Punjab and Haryana High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Manjari Nehru Kaul, J., while dealing with a revision petition for setting aside the order passed by the Civil Judge in Execution Petition held that the petitioner was unable to bring any material that showed that other co-owners were not agreeable to take possession.

The petition was filed for setting aside the order dated 23-05-2022 whereby objections under Order 47 read with Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 preferred by the petitioners were dismissed.

Facts:

The suit land is in the joint ownership of respondents and other co-owners as per the entries recorded in the ownership column of the jamabandi for the year 2012-2013. There has never been any partition of the suit land.

Arguments:

The counsel for the petitioner contended that the impugned order passed by the Civil Judge was a manifest error of law. Further, he contended that since the suit land was jointly owned, the respondents cannot seek possession of land beyond the extent of their respective shares. It was also contended that there was a non-compliance of Order 1 Rule 8 of the Code by the trial Court while passing the decree, where there were a large number of persons involved having common interest in a suit and the respondent did not take permission from Court to act on behalf of others. Hence, the decree cannot be executed.

Issues:

Whether one of the co-owners acting on behalf of others constitute a proceeding that has to follow Order 1 Rule 8 of the Code?

Whether an application under Order 47 read with Section 151 can be entertained where the consent of co-owners has been assumed?

Whether one owner out of the co-owners seek possession of the entire joint land as an agent of the other co-owners?

Observations and Analysis:

The Court relied on India Umbrella Mfg. Co. v. Bhagabandei Agarwalla, (2004) 3 SCC 178 and Mohinder Prasad Jain v. Manohar Lal Jain, (2006) 2 SCC 724 and held that “any one owner out of the co-sharers can seek possession of the entire joint land. Such co-owner would do so on his own behalf, in his own right and as an agent of other co-owners. The consent of the other co-owners would be assumed to have been taken unless it is shown to the contrary that co-owners were not agreeable and despite their disagreement, a suit had still been instituted.”

The Court also noted that the petitioner has failed to bring to the notice any material to substantiate his claim that co-owners were not agreeable to take possession.

The Court observed that the scope of interference in execution proceedings is very limited and the Court could not go behind the decree.

[Siriya v. Tulsi Puri, 2022 SCC OnLine P&H 1872, decided on 21-07-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Munish Kumar Garg, Advocate, for the Petitioner.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: While addressing the issue of obviating difficulties to victims of trafficking with respect to travelling long distances for the purpose of giving evidence in trial courts, the Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai, JJ., furthers recording of evidence of child victims/witnesses of human trafficking via video-conferencing. Opining that the video-conference procedure need not be restricted only to the period affected by COVID-19 pandemic, the Bench remarked,

“Though, the public-spirited Petitioners were concerned with the safety of the trafficked children being forced to travel long distances for giving evidence during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are of the opinion that the suggestions made by the learned Amicus Curiae, in consultation with Ms. Shenoy, relating to the SOP should be put in practice as a regular feature.”

A petition was filed before the Court seeking issue of mandamus directing that during COVID-19 pandemic, the recording of evidence of child victims/witnesses of human trafficking across Districts/States/Countries be ordinarily undertaken via video-conferencing from a government facility within the local jurisdiction of the residence of such children. Considering the gravity of the matter a suo motu case was registered by the Court and Mr. Gaurav Agarwal had been appointed as Amicus Curiae to assist the Court.

The Pilot Project

The Amicus Curiae had proposed a pilot project, wherein four cases were selected out of which trial had commenced in two cases and direction was given for examination of witnesses by video conferencing. In State v. Rahmatulla, SC No. 151 of 2019, 11 children engaged in stitching work of suit/coat covers were rescued by a surprise rescue operation from premises in North East Delhi, PS Khajuri Khas. The rescued children were sent to their native places, i.e., East Champaran Districts of Bihar. The case was pending in the court of Additional District Judge, Karkadooma, New Delhi. In second case, State v. Mohd. Sherjahan, Case No. 52 of 2019, the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit had rescued four children, who were forced to make bangles in a confined room at Jaipur. The rescued children were sent to their homes at Patna and Gaya in Bihar. The trial in the said case was due to be conducted in POCSO Court-2, Jaipur. The pilot project consisted three stages:

  1. Assessment of state of infrastructure at the Court Point and the Remote Point. The Court Point is in the cities or places where the trial has to take place and the Remote Point is the district/Taluk court complex or the office of the District Legal Services Authority near the place of residence of the victims/witnesses. Availability of necessary equipment for video conferencing, along with other facilities integral to the process, was to be ascertained in the first stage.
  2. The Judge at the Court Point was to fix a date for examination of the witnesses and thereafter, issuing summons to the witnesses. The witnesses be intimated about (i) the address of the Remote Point and date and time of hearing; (ii) name, contact details and a brief explanation of the role of the Remote Point Coordinator (RPC); and (iii) the requirement to carry a proof of identification.
  3. Actual examination of the child witnesses at the Remote Point and the procedures to be followed to ensure that the witnesses are examined in camera and without any influence.

Standard Operating Procedure

After being satisfied with the trial run of examination of child witnesses at remote points, the Amicus Curiae submitted a draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in consultation with Senior Advocate Anitha Shenoy, with five stages which was served on all the State Governments/Union Territories as well as the High Courts for their comments by the order of the Court. On suggestions made by the High Courts, the SOP was modified and the modified SOP reads as:

  1. Testimony of children be recorded through video conferencing either at the video conferencing room of the court complex in the district or the office of DLSA where the child is residing.
  2. District Judges to ascertain the availability of video conferencing facility in the district/Taluk court complex or DLSA office and communicate the same to the jurisdictional High Court. The High Courts were asked to place the said information on its website on or before 30-04-2022 and ensure availability of video-conferencing infrastructure in every district, especially where the incidence of child trafficking cases is high.
  3. DLSA to be the Remote Point Coordinator (RPC) for recording of the testimony of child witnesses or appoint a Retired judicial Officer as a RPC, information of which, i.e. the names and contact details of the RPC of each district on the website.
  4. In cases of inter-state/inter-district child trafficking the Trial Court should ordinarily give preference to examination of the child witness through video conferencing.
  5. The authorized officer at the Court Point to get in touch with the RPC at the Remote Point and work out all modalities for recording of the child witness statement through video conferencing.
  6. The child witness be entitled to the presence of a support person under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Rules, 2020, a diet money on the basis of the distance travelled to reach the remote point and any other best practice required by the law.
  7. Copy of documents required to be marked or shown to the witness may be transmitted by the Court electronically to the RPC.
  8. Questions posed by the Public Prosecutor/Defense Counsel may be put to the Trial Judge, who in turn will put them to the witness and the Trial Court would record the testimony of the witness.
  9. On completion of recording of evidence, the deposition will be sent by the Trial Court on email to the RPC who shall read the same out to the witness. After ascertaining the deposition is correct and verified as under law including the affixation of the child’s thumb impression/signature, the RPC may certify the same and send the deposition back, in a secure manner, to the Trial Court by Speed Post and by electronic means as permitted by law. An original may also be kept by RPC in case the Speed Post is misplaced for some reason.
  10. Whenever a Trial Court proposes to record the testimony of a child witness, who is residing in another State, an intimation of the same should also be given to the Registrar of the High Court of the Court point, who shall intimate the High Court of the Remote Point with a request to render all assistance possible for recording of the testimony of the child.
  11. The SOP is only a broad guideline. The method and manner of recording of testimony be dependent upon the video conferencing rules framed by the respective High Courts and the recording of the testimony should be done expeditiously.

Conclusion and Directions

According to data released by agencies the problem of Child Labour in India is persisting inspite of the best efforts of the Government. Reiterating the importance of protection of children and rescuing and rehabilitating them, the Bench opined that the said SOP need not be restricted only to the period affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Observing that the permissibility of recording evidence through video conferencing had been considered by the Supreme Court in State of Maharashtra v. Praful B. Desai, (2003) 4 SCC 601, Sakshi v. Union of India, (2004) 5 SCC 518, as well as Eera v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2017) 15 SCC 133, and Sampurna Behura v. Union of India, (2018) 4 SCC 433, wherein the Court had encouraged the use of technologies in court proceedings, the Bench stated,

“We have carefully examined the draft SOP which contains minute details about steps to be taken for recording the testimony of child witnesses at Remote Points. Responses have been filed by the High Courts. There is no objection taken by any High Court to the SOP being put in practice immediately.”

Accordingly, the Bench directed that the SOP be followed in all criminal trials where child witnesses, not residing near Court Points, are examined and not physically in the courts where the trial is conducted. The RPCs were directed to ensure that child-friendly practices are adopted during the examination of the witnesses and the concerned judicial officer at the Remote Point and the trial Court were to that the recording of evidence shall be in camera wherever necessary.

Noting that NALSA had also come forward to place the details regarding the availability of video conferencing facility for recording of statement of child witnesses in the offices of DLSA and court complex and the name and contact number of the RPC on its website and the website of State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) by 30-04-2022, the Bench expressed,

“We appreciate the stand taken by NALSA to strengthen the video conferencing facilities in DLSA offices in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha and Assam, to begin with to ensure that in case video conferencing facility in the court complex is not available, video conferencing facility in DLSA office can be utilized for recording of the evidence of the child witness.”

[Children in Street Situations, In Re, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 189, decided on 01-02-2022]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 


 

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of KM Joseph* and PS Narsimha, JJ was called upon to decide whether the Award passed by a Lok Adalat under 0 can form the basis for redetermination of compensation as contemplated under Section 28A of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The Court held that an application under Section 28A of the LA Act cannot be maintained on the basis of an award passed by the Lok Adalat under Section 20 of LSA Act.

Scheme of Section 20 of the LSA Act

The jurisdiction of the Lok Adalat under Section 20 is to facilitate a settlement of disputes between the parties in a case. It has no adjudicatory role. It cannot decide a lis. All that it can do is to bring about a genuine compromise or settlement. Sub-Section (4) of Section 20 is important insofar as the law giver has set out the guiding principles for a Lok Adalat. The principles are justice, equality, fair play and other legal principles. The significance of this provision looms large when the Court bears in mind the scheme of Section 28A of the Act.

Scheme of Section 28A of LA Act

Section 28A contemplates a redetermination of compensation under an award passed under Part III. Section 23 deals with the matters to be taken into consideration. Various aspects including the market value on the date of the notification under Section 4(1) are indicated. The elements of Section 23 are not in consonance as such with the guiding principles set out in Section 19(4) of the LSA Act which are to guide a Lok Adalat. When the Court deals with the matter under Section 18, in other words, it is bound to look into the evidence and arrive at findings based on the evidence applying the legal principles which have been enunciated and arrive at the compensation. While it may be true that there is reference to ‘other legal principles’ in Section 19(4) of the LSA Act, the Lok Adalat also can seek light from the principles of justice, equity, and fair play. The Lok Adalat by virtue of the express provisions is only a facilitator of settlement and compromise in regard to matters which are referred to it. It has no adjudicatory role.

Analysis

A plea founded on estoppel arising out of a consent decree or from an Award passed by a Lok Adalat which can perhaps be even likened to a consent decision cannot be the basis for redetermination of the compensation. What Section 28A indeed insists is on decision by a Civil Court as defined in Section 2(l). In other words what is made the only basis for invoking Section 28A of the Act is an adjudication by the Court as defined in the Act. The plea of estoppel which, ordinarily, arises from a consent decree or Award passed by the Lok Adalat which, does not involve any adjudication by a Court, would hardly suffice. The estoppel which is referred to by this Court applies as between the parties to the consent decree.

An Award passed by the Lok Adalat under LSA Act is the culmination of a non-adjudicatory process. The parties are persuaded even by members of the Lok Adalat to arrive at mutually agreeable compromise. The Award sets out the terms. The provisions contained in Section 21 by which the Award is treated as if it were a decree is intended only to clothe the Award with enforceability. In view of the provisions of Section 21 by which it is to be treated as a decree which cannot be challenged, undoubtedly, by way of an appeal in view of the express provisions forbidding it, unless it is set aside in other appropriate proceedings, it becomes enforceable. The purport of the law giver is only to confer it with enforceability in like manner as if it were a decree.

On the argument that by virtue of this legislative device, the award of the Lok Adalat passed in these cases by the Reference Court under Section 18 executing the Lok Adalat must be treated as an order passed by the Court under Section 28A of the Act, the Court said,

“Can the Court be oblivious to the plain language of the statute? Can we ignore the voice of the legislature when it is clear and unambiguous? Section 28A figures in Part III of the Act. It has a heading. The heading reads as ‘Redetermination of the amount of compensation on the basis of the award of the Court’. The very opening words in our view deal a fatal blow to the very premise of the respondent’s contention. An award under Part III of the Act commences with a reference under Section 18. The Court proceeds to adjudicate the reference in particular by bearing in mind the matters which are to be considered under Section 23 of the Act.”

The award which is passed by the Lok Adalat cannot be said to be an award passed under Part III. It is the compromise arrived at between the parties before the Lok Adalat which culminates in the award by the Lok Adalat. In fact, an award under Part III of the Act contemplates grounds or reasons and therefore, adjudication is contemplated and Section 26(2) of the Act is self-explanatory.

“The Award passed by the Lok Adalat in itself without anything more is to be treated by the deeming fiction to be a decree. It is not a case where a compromise is arrived at under Order XXIII of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, between the parties and the court is expected to look into the compromise and satisfy itself that it is lawful before it assumes efficacy by virtue of Section 21. Without anything more, the award passed by Lok Adalat becomes a decree. The enhancement of the compensation is determined purely on the basis of compromise which is arrived at and not as a result of any decision of a ‘Court’ as defined in the Act.”

Hence, an Award passed under Section 19 of the 1987 Act is a product of compromise. Sans compromise, the Lok Adalat loses jurisdiction. The matter goes back to the Court for adjudication. Pursuant to the compromise and the terms being reduced to writing with the approval of the parties it assumes the garb of an Award which in turn is again deemed to be a decree without anything more.

[NOIDA v. Yunus, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 138, 03.02.2022]


*Judgment by: Justice KM Joseph


Counsels

For appellant: Anil Kaushik, learned counsel for the appellant.

For respondents: Senior Advocates Dhruv Mehta and V. K. Shukla

Op EdsOP. ED.

If I were “death” I would be inevitable but I am not death and I fight death every day. How do I do that? Well, I go out on the road and escape moronic drivers running over people, at home I hope to survive falling roofs, accidental fires, etc. Adding to other factors, if I am not a male foetus I hope I am able to beat death even before I am born. I try and survive thoughts of self-harm and suicide. So, I survive death every day in a million ways. Interestingly, the Government wants me to live too even though it may seem like they do not care. The laws and the Constitution very categorically promote living happily, so much so that an attempt to suicide is punishable with imprisonment. One can say they are granting the death wish sending him/her to jail. Peter Cook said “One should realise suicide is a criminal offense, in less enlightened times they would have hung you for it.”  While we are talking about life, we are focused on human life here, though animals have rights too they cannot sue the offending party. So, they do not get to fight death the way humans do.

Life, a precious gift

In Hinduism life and death are the gift of God and no human being has the right to take away the said gift; in Islam, human dignity stems from the belief that man is a creation of God – the creation that God loves more than any other. There is no debate that life is the most precious thing that the human world can possess.

It is ironic that once one enters the world, one loses control over one’s life, the Government takes over in the name of the God of course. No one reserves the right to end any life even one’s own, the right reserves with God and the almighty State. Governments yield powers which even God does not presume, therefore, they have taken up the responsibility of doing God’s work and enabled themselves to end lives under the procedure established by law. Arnaud Almaric said “ask no questions. Just shoot them all, and let God sort them out”. Well, it is a little more complicated than that, at least for now. Our Constitution provides for the “Rule of Law” and protection of life and personal liberty.

Going to primitive times, the trials were bizarre. Guilty or innocent, history is replete with trials that ensured the death of the undertrial. The times have evolved and so did the trials and the sentencing. The death penalties were frequent in the early 18th and 19th centuries. However, over the period death penalties have not been the norm. The courts have relied on the facts that life and death are acts of the divine and the divine’s authority has been delegated to the courts of law to be only exercised in exceptional circumstances with utmost caution. Therefore, the first and foremost effort of the courts should be to continue the life till its natural end. This delegated authority should be exercised cautiously under extreme judicial checks. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 makes it mandatory that “when the Court of Session passes a sentence of death, the proceedings shall be submitted to the High Court, and the sentence shall not be executed unless it is confirmed by the High Court”1. The High Court is duty-bound to ensure that only after concluding that no other punishment but for death will serve the ends of justice the death penalty shall be confirmed. This shows the seriousness and thoughtfulness that our legal system puts into a decision of death. Status quo ante in terms of life cannot be obtained, therefore, it is only fair that no such decisions are taken in haste.

Reformative, not retributive

It is never the endeavour of the State or the courts to take away life. The endeavour is to achieve an orderly society while protecting the rights and liberties of the citizens. The objective of the State, through laws and penalties, is to achieve deterrence, prevention, reformation and rehabilitation. Our penal system is reformative and not retributive. Wherever there seems a possibility of reformation, the courts may be inclined to not punish with a death sentence. We have witnessed some extremely gruesome crimes. Some were punished with death sentences, while a lot of them were given life sentences while a few may have walked out of jail with some punishment. Regardless of their outcomes the nation unanimously prayed for a death sentence in a number of these cases. But the judicious minds may not have concurred with the minds of ordinary citizens. After all, they deliver justice and not revenge. Francis Bacon2 said “revenge to be a kind of wild justice that offends the law and putteth the law out of office”. Many philosophers and jurists oppose capital punishment as they find death sentences to include an instinct of revenge which is barbarous. Capital punishment in modern jurisprudence will always be a matter of debate. Reformation and rehabilitation of a criminal is the primary object of punishment. The imposition of the death penalty nullifies that purpose. Retribution in the sense of vengeance is no longer an acceptable end of punishment. It is for these reasons noted jurists even opposed the hanging of those convicted in the infamous Nirbhaya case.3  Having said that, a Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court4 had unanimously upheld the validity of capital punishment by reserving the death penalty. Law helps the element of retribution merge into the element of deterrence based on the philosophy of “gravest crime deserves the gravest punishment”. The Supreme Court held that a real and abiding concern for the dignity of human life postulates resistance to taking a life through law’s instrumentality. Therefore, that ought not to be done save in the rarest of rare cases when the alternative option is unquestionably foreclosed.5

Rarest of rare doctrine

Sentencing follows conviction, sentence is proportional to the degree of the crime. However, there is no straitjacket formula that can be applied in awarding punishment. Everything boils to the facts and circumstances of the case. Taking an example of Section 3026 of the Penal Code which states that “whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine”, shows that not all murders deserve a death sentence. Ordinarily, courts find life imprisonment to be sufficient, but the discretion lies with the judicial minds. The cases in which a death sentence can be given are a few with a peculiar set of facts being grave and gruesome thereby falling in the category of the rarest of rare crimes. The legislature in Section 354(3)7 mandates that in case of a death sentence the court must record special reasons which show that the sentence of life imprisonment shall not be a sufficient punishment.

Rarest of rare is an expression to convey the horrific and dastardly nature of the act. The actions which shake the conscience of human existence, which affect the very existence of our humanistic values. It is more to do with the perpetrator than the offense itself, when a convict would be a menace and threat to the harmonious and peaceful coexistence of the society. The perpetrators of such acts cannot be considered to be capable of being reformed and pose a threat to society at large. Though debatable and unproven, a death sentence is considered a deterring force in the prevention of crime. The rationale given by the courts is that when a crime shocks the collective conscience of the community, sympathy in any form would be misplaced. It would shake the confidence of the public in the administration of the criminal justice system irrespective of their personal opinion as regards desirability or otherwise of retaining the death penalty.8 However, should a court take into account the desires of the community, because the community does not always look for legally valid solution and maybe blinded by hate and emotions.

Determining rarest of rare

The Supreme Court, over some time, has put several cases in the rarest of rare category. But, the power to judge a case to be in that category is discretionary. There are parameters to hold it, but those parameters are subjective. The Supreme Court stated that a court may look into aggravating and mitigating circumstances while imposing the death penalty in its discretionary power. The Supreme Court stated that a balance sheet of aggravating and mitigating circumstances has to be drawn up and in doing so the mitigating circumstances have to be accorded full weightage and a just balance has to be struck between the aggravating and the mitigating circumstances before the option is exercised.9 This discretion may be arbitrary, while discretion and equity are the rightful prerogative of courts but in the matter of death, any discretion could lead to arbitrariness. What if something was considered rarest of rare a decade ago but has become not so rare owing to the decadent society. Would it be fair to let a man off a death sentence when someone had been hanged a few years ago with a unanimous verdict?

One of the observations in the infamous Nirbhaya case by the Supreme Court was where the victims are helpless women, children or old persons and the accused displayed depraved mentality, committing a crime in a diabolic manner, the accused should be shown no remorse and the death penalty should be awarded. However, in a recent case, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of a convict to life imprisonment whose 2-year-old niece fell prey to his savage lust and thereafter lost her life.10 This shows that how discretionary powers in matters of death sentence could be arbitrary. As the saying goes “Equity is as big as the Chancellor’s foot.” The Supreme Court has attempted to remove arbitrariness, yet the discretionary powers are wide. What constitutes the rarest of rare is not set in strict terms. What moved the society a decade ago may not affect the society to the same level as before. If capital punishment has to prevail, it must be under strict norms and set principles of law. One of the mitigating factors is the probability that the accused can be reformed and rehabilitated. If not, then the death sentence can be confirmed.

Conclusion

Articles 7211 and 16112 show that the framers of our Constitution had always intended it to be a part of our penal system. Therefore, capital punishments are not unconstitutional but they were aware of the seriousness and severity. It is for this reason, a remedy of clemency is provided enabling the executive of the State outside the purview of the judiciary. The judicial process is also carefully crafted in terms of the death penalty. The requirement of confirmation of a death penalty by the High Court is a step to ensure that there are no slips. However, the test of “the rarest of rare” is open to interpretation, which allows room for arbitrariness. The argument favour of capital punishment is that some people are beyond redemption and rehabilitation. But the biggest flaw in this argument is that one undermines the reformative capability of a human being. Buddhists believe anyone can attain enlightenment and the story of Angulimala is the prime example. Somewhere, it is the failure of the society to not tap into one’s highest potential, so we are punishing a soul for our failure? Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan said “even the worst sinner has a future, even the greatest saint has had a past”. In the end, the courts and the Judges are doing God’s work as God created life. Will ending a life before its natural course be God’s work? But why let a life prosper who endangers the lives of several others. It is a simple calculation, more than one life is more important than one life. So, it is done in the name of the greater good. Abraham Lincoln said “my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right”. I guess we will never know if by allowing capital punishment we are being on God’s side or are just doing the easy thing.


Advocate, Delhi High Court.

1 S. 366, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

2 Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Alban also known as Lord Verulam, was an English philosopher and statesman who served as Attorney General and as Lord Chancellor of England. His works are seen as developing the scientific method and remained influential through the scientific revolution.

3 <https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indira-jaising-urges-nirbhayas-mother-to-follow-sonia-gandhis-example/article>.

4 Jagmohan Singh v. State of U.P., (1973) 1 SCC 20

5 Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1980) 2 SCC 684

6 <http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/36kB36D7>.

7 When the conviction is for an offence punishable with death or, in the alternative, with imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term of years, the judgment shall state the reasons for the sentence awarded, and, in the case of sentence of death, the special reasons for such sentence. <http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/7S71Hz0t>.

8 Mukesh Kumar v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2017) 6 SCC 1

9 Mukesh Kumar v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2017) 6 SCC 1

10 Shatrughna Baban Meshram v. State of Maharashtra, (2021) 1 SCC 596

11 < http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/nA4c4Sy5>.

12 < http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/nA4c4Sy5>.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Taking note of an important legal question raised by the High Court of Kerala while hearing a Motor Vehicle Accident claim case, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, JJ has agreed to decide the following question:

“Whether in the matter of awarding costs, the procedure and rules framed under the Constitution, CPC and the Rules made thereunder, for `Courts’, could be resorted to by the Claims Tribunal which is apparently, not a `Court.”

The petitioner in the Special Leave petition, challenged the Kerala High Court’s judgment whereby the High Court upheld the compensation granted by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Kottayam in favour of the injured respondent. It was argued that

“the Tribunal does not possess any authority to award any costs as incidental to its power over the parties or the subject matter of the litigation, and the Tribunal being constituted under a special enactment is to be governed solely by the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.”

The Court, hence, allowed the special leave petition to the limited extent of examining the legal issue raised by the petitioner.

Advocate N.Vijayaraghavan will be assisting the Court as  amicus curiae.

[ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company v. MD Davasia,  2021 SCC OnLine SC 79, order dated 11.02.2021]


Appearance before the Court by

For Petitioner:  Rana Mukherjee, Sr.Adv., Nagesh, Adv., Daisy Hannah, Adv. and Shekhar Kumar, AOR.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Interpreting Section 167(2) CrPC, the 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, MM Shantanagoudar and Vineet Sarah, JJ has said that the Courts cannot adopt a rigid or formalistic approach whilst considering any issue that touches upon the rights contained in Article 21. It said,

“The history of the enactment of Section 167(2), CrPC and the safeguard of ‘default bail’ contained in the Proviso thereto is intrinsically linked to Article 21 and is nothing but a legislative exposition of the constitutional safeguard that no person shall be detained except in accordance with rule of law.”

Going into the legislative intent, the Court noticed that Section 167(2) was enacted providing for time limits on the period of remand of the accused, proportionate to the seriousness of the offence committed, failing which the accused acquires the indefeasible right to bail.

“… the intent of the legislature was to balance the need for sufficient time limits to complete the investigation with the need to protect the civil liberties of the accused.”

Section 167(2) provides for a clear mandate that the investigative agency must collect the required evidence within the prescribed time period, failing which the accused can no longer be detained. This ensures that the investigating officers are compelled to act swiftly and efficiently without misusing the prospect of further remand. This also ensures that the Court takes cognizance of the case without any undue delay from the date of giving information of the offence, so that society at large does not lose faith and develop cynicism towards the criminal justice system. Hence,

“Section 167(2) has to be interpreted keeping in mind the threefold objectives expressed by the legislature namely ensuring a fair trial, expeditious investigation and trial, and setting down a rationalized procedure that protects the interests of indigent sections of society. These objects are nothing but subsets of the overarching fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21.”

Further, in case of any ambiguity in the construction of a penal statute, the Courts must favour the   interpretation which leans towards protecting the rights of the accused, given the ubiquitous   power disparity between the individual accused and the State machinery. This is applicable not only in the case of substantive penal statutes but also in the case of procedures providing for the curtailment of the liberty of the accused.

The Court, hence, concluded as follows:

  • Once the accused files an application for bail under the Proviso to Section 167(2) he is deemed to have ‘availed of’ or enforced his right to be released on default bail, accruing after expiry of the stipulated time limit for investigation. Thus, if the accused applies for bail under Section 167(2), CrPC read with Section 36A (4), NDPS Act upon expiry of 180 days or the extended period, as the case may be, the Court must release him on bail forthwith without any unnecessary delay after getting necessary information from the public prosecutor. Such prompt action will restrict the prosecution from frustrating the legislative mandate to release the accused on bail in case of default by the investigative agency.
  • The right to be released on default bail continues to remain enforceable if the accused has applied for such bail, notwithstanding pendency of the bail application; or subsequent filing of the chargesheet or a report seeking extension of time by the prosecution before the Court; or filing of the chargesheet during the interregnum when challenge to the rejection of the bail application is pending before a higher Court.
  • Where the accused fails to apply for default bail when the right accrues to him, and subsequently a chargesheet, additional complaint or a report seeking extension of time is preferred before the Magistrate, the right to default bail would be extinguished. The Magistrate would be at liberty to take cognizance of the case or grant further time for completion of the investigation, as the case may be, though the accused may still be released on bail under other provisions of the CrPC.
  • Notwithstanding the order of default bail passed by the Court, by virtue of Explanation I to Section 167(2), the actual release of the accused from custody is contingent on the directions passed by the competent Court granting bail. If the accused fails to furnish bail and/or comply with the terms and conditions of the bail order within the time stipulated by the Court, his continued detention in custody is valid.

Earlier this month, in Bikramjit Singh v. State of Punjab2020 SCC OnLine SC 824, the 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph, JJ has held that the right to default bail is not a mere statutory right under the first proviso to Section 167(2) CrPC, but is part of the procedure established by law under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which is, therefore, a fundamental right granted to an accused person to be released on bail once the conditions of the first proviso to Section 167(2) are fulfilled.

[M. Ravindran v. Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 867, decided on 26.10.2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph, JJ has held that the right to default bail is not a mere statutory right under the first proviso to Section 167(2) CrPC, but is part of the procedure established by law under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which is, therefore, a fundamental right granted to an accused person to be released on bail once the conditions of the first proviso to Section 167(2) are fulfilled.

Right to default bail

Explaining the law on grant of default bail, the Court said that so long as an application for grant of default bail is made on expiry of the period of 90 days, which application need not even be in writing, before a charge sheet is filed, the right to default bail becomes complete. It is of no moment that the Criminal Court in question either does not dispose of such application before the charge sheet is filed or disposes of such application wrongly before such charge sheet is filed.

“So long as an application has been made for default bail on expiry of the stated period before time is further extended to the maximum period of 180 days, default bail, being an indefeasible right of the accused under the first proviso to Section 167(2), kicks in and must be granted.”

Power of the Court to extend the period of 90 days up to a maximum period of 180 days

The Court was dealing with the question relating to extension of time from 90 days to 180 days under Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 as amended by the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA). It, hence, discussed at length, the scheme of the statutes.

Section 167 CrPC

Section 167 CrPC makes it clear that whenever a person is arrested and detained in custody, the time for investigation relating to an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term of not less than 10 years, cannot ordinarily be beyond the period of 15 days, but is extendable, on the Magistrate being satisfied that adequate grounds exist for so doing, to a maximum period of 90 days. The first proviso (a)(i) to Section 167(2) of the Code goes on to state that the accused person shall be released on bail if he is prepared to and does furnish bail on expiry of the maximum period of 90 days, and every person so released on bail be deemed to be so released under the provisions of Chapter XXXIII for the purposes of that Chapter.

Section 43-D(2)(b) of UAPA

Under the first proviso in Section 43-D(2)(b), the 90 day period indicated by the first proviso to Section 167(2) of the Code can be extended up to a maximum period of 180 days if “the Court” is satisfied with the report of the public prosecutor indicating progress of investigation and specific reasons for detention of the accused beyond the period of 90 days.

“Court” under UAPA

Before the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008 (NIA Act) was enacted, offences under the UAPA were of two kinds – those with a maximum imprisonment of over 7 years, and those with a maximum imprisonment of 7 years and under. Under the Code as applicable to offences against other laws, offences having a maximum sentence of 7 years and under are triable by the Magistrate’s Courts, whereas offences having a maximum sentence of above 7 years are triable by Courts of Sessions.

However, this Scheme has been completely done away with by the NIA Act as all scheduled offences i.e. all offences under the UAPA, whether investigated by the National Investigation Agency or by the investigating agencies of the State Government, are to be tried exclusively by Special Courts set up under that Act.

“In the absence of any designated Court by notification issued by either the Central Government or the State Government, the fall back is upon the Court of Sessions alone.”

Hence, for offences under the UAPA, the Magistrate’s jurisdiction to extend time under the first proviso in Section 43-D(2)(b) is non-existent, “the Court” being either a Sessions Court, in the absence of a notification specifying a Special Court, or the Special Court itself.

[Bikramjit Singh v. State of Punjab, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 824, decided on 12.10.2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

In view of the rapid surge in the number of active Corona Virus cases in Prayagraj and Lucknow, Chief Justice directs that there shall be no sitting of Courts on 12th, 13th and 14th of August, 2020 in the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad.

On the aforementioned dates, only urgent matters mentioned before the Chief Justice and Senior Judge at Lucknow, respectively, shall be taken and no other Court shall be having sitting.

There shall be no physical/e-filing on 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th August, 2020.

Read the Order, here: ORDER


Allahabad High Court

[Order dt. 09-08-2020]

Op EdsOP. ED.

I. Introduction

In recent times, the Speaker’s Office has come under scrutiny in maintaining the tenets of parliamentary democracy. Parliamentary democracy builds upon the free and fair electoral process. People of India have reposed absolute trust in the democratic values by whole-hearted participation during the election. Unfortunately, some post-election developments create an environment of mistrust amongst the people on the righteousness of the electoral system. The ongoing crisis in the Rajasthan is a testimony of such distrust.

Besides numerous political questions in Rajasthan, the Speaker’s decision has raised a substantial constitutional question on the nature and power of the Speaker’s Office. Whether the decision, to serve the show-cause notice to the disgruntled members of the ruling party, taken by the Speaker partakes the partisan character of the Office of the Speaker? What shall be the role of the Speaker in a situation of political uncertainty? The paper focuses on the power and the function of the Speaker in India, along with a reference from the practice in Britain. The work does not examine the ongoing issue of the decision of the Speaker of Rajasthan Assembly on merit. It limits only the expectations from the Office of the Speaker based on the learning of the British practice and the power vested therein and the justification of the judicial intervention.

II. History and Evolution of the Office of the Speaker

The Office of the Speaker owes its origin to the development of the institution in Britain. In the early days, the Speaker’s role in the British Parliament was that of an agent to the Crown. The Speaker served as an interface between  Parliament and the Crown. The Speaker’s role got redefined when the nature of  Parliament changed from that of an appointed body to an elected representative.

Speaker Lenthall described the nature of his Office to King Charles II in 1642: “I have neither eyes to see, nor tongue to speak in this place, but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here.”

The Cabinet form of Government in the late 17th century under King William III further changed the nature of the speakership. Speakers started associating themselves with the ministry and often held other government offices. Robert Harley served simultaneously as Speaker and as a Secretary of State between 1704 and 1705. Later, Arthur Onslow (Speaker 1728-61) had initiated the process of distancing the Office of the Speaker from the government. By the mid-nineteenth century, it was the norm that the Speaker should be above party politics. Over a period of time, there has been a transformation in the functioning to ensure the neutrality and impartiality in the functioning. The Speaker needs to resign from the political party on being elected and withdraw from active politics after completing the tenure.[1]Although elected under a political party label and functioning as an elected Member of Parliament representing the interest of constituents, the Speaker is expected to operate with complete impartiality.

During colonial rule, the Governor-General was presiding Central Legislative Council. The Governor-General nominated Sir Frederick Whyte, a former member of the British House of Commons as the first President of Central Legislative Assembly in 1921. The first Indian to preside over the President of the Central Legislative Assembly’s Office was Shri Vithalbhai Patel in1925. Though Speaker’s title came in only with the gaining of independence, the Presiding Officer’s institution is thus somewhat older, dating back to 1921.

III. Significance of the Office of the Speaker in India

Prime Minister Nehru had said, “The Speaker represents the House. He represents the dignity of the House the freedom of the House and because the House represents freedom and liberty. Therefore it is right that, that should be honored position, a free position and should be occupied always by men of outstanding ability and impartiality”.[2]

Though the Constitution provides for the Speaker’s method of election, a healthy convention has developed to elect the Speaker unanimously by the House. On the power of the Speaker, the first Speaker of the Lok Sabha G. B. Mavalankar, aptly said that ‘in the whole setup of a parliamentary democracy, the Speaker is the only autocrat, meaning thereby that his exercise of authority requires no previous consultation of concurrence of anybody and the authority is unchallengeable’.[3] The statement of the first Speaker tacitly acknowledges the unfettered power entrusted upon the Office. The plausible reason for unwritten power relates to the extensive function assigned on the Speaker. It is imperative to say that the office-holder needs to be highly cautious in exercising power. Any exercise of power that would have smacked of suspicion must be rejected on account of the responsibility to preserve democracy entrusted on the Speaker.

Based on the constitutional provisions, Rules of Business of the House, and the Conventions, the Speaker’s powers and functions can be divided into four broad categories which can be to (a) run the business of the House, (b) administrative action, (c) quasi-judicial and (d) other functions. The Speaker facilitates the business of the House, ensures equitable participation of every stakeholder during the discussion, decides on the motions moved by the members, assists the members to hold the executive accountable, plays the role of a disciplinarian by suspending/terminating the member or ask them to withdraw from the House, adjourns the House, expunges the unparliamentary statements and decides on the nature of the Bill. On the administrative side, the Speaker heads the Lok Sabha Secretariat, exercises power over a number of Parliamentary Committees such as the Rules Committee, the Business Advisory Committee, and the General Purposes Committee, and nominates the chairman of various committees in place. In the quasi-judicial role, the Speaker decides on the issue of defection of the members from the political party which influences the composition of the House and the formation/continuation of the government.[4] While deciding the defection matters, the principles of natural justice will guide the exercise of power on the procedural aspect. On the substantive aspect, the Speaker should be guided by the absence of arbitrariness and the inherent characteristics of impartiality.

In addition to this, few other powers are vested in the Speaker which includes the power to exercise a casting vote, to resolve a deadlock over a particular matter. That is, when the House initiates a voting procedure, he does not cast a vote in the first instance but shall have and exercise a casting vote in the case of an equality of votes.[5] Thus, it makes his position as impartial as in the English system of democracy.

IV. Parliamentary Democracy and Partisanship

In England, the Speaker’s independence is ensured by a number of conventions and rules of procedures. Most of these have been adopted in India also either in the Constitution or rules of procedure of the House of people. Thus, as in England the salary and allowance of the Speaker are charged from the consolidated fund.[6] His conduct cannot be criticised except on substantive motion or upon resolution for removal.[7] He doesn’t cast a vote except in the case of a tie.[8] He can be removed only by special resolution.[9] However, the exercise of the power by the Office of the Speakers presents a different narrative.

The practice of partiality goes back to the first Lok Sabha when the first Speaker of the House disallowed an adjournment motion brought in to discuss the lathi-charge by policemen in Manipur. He also refused to give up the membership of the political party to which he belonged after getting elected as a Speaker.[10] In 2004, Somnath Chatterji refused to include the Railway Minister’s name in the resolution passed by the opposition in the aftermath of a train accident.[11] Instances of deliberate delay in deciding the disqualification matters of the members in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka also raised the proprietary’s question on the constitutional design of making the Speaker the sole arbiter in the matter of the disqualification.

The continued affiliation with the political party by the Speaker lies at the bottom of the problem. The problems of partisanship arise because of the structural issues regarding the appointment and tenure of the Speaker.[12] Though the Speaker represents the House but he also continues to represent his constituency. Again, he looks forward to contesting the election from the same constituency, which depends upon the permission from the political party’s leader.

The convention of Speakers resigning from their party membership has not developed in India. A reason for this is that the Speaker’s re-election to the House is not assured. All political parties campaign in the constituency of the Speaker. Even after re-electing to the House, the Office of the Speaker is still open for elections in India. Thus, an electoral system and conventions have not developed where the Speaker can forego his membership, thus he is bound to retain party membership. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was the only parliamentarian who resigned from the political party after becoming Speaker of the Fourth Lok Sabha.

In the United Kingdom, political parties generally do not field candidates against the Speaker during general elections.[13] During the election the Speaker stands as a Speaker seeking re-election and does not campaign on a political issue. There is a presumption if re-elected to the House he would continue as the Speaker, unless he shows an unwillingness to do so.[14]Also, in Britain, the Speaker refrains from taking the post of Minister after demitting the Office.

The broad power and function of the Speaker expects fair and reasonable decision to strengthen the parliamentary democracy. The Speaker is the custodian of the practices that infuses life in democracy. With or without explicit text in the Constitution, the Speaker shall be bound by all such values that deepen the trust of the people in the functioning of the democracy.

V. Conclusion

In the recent matter of the Speaker of the Rajasthan Assembly, the judicial intervention must be examined in the light of the discussion made. It is not only the procedural aspects but also the substantive element of the decision-making that requires the approval of the constitutional principles. Needless to say, the issuance of the show- cause notice falls in the category of the decision-made by the Speaker. Thus, the judicial scrutiny is warranted in a situation of the allegation of partisanship in arriving at a decision. The constitutional status entrusted upon the Speaker would not refrain the court from examining the evidence he arrived at the interim/final decision. In the absence of the adoption of the convention on non-partisanship developed in the United Kingdom as a part of the constitutional law, the action/inaction of the Speaker will be rightly examined by the court of law without dishonoring the mandate of Article 122 of the Constitution. Otherwise, the ideals of the parliamentary democracy will be held hostage to the culture of high command. Until the Supreme Court’s suggestion to insulate the Office of the Speaker form the political pressures through a constitutional amendment is not met (Nariman, J. in Manipur Legislative Assembly case[15] judicial review to preserve parliamentary democracy satisfies the principles of constitutionalism.


*Associate Professor, Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. Author can be reached at uday@iitkgp.ac.in

[1] National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Presiding Officers: Speakers and Presidents of Legislatures (https://www.ndi.org/files/031_ww_presiding_0.pdf).

[2] D. D. Basu, Commentary on the Constitution of India, Vol. 4, (8th Edition  2008)

[3] H. Chand, Power of Speaker, Seminar on Constitutional Development since Independence, Indian Law Institute, New Delhi (1973).

[4] Tenth Schedule, Constitution of India, 1950.

[5] Article 100(1) of Constitution of India

[6] Article 112(3)(b),  Constitution of India

[7] Article 94(c) Constitution of India

[8] Article 100(1), Constitution of India

[9] Article 94, Constitution of India

[10] Harsimran Kalra, Decisional Analysis And The Role Of The Speaker, The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy 2013

[11] NDA passes resolution against ‘partisan’ Speaker (2004),(http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2004-12-21/news/27403375_1_nda-leaders-lok-sabha-opposition-alliance)

[12] Id., note 10.

[13] House of Commons, Office and Role of Speaker, UK Parliament. (http://www.parliament.uk/business/commons/the-speaker/the-role-of-the-speaker/role-of-the-speaker/)

[14] Ibid

[15] Keisham Meghachandra Singh v. Manipur Legislative Assembly,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 55

Supreme Court of The United States
Case BriefsCOVID 19Foreign Courts

Supreme Court of The United States (SCOTUS): In a 5:4 decision, the majority  comprising of John G. Roberts Jr., Chief Justice, and Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elana Kagan, JJ., denied permission to Calvary Chappel, a Nevada church, to hold services on the same terms which were allowed by the State Directive to casinos and certain other facilities. However, strong dissent was registered by the remaining Judges on the Bench – Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch, JJ.
The application by the Church for injunction was denied by the Court in a single sentence:
“The application for injunctive relief presented to Justice Kagan and by her referred to the Court is denied.”
Alito, J. ( joined by Thomas and Kavanaugh, JJ. in his dissent) observed:

“Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion.”

Constitution says nothing about the freedom to play craps or black-jack, to feed tokens into a slot machine, or to engage in any other game of chance.

The dissenting Judges were of the view that:
The State of Nevada in view of the directive has discriminated in favor of the powerful gaming industry.

Attendance at Religious Services (the State Directive)

Governor of Nevada issued a directive that severely limits attendance at religious services. 

According to the directive, it has been stated that a church, synagogue or mosque regardless of its size may not admit more than 50 persons but casinos and certain other favored facilities may admit 50% of their maximum occupancy.


Calvary Chapel Dayton

The said church wished to host worship services for about 90 congregants with all the precautions being adhered to. But hosting the said worship service would violate the Directive 21 issued by Nevada Governor.

Meanwhile, the directive caps a variety of secular gatherings at 50% of their operating capacity, meaning that they are welcome to exceed, and in some cases far exceed, the 50-person limit imposed on places of worship.

Citing the heterogenous treatment, Calvary Chapel sought injunction allowing it to conduct services in accordance with its plan stating the adherence of all the measures required in view of COVID-19 Pandemic.

Disparate Treatment

Though the relief was denied, the dissenting Judges were of the view that at the outset of an emergency, it may be appropriate for Courts to tolerate very blunt rules that imposed unprecedented restrictions on personal liberty, including the free exercise of religion. That is what has happened thus far. But State certainly has not shown that church attendance under Calvary Chapel’s plan is riskier than what goes on in casinos.

Carte Blanche

A public health emergency does not give Governors and other public officials carte blanche to disregard the Constitution for as long as the medical problem persists.

The dissenting Judges noted that the problem is no longer one of exigency, but one of considered yet discriminatory treatment of places of worship.

While the directive’s treatment of casinos stands out, other facilities are also given more favorable treatment than houses of worship.

“…while Calvary Chapel cannot admit more than 50 congregants even if families sit six feet apart, spectators at a bowling tournament can sit together in groups of 50 provided that each group maintains social distancing from other groups.”

The directive blatantly discriminates against houses of worship and thus warrants strict scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause.

Observations of dissenting Judges:
Alito, J., who was joined by Thomas and Kavanaugh, JJ., placing a dissenting opinion, stated that preventing congregants from worshipping will cause irreparable harm, and the State has made no effort to show that Calvary Chapel’s plans would create a serious public health risk.

He suggested, the idea that “allowing Calvary Chapel to admit 90 worshippers presents a greater public health risk than allowing casinos to operate at 50% capacity is hard to swallow”: For casinos, operating at 50% is likely to mean thousands of people, standing close together and drinking alcohol, which requires them to take off their masks.

Gorsuch, J.,  dissenting from denial of application for injunctive relief, stated that,

“In Nevada, it seems, it is better to be in entertainment than religion.”

But the 1st Amendment prohibits such obvious discrimination against the exercise of religion.

“…there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.”

Kavanaugh, J., adding to Alito, J.’s dissent, stated that Nevada’s discrimination against religious services violates the Constitution.

Risk of COVID–19 transmission is at least as high at restaurants, bars, casinos, and gyms as it is at religious services. Indeed, people congregating in restaurants, bars, casinos, and gyms often linger at least as long as they do at religious services. And given the safety measures that Calvary Chapel and other places of worship are following—including social distancing, mask wearing, and certain additional voluntary measures—it is evident that people interact with others at restaurants, bars, casinos, and gyms at least as closely as they do at religious services.[Calvary Chapel Dayton Valey v. Steve Sisolak, Governor of Nevada, 591 US __ (2020), decided on 24-7-2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Ashok Bhushan and KM Joseph, JJ decided some important questions dealing with the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959 and held that the Commissioner, while hearing the appeal under Section 69 of Act, 1959, is not a Court. It said,

“When an appeal is provided against the order of the Commissioner under Section 69 to the Court which is defined under Section 6(7), there is no question of treating the Commissioner as a Court under the statutory scheme of Act, 1959.”

The Court also held that the applicability of Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act is with regard to different limitations prescribed for any suit, appeal or application when to be filed in a Court. It further held,

“Section 29(2) cannot be pressed in service with regard to filing of suits, appeals and applications before the statutory authorities and tribunals provided in a special or local law. The Commissione while hearing of the appeal under Section 69 of the Act, 1959 is not entitled to condone the delay in filing appeal, since, provision of Section 5 shall not be attracted by strength of Section 29(2) of the Act.”

On the question whether the statutory scheme of Act 1959 indicate that Section 5 of Limitation Act is applicable to proceedings before its authorities, the Court said that There is no other provision in the scheme from which it can be inferred that Act, 1959 intended applicability of Section 5 of the Limitation Act to proceedings of appeal before the Commission.

[Ganesan v. Commissioner, Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 651, decided on 03.05.2019]