Case BriefsHigh Courts

Tripura High Court: Arindam Lodh, J., while highly depreciating the conduct of the State  Public Works Department, directed it to conclude the disciplinary proceeding pending against the writ petitioner within 3 months of the date of the present order.

On the verge of writ petitioner’s retirement, a disciplinary proceeding was initiated against him and article of charges were framed on 29-6-2017 for the incidents which occurred between 2001-2004. The allegations were that the petitioner acted in a manner unbecoming of a government servant during the period as mentioned.

The High Court expressed astonishment as to why the authority concerned initiated the proceeding after a long lapse of time. As per the court, this itself puts a question mark to the fairness of the authority. The Court found it to be aptly clear that the allegations were within the authority’s knowledge at the relevant time. The court was surprised as to why the proceeding was delayed till the fag end of petitioner’s service, i.e. 15 days prior to his retirement. It was said: “the intention of the respondents i.e. authorities concerned is not clear. However, at this stage, I refrain myself to make any opinion in regard to the merits of the proceeding. However, it is observed that there is an absolutely unreasonable delay and serious laches on the part of the authority concerned i.e. the respondents herein. .. This Court highly deprecates the conducts of the respondents.” Considering the matter in entirety, the respondents were directed to complete the proceeding within 3 months from the date of receipt of the present order, failing which the entire proceeding shall automatically be deemed to be dropped. [Tapan Chandra Das v. State of Tripura, WP (C) No. 515 of 2019, dated 08-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench of Surya Kant, CJ and Ajay Mohan Goel, J. disposed a writ petition which was filed to decide that whether the petitioner was asked to levy stamp duty in accordance with the notification and as per the market value of the land.

The facts of the case are that the petitioner-Company purchased land of certain measurement. Petitioner’s case was that while determining the registration charges the Sub-Registrar did not follow the Collector’s Rate as contained in the Revenue Department’s Notification whereby the classification of the land for valuation purposes was prescribed. It was claimed that the land purchased by the petitioner-Company fell in different categories; hence, corresponding stamp duty ought to have been levied. Thus the petitioner claimed that an excess amount was charged from the petitioner. The respondents argued that land purchased by the petitioner could not be classified in different categories as there was no such provision made in the software, under which, the registration is made through online system.

The Court did not present any view on merits and disposed of this writ petition with a direction to the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Collector to pass a speaking order on the representation made by the petitioner within a period of three months. [Micro Seamless v. State of H.P., 2019 SCC OnLine HP 46, decided on 08-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Anil Kumar Upadhyay, J. seized of a civil writ petition pertaining to effective date for grant of promotion benefits, ruled that an authority that delays decision on promotion benefits could not rely on a subsequent circular to deny promotion benefits to the petitioner.

The grievance of the petitioner in the instant writ petition revolves around the effective date for grant of promotion benefits to him. Learned counsels for the petitioner – Mr Sharda Nand Mishra and Mr Dhananjay Kumar Gupta – submitted that the petitioner had completed 24 years of service on 11-04-2009, but he was granted benefit of promotion with effect from 04-03-2014.

Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent – Mr Shilpi Keshri – submitted that in terms of an amended circular, petitioner was entitled to benefits with effect from 04-03-2014.

The Court opined that as per existing norms, petitioner was entitled to grant of promotion on completion of 24 years on 11-04-2009. It was due to lapse on respondent’s part that decision in that regard was not taken timely. Having defaulted in timely disposal of their duties, respondent could not deny benefit to petitioner on the ground that a new circular had come into place in the meantime. It was held that the petitioner was entitled to promotion benefits effective from 04-03- 2014.

The petition was allowed and respondent was directed to take to take necessary decision for grant of all consequential benefit to petitioner at the earliest, preferably within a maximum period of four months from the date of receipt of a copy of present order. [Vivekanand Singh v. State of Bihar,2018 SCC OnLine Pat 2157, decided on 03-12-2018]

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

G.S.R. 503(E).- In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 48 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (12 of 2017) read with sub-rule (3) of Rule 83 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Rules, 2017, the Commissioner, on the recommendations of the Council, hereby notifies the National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics, Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, as the authority to conduct the examination as per the said sub-rule.

[F. No.349/58/2017-GST(Pt.)]

Ministry of Finance

High Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court– While deciding on a writ petition wherein the petitioner sought to issue the writ of certiorari to quash the orders passed by the respondents and also the writ of mandamus directing the respondent-Bank to promote him for the post of Assistant General Manager, a bench of Tarlok Singh Chauhan J, dismissed the petition stating that it is not maintainable against the H.P. State Co-operative Bank Ltd. (Bank) as it is not a ‘State’ or ‘authority’ within the meaning of Article 226 and even the Registrar of the Bank has no power to adjudicate such kinds of disputes as the same do not touch the constitution, management or business of the Cooperative Societies. The Court in order to decide on the maintainability stated that the orders passed by the respondents i.e. Registrar and the State Government cannot be termed to be statutory orders as the dispute raised by the petitioners pertained to a service matter and the dispute of an employee and employer relationship is not a dispute, under the constitution, management or business of the cooperative societies and therefore, is not amenable to the jurisdiction of the Registrar under section 72 of the Act.

As per the facts, the petitioner is an employee of the Bank and is working as Senior Manager at Sarkaghat and the relief claimed herein is against the Bank. The Petitioner contends, citing Vikram Chauhan vs. The Managing Director, HLJ 2013 (HP) 742 (FB), that a writ would lie against the cooperative bank if the facts and circumstances so warrant despite it not being a State within the meaning of Article 12 and if not, then the matter be remitted to the Registrar, Co-operative Societies. While the respondents contend that the petition is not maintainable as the Bank is not a State.

Dismissing the contentions raised by the petitioners, the Court explained that it is not the case where the respondents were imposed with a public duty and referring to Hindustan Steel Works Construction Ltd. Vs. Tarapore & Co., (1996) 5 SCC 34 further stated that it should be borne in mind that the observations in the judgment cannot be read like a text of a statute or out of context but must be read as a whole. Shakti Chand Thakur v. State of H.P, 2015 SCC OnLine HP 1102, decided on 5.3.2015