. The Court expunged the remarks which were made in a judgment by the trial court in which the petitioner was a supervising officer for a period but not for the entirety of the investigation.

The petitioner had filed the petition against the order of the Special Judge, CBI to the Director, CBI to take disciplinary action against erring CBI officials responsible for improper investigation and supervision, specifically naming the petitioner.

The Court held that the remarks and order were completely unnecessary as no person should be condemned unheard. Moreover, the passing of such remarks were bad in law when there is an option of prosecution under Section 211 of the Penal Code, 1860 available. The Court also observed that the investigation was under the supervision of the petitioner for a period and not for it’s entirety, hence, putting the blame on the petitioner was baseless when the remarks were not substantiated by mentioning the specific points in the investigation where the errors were made. The appeal was accordingly, allowed and disposed of. [Anil Kumar v. CBI, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 9792, decided on 10.08.2017]