Case BriefsDistrict Court

Tis Hazari Court, Delhi: While deciding the instant complaint filed under S. 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, wherein the dispute revolved around the non-compliance of the clauses of Non-Competing Agreement (NCA) executed between the parties to the dispute; the accused company was acquitted from the charges levied under S. 138. Presiding over the matter, Devanshu Sajlan, D.J.S., while making detailed observations concerning S. 138 of NI Act and S. 27 of Contact Act and, held that the accused company has successfully raised a probable defence in its favour and the complainant has failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.

Facts of the Case: The accused company  and complainant  had signed into a Non-Competing Agreement (NCA) stating that a compensation of Rs. 3,80,00,000 was required to be paid in 120 equal installments of Rs. 3, 16, 666 each to the complainant  for agreeing to resign from the accused company under clause 4.1 of the NCA. In partial discharge of the aforesaid liability, the accused company issued the cheque(s) in question thus giving the complainant the right to proceed under section 138 of the NI Act in the event of dishonour of the said cheques.

The parties  also signed a share purchase agreement (SPA) in violation of which both parties invoked arbitral proceedings, which they settled with a consent award which stated the requirement of furnishing fresh bank guarantee which would be considered valid till the payment of the last instalment. As a security for payment of monthly installments, cheques were given.

The case revolved around the non-compliance of the clauses of NCA due to which the accused  is not obligated to make any payment and possess no legal liability towards the complainant. The case also concerns with the arbitral award give liberty to the complainant in order to explore its legal remedies under the NCA. It is filed to pursue the remedies given under NCA.

The complainant further alleged that the present cheque(s) which were given to the complainant towards payment of the installment of the compensation contemplated under NCA, were returned dishonoured with remarks ‘Funds insufficient’. Thereafter, the complainant sent a legal demand notice to the accused persons, but the accused persons allegedly failed to pay the cheque amount and therefore, thus complainant was compelled to file the present complaint.

Issues:

  1. Whether the accused had committed breach of consent award by not paying the cheque amount as agreed upon in the NCA?
  2. Whether the liability has arisen if the requirements under S. 138 of NI Act are not met with?
  3. Whether a post-dated cheque is for “discharge of debt or liability” U/S 138 of NI Act depends on the nature of the transaction?
  4. Whether a mutually settled arbitral award demarcates the liability of payment signed under NCA?

Submissions: The submissions of the accused were centred around the second ingredient of S. 138 of NI Act i.e. “The cheque was drawn by the drawer for discharge of any legally enforceable debt or other liability”.

 

It was submitted that the cheque(s) were given as advance payment towards the monthly instalment amount pertaining to the total compensation under the non-compete agreement. The said cheque(s) were not issued in discharge of any existing/ subsisting debt.

Accused contended that payments were made regularly to the complainant until the breach of terms of contract came to their notice. It was submitted that the accused had no liability to pay non-competing fees to the complainant  as he  failed to  comply with statutory obligations.

It was further argued by the accused that since the complainant is being aptly compensated for not practicing the competing business, hence it cannot be said that NCA is in restraint of trade and is in violation of S.27 of Contract Act, 1872. It was also submitted that cheque(s) were suspended as advance payment constituting to total compensation procured under NCA.

 

Meanwhile, the complainant submitted that there can be no challenge for the validity of the NCA since the arbitral consent award under NCA is legally enforceable.  It was also submitted to the court that since the legal liability of giving payment liquidates due to non-performance of NCA, it does not matter if the issued cheque was dated for advance payment of a liability debt.

Observations – Upon perusal of the contentions, the Court made the following salient observations:

  • The liability had crystallised/ matured when the cheque(s) in question were presented. The monthly liability to pay non-compete fee arose in the present matter upon performing of non-competing service by the complainant for the said month. Thus, the cheque(s) in question cannot be held to be not for a subsisting liability.
  • It was further observed that the NCA clearly stipulated that in case the consent award is breached, the complainant can file a complaint under S. 138 of NI Act. It was noted that there was not even a shred of evidence available on record to support the assertion of the accused no. 2 that complainant breached the terms of the NCA. Therefore, the burden of proof placed upon the accused persons have not been discharged as regards the contention of breach of NCA.
  • The Court also referred to Sampelly Satyanarayana Rao v. Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd., (2016) 10 SCC 458, which held that the crucial test for applicability of S. 138 of NI Act is that such liability should have arisen on the date mentioned on the post-date cheque or the date when the cheque is handed over in order for it to constitute as an offence under S. 138 of NI Act.
  • The Court made detailed observations regarding the NCA being voidable in light of S. 27 of the Indian Contract Act. It was stated that the NCA in the present case is a simplicitor contract of restraint of trade by which the complainant has been refrained from involving in a trade of similar domain for a period of 10 years after he files his resignation. The Court pointed out that this case does not fall within the ambit of the exception of sale of goodwill of business. The NCA or the connected SPA between the same parties nowhere mentions that the complainant is transferring goodwill of the business of the accused company to the new management. Thus, such non-compete agreements such as the NCA in question, squarely falls within the mischief prohibited under S. 27 of Indian Contract Act, 1872. Thus, the instant NCA is void agreement under S. 27. It was observed that the right against restraint of trade cannot be waived off by the conduct of the parties. The court cannot enforce a void contract based on the waiver of the respective parties, especially in a case when a clause is based on the public policy of India.

 

Decision: It was held that since the NCA is void pursuant to S. 27 of the Indian Contract Act, the cheque(s) in question given to discharge the liability under the NCA cannot be held to be issued in discharge of a legally enforceable liability. In the present case, since the complainant’s promise (to not do competing business) is unlawful, there is no legal reciprocal consideration to make the NCA a valid binding contract. Regarding the validity of NCA vis-a-vis the arbitral consent award, the Court held that while it is correct that the arbitral consent award was passed to settle the disputes under the NCA and SPA, there is no specific undertaking that the cheques in question, which were issued prior to the arbitral award, will be used to secure the consent arbitral award. “It would have been a different case if the cheques in question would have been issued pursuant to the arbitral award since the same would then have been considered to have been issued to enforce the consent award (which is akin to a consent decree), and hence enforceable”. [Anil Thakur v. Blazeflash Courier Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine Dis Crt (Del) 23, decided on 31-05-2022]

Counsel for Complainant: S.K. Gupta

                                          Vikas Gupta

Counsel for Accused: S N Gupta

                                    Sanjay Goel


*Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Explaining the law on vicarious liability under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, the bench of Ajay Rastogi and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ has held that while Section 141 of the NI Act extends vicarious criminal liability to officers associated with the company or firm when one of the twin requirements of Section 141 has been satisfied, which person(s) then, by deeming fiction, is made vicariously liable and punished, such vicarious liability arises only when the company or firm commits the offence as the primary offender.

The Court explained that the provisions of Section 141 NI Act impose vicarious liability by deeming fiction which presupposes and requires the commission of the offence by the company or firm. Therefore, unless the company or firm has committed the offence as a principal accused, the persons mentioned in sub-section (1) or (2) would not be liable and convicted as vicariously liable.

Sub-section (2) to Section 141 of the NI Act does not state that the persons enumerated, which can include an officer of the company, can be prosecuted and punished merely because of their status or position as a director, manager, secretary or any other officer, unless the offence in question was committed with their consent or connivance or is attributable to any neglect on their part. The onus under sub-section (2) to Section 141 of the NI Act is on the prosecution and not on the person being prosecuted.

It was further observed that the Partnership Act, 1932 creates civil liability. Further, the guarantor’s liability under the Contract Act, 1872 is a civil liability. The Partner may have civil liability and may also be liable under the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 and the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002. However, vicarious liability in the criminal law in terms of Section 141 of the NI Act cannot be fastened because of the civil liability.

“Vicarious liability under sub-section (1) to Section 141 of the NI Act can be pinned when the person is in overall control of the day-to-day business of the company or firm. Vicarious liability under sub-section (2) to Section 141 of the NI Act can arise because of the director, manager, secretary, or other officer’s personal conduct, functional or transactional role, notwithstanding that the person was not in overall control of the day-to-day business of the company when the offence was committed. Vicarious liability under sub-section (2) is attracted when the offence is committed with the consent, connivance, or is attributable to the neglect on the part of a director, manager, secretary, or other officer of the company.”

In the case at hand, even the Bank of Baroda had admitted that the appellant had not issued any of the three cheques, which had been dishonoured, in his personal capacity or otherwise as a partner. Hence, in the absence of any evidence led by the prosecution to show and establish that the appellant was in charge of and responsible for the conduct of the affairs of the firm, the conviction of the appellant had to be set aside.

“The appellant cannot be convicted merely because he was a partner of the firm which had taken the loan or that he stood as a guarantor for such a loan.”

[Dilip Hariramani v. Bank of Baroda, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 579, decided on 09.05.2022]


*Judgment by: Justice Sanjiv Khanna

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Asha Menon, J. refused to allow a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC seeking quashing of summoning order passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Courts in complaint filed by the respondents 1 and 2 against the petitioner under Section 138 read with Section 142 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

A complaint was filed when the cheque issued by the petitioner for a sum of Rs 24 lakhs was dishonoured.

After the Trial Court had summoned the accused to face the trial for the offence under Section 138 of the NI Act, a petition under Section 482 CrPC was filed challenging the summoning order, which was disposed of vide orders by a Co-ordinate Bench of this Court, permitting the petitioner to raise all issues before the Trial Court before the Notice under Section 251 CrPC was served on the petitioner.

Thereafter, the petitioner moved an application “for recall of the summoning order/discharge of the accused”.

Analysis and Decision


High Court on perusal of the impugned order noted that it was a well-reasoned one and in respect of the contention that there was no averment in the complaint against the petitioner, the Trial Court noted that the ‘post-dated cheque’ was issued towards consultancy fees and was duly signed by accused 2 who was the petitioner before this Court.

The Supreme Court decision in SMS Pharmaceuticals v. Neeta Bhalla, (2007) 4 SCC 70, had made the signatory of the cheque responsible under Section 141(2) of the NI Act.

Plea that the cheque had been reported ‘lost’, it was for the petitioner to prove the same. He would have also gotten an opportunity to cross-examine the Bank Officials to establish that they had an obligation to have refused honouring the cheque on the ground that the cheque had been reported ‘lost’ by the drawer, to get the benefit of the decision in Raj Kumar Khurana v. State of (NCT of Delhi), (2009) 6 SCC 72. Hence, the trial Court was right in holding that the loss of cheque could be ascertained only during trial.

Therefore, since there was no error or perversity in the impugned order, no interference was called for by this Court in exercise of its inherent powers under Section 482 CrPC. [Rajeev Ranjan Sinha v. Sushil Kumar Saxena, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 1577, decided on 26-5-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner:

Mr Siddharth Dutta and Ms Gunjan Malhotra, Advocates

For the Respondents:

Ms Manjeet Arya, APP for respondent No.3/State

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Case BriefsDistrict Court

Dwarka Courts, New Delhi: Deeksha Sethi, MM (NI Act)—06, reiterated that, even a blank cheque leaf, voluntarily signed and handed over by the accused, which is towards some payment, would attract presumption under Section 139 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

In the present matter, Raj Singh was referred to as ‘complainant’ and the accused were relatives as the marriage of the son of the complainant and daughter of the brother of the accused was solemnized.

The complainant’s case was that in the second week of April 2015 accused along with his brother approached him and requested a sum of Rs 12 lakhs and 8 lakhs respectively as they were in dire need of money. It was assured to the complainant that they would return the money within 12 months along with interest @ 2% per month.

It was stated that, the accused and his brother paid the interest only on two occasions and thereafter neither paid the interest nor principal amount despite repeated requests.

Thereafter, in the discharge of their liability accused’s brother gave a cheque amounting to Rs 8 lakhs as part payment and accused Yashpal Singh also gave a cheque amounting to Rs 12 lakhs.

Both the above cheques were dishonoured with the remarks ‘Insufficient Funds’.

The complainant had informed about the dishonouring of the cheque by the accused and his brother, however, the accused and his brother refused to return the amount and threatened the complainant with dire consequences.

Later, since the accused failed to make payment despite the notice, therefore liability to be tried and punished for an offence under Section 138 NI Act.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Court noted that the accused had admitted the fact that the cheque in question had his signatures and in such scenario, a presumption was raised under Section 139 read with Sections 118/20 of the NI Act, that cheque was issued in discharge of debt or liability.

With regard to the contention of the accused regarding certain particulars of the cheque were not filled by the accused and hence it was difficult to believe the complainant’s version, Court expressed that, even it was admitted for the sake of argument that blank cheque was given by the accused to the complainant, it is a well-settled principle of law that,

“…even a blank cheque leaf, voluntarily signed and handed over by the accused, which is towards some payment, would attract presumption under Section 139 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, in the absence of any cogent evidence to show that the cheque was not issued in discharge of a debt.”

Hence, the contention of the accused could not be accepted.

Misuse of Cheque

The Bench noted that the accused neither placed on record any complaint made to the police or bank in the said regard nor led any other evidence in support of the misuse of the cheque.

Further, the Bench added that, it is well settled that bare statements and story-telling would not help the accused to rebut the presumption raised under Sections 118 and 139 of the NI Act.

Whether the accused had been able to shake the version given by the complainant in his evidence affidavit and had been able to point out discrepancies or contradictions which may throw doubt on his version?

The only suggestion that had been given was that a blank signed cheque was issued by the accused to the complainant as it was agreed in Panchayat that the accused and his brother would give the cheque in question and the complainant’s son would take back the accused’s niece. Thus, no discrepancy had emerged out of the cross-examination which may demolish the complainant’s version even on the touchstone of preponderance of probabilities.

The Court concluded that the accused was not able to prove any probable defence and had failed to rebut the presumption raised under Sections 118/139 of the NI Act.

Therefore, Yashpal Singh was held guilty and convicted for the commission of an offence punishable under Section 138 of the NI Act in respect of the cheque in question. [Raj Singh v. Yashpal Singh Parmar, 2022 SCC OnLine Dis Crt (Del) 16, decided on 25-4-2022]

Case BriefsDistrict Court

Dwarka Courts, Delhi: Rahul Jain, Metropolitan Magistrate, while addressing a matter regarding dishonour of cheque, held that mere assertion of non-receipt of legal notice cannot help the accused in escaping liability under Section 138 Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

It was alleged in complaint that accused had approached the complainant to purchase a car. It was sold vide an agreement for Rs 7 lakhs only to be paid in 35 EMIs of Rs 20,000.

After default in the instalments, the accused issued a cheque which was returned dishonoured with remark “funds insufficient”. Thereafter, the complainant approached the accused repeatedly about the dishonour of the cheque and then the accused agreed to repay the consideration at one time and issue one cheque which was dishonoured.

Since no response was made within the statutory period regarding the demand notice, the present complaint was filed.

Analysis, Law and Decision


Legal Notice

The Court stated that the assertion of non-receipt of legal notice cannot help the accused in escaping liability under Section 138 NI Act, especially keeping in mind that firstly the accused has admitted his address mentioned on legal demand notice to be correct and secondly that the accused entered appearance in the court pursuant to service upon the same address as was mentioned in the legal demand notice.

It was settled in the decision of the Supreme Court in C.C. Alavi Haji v. Palapetty Muhammed, (2007) 6 SCC 555,  that an accused who claimed that he did not receive legal notice, can within 15 days on receipt of summons from the Court, make payment of the cheque amount, and an accused who does not make such payment cannot contend that there was no proper service of notice as required under Section 138, by ignoring statutory presumption to the contrary under Section 27 of the General Clauses Act and Section 114 of the Evidence Act.

Legal Enforceable Debt

Bench noted that the initial defence of the accused had been that he had not purchased any car from the complainant and denied his signatures on the vehicle agreement. Further, he stated that car was purchased by his brother from the complainant, and he had just stood as a guarantor in the transaction and issued the cheque as security. The said defence was not even a defence but rather an admission to the liability to pay the cheques.

Liability of Guarantor under Section 138 NI Act

Section 138 NI Act uses the words “where any cheque” and therefore, the cheque could be drawn for whatever reason and the drawer would be liable if it is drawn on an account maintained by him with a banker in favour of another person for the discharge of any debt or other liability.

“The cheque could be issued for the discharge of the debt or liability of the drawer or of any other person including a guarantor.”

Section 128 of the Indian Contract Act provides that the liability of the surety is coextensive with that of the principal debtor, unless it is otherwise provided in the contract.

Hence, as per the Indian Contract Act, the liability of the guarantor is coextensive with that of the borrower which means that lender can enforce his right against either the principal borrower or the guarantor of the principal borrower.

Therefore,

On a joint reading of section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act and Section 128 of Indian Contract act, it is now crystal clear that the liability of the guarantor of a loan fall within the provisions of Section 138 NI Act.

Court added that, with the presumption under Section 139 NI Act raised in the favour of the complainant as the accused admitted his signatures on the cheque, the burden of proof was on the accused to raise a probable defence.

Such burden is only to the extent of the preponderance of probabilities but mere verbal denial won’t discharge even this burden. The onus was on the accused to prove that the signatures on the agreement were not his.

In the absence of evidence for the above, Court used its power under Section 73 of the Evidence Act to compare his signatures on the vehicle agreement with the admitted signatures on the cheque.

In view of the above discussion, a presumption existed in the favour of the complainant, and it was the accused who had to discharge the onus, but he miserably failed to do so.

Therefore, the complainant duly proved his case against the accused for offence punishable under Section 138 NI Act, 1881 beyond the shadow of any reasonable doubt. [Anju Devi v. Mukesh, 2022 SCC OnLine Dis Crt (Del) 19, decided on 9-5-2022]

Tis-hazari
Case BriefsDistrict Court

Tis Hazari Courts, New Delhi: While addressing a decision revolving around Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, Sanjay Sharma-II, Additional Sessions Judge-03, upheld the decision of the Trial Court and held that all the ingredients of Section 138 NI Act were fulfilled by the complainant.

A criminal appeal under Section 374 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 was directed against the decision in case regarding Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, whereby the trial Court convicted the appellant for the said offence.

Factual Background


The complainant had filed a complaint under Section 138 of the NI Act that the appellant and her husband had friendly relations for 5 years and in the guise of the same, a friendly loan of Rs 1,00,000 was taken by the appellant.

At the time of returning of loan money, two cheques were issued but were returned unpaid with the remark “FUNDS INSUFFICIENT”. On re-representation, the said cheques were returned unpaid with the remark ‘OTHER REASONS’. Despite the receipt of the demand appellant failed to make payment of cheque.

Hence, a complaint under Section 138 NI Act was filed and the trial court while convicting the appellant under Section 138 NI Act, pronounced the following decision:

(a) The appellant admitted that the said cheques were drawn on an account maintained by him;

(b) The said cheques were presented for encashment within period of their validity;

(c) The reason for dishonour of the said cheques i.e. ‘Other reasons’ is a specie covered under the genus ‘dishonour of cheque for insufficiency, etc., of funds in the account’;

(d) The appellant was duly served with the demand notice through his real brother, namely, Lokesh;

(e) There is a legal presumption that the said cheques were drawn for consideration and in discharge of debt or other liability; and

(f) The appellant failed to raise probable defence to rebut presumption of existence of legally enforceable liability.

On being aggrieved with the above, the present appeal was preferred.

Scope of Jurisdiction of First Appellate Court

Appellant Court’s jurisdiction is co-extensive with that of the trial court in the matter of assessment, appraisal and appreciation of the evidence and also to determine the disputed issues.

Points for Consideration

(a) Whether the complainant is required to prove that she received the said cheques in discharge of any debt or other liability? 

Once the signatures of the appellant on cheques were established, ‘reverse onus’ clauses under Sections 118 and 139 NI Act become operative.

The appellant must raise a ‘probable defence’ and the standard of proof is ‘preponderance of probabilities’.

The appellant can lead direct evidence or rely upon evidence adduced by the complainant to show that consideration or debt did not exist, or non-existence of consideration or debt is probable.

(b) Whether dishonour of the said cheques with remark ‘Other reasons’ is covered under Section 138 NI Act?

The appellant had neither attributed nor proved that the said cheques were dishonoured on account of any negligence of his banker. The appellant did not make payment of cheque amount despite receipt of demand notice. Therefore, this Court opined that dishonour of cheques with remark ‘other reasons’ was covered under Section 138 NI Act, as any other interpretation would defeat the object of provisions of Section 138 NI Act.

(c) Whether non-examination of husband of the complainant is fatal to her case?

In Court’s opinion, husband of the complainant was not a material witness. The complainant need not examine him to prove friendly relation with the appellant. Further, the complainant’s husband had no role in a transaction in question and if the appellant wanted to prove absence of the said relation, he could have examined him in defence.

(d) Whether the complainant was required to examine witness from bank to prove cheque returning memos?

It was contended that the complainant did not examine the witness from her bank to prove cheque returning memos and stamps.

Section 146 NI Act provides that bank’s memo is prima facie evidence of the fact of dishonour of cheque.

The complainant had filed original cheque returning memos pertaining to dishonour of the said cheques vide memos and appellant led no evidence to rebut the presumption that the said memos were not issued by his banker in relation to dishonour of the said cheques.

In the present matter, the appellant did not show that he had suffered any prejudice during trial by the Trial Court and neither contended that there was any miscarriage of justice.

Conclusion


In Court’s opinion, the complainant established all pre-requisites as required under Section 138 NI Act, hence the appellant was rightly convicted for committing offence under Section 138 NI Act.

The Bench directed the appellant to surrender before the trial Court. [Deepak Kumar v. Mehnaz, 2022 SCC OnLine Dis Crt (Del) 14, decided on 9-5-2022]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: While rejecting an appeal to quash proceedings under Section 138 of the N.I. Act, 1881 at pre-trial stage, the Division Bench comprising of K.M. Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy*, JJ., held that when there is legal presumption, it would not be judicious for the quashing Court to carry out a detailed enquiry on the facts alleged, without first permitting the trial Court to evaluate the evidence of the parties.

The Bench upheld the impugned judgment of Delhi High Court wherein the High Court had – while acting as a quashing court under Section 482 of CrPC – refused to quash proceedings at pre-trial stage. The Bench observed,

“The quashing Court should not take upon itself, the burden of separating the wheat from the chaff where facts are contested.”

Factual Backdrop

Evidently, the complainant invested a substantial sum in the appellant’s company, however as some dispute arose between them, the parties decided that the invested money would be returned to the complainant and the shares allotted to the complainant will be proportionately transferred to the appellant. Pursuant to such compromise, the four cheques were issued by the appellant, which on being presented by the complainant, got dishonourned due to insufficient fund. Consequently, proceedings under NI Act came in picture.

Submissions of the Parties

The appellant argued that without satisfying the essential ingredients for the offence under Section 138 of the N.I. Act to the effect that the dishonoured cheque received by the complainant was against “legally enforceable debt or liability”, the criminal process could not have been issued. According to the appellant, the cheques in question were issued as “security” for buyback of shares and not in discharge of any “legally recoverable debt” and therefore they could not have been prematurely presented to the bank and should have been presented for encashment only after transfer of the complainant’s shareholding in the appellant’s company.

On the contrary, the complainant contended that when the cheques were issued and the signatures thereon were admitted, the presumption of a legally enforceable debt would arise in favour of the holder of the cheque. The complainant argued that the appellant should first pay and then as per the usual practice in the trade, the shares would be transferred to the appellant in due course within the time permitted by law.

Analysis and Conclusion

In HMT Watches Ltd. v. M.A. Abida, (2015) 11 SCC 776, and in Rajiv Thapar v. Madan Lal Kapoor, (2013) 3 SCC 330, it has been held that unless the Court is fully satisfied that the material produced would irrefutably rule out the charges and such materials being of sterling and impeccable quality, the invocation of Section 482 Cr.P.C power to quash the criminal proceedings, would be unmerited.

The Bench opined that when there is legal presumption, it would not be judicious for the quashing Court to carry out a detailed enquiry on the facts alleged, without first permitting the trial Court to evaluate the evidence of the parties. The quashing Court should not take upon itself, the burden of separating the wheat from the chaff where facts are contested. The Bench observed,

“The consequences of scuttling the criminal process at a pre-trial stage can be grave and irreparable.”

The Bench stated that at any rate, whenever facts are disputed the truth should be allowed to emerge by weighing the evidence. Otherwise, the accused may get an un-merited advantage in the criminal process. Hence, the Bench held that when the cheque and the signature were not disputed by the appellant, the balance of convenience was in favour of the complainant/prosecution and the accused will have due opportunity to adduce defence evidence during the trial, to rebut the presumption.

In the light of above, the Bench reached to following findings:

  1. In shares transactions, there is a time lag between money going out from the buyer and shares reaching to the seller.
  2. The burden of proving that there is no existing debt or liability, is to be discharged in the trial.
  3. The legal presumption of the cheque having been issued in the discharge of liability must also receive due weightage.
  4. In a situation where the accused moves Court for quashing even before trial has commenced, the Court’s approach should be careful enough to not to prematurely extinguish the case by disregarding the legal presumption which supports the complaint.

Consequently, the Bench held that when the proceedings are at a nascent stage, scuttling of the criminal process is not merited. Hence, the impugned judgment was upheld as the same was found to be rendered by applying the correct legal principles.

[Rathish Babu Unnikrishnan v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2022 SCC OnLine SC 513, decided on 26-04-2022]


*Judgment by: Justice Hrishikesh Roy


Appearance by:

For the Appellant: Krishnamohan K., Advocate

For the Complainant: K.M. Nataraj, ASG and Rebecca M. John Senior Counsel


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Asha Menon, J., held that if no offence is attributed to the company, its Directors and other persons responsible for the conduct of its business cannot be saddled with any liability.

The petitioner had filed a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 against the respondent. It was stated that, the commercial space owned by the petitioner had been let out upon terms and conditions in the Rent Agreement.

The above-said rent agreement was executed between the petitioner and the respondent’s company. Further, in March-April, 2013 the respondent was alleged to have issued five cheques duly signed by the Managing Director to discharge the company’s liability to pay the rent.

The above-said cheques were bounced; hence the complaint was filed.

Analysis and Decision

High Court observed that the Company upon which the primary liability rests and a person who is sought to be made vicariously liable for an offence of which the principal accused is a company, would need to have a role to play in relation to the incriminating act.

Section 141 of the N.I. Act operates only when the offence under Section 138 of the N.I. Act is committed by a company.

Further, Court stated that the Company being the primary accused must be found to have committed an offence. Thereafter, through the legal fiction created by Section 141 of the N.I. Act, the Directors and other persons responsible for the conduct of its business also become vicarious liable.

In the present matter, all the averments were against the respondent, who was described as Managing Director.

There was no pleading which suggested that the Company had committed any offence.

When no offence is attributable to the Company, it is not possible to attach liability on the Managing Director by the deeming provisions of Section 141 of the N.I. Act.

Bench added that, amendments of simple technical infirmities alone can be allowed but not the filing of a fresh complaint with improved pleadings in the garb of the amendment.

Hence, in view of the above discussion, Court denied grant permission to amend the complaint.

Therefore, the petition was dismissed. [Hari Shamsher Kaushik v. Jasbir Singh, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 1379, decided on 9-5-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Mahesh K. Mehta, Advocate

For the Respondent: None

High Court Round UpLegal RoundUp

110 Reports from 20 High Courts


Allahabad High Court


  • Money Laundering

For money launderers “jail is the rule and bail is an exception”

While addressing a matter with regard to anticipatory bail, Krishan Pahal, J., observed that, Money Laundering being an offence is economic threat to national interest and is committed by the white-collar offenders who are deeply rooted in society and cannot be traced out easily.

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  • Right to Approach the Court

Person whose case is based on falsehood has no right to approach the Court

Expressing that Courts of law are meant for imparting justice, Sanjay Kumar Singh, J., observed that more often the process of Court is being abused by unscrupulous litigants to achieve their nefarious design.

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  • Bail

Cogent and clinching evidence found regarding conversion of deaf and dumb students to Islam; Bail denied

The Division Bench of Brij Raj Singh and Ramesh Sinha, JJ. dismissed a criminal appeal which was filed under Section 21 (4) of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008 of refusal of bail to the appellant.

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Unity of India is not made of bamboo reeds which will bend to the passing winds of empty slogans; foundations of our nation are more enduring: All HC while granting bail to Kashmiri Students

Expressing that Students travelling freely to different parts of the country in the quest for knowledge is the true celebration of India diversity and a vivid manifestation of India’s unity, Ajay Bhanot, J., stated that it is the duty of the people of the hosting State to create enabling conditions for visiting scholars to learn and to live the constitutional values of our nation.

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Andhra Pradesh High Court


  • Arms Act

Will carrying of toy gun in public attract S. 25 of Arms Act? Bail granted to a man giving stills as a hero with an air gun in a cinema theatre

“…the offences punishable under Sections 290, 506(2) IPC are bailable in nature. As regards the offence punishable under Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959, is concerned, the pistol which was seized from the possession of A-1 is an air gun. It is a toy gun.”

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  • Wilful Negligence

No offence made out under POA Act against bank officials who misplaced the house documents and title deeds of a claimant as FIR does not show wilful Negligence by a public servant

The Court after perusing Section 3(1) (v) and 3(2) (vii) and Section 4 of POA, Act, which deals with punishment for neglect of duties it is clear that these cannot be made applicable to the facts in issue. Section 3(2)(vii) postulates a situation where a person being a public servant commits any offence under this section i.e., Section 3(2) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be less than one year but which may extend to the punishment provided for that offence. 

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  • Vakalat and Written

Signatures on the Vakalat and the Written Statement cannot be considered as signatures of comparable and assured standard for want of expert opinion under S. 45 Evidence Act

Ninala Surya, J., decided to not interfere with the impugned order and dismissed the civil writ petition.

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Bombay High Court


  • Child Marriages

Child marriages will have to be stopped and no person can be allowed to take advantage of any such situation

Vibha Kankanwadi, J., expressed that Child marriages are hazardous to the social fabric of this Country.

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  • Decorum of Court

Advocate to maintain dignity & decorum of Court, no room for arrogance and no license to intimidate Court

Anuja Prabhudessai, J., expressed that an advocate as an Officer of the Court is under an obligation to maintain the dignity and decorum of the Court. There is no room for arrogance and there is no license to intimidate the Court, make reckless accusations and allegations against a Judge and pollute the very fountain of justice.

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  • Compassionate Appointment

Can legal heir of deceased employee be granted compassionate appointment, who took voluntary retirement due to being medically unfit?

Ravindra V. Ghuge, J., decides a matter as to whether the benefit of compassionate appointment can be granted to the legal heir of the employee, who took voluntary retirement and was never certified as being medically unfit to perform any work, though the reason for opting for retirement was a serious medical condition.

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  • Religious Verses

Declaration of reciting religious verses at someone’s residence: Act of breaching personal liberty of another person?

Stating that, “Great power comes with greater responsibility”, the Division Bench of Prasanna B. Varale and S.M. Modak, JJ., expressed that, the expectation of responsible behaviour or responsible conduct from those persons who are active in public life cannot be an extra expectation but would be a basic expectation.

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  • Eviction

Son not expected to brand his aged father a ‘swindler’ or allege that aged parents have lost mental balance

In a matter wherein, the parents sought eviction of their sonRohit B. Deo, J., expressed that,

“In the conservative Indian society, a son is not expected to brand his aged father a ‘swindler’ or then allege that the aged parents have lost mental balance.”

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  • Arbitration and Conciliation Act

Can mere filing of proceedings under S. 7 IBC be treated as an embargo on Court exercising jurisdiction under S. 11 of Arbitration & Conciliation Act?

A very interesting question was considered by G.S. Kulkarni, J., the question being, whether mere filing of a proceeding under Section 7 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 would amount to an embargo on the Court considering an application under Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, to appoint an arbitral tribunal?

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  • Land Acquisition

For determining land acquisition compensation, market value, if any, specified in Stamp Act for registration of Sale Deed and/or Agreement of Sale has to be considered

The Division Bench of S.V. Gangapurwala and Vinay Joshi, JJ., expressed that only because 83% of the property for the project is acquired, it would be egregious not to apply the provision of the statute for determination of compensation.

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  • Pension

If service of an employee at his superannuation is less than ten years, then previous temporary or officiating service needed to be counted for qualifying service for pension

The Division Bench of R.D. Dhanuka and S.G. Mehare, JJ., expressed that, for condoning the interruption in service, the total service pensionary benefit in respect of which will lost should not be less than five years duration, excluding one or two interruptions.

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  • Partition

In a suit for partition, the heads of all the branches are necessary parties

Mangesh S. Patil, J., decided on the following questions for consideration:

  • Whether in a suit for partition and possession of the field all the sharers and co-partners are necessary parties?
  • Whether suit for partition and possession is bad for non-joinder of necessary parties and therefore ought to have been dismissed?
  • Whether in the circumstances of the case, the observation regarding non-joinder of necessary parties, made by the appellate court, are proper?

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  • Maintenance

Can filing of a maintenance proceeding, a criminal case for harassment be said to be sufficient to jump to a conclusion that wife intended to harass husband and his relations?

In a matter of matrimonial discord, Mangesh S. Patil, J., expressed that, when admittedly, for whatever reason, there was a marital discord and the wife had started residing with the infant child at her parental house barely within three years of her marriage, it cannot be expected of her not to prosecute whatever rights and remedies she has under the law.

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  • “No Confidence”

If directly elected Sarpanch acts in a manner rendering functioning of Panchayat at a standstill, would member of panchayat get right to move motion of ‘no confidence’?

Stating that in the democratic setup, the will of the majority is the rule, the Division Bench of S.V. Gangapurwala and Shrikant D. Kulkarni, JJ., held that if the directly elected Sarpanch fails to call the meetings of the Panchayat or acts in a manner rendering the functioning of the Panchayat at a standstill, the member of the Panchayat would certainly get a right to move a motion of no confidence.

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  • Motor Accident Case

Determination of a just compensation cannot be equated to be a bonanza

Addressing a dispute with regard to the percentage of permanent disability and determination of compensation, Shrikant D. Kulkarni, J., remarked that determination of a just compensation cannot be equated to be a bonanza.

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  • Society

Can minority members of a Society act against will of majority members and foist delay in commencement of redevelopment work of Society?

Observing that, a developer who has been appointed by the Society and who is eager to proceed with the redevelopment, was in some manner left baffled and dragged into litigationG.S. Kulkarni, J., held that, non-cooperating members cannot foist a delay on the builder and the society in the commencement of the redevelopment work resulting in the project costs being increased every passing day.

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  • Abortion

Past pregnancy can be determined on account of permanent changes in the body of a woman

While addressing a matter, wherein the accused who was a doctor charged for raping a minor stated that there was not any proof that the girl ever conceived or had undergone any abortion, M.G. Sewlikar, J., expressed that, Medical science is so advanced that now a days past pregnancy also can be determined on the basis of changes in the body of a woman on account of pregnancy.

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  • Custody of Child

Non-custodial parent cannot be deprived of his right to spend quality time and enjoy company of children

Anuja Prabhudessai, J., expressed that the children also have the right to love and affection from both parents as well as grandparents as it is essential for the personal development and overall well-being of the children.

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  • Partnership Act

Every partner is liable, jointly with all other partners and also severally for all acts of firm done while he is a partner: Is it true?

Expressing that, a firm is not a legal entity, N.J. Jamadar, J., held that a partnership firm is only a collective or compendious name for all the partners.

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  • Constitutional Validity of S. 29A of Consumer Protection Act

Whether absence of President of State Commission or District Forum for reasons beyond control is sufficient for striking down S. 29A as unconstitutional?

Stating that, the Courts cannot examine the constitutional validity if a situation created by impugned legislation is irremediable, the Division Bench of V.M. Deshpande and Amit B. Borkar, JJ., addressed a matter wherein the constitutional validity of Section 29A of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has been challenged.

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  • Lawyer-Client Relationship

Lawyer-client relationship is a fiduciary one; any act which is detrimental to legal rights of clients’ needs to be punished

Stating that it is the duty of every Advocate to uphold professional integrity so that citizens can legally secure justicethe Division Bench of V.M. Deshpande and Amit B. Borkar, JJ., expressed that, professional misconduct refers to its disgraceful conduct not befitting the profession concerning the legal profession, which is not a business or trade and therefore, it must remain decontaminated.

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  • Sale Deed

Whether a natural guardian having executed sale-deed of property of a minor in favour of a third party and thereafter repurchased part of it, can be prosecuted for offences under Ss. 420, 467, 468, 471 of IPC that too, after more than 35 years from date of attaining majority by minor?

The Division Bench of V.M. Deshpande and Amit Borkar, JJ., expressed that a transaction by a natural guardian of a minor with respect to his immovable properties is valid till a Court strikes it down.

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  • Muslim Personal Law

Under Muslim Personal law, can Family Court dissolve the marriage of a couple?

The Division Bench of V.K. Jadhav and Sandipkumar C. More, JJ., addressed whether Family Court under Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 read with Section 7(1)(b) Explanation (b) of the Family Courts Act, 1984 declare the matrimonial status of a wife and husband.

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  • Competition Commission of India

Competition Commission of India not to take any coercive actions against Asianet, Disney and Star India until 8th June

The Division Bench of G.S. Patel and Madhav J. Jamdar, JJ., directed the Competition Commission of India not to take any coercive actions against Asianet Star Communications Private Limited, Disney Broadcasting and Star India.

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  • Alimony

Whether the husband is entitled to claim alimony under Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955?

Bharati Dangre, J., held that provision of maintenance/permanent alimony being a beneficial provision for the indigent spouse, Section 25 can be invoked by either of the spouse, where a decree of any kind governed by Sections 9 to 13 has been passed and marriage tie is broken, disrupted or adversely affected by such decree of the court.

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  • Properties

Daughters and widow of a deceased would inherit properties of deceased as tenants in common or joint tenants?

Mangesh S. Patil, J., expressed that, by virtue of Section 19 of the Hindu Succession Act, it has been explicitly made clear that if two and more heirs succeed together to the property and in the estate, they take the property as tenants in common and not as joint tenants.

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Calcutta High Court


  • Departmental Proceedings

DGP directed to initiate departmental proceedings against Police Officers; CID to take over investigation

Rajasekhar Mantha, J. while adjudicating a case involving serious offences under Section 365, 354B and other provisions of IPC directed the Director General of Police, West Bengal to initiate appropriate departmental proceeding against the ASI, Arnab Chakraborty and any other person that he may feel was responsible for misleading the Court further handing over the investigation to CID, West Bengal.

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  • Policy Decisions

Policy decisions of State not to be disturbed unless found to be grossly arbitrary or irrational; prayer for extension of lease rejected

Shampa Sarkar, J. decided on a petition which was filed for a direction upon the respondents 7 and 8 to cancel and/or quash the notice dated April 6, 2022, with regard to handing over the possession of the ferry ghat to the Pradhan of the Mahanandatola Gram Panchayat, upon expiry of the lease of the petitioner.

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  • Currency Notes

There are many known heroes and unsung heroes, if everybody starts making such a claim there will not be an end; Petition for printing Netaji’s picture on currency notes dismissed

The Division Bench of Prakash Shrivastava, CJ. and Rajarshi Bharadwaj, J. dismissed a petition which was filed by the petitioner with the plea that having regard to the contribution of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in the freedom struggle, his picture should be printed on the Indian currency.

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  • Arbitration and Conciliation Act

Scope of S. 9 of A&C Act cannot be extended to enforcement of award or granting fruits of award to award holder as an interim measure; application dismissed

Ravi Krishan Kapur, J. dismissed an application which was filed under Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (‘the Act’) wherein liberty to withdraw a sum of Rs 4,11,89,759/- deposited by the award debtor, State of West Bengal, with the Registrar, Original Side of this Court upon furnishing of appropriate security was sought.

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  • Rape

Lady IPS Officer directed to investigate in the recent matter of 4 rape cases in the villages

The Division Bench of Prakash Shrivastava, CJ. and Rajarshi Bharadwaj, J. took up a petition and directed Damayanti Sen, IPS presently working as Special Commissioner of Police to Kolkata Police to investigate in the matter of rape cases at village Nehalpur, Nandipara, incident on Dol Purnima and English Bazar.

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  • Indian Forest Act

Court orders release of vehicles confiscated under the Indian Forest Act with unprecedented observations

Rabindranath Samanta, J. allowed a criminal revision petition which was filed aggrieved by the order of Magistrate wherein he had rejected the prayers made by the petitioners for return of two vehicles which were seized by the Deputy Ranger (Beat Officer), Bamonpokhari Range Office of the Forest Range, Kurseong Forest Range, Darjeeling

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  • GST Act

The interest of revenue has been safeguarded; Order of detention against the State upheld in matter of GST Act

The Division Bench of T. S. Sivagnanam and Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, JJ., dismissed an appeal and connected application which was filed by the State against  the order of detention passed by the authority detaining two trucks containing consignment of steel and other products in WPA 17611 of 2021 dated: 07-12-2021 wherein petitioner was the wife of late Mohit Madhogoria, who was a registered dealer under the provisions of the W.B.V.A.T. Act presently under the GST Act.

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Chhattisgarh High Court


  • Legislation

Whenever substantive obligation/rights/ interests are impaired/adversely affected through any piece of subordinate legislation, then its source must be traced within express provisions in four corners of parent enactment

“…the very object and reason behind framing of the Pharmacy Act, 1948 was to ensure that only persons with a minimum standard of professional education should be permitted to practice the profession of pharmacy.”

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  • Unlawful Detention

Writ of habeas corpus is a writ of right, it is not a writ of course; a prima facie case of unlawful detention must be made

The writ of habeas corpus is an effective means of immediate release from the unlawful detention, whether in prison or in private custody. Physical confinement is not necessary to constitute detention. Control and custody are sufficient. For issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, the applicant must show a prima facie case of unlawful detention of the subject.

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  • Section 304 B of Penal Code, 1860

An order of acquittal is not to be set aside lightly; Chh HC observes in a case where daughter in law committed suicide in unnatural circumstances

The Court after perusing evidence and facts observed that the finding of the Trial Court that the prosecution has failed to prove that soon before the death of the deceased she was subjected to cruelty on account of demand of dowry is totally based on the evidence available on record.

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  • Will

Daughters also entitled for getting equal share in the property inherited by their parents; Court reiterates and allows appeal deciding validity of will

Narendra Kumar Vyas, J. allowed an appeal filed by the defendants setting aside the judgment and decree by the Trial Court whereby trial Court had decreed the suit filed by plaintiff/respondent 1, dismissed the counter claim filed by appellants/defendants 1 to 3.

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  • Criminal Trial

Criminal trial and confiscation proceedings may run simultaneously; Once the information of confiscation proceeding under S. 52 (e) Indian Forest Act is given to DM, Trial Magistrate has no power over it

“…a bare reading of Section 52, Indian Forest Act, 1927 makes it clear that Forest Officer has power to confiscate the vehicle and the Competent Authority after giving show cause notice to the petitioner.”

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  • Abduction

If a girl runs away voluntarily without any persuasion, can boy with whom she eloped be held responsible for abducting the girl?

Deepak Kumar Tiwari, J., held that, when the accused has not played any active role or persuaded the victim and the victim voluntarily left the protection of her parents and having capacity to know her action, no offence of abduction is made out.

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Delhi High Court


  • Maintenance

Husband with sufficient means, is obligated to maintain wife and children?

In a maintenance matter, Subramonium Prasad, J., expressed that, if a husband has sufficient means, he is obligated to maintain his wife and children and not shirk away from his moral and familial responsibilities

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  • Rule of Law

Whether absence of rule of law or utter disregard for the same propels a country towards inevitable ruin?

Expressing that, attempts to circumvent or undermine judicial decisions need to be viewed seriously in order to ensure that the functioning of our country is unhindered, especially during turbulent times, Subramonium Prasad, J., held that,

“It is only the rule of law which not only cements the civilised functioning of a country, but also drives a country towards progress and development.”

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  • Framing of Charge

Does framing of charge means that accused is guilty or does it imply that accused may be guilty?

“The beauty of procedural law lies in the stages and remedies available during the course of a criminal proceeding.”

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  • Levy of Liquidated Damages

 If a contract comprises, several components awarded to different contractors, would it be inapposite to blame contractor that was last in completing work for loss suffered on account of delay in completing Project?

While reiterating the law on award of liquidated damages, Vibhu Bakhru, J., expressed that, where a contract comprises, several components awarded to different contractors, it is inapposite to blame the contractor that is last in completing the work for loss suffered on account of delay in completing the Project.

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  • Arbitration Agreement

Rule of priority in favour of arbitrators is counterbalanced by Courts’ power to review existence and validity of arbitration agreement

“Once a valid arbitration agreement exists between the parties, the issue whether the petitioner is entitled to any relief in the absence of a third party to the agreement or that third party is required to be impleaded in the proceedings, is covered by the Doctrine of Competence-Competence and it will be for the Arbitrator to decide the said issue.”

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  • PC & PNDT Act

Can Court take cognizance of complaint filed by single-member Appropriate Authority for offences under PC&PNDT Act, 1994?

Mukta Gupta, J., held that, the Metropolitan Magistrate/ Judicial Magistrate of the first class is competent to take cognizance and try the offence punishable under the PC&PNDT Act on the complaint of an Appropriate Authority or any officer authorised on this behalf by the Central Government or the State Government or the Appropriate Authority under sub-Section (1) of Section 28 of the Pre-Conception and Pre Natal-Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994.

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  • Jurisdiction

Can power under S. 482 CrPC be exercised where allegations are required to be proved in Court of law?

Rajnish Bhatnagar, J., expressed that the Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC cannot go into the truth or otherwise of the allegations made in the complaint or delve into the disputed question of facts.

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  • Recusal of Judge

When a Judge recuses without reasons, can a litigant or third party intervene, comment or enquire?

Asha Menon, J., held that, when a Judge recuses, no litigant or third party has any right to intervene, comment or enquire. The recusal has to be respected, whether a reason has been spelt out in detail or not.

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  • Adultery

Only continuous and repeated acts of adultery and/or cohabitation in adultery would attract rigours of provision under S. 125(4) CrPC

While addressing a matter with regard to a wife’s right to maintenance Chandra Dhari Singh, J., expressed that, only continuous and repeated acts of adultery and/or cohabitation in adultery would attract the rigours of the provision under Section 125(4) CrPC.

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  • Civil Contempt

Disobedience of an order of Court, if permitted, will result in striking at root of rule of law

Whether the third party can be absolved from contempt if they are informed that their conduct would violate the Court order, Subramonium Prasad, J., reiterated the well-settled position that though broadly a person who is not a party to the proceedings cannot be proceeded against for violation of the order, but a third party cannot seek to absolve themselves if they are informed about the fact that their conduct amounts to a violation of the Court and that despite the information, they choose to willfully flout the mandate of the Court.

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  • Denial of Sex

Whether denial of sex can qualify as “exceptional depravity” under S. 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act and allow waiver of one-year mandatory period?

Noting that, Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act intends to discourage the couples from breaking the sacred bond of marriage in haste, the Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi, ACJ and Jasmeet Singh, J., held that, a mandatory one year period granted under Section 14 of the Act, encourages couples to cool down, and give a rethink to preserve their marriage.

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  • Bail

Person accused of defrauding Government: Will Del HC grant bail to the accused?

Prateek Jalan, J., grants bail to a person who was alleged to cause fraudulent transactions and loss to the government.

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Cocoon of protection, afforded by a bail order insulates suspect and he could thwart interrogation reducing it to futile rituals

Asha Menon, J., expressed that, personal liberty is a very precious fundamental right and it should be curtailed only when it becomes imperative according to the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case.

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  • Arbitration and Conciliation Act

Scope of examination under S. 11 of A&C Act is confined to existence of arbitration agreement or does it extend to adjudicating nature of contract as well?

Vibhu Bakhru, J., held that whether claims are barred by limitation is a mixed question of fact and law and is required to be examined by the Arbitral Tribunal.

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Whether an award passed under S. 34(4) of the A&C Act is a fresh award for the purpose of S. 34 of the Act?

Vibhu Bakhru, J., allowed an amendment application seeking amendment of a petition filed under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

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  • Infringement

Red Bull v. Sting | Injunction application against Pepsico’s tagline “STIMULATES MIND ENERGIZES BODY”: Whether Pepsi has committed infringement?

Amit Bansal, J., observed that the taglines of ‘Red Bull’ and ‘Sting’ are descriptive and laudatory in nature.

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  • Scholarship Advertisement

If an advertisement regarding scholarship was published in Urdu language, can it be presumed that it was targeted at students belonging to a particular community only?

The Division Bench of Manmohan and Dinesh Kumar Sharma, JJ., expressed that just because the scholarship advertisement was published in the Urdu language, does not mean that it was targeted at students belonging to a particular community only.

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  • COVID-19

Can Delhi High Court direct State for payment of ex gratia compensation of Rs 1 Crore to families whose members died due to COVID-19?

The Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi, ACJ and Navin Chawla, J., held that this Court cannot direct payment of ex gratia compensation of Rs 1 Crore to families whose members died due to COVID-19.

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  • Physical relations on Promise to Marry

 Long term relationship with intent of marriage ended on hostile terms, would it be covered under S. 376(2)(n) IPC?

Noting that the Trial Court failed to perform its duty and rendered a mechanical order, Subramonium Prasad, J., set aside the trial Court’s order in a matter wherein, a woman had alleged that she was subjected to physical relationship with a boy on a false promise of marriage.

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  • Political Clearance

Judges required to seek political clearance qua private visits abroad: Did Del HC strike down Ministry of External Affairs’ Office Memorandum requiring the same?

The Division Bench of Rajiv Shakdher and Jasmeet Singh, JJ., strikes down the OM dated 13-7-2021, to the extent it requires Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court to seek political clearance qua private visits abroad.

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  • Natural Justice

Refusal of a trade mark without even affording a hearing would be contrary to fundamental tenets of natural justice

Prathiba M. Singh, J., expressed that, refusing trade mark without even affording a hearing would be contrary to the fundamental tenets of natural justice.

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  • LOC issued against Rana Ayyub

Infringement of Human Rights and restraint of her freedom of speech and expression?

While expressing that a LOC is a coercive measure to make a person surrenderChandra Dhari Singh, J., noting that the petitioner had appeared on each and every date before the Investigating Agency when summoned, quashed the LOC issued against Rana Ayyub.

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  • Arbitration and Conciliation Act

Vibhu Bakhru, J., forms an arbitration tribunal to adjudicate the matter with regard to use the brand name/trademark “Hero”.

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  • Custodial Interrogation

Father of deceased accuses brother-in-law for her suicide: If chargesheet has already been filed, is there any need of custodial interrogation?

Chandra Dhari Singh, J., decides a bail matter wherein a woman was alleged to have committed suicide due to harassment and dowry demands by in-laws.

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Gujarat High Court


  • Reinstatement of Employee

Court directs reinstatement of employee alleged of corruption charges; termination order quashed

Biren Vaishnav, J. allowed a petition which was filed challenging the order of termination passed by the respondent – authority, by which, the services as Assistant Motor Vehicle Inspector, Class-III of the petitioner has been terminated on the ground of lodging of an FIR under Sections 7, 8, 12, 13(1)(D) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Read full report here…

  • Bail

First step of turning him into a hardcore criminal will be sending him behind bars; Court allows bail

A.S. Supehia, J. allowed a bail application in connection with FIR filed for the offences under Sections 363, 366, 376(2)(n), 376(3) of the Penal Code, 1860 as well as Sections 4, 6, and 12 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act).

Read full report here…

  • Custody of Children

Mother alleged to have extra-marital affair, will father be granted custody of children?

Ashok Kumar C. Joshi, J., denied granting child custody to father, wherein the mother was alleged to have extra-marital affairs.

Read full report here…


Himachal Pradesh High Court


  • COVID-19

PIL filed by an advocate for grant of stipend to her as well other Advocates, who have not completed 3 years of practice on account of Covid-19; HP HC directs to approach State Bar

A Division Bench of Mohammad Rafiq CJ. and Jyotsna Rewal Dua JJ. disposed of the petition and directed to approach State Bar Council.

Read full report here…


Jharkhand High Court


  • Natural Justice

Principles of natural justice required to be followed and cannot be waived out depending upon quantum of punishment; Reiterated mandate of natural justice in blacklisting cases

The Court remarked that the cardinal principle of natural justice is mandatory to be followed in a case where any adverse decision/action is being taken against one or the other. The issuance of notice means that the person against whom any adverse action proposed to be taken, is required to be provided with the opportunity of hearing.

Read full report here…


Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court


Advocates are officers of Court and deserve same respect and dignity as is being given to Judicial and Presiding Officers of Courts

Sanjay Dhar, J., expressed that, there may be stray incidents where the advocates have resorted to levelling allegations against the Judicial Officers in order to seek transfer of their cases from one Court to another to suit their convenience, but then this cannot be generalized.

Read full report here…

  • Maintenance

Minor seeks maintenance but issue of her paternity is in question: Will J&K and Ladakh HC grant maintenance amidst the dispute?

“…grant of maintenance to a minor child should be the paramount consideration for a Magistrate dealing with a petition under Section 125 CrPC, but when the paternity of a child is seriously disputed and there is no prima facie material to suggest that the respondent happens to be the father of the child, it would not be prudent for a Magistrate to fasten the respondent with the liability of maintaining the child.”

Read full report here…


Kerala High Court


  • Sexual Assault

In the guise of applying makeup, a bridal make up artist alleged sexually assaulted several women: Can he be granted anticipatory bail?

Gopinath P., J., granted bail to the bridal make up artist who was alleged to have sexually assaulted several women in the guise of applying make up.

Read full report here…

  • Media Trial

Can media be given right to speculate on outcome of one going investigations or Court proceedings or criminal trials?

While addressing the matter with regard to the media trial, Mohammed Nias C.P., J., expressed that, half-truths and misinformation cannot be the basis of publications or telecast.

Read full report here…

  • Alimony

Can children claim any amount under the head of permanent alimony under S. 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act?

Observing that trauma in a marital discord is common to both parties, the Division Bench of A. Muhamed Mustaque and Sophy Thomas, JJ., expressed that as per Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act, while awarding permanent alimony and maintenance, the husband’s income and other property, if any, and the income and property of the wife, conduct of the parties and other circumstances are to be taken into account.

Read full report here…

  • Consensual Sex

Can promise to marry a married woman be legally enforceable wherein she voluntarily formed sexual relations with a man?

Dr Kauser Edappagath, J., addressed a matter wherein a married woman voluntarily had sex with her former lover.

Read full report here…

  • Maintenance Tribunal

Whether power of Maintenance Tribunal under Senior Citizen Act is circumscribed to ordering of monthly allowance?

In a matter, wherein a senior citizen has approached the Court with her grievance with respect to her son, Murali Purushothaman, J., expressed that,

“When the Senior Citizen or parent who has earnings makes an application to the Maintenance Tribunal contending that her right to earning is obstructed by the son who has statutory obligation to maintain the parent, the Maintenance Tribunal has to ensure that the Senior Citizen or parent is able to maintain herself from her earnings.”

“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the biggest honours.”

Read full report here…

  • Family Court

Do Family Courts have to remain as a neutral umpire of the real dispute between the parties?

Expressing that, Family Court has been functioning in like manner of an ordinary Civil Court, the Division Bench of A. Muhamed Mustaque and Sophy Thomas, JJ., remarked that, family courts have to be impartial or neutral.

Dissatisfaction with the administration of justice in the Family Courts is writ large on the face of many orders challenged before this Court.

Read full report here…


Karnataka High Court


Mere suspicion is not enough to prosecute the petitioner for offence punishable under S. 370 of the IPC for human trafficking; Kar HC observes in a case where AIO caught 3 Indian nationals on suspicion

The Court after perusing complaint, charge sheet and Section 370 of the IPC observed that the petitioner had indulged himself in human trafficking and thus the soul of the provision is exploitation.

Read full report here…

  • Election

Kar HC quotes “The Vajpayee led NDA–Government was toppled for want of one vote” and Benjamin Franklin while deciding a case of a returning candidate whose election was set aside

“…A right to elect, fundamental though it is to democracy, is, anomalously enough, neither a fundamental right nor a Common Law Right. It is pure and simple, a statutory right. So is the right to be elected. So is the right to dispute an election.”

Read full report here…

  • Solid Waste Management

PIL filed seeking to shift the location identified for setting up solid waste management; directions issued

A Division Bench of Ritu Raj Awasthi CJ. and S. R Krishna Kumar JJ. issued directions regarding setting up of solid waste management units after expert opinion from concerned authorities.

Read full report here…

  • A&C Act

Kar HC deals whether an international commercial arbitral award rendered outside India between the parties who have no connection to India can be enforced in India

“…a foreign award under a New York Convention has been given a special status. India being a signatory to the said New York Convention it is required that all countries which are signatories to the New York Convention enable execution of a foreign arbitral award rendered in a reciprocating country in the event of a property against which the arbitral award is sought to be enforced is situated within the jurisdiction of that particular country.”

Read full report here…

  • Dishonour of Cheque

Kar HC decides contours of law in a classic case where cash of Rs 2 crore was borrowed as hand loan and a cheque obtained for the repayment of the same got dishonoured

The Court observed that the Act was amended by the Amendment Act of 2018 and Section 143A came to be inserted. The purport of the amendment is that the Court may in certain circumstances award interim compensation which shall not exceed 20% of the amount of the cheque and such interim compensation can be permitted to be withdrawn in terms of the said amendment.

Read full report here…


Madras High Court


  • Tax Liability

If an assessee under stress of investigation, signs a statement admitting tax liability and makes a few payments, can it lead to self-ascertainment?

Merely because an assessee has, under stress of investigation, signed a statement admitting tax liability and has also made a few payments as per the statement, cannot lead to self-assessment or self-ascertainment.

Read full report here…

  • Two-Finger Test

Ban the practice of two-finger test on victims of sexual offences by medical professionals

Stating that two-finger test cannot be permitted to be continued, the Division Bench of R. Subramanian and N. Sathish Kumar, JJ., directed the State Government to ban the practice of two-finger test on victims of sexual offences by the medical professionals.

Read full report here…

  • Co-parcenary Right

Are Coparcenary rights taken away by Hindu Succession Act?

Anand Venkatesh, J., addressed a matter with regard to coparcenary rights of sons and daughters

Read full report here…

  • Legal Profession

Law Officers perform their duties without profit motive and with a service mentality for a nominal fee as compared to their lucrative private practice

Expressing that, Legal profession is a noble profession, and it is the lawyer, who plays a predominant role in securing every citizen life and personal liberty fundamental and statutory rights ensured by the ConstitutionM. Govindaraj, J., observed that, Law Officers perform their duties without profit motive and with a service mentality for a nominal fee as compared to their lucrative private practice.

Read full report here…

  • Law of Limitation

Exercise of power of discretion if made excessively, it would defeat the purpose and object of law of limitation; Courts not to travel beyond permissible extent

Expressing that, Power of discretion is to be exercised to mitigate the injustice if any occurred to the litigantsS.M. Subramaniam, J., remarked that,

“Litigations/appeals are expected to be filed within the period of limitation as contemplated under the Statutes. Rule is to follow limitation. Condonation of delay is an exception. Exceptions are to be exercised discreetly, if the reasons furnished are genuine and acceptable.”

Read full report here…


Madhya Pradesh High Court


  • Live-in Relationships

Live-in relationships are engulfing ethos of Indian society, and promoting promiscuity and lascivious behavior, giving further rise to sexual offences

Subodh Abhyankar, J., expressed that, the bane of live-in-relationship is a by-product of the Constitutional guarantee as provided under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Read full report here…

  • Divorce

Woman is considered half of her husband and thus completes him. While a man is also considered incomplete without a woman; Appeal for divorce dismissed

“Based on Hindu law, marriage is a sacred tie and the last of ten sacraments that can never be broken. Also, it is a relationship that is established by birth to birth. Also, it is not only considered as sacred but it is also a holy union. The main objective of marriage is to enable a woman and a man to perform their religious duties. Along with this, they also have to beget progeny. Based on ancient writings, a woman is considered half of her husband and thus completes him. While a man is also considered incomplete without a woman.”

Read full report here…

  • Criminal Proceeding

Criminal proceeding maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wrecking vengeance deserves to be quashed; Court allows petition by husband

Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava, J. allowed a petition which was filed to quash FIR for offence under Sections 498-A, 506, 34 of IPC and other subsequent proceedings initiated therefrom.

Read full report here…

  • Bail

Warning issued to Additional Session Judge for granting bail on caste and bias

Vivek Agarwal, J. allowed a bail application issuing a warning to First Additional Session Judge, Maihar, District Satna to be more cautious and judicious in his approach in future so that image of the judiciary can be saved and allegations of casteism and bias are not allowed to be levied so to tarnish collective image of judiciary.

Read full report here…

  • Mental Cruelty

Mental cruelty inflicted by the wife over her husband through her conduct a valid ground for divorce; Court allows appeal

The Division Bench of Sheel Nagu and Anand Pathak, JJ., allowed an appeal which was preferred under Section 19 of the Family Court Act, 1984 against the judgment and decree dated 27-03- 2019 passed by the Link Family Court whereby the application preferred by the appellant/applicant/husband under Section 13(1)(iA) of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 had been rejected.

Read full report here…

  • Dishonour of Cheque

Whether dishonour of cheques could have only given a cause of action to register an FIR for an offence under S. 420 IPC?

The Court stated it is a well-settled principle of law that the general law will not prevail over the Special Law as enshrined in the maxim generalia specialibus non derogant.

Read full report here…


Orissa High Court


  • Dishonour of Cheque

Ori HC considers whether any difference exists between a case where default is committed and prosecution immediately launched and where prosecution is deferred till cheque presented again gets dishonored for second or successive time?

R K Pattnaik, J. dismissed the petition and held that the ground on which the petition is raised is misconceived and therefore, cannot be sustained.

Read full report here…


Rajasthan High Court


  • Sexual Assault

Ex–fiancée levelled charges of sexual assault to harass and destroy present married life of the boy; Raj HC issues notice and directs police to neither harass nor arrest him

Dinesh Mehta, J., issues notice and directs police to neither harass nor arrest the petitioner boy.

Read full report here…

  • Bail

Raj HC granted temporary bail for a period of 15 days to enable the appellant to perform Kanyadaan on daughter’s marriage

A Division bench of Manindra Mohan Srivastava, CJ. and Madan Gopal Vyas J. allowed the application and granted bail for a period of 15 days.

Read full report here…

  • Mining Operations

PIL filed seeking permit for gypsum mining in the districts Shriganganagar and Haumangarh; Raj HC observes citizen does not have any vested right to carry on mining operations, absolute right lies with State

A Division Bench of Farjand Ali J and Sandeep Mehta JJ.  directed that as and when the gypsum mining operations are opened in Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts, the petitioners shall not be entitled to apply for mining licenses for this purpose in either of these two districts.

Read full report here…

  • Maintenance of Senior Citizens

Ill-treatment meted out to respondent-mother, expelled from her own house, allegations of mental, physical and social abuse; Raj HC directs petitioner-son to vacate the house with his family

The Court observed that Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 was enacted by the Legislature in the background that the traditional norms and values of the Indian Society are lost due to withering of the joint family system as a large number of elderly are not being looked after by their family, particularly the widowed women, who are forced to spend their twilight years all alone and are exposed to emotional neglect, lack of financial support and are rather treated as a waste.

Read full report here…

  • Right to Procreation

Raj HC reiterated “Right to Procreation survives during incarceration” and “is traceable and squarely falls within the ambit of Article 21 of our Constitution; Parole granted

The Division Bench of Farjand Ali and Sandeep Mehta, JJ. allowed the petition and granted parole after considering the religious philosophies, cultural, sociological and humanitarian aspects, coupled with the fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of India.

Read full report here…


Punjab and Haryana High Court


  • Duration of Marriage

Short duration of marriage cannot be the only ground to disallow organ transplant by spouse; writ petition allowed

 Raj Mohan Singh, J., contemplated the present petition and ruled that a short duration of marriage is absolutely no ground to deny an organ transplant.

Read full report here…

  • Mental Cruelty

Unworkable Marriage | Wife makes unfounded, indecent and defamatory allegations against husband to his senior officers, destroying his career & reputation: Mental Cruelty or not?

Expressing that, Matrimonial cases are matters of delicate human and emotional relationshipthe Division Bench of Ritu Bhari and Ashok Kumar Verma, JJ., expressed that, the Court no doubt should seriously make an endeavour to reconcile the parties, yet, if it is found that the breakdown is irreparable, then divorce should not be withheld.

Read full report here…

  • Voice Sample

S. 65-B (4) of the Evidence Act does not mention the stage of furnishing the certificate for admissibility; Court directs to give voice sample

Avneesh Jhingan, J., entertained a petition under Section 482 CrPC where the petitioner was aggrieved by the directions of the Chief Judicial Magistrate for giving voice samples.

Read full report here…


Telangana High Court


  • Employees State Insurance Act

Exhausting the remedy available for appeal is the rule and entertaining a writ petition is an exception

G Radha Rani, J., disposed of the petition and directed the petitioner to approach the EI Court under Section 75 of the ESI Act by filing an appropriate application.

Read full report here…


Tripura High Court


  • POCSO

Offence under S. 8 of the POCSO Act not been established beyond reasonable doubt; Court acquits man of POCSO charges

Arindam Lodh, J. partly allowed an appeal which was filed against the judgment and order of conviction whereby and whereunder the appellant has been found guilty for committing an offence punishable under Section 8 of the POCSO Act and sentenced him to suffer Rigorous Imprisonment for 3 years for the said offence and also found guilty under Section 448 of IPC and sentenced to suffer Rigorous Imprisonment for 1 year for the said offence.

Read full report here…

Statement of the victim show exaggerations and improved versions; Court reduces sentence in POCSO matter

Arindam Lodh, J. partly allowed an appeal which was filed challenging the judgment of conviction and order of sentence passed by Special POCSO judge wherein the appellant had been convicted under Section 10 of the POCSO Act, 2012 and sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 5 years and to pay a fine of Rs 20,000/- with default stipulation and further convicted under Section 451 IPC and sentenced him to suffer simple imprisonment for 6 months and to pay fine of Rs. 5000 with default stipulation.

Read full report here…


Sikkim High Court

State directed to ensure immediate escalation of progress of work of repairing of NH-10; meeting called to chalk out the immediate course of action before monsoon arrival

The Division Bench of Biswanath Somadder and Meenakshi Madan Rai, JJ. took up the PIL in order the peruse the status report concerned with the damaged roads and highways in the State.

Read full report here…

  • Missing Children

Directions issued for tracing out the missing children in the State; CCTV’s installed in police stations

The Division Bench of Biswanath Somadder, CJ. and Meenakshi Madan Rai, J. issued certain directions in the matter of a PIL concerning missing children in the State.

Read full report here…

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Rajnish Bhatnagar, J., expressed that the Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482 CrPC cannot go into the truth or otherwise of the allegations made in the complaint or delve into the disputed question of facts.

Petitioner was a proprietorship and a civil and structural contractor carrying on its business in various states of the country.

As per the agreement between the petitioner and respondent, the petitioner was required to provide undated security cheque to the respondent to cover the full value of the material supply.

It was stated that 5 undated security cheques totalling an amount of Rs 63,00,000 and one current dated cheque amounting to Rs 2,63,700 were prepared. Further, the petitioner also sent an email to the respondent attaching the scanned copies of the cheques. After which the work started and during the course of work, the respondent asked for monies and on that basis, the petitioner issued a cheque which was returned by Bank.

In view of the above, a legal notice was sent out demanding the said amount, then the petitioner responded that it would make the necessary payment. Failing to which a complaint was filed by the respondent under Section 138 NI Act. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Saket summoned the petitioner.

On being aggrieved with the above, an instant petition was filed.

Analysis, Law and Decision


Once a cheque is issued by a person, it must be honored and if it is not honored, the person is given an opportunity to pay the cheque amount by issuance of a notice and if he still does not pay, he is bound to face the criminal trial and consequences.

Can High Court step into the shoes of the Metropolitan Magistrate?

The High Court cannot usurp the powers of the Metropolitan Magistrate and entertain a plea of an accused, as to why he should not be tried under Section 138 NI Act. The said plea, as to why he should not be tried under Section 138 NI Act is to be raised by the accused before the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate under Sections 251 and 263(g) CrPC.

Bench further expressed that,

The offence under Section 138 of the N.I. Act is an offence in the personal nature of the complainant and since it is within the special knowledge of the accused as to why he is not to face trial under section 138 N.I. Act, he alone has to take the plea of defense and the burden cannot be shifted to complainant.

Recalling of Witness

Once the complainant has brought forward his case by giving his affidavit about the issuance of cheque, dishonor of cheque, issuance of demand notices etc., he can be cross-examined only if the accused makes an application to the Court as to, on what point he wants to cross-examine the witness (es) and then only the Court shall recall the witness by recording reasons thereto.

As per the procedure prescribed under CrPC, if the accused appears after service of summons, the Metropolitan Magistrate shall ask him to furnish bail bond to ensure his appearance during the trial and ask him to take notice under Section 251 CrPC and enter his plea of defence and fix the case for defence evidence, unless an application is made under Section 145(2) of NI Act for recalling a witness for cross-examination on by an accused of defence.

Bench in the present matter did not find any material which could be stated of sterling and impeccable quality warranting the invocation of the jurisdiction of this Court under Section 482 CrPC.

High Court observed that the issues in the instant matter involved the disputed question of facts and law and cannot be decided unless and until the parties go to trial and lead their respective evidence.

“…invariably the initial phase of a litigation under Section 138 of the N.I. Act depends on how well the pleadings or the allegations are laid down or articulated, by the complaint, in the ultimate analysis it is the trial that alone can bring out the truth so as to arrive at a just and fair decision for the parties concerned.” 

Therefore, the no flaw or infirmity in the proceedings pending before the Trial Court was found.[Awadh Constructions v. Amarpreeet Shuttering, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 1034, decided on 13-4-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Amit Pawan, Advocate

High Court Round UpLegal RoundUp

112 significant Reports from 22 High Courts


 

Allahabad High Court


 Right to Reputation


People using cyberspace to vent out anger and frustration by travestying key-figures holding highest office in country, is abhorrent and violates right to reputation

Sanjay Kumar Singh, J., expressed that,

“The internet and social media has become an important tool through which individuals can exercise their right to freedom of expression but the right to freedom of expression comes with its own set of special responsibilities and duties.”

Read full report here…

Corruption


Corruption is a termite in every system; a root cause of all problems but has to be put to account

While expressing that medical and legal fields are more a service than a profession especially the stream of oncology which deals with life and death, Krishan Pahal, J., held that “Corruption is a termite in every system.”

Read full report here…


Andhra Pradesh High Court


Bail


”…being an educated man and Software Engineer, he is not justified in making such irresponsible comments against the Judiciary and the High Court”, Bail denied

Cheekathi Manavendranath Roy J. dismissed the criminal petition and granted bail to the accused advocates and denied bail to accused software engineer.

Read full report here…

Reckless Driving


In the case of reckless driving, injured party will have to always prove that either side was negligent?

The Division Bench of Dr Kaushal Jayendra Thaker and Ajai Tyagi, JJ., while addressing a case of negligent driving, expressed that,

“…if the injury rather death is caused by something owned or controlled by the negligent party then he is directly liable.”

Read full report here…

Evidence


Prosecution must stand on its own legs basing its findings on the evidence that has been led by it

Siddhartha Varma, J., held that it is the bounden duty of the enquiry officer to have seen whether the charges were proved on the basis of the evidence which was led by it.

Read full report here…


Bombay High Court


Nomination of a Councillor


Can a nominated Councillor be appointed as Leader of the House under Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act, 1949? 

“The term ‘elected Councillor’ in Section 19-1A would necessarily have to be read as an exclusion and bar to any other Councillor i.e ‘nominated Councillor’ to become the Leader of the House.”

Read full report here…

Negligence


When a person suffers injury without any negligence on his part, but result of combined effect of negligence of two other persons: Is it a case of composite or contributory negligence?

Expressing that, Negligence does not always mean absolute carelessness, but want of such a degree of care as required in particular circumstances, Vinay Joshi, J., held that no absolute standard can be fixed as to what constitutes negligence differs from case to case.

Read full report here…

License


To operate in State of Maharashtra, Uber and other unlicensed aggregators to apply for license before 16th March 2022

The Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ and Vinay Joshi, J., directed UBER and other transport aggregators who have not obtained a license as per Section 93(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act to apply for the license before 16th March 2022 otherwise they shall not be able to operate in the State of Maharashtra.

Read full report here…

State Quota


If an aspirant has not completed her 10th and 12th standard from State of Maharashtra, can she still be covered under State Quota of Maharashtra for M.B.B.S?

The Division Bench of S.V. Gangapurwala and S.G. Dige, JJ., addressed a matter wherein an aspirant of M.B.B.S Course approached the Court praying that the petitioner be considered in State Quota from NRI Quota.

Read full report here…

IBC


Can Additional Sessions Judge or Sessions Judge try offences under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016?

Sandeep K. Shinde, J., held that Special Court which is to try offences under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 is the Special Court established under Section 436(2) (b) of the Companies Act, 2013 which consisted of Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate First Class.

Read full report here…

Parent’s Property


When parents are alive, can a son claim his share in the property of his parents?

The Division Bench of G.S. Patel and Madhav J. Jamdar, JJ., held that Asif i.e. son has no rights in his father’s flats.

Read full report here…

Film ‘83’


No stay on OTT Release of film ‘83’: Bom HC | Netflix and Star India already have antecedent rights, both digital and satellite for 10 years

While refusing to restrain Star India and Netflix from streaming the film ‘83’ on their respective broadcasting portals, R.I. Chagla, J., observed that, prospective owner of copyright in a future work may also assign to any person the copyright in the future work.

Read full report here…

Child in Conflict


When a Child in Conflict with Law is to be tried as an adult, an assessment under S. 15 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is required to be done?

M.G. Sewlikar, J., held that, in terms of Section 15 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, Juvenile Justice Board has to make assessment into heinous offences to determine whether CCL is to be tried as an adult.

Read full report here…

Currency Notes


Can Currency Notes in police custody pre-demonetisation, be replaced with current valid tender?

The Division Bench of G.S. Patel and Madhav J. Jamdar, JJ., addressed a matter concerning currency notes pre-demonetisation and their replacement with current valid tender.

Read full report here…

Karta


Daughters and widow of a deceased would inherit properties of deceased as tenants in common or joint tenants?

Mangesh S. Patil, J., expressed that, by virtue of Section 19 it has been explicitly made clear that if two and more heirs succeed together to the property and in the estate, they take the property as tenants in common and not as joint tenants.

Read full report here…


Calcutta High Court


Rape


Penetration even of the slightest degree is necessary to establish the offence of rape; Court modifies order after 8 years of imprisonment

“It is settled law penetration even of the slightest degree is necessary to establish the offence of rape.”

Read full report here…

Tax


No intention of any evasion of tax; Court directs refund of penalty and tax paid on protest

Md. Nizamuddin, J. decided on a petition which was filed challenging the impugned order of the appellate commissioner confirming the original order passed by the adjudicating authority under section 129 of the West Bengal Goods and Services Act, 2017 for detention of the goods in question on the grounds that the e-way bill relating to the consignment in question had expired one day before, i.e. in the midnight of September 8, 2019, and that the goods was detained in the morning of September 9, 2019 on the grounds that the e-way bill has expired which is even less than one day and extension could not be made and petitioner submits that delay of few hours even less than a day of expiry of the validity of the tenure of the e-way bill was not deliberate and willful and was due to break down of the vehicle in question and there was no intention of any evasion of tax on the part of the petitioner.

Read full report here…

Repealed Acts


Whether the orders passed under a repealed Act be executed? Court discusses

Rajasekhar Mantha, J. disposed of a petition observing that the Supreme Court is the only authority to clarify  whether the orders passed under a repealed Act can be executed or not

Read full report here…

Breach of Contract


Parties to agreement of sale consciously changing their relationship cannot seek relief on the basis of previously established relationship

The Division Bench of Soumen Sen and  Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee, JJ., dismissed an appeal concerned with a breach of contract. The appeal arose out of a judgment in a suit for recovery of possession and injunction. Trial Court had decreed the suit on contest and dismissed the counter claim filed by the defendant.

Read full report here…

Detention Order


Detention order quashed due to lack of opportunity of hearing in the matter of S. 129 of the West Bengal Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017

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.

Read full report here…

GST Act


The interest of revenue has been safeguarded; Order of detention against the State upheld in matter of GST Act

The Division Bench of T. S. Sivagnanam and Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, JJ., dismissed an appeal and connected application which was filed by the State against the order of detention passed by the authority detaining two trucks containing consignment of steel and other products in WPA 17611 of 2021 dated: 07-12-2021 wherein petitioner was the wife of late Mohit Madhogoria, who was a registered dealer under the provisions of the W.B.V.A.T. Act presently under the GST Act.

Read full report here…


Chhattisgarh High Court


Compassionate Appointment


Illegitimate child’s right to be considered for Compassionate appointment

Sanjay K. Agarwal, J., held that an illegitimate son would be entitled to consideration on compassionate ground and cannot be denied consideration on the ground that he is the illegitimate son of the deceased Government servant.

Read full report here…

Rape


In view of changed definition of rape under S. 375 (b) of  IPC pari materia to S. 3(b) of POCSO Act, whether sexual intercourse is necessary to attract ingredients of offence of rape or penetrative sexual assault?

Addressing a case wherein a minor girl was subjected to sexual, Deepak Kumar Tiwari, J., held that,

In view of the changed definition of rape under Section 375 (b) of the IPC pari materia to Section 3(b) of the POCSO Act, sexual intercourse is not necessary to attract the ingredients of offence of rape or penetrative sexual assault.

Read full report here…


Delhi High Court


Dishonour of Cheque


To prove that cheque amount was larger than debt due, can defence of Issuer be looked at stage of issuing summons?

While addressing a matter revolving around Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, Subramonium Prasad, J., held that Courts should primarily proceed on the averments in the complaint, and the defence of the accused cannot be looked at the stage of issuing summons unless it can be shown on admitted documents which the Supreme Court described as “unimpeachable in nature and sterling in quality” to substantiate that there was no debt due and payable by the person who has issued the cheque or that the cheque amount is large than the debt due.

Read full report here…

If a cheque is not honoured by issuer and even after a legal notice he doesn’t pay, he is bound to face criminal trial

Rajnish Bhatnagar, J., dismissed a matter revolving around the dishonour of cheque under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.

Read full report here…

Yes Bank Loan Fraud


Public money under garb of Term loan siphoned off, resulting in generation of ‘proceeds of crime’ as well as its layering and ultimate projection as untainted money: Del HC while denying bail to Gautam Thapar

While addressing a matter wherein bail of Gautam Thapar accused in Yes Bank Loan Fraud case, was sought, Manoj Kumar Ohri, J., expressed that it is well settled that, economic offences constitute a class apart and need to be visited with a different approach, given their severity and magnitude. Albeit these offences are likely to adversely impact the economic fabric of the country, bail shall not be denied to a person accused of an economic offence in a routine manner.

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Jurisdiction


Can partners in dispute of an LLP or any other business entity carrying out business in different parts of country, file suit in any place where business is carried out?

Amit Bansal, J., expressed that an LLP or any other business entity can carry out business in different parts of the country, but that would not mean that a suit with regard to disputes between the partners, could be filed in any place where the business of the firm/LLP is carried out.

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Ownership of YouTube Channel


Who ‘owns’ a YouTube channel?: Del HC passes interim directions in dispute over channel ‘Shabad Kirtan Gurbani – Divine Amrit Bani’

Asha Menon, J., considered a very interesting case where the dispute between the parties is regarding the ownership of a YouTube channel. The Court has found a prima facie case in favour of the plaintiff and issued certain directions.

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Bail


On pretext of removing evil spirit from body of a woman who was bipolar in nature, a man lured woman and committed sexual intercourse, but ADJ granted bail: Will HC cancel his bail? Del HC analyses

Mukta Gupta, J., cancelled the bail of an accused who lured a female on the pretext of removing an evil spirit from her body and further committing sexual intercourse with her.

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Theft


Daughter-in-law thrown out of matrimonial home and accused of removal of letters from possession of matrimonial home: Whether Del HC will find her guilty under S. 380 IPC or not?

Chandra Dhari Singh, J., noted that instant dispute has arisen out of matrimonial discord between two people which had also, led to the filing of more than 50 criminal and civil cases between not only the husband and the wife but also their family members. It was found that for the sole purpose of harassing the other party such cases were filed by persons with no just cause or reason and substantial ground for allegations.

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Right of Residence


Right of residence under DV Act is exclusive to and isolated from any right that may arise under S. 9 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

“The existence of the strained relationship between the Petitioner and the Respondent has been well established by the fact that there are more than about 60 criminal and civil cases pending between the parties.”

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Desertion and Cruelty


Wife leaves matrimonial home and never returns after several requests and legal notice under S. 9 of HMA, alleges husband of several cruelties without any evidence: Would it amount to desertion and cruelty by wife?

Noting the separation of 12 years between the husband and wife, the Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh, JJ., found that the wife had subjected the husband to desertion and cruelty, hence decree of divorce be granted.

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Accusation of extra-marital relationship is a grave assault on character, status, reputation as well as health of spouse against whom such allegations are made: Would this come under ambit of cruelty?

While addressing a matter surrounding the issue of cruelty by wife, the Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi, ACJ and Dinesh Kumar Sharma, J., expressed that,

“It has repeatedly been held that accusations of unchastity or extra marital relationship is a grave assault on character, status, reputation as well as health of the spouse against whom such allegations were made.”

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Arbitration and Conciliation Act


Del HC dismisses appeal filed by Indiabulls Housing Finance in Zee Entertainment – Sony Pictures Scheme of Arrangement

Suresh Kumar Kait, J., addressed an appeal under Section 37(2)(b) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 against the interim order passed by Arbitrator was preferred.

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Mere use of the word ‘Arbitration’ in the heading of an Agreement would mean existence of an arbitration agreement?

Mukta Gupta, J., decided that mere use of word ‘Arbitration’ in the heading of an Agreement would not mean the existence of an arbitration agreement.

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Religious Structure


State obligated to remove unauthorized constructions from public land, but if it is a religious structure, can State still be obligated to do so?

Expressing that, the mere fact that certain encroachments represent religious structure cannot possibly detract State from its obligation, Yashwant Varma, J., held that, State remains duty-bound to remove all unauthorized constructions which may exist on public land.

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Extraordinary Writ Jurisdiction


Extraordinary writ jurisdiction is to be exercised only in rare cases or certain contingencies in the interest of justice, including exceptional cases

Chandra Dhari Singh, J., expressed that it is settled law that the power to issue writ has its own well-defined limitations imposed by the High Courts, one of which was the availability of alternative efficacious remedy.

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Power to Transfer Cases


Can Chairman of CAT on his own motion, without any notice, transfer any case pending before one Bench for disposal to another Bench?

The Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and Jyoti Singh, J., held that the Chairman of Central Administrative Tribunal has been conferred the power to transfer a matter from one Bench to another, on his own motion, without any application from any party.

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Right to Speedy Trial


Incarcerated for 8 years for an offence punishable with minimum 10 years imprisonment: Violation of Right to Personal Liberty and Right to Speedy Trial

Subramonium Prasad, J., remarked that,

“…achievement of universal equality before the law requires the tenets of personal liberty to be applicable to all similarly circumstanced individuals and must not be restricted unless according to procedure established by law.”

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Arms License


If you are found in possession of live ammunition along with a valid arms licence, can an offence under S. 25 of Arms Act still be registered against you?

Deciding a matter of whether an NRI person in possession of two live ammunitions with a valid license can be registered under Section 25 of Arms Act or not, Asha Menon, J., held that, prima facie no malafide intent was found and the licence found was a valid arms licence.

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Right of Putative Father


Right of Putative Father to visit minor child upheld: Del HC

Upholding the rights of the putative fatherV. Kameswar Rao, J., expressed that while determining and granting such rights, more so when the child is of less than 3 years of age, surely his well-being/welfare is of paramount importance

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Issuance of Notice


Section 292BB of Income Tax Act deals with failure of service of notice or failure to issue notice?

The Division Bench of Manmohan and Dinesh Kumar Sharma, JJ., addressed a matter wherein the decision of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal for the Assessment Year 2011-12 was challenged.

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RTI Act


Employees of a security establishment cannot be deprived of their fundamental and legal rights just because they work in an intelligence and security establishment

Expressing that, RTI Act is a tool that facilitates the employees and officers in airing their grievances systematicallythe Division Bench of Manmohan and Sudhir Kumar Jain, JJ., remarked that,

“…both service and RTI laws ‘act like a safety valve in the society’.”

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Maternity Leave


Can maternity leave benefits extend beyond the period when contractual period of an ad hoc employee comes to an end?

In a claim of maternity benefit by a contractual employee, the Division Bench of Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh, JJ., expressed that, The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 Act is a social legislation that should be worked in a manner that progresses not only the best interest of the women-employee but also of the child, both at the pre-natal and post-natal stage.

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Unmarried Daughters


Can unmarried daughters claim expenses of marriage from their parents under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956?

While stating that, in Indian society, normally expenses are required to be incurred for pre-marriage and also at the time of marriagethe Division Bench of Goutam Bhaduri and Sanjay S. Agrawal, JJ., held that unmarried daughters have a right to claim expenses of marriage from their parents under the Hindu Adoptions & Maintenance Act, 1956.

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SC Collegium December Meeting


 

Newspaper reports are of no evidentiary value and Courts would be transgressing their well settled limitation if cognizance were to be taken of such unsubstantiated and unverified reports

In a matter wherein, details were sought with regard to Supreme Court Collegium meeting held on 12-12-2018, Yashwant Varma, J., expressed that, newspaper reports are of no evidentiary value and Courts would be clearly transgressing their well-settled limitation if cognizance were to be taken of such unsubstantiated and unverified reports.

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Gujarat High Court


Reasoning in Judgment


Providing reasoning is to give it a value of precedent which can help in reduction of frivolous litigation; Court emphasises on recording reasons in judgments

“It is trite that in a delay application, sufficient cause is the paramount consideration and if sufficient cause is shown, the Court should generally condone the delay. However, if the sufficient cause is imbibed with the laxity on the part of the delayer despite due knowledge, then Court should restrain itself from encouraging such practice and condone the delay.”

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GSTR-6 Return


Court allows writ furnishing the GSTR – 6 return for recording and distributing the ISD credit

“Credit was a tax paid by the registered person on input transactions and such tax already paid to the credit of the Central Government was a vested right of the person. Such vested right cannot be defeated on account of any irregularity in the system evolved by the Government.”

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NDPS


No Conscious possession; Court upholds acquittal under NDPS Act

The Division Bench of S.H. Vora and Sandeep N. Bhatt, JJ., dismissed an application for special leave to appeal which was filed feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment and order in NDPS Case whereby the trial Court acquitted the respondent 2 herein-original accused 2 of the offences punishable under Sections 8(c), 20(b) and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (“NDPS Act”).

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Detention Order


Simplicitor registration of FIR/s by itself cannot have any nexus with the breach of maintenance of public order; Detention order quashed

Rajendra M. Sareen, J. allowed a petition which was directed against the detention order passed by respondent–detaining authority in exercise of powers conferred under section 3(2) of the Gujarat Prevention of Anti Social Activities Act, 1985 (“the Act”) by detaining the petitioner-detenue as defined under section 2(b) of the Act.

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Gauhati High Court


Sexual offences against minor cannot be compromised by parents; HC rejects application to enforce compromise

Arun Dev Choudhury, J., held that sexual offences against minor cannot be compromised by parents.

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Himachal Pradesh High Court


Rape


Minor girl students raped and subjected to penetrative sexual assault by their teacher: Sanctity of Teacher-Student relationship polluted

Polluting the sanctity of the relationship of the teacher and students, a teacher committed rape and penetrative sexual assault with minor students, the Division Bench of Sabina and Satyen Vaidya, JJ., noting the harrowing incidents expressed that the said is a sad reflection of the present-day society where a most platonic relationship was exploited.

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Jharkhand High Court


Execution of a Will


Testamentary disposition of property is deviation from natural line of inheritance in lesser or greater degree: Can it result in complete disposition in favour of one heir or exclusion of any other heir?

Expressing that the due execution of a Will is to be proved as per the provisions of law as laid down in Evidence Act as well as that if Indian Succession Act,  Gautam Kumar Choudhary, J., remarked that, a probate court being a Court of conscience, the intention of the testator is paramount and it is the bounden duty of the Court to ascertain the real WILL of the testator if any.

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Karnataka High Court


Domestic Violence Act


Whether the maintenance awarded under the Domestic Violence Act can be sought to be enhanced under the CrPC?

“The language employed in Section 127 of the Cr.P.C. is unequivocal as on a proof of change in the circumstances of any person receiving allowance under Section 125 of Cr.P.C. can maintain a petition under Section 127 of the Cr.P.C.”

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Criminal Proceedings


SC-ST Act is prospective or retrospective? Kar HC quashes criminal proceedings for offences committed in the year 1975

Krishna S Dixit J. quashes the criminal proceedings as the SC-ST act is not retrospective in nature.

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Hijab Ban


16 pointer report on why wearing of Hijab is not a part of essential religious practice in Islam

“Dismayed as to how all of a sudden that too in the middle of an academic term the issue of hijab is generated and blown out of proportion, Court remarked that some ‘unseen hands’ are at work to engineer social unrest and disharmony in the way ‘hijab imbroglio’ unfolded.”

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The uniform can exclude any other apparel like bhagwa or blue shawl that may have the visible religious overtones

“The Holy Quran does not mandate wearing of hijab or headgear for Muslim women rather it was traditionally worn as a measure of social security” 

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POCSO


Whether victim under POCSO Act can be permitted to be cross-examined once she turns hostile?

M Nagaprasanna J. allowed the petition and quashed the impugned order and remitted the matter back to Sessions Judge for cross-examination

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Marital Rape


“Wanton lust, vicious appetite, depravity of senses, loathsome beast of passion, unbridled unleashing of carnal desire of demonish perversion” Kar HC discusses protection provided to husband by the institution of marriage

A man is a man; an act is an act; rape is a rape, be it performed by a man the “husband” on the woman “wife”

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Kerala High Court


Cruelty


At odd hours, if wife continues making discreet phone calls with another man even after a warning by husband, would it constitute matrimonial cruelty?

The Division Bench of A. Muhamed Mustaque and Dr Justice Kauser Edappagath, JJ., held that, despite a warning by the husband, if the wife continues to make discreet calls with another man that too at odd hours, it would amount to matrimonial cruelty.

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Medical Negligence


Do District and State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions do not have jurisdiction to take cognizance of medical negligence complaints?

Nagaresh, J., decided whether medical service would fall within the ambit of Section 2(42) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 unless of course the service is free of charge or is under a contract of personal service.

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Breach


Compensation payable under Ss. 73, 74 and 75 are only for loss or damage caused by breach or inclusive of mere act of breach as well?

The Division Bench of P.B. Suresh Kumar and C.S. Sudha, JJ., expressed that,

“…compensation payable under Sections 73, 74 as also under Section 75 is only for loss or damage caused by the breach and not account of the mere act of breach. If in any case the breach has not resulted in or caused any loss or damage to a party, person concerned cannot claim compensation.”

The words ‘loss or damage’ in the Sections 73 and 74 would necessarily indicate that the party who complains of breach must have really suffered some loss or damage apart from being faced with the mere act of breach of contract. That is because every breach of every contract need not necessarily result in actual loss or damage.

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Internal Complaints Committee


In the film industry, would production units have to constitute Internal Complaints Committee to deal with harassment against women?

While expressing that, any organisations, establishments, private institutions are employing workers whether for wages or not in contemplation of the provisions of the Act, 2013 coming under the definition of employer, employee and workplace, they are duty bound to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee,  the Division Bench of S. Manikumar, CJ and Shaji P. Chaly, J., held that, a production unit of each film industry is an establishment employing Actor Artists and other workers and therefore, such production units have to maintain an Internal Complaints Committee if they are engaging more than 10 workers

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Moral Policing


Man taking a lady from another community in his car, attacked by violent mob: Act of mob moral policing?

Calling it to be ‘moral policing’ K. Haripal, J., addressed a matter wherein a man had taken a lady from another community in his car due to which a mob attacked him with deadly weapons.

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Pre-arrest Bail


Trespassed in house, committed rape, misappropriated money, threatened: Kerala HC denied pre-arrest bail in view of such allegations

Shircy V. J., dismissed a bail application wherein a man committed rape with a woman and misappropriated her money after putting her under threat.

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Strikes


Bar on Government servants to engage in strikes?

While expressing that, it is the duty of the welfare Government to protect not only the citizens, but to continue with, all the Government work as expected, the Division Bench of S. Manikumar, CJ and Shaji P. Chaly, J., directed that Government servants should be prevented from engaging in a strike.

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Madras High Court


Central Information Commission


High Court cannot act as a post office to collect and exchange information

While stating that Central Information Commission has only made recommendations, which cannot by any stretch of imagination be taken as a statute so as to give effect, the Division Bench of Munishwar Nath Bhandari, CJ and D. Bharatha Chakravarthy, J., dismissed the petition.

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Promotion


Can an employee claim promotion as a matter of right?

S.M. Subramaniam, J., expressed that employees cannot seek any direction to fill up the post or claim a promotional post.

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Bribe


Every Advocate is a Court officer and part & parcel of justice delivery system: Madras HC found a Govt. Advocate demanding bribes at the cost of justice

The Division Bench of K. Kalyanasundaram and R. Hemalatha, JJ., expressed that, the Government advocate being the representative of the Government has to act in an honest manner. If he/she goes around with the intention to make money at the cost of justice, only chaos will prevail.

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Manipur High Court


Appointment/Promotion of High School Teachers


All resolutions passed at the emergency meeting will be subject to confirmation or revision at the next ordinary meeting; Court allows petition

“Rule 14 (b) of the Rules of 1975 provides that all resolutions passed at the emergency meeting will be subject to confirmation or revision at the next ordinary meeting, none of the respondents, either the State or the respondent 3 to 10 has brought on record that the resolution passed in the emergency meeting held on 21-02-2015 was confirmed or revised in the next ordinary meeting.”

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Madhya Pradesh High Court


Writ of Mandamus


A writ for mandamus cannot lie to direct the State to enact a law; Petition dismissed

The Division Bench of Ravi Malimath, CJ. and Dinesh Kumar Paliwal, J.dismissed a petition which was filed in public interest praying for a writ of mandamus to incorporate certain provisions in the law, namely, Section 14-A of the Madhya Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, 1956 and Section 32-A of the Madhya Pradesh Municipalities Act, 1961.

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Election Dispute


Registrar exercising power of the election tribunal cannot pass interim directions of any nature; Court allows appeal

“…Registrar who was trying the election dispute was exercising the power of the election tribunal. Therefore, he could not have passed orders even though it was in the interest of society.”

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Custody


Technical objections cannot come in way of custody; Court allows 16-year-old to choose to live with father

The Division Bench of Subodh Abhyankar and Satyendra Kumar Singh, JJ., dismissed an appeal which was filed being aggrieved of the order passed by Single Judge wherein he quashed the earlier impugned order passed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate whereby custody of the children of the appellant was given to her husband (respondent 4). The Single Judge had only partly granted relief by not giving any express direction restoring the custody of the children in favour of the appellant.

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Appointment Order


Cancellation of candidature on the ground of typographical error arbitrary and grossly disproportionate; Court allows petition

Pranay Verma, J., allowed a petition which was filed praying for a direction to consider petitioner’s candidature for the post of Office Assistant (Multi purpose) and to issue appointment order in her favour in light of offer letter.

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Meghalaya High Court


Family Pension


Court decides on eligibility of family pension under Rule 48 of Meghalaya Civil Services Pension Rules of 1983

“Rule 48, provides that an unmarried/widowed/divorced daughter, would be entitled to family pension and that a person would be entitled for family pension, only after other eligible family members in the first category have ceased to be eligible to receive it.”

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Companies Act


If an advertisement for petition filed under S. 433 of Companies Act, 1956 is not published, will entire matter be transferred to NCLT?

Sanjib Banerjee, CJ, addressed a petition wherein a creditor’s winding-up petition was instituted under Section 433 of the Companies Act, 1956 and the same was not yet advertised.

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Testimony


Court affirms trial court’s conviction on the basis of victim’s testimony in POCSO matter

The Division Bench of  Sanjib Banerjee and W. Diengdoh, JJ., while hearing an appeal which challenged the judgment of conviction of December 21, 2018, which convicted the appellant under Section 3(a) R/W Section 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, upheld the same and stated that there was no good reason to interfere with the judgement of the trial court.

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Compromise Deed


Lower Courts to deal with entire process expeditiously after receipt of the application under S. 151 read with Or. 20 R. 6-A CPC

H.S. Thangkhiew, J. while hearing a revision application allowed the same and directed the lower court to deal with the entire process expeditiously immediately on receipt of the application under Section 151 read with Order 20 Rule 6-A CPC.

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Inherent Power


fraus et jus nunquam cohabitant; Ori HC analyses how does prohibition under S. 362 CrPC operate viz-a- viz the inherent power of the High Court

It is the oft-repeated and a salutary principle of law that fraud and justice never dwell together (fraus et jus nunquam cohabitant)

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Rape


If a man rubs his organ on vagina over victim’s underpants, would that amount to rape?

The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ and W. Diengdoh, J., addressed that, if the victim’s underwear was not taken down and the man merely rubbed himself on the victim’s crotch while she still wore her underpants, would that amount to commission of rape.

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POCSO


FIR and proceedings in Special POCSO Case quashed; Minor ‘victim’ gave birth to child while living with accused as his wife

Diengdoh, J. allowed a petition which was filed praying to quash the criminal proceedings pending in the Court of the Special Judge (POCSO) under Section 5(j)(ii)/6 POCSO Act, 2012.

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Punjab and Haryana High Court


Live-in Relationship


In ever-evolving society, evolving law with it, time to shift perspective from didactics of orthodox society, shackled with strong strings of morality to one that values an individual’s life

While dealing with a matter regarding protection to live-in relationship, Anoop Chitkara, J., held that, every person in the territory of India has an inherent and indefeasible fundamental right to life flowing from Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the State is duty-bound to protect life.

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Laws governing ‘Live-in-relationships’ is need of the hour; Court directs State to file response on the social predicament

‘Live-in-relationships’ has always been a debatable issue because of the absence of any law on the said practice. The Legislation has not yet consolidated any Act in this regard; on the other hand the Judiciary, through several decisions has made a clear stand to protect the various rights of such couples. Supreme Court in Lata Singh v. State of U.P., (2006) 5 SCC 475S. Khushbhoo v. Kanniammal(2010) 5 SCC 600, and Indra Sarma v. V.K.V. Sarma(2013) 15 SCC 755, has upheld the status of live-in-relationships and issued certain direction to protect life and liberty of the individuals.

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MBBS Course


Whether Court can issue directions for filling up the vacant seat for the MBBS Course?

S. Thangkhiew, J. allowed a petition in which he had to consider whether this Court can direct the respondents to consider the petitioner for filling up the vacant seat for the MBBS Course.

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Recission of Contract


Application for rescission of contract ‘mandatory’ to avail the relief, as S. 28, Specific Relief Act, 1963 doesn’t confer indefeasible right

Sudhir Mittal, J. dismissed the revision petition filed by the petitioners (in this case the judgment-debtors) against the action of the Executing Court for refusing to recall the impugned order. According to the petitioners, the execution order was passed, ex parte hence, the fundamental principle of natural justice was violated.

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Carnal Intercourse


Use of phrase “carnal intercourse” considered as a conscious act of the legislature reflecting the clear intent to engraft an offence under S. 377 IPC, conviction upheld

Vinod S. Bhardwaj, J. contemplated the revision petition filed by the accused/ children in conflict with the law, challenging the dismissal of appeal by Additional District and Sessions Judge along with the order of conviction and sentence passed by the Juvenile Justice Board, for the commission of offence punishable under Section 377 of Penal Code, 1860 and Section 10 Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

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Cooling Off Period


Cooling off period under S. 13-B (2) HMA directory and not mandatory, court must waive off statutory period where marriage is irreconcilable

Rajbir Sehrawat, J., allowed the instant revision petition, filed against the order of Family Court, where the joint application for waving off the statutory period of 6 months for cooling off, had been dismissed.

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CBSE


Schools succeeded in hoodwinking CBSE, however, no fault can be attributed to the students; direction for issuance of class 12th result

Sudhir Mittal, J. allowed the writ petitions filed against the action of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) declaring petitioners ineligible for evaluation of class 12th and to issue the final result.

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Fundamental Rights vis a vis Judicial Review


Answer to the question on ‘fundamental rights vis-a-vis judicial review’ considered as ‘National Confusion’ as different interpretation possible

Rajbir Sehrawat. J., contemplated and answered the interesting question asked in the recruitment test on which the dispute of the petitioner revolves around. Thorough interpretation of judgments starting from Sankari Prasad to I.R. Coelho was analysed by the Court to formulate the correct answer asked in the recruitment test.

73. Which of the following schedule of the Constitution is immune from judicial review on the grounds of violation of fundamental rights?

  1. A) Seventh Schedule B) Ninth Schedule C) Tenth Schedule D) None of the above”

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Material Fact


Suppression of a ‘material fact’ of non-disclosure of pendency of bail application considered, subservient to the right of liberty granted to the petitioners; Guidelines issued

Three petitions are clubbed together where the petitioners intended to withdraw their bail applications as bail was already granted by the different trial courts. The main issue before Jasgurpreet Singh Puri, J. was effect of filing bail applications and passing of bail orders by the trial courts during the pendency of bail application before High Court by the same accused without disclosing such pendency and what safeguards should be adopted by the trial courts in this regard.

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Compensation


Entitlement to compensation on general principles for inordinate delay in receiving monies due; Interest on refund of excise duty granted

The Division Bench of Ajay Tewari and Pankaj Jain, JJ., contemplated the appeal where the interest on refund of excise duty was rejected by the authorities. The main question before the Court was whether the assessee was entitled to interest.

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Departmental Punishment


Departmental punishment of government servant is not a necessary and automatic consequence of conviction on a criminal charge

Jaishree Thakur, J. set aside and quashed the dismissal of the petitioner and remanded back the matter to the punishing authority for reconsideration. The Court directed that punishing authority to apply its mind and to form an opinion as to whether the conviction of the petitioner deserves the penalty of dismissal, removal or reduction in rank or any other lesser penalty.

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Patna High Court


Economic Offence


Entire community is aggrieved if economic offenders, who ruin economy of the State are not brought to book

Expressing that the entire community is aggrieved if the economic offenders, who ruin the economy of the State are not brought to bookAnjani Kumar Sharan, J., held that economic offence is committed with cool calculation and deliberate design with an eye on personal profit regardless of the consequence to the community.

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Rajasthan High Court


Whenever there is a conflict between substantial justice and hyper-technicality then substantial justice should be preferred to avoid defeat for the ends of justice: Raj HC observes in a case where candidature was rejected on a hyper-technical approach

A Division Bench of Anoop Kumar Dhand and Pankaj Bharadwaj, JJ., disposed of the petition and directed the Department to appoint the respondent.

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Cause Title


“..use of salutation and titles is prohibited in terms of Arts. 14 18 and 363A of the Constitution of India in public documents and public offices”; Raj HC observes in a case where hereditary title was mentioned in a cause title

“…any title awarded to the citizen of India by a Foreign State cannot be accepted nor used and no such title, other than the military or academic distinctions, can be conferred other than by the State. In terms of Article 363A of the Constitution of India, the heredity titles of nobility being in conflict with the principles of equality and contrary to Article 14 of the Constitution of India cannot be used as prefixes or suffixes.”

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Provisional Attachment


Order of provisional attachment cannot survive beyond a period of one year in terms of S. 83 (2) CGST Act; Provisional attachment order stayed

“Section 83 of the CGST Act pertains to provisional attachment to protect the revenue in certain cases. In sub-section (1) of Section 83 the commissioner is empowered to order provisional attachment of the property of the assessee including bank account where proceedings under Chapters XII, XIV and XV are pending and the commissioner is of the opinion that for the purpose of protecting the interest of government revenue it is necessary so to do.”

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Public Interest Litigation


“Citizen approaching Court in a public interest jurisdiction holds greater duty to make full research” PIL dismissed due to lack of necessary evidence presented

A Division Bench of Akil Kureshi, CJ and Rekha Borana, J. dismissed the petition and kept it open for the petitioners to file a fresh public interest petition.

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Private Entity


In absence of any factual foundation to show whether a particular entity is State or not, writ jurisdiction not maintainable

Mahendar Kumar Goyal J. dismissed the petition being not maintainable against a private entity. 

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Interim Maintenance


Raj HC dealt with whether husband can be absolved from his duty to pay interim maintenance if there is delay of 30+ years in filing application

“…an order under Section 125 of CrPC is in the nature of interim maintenance and husband, who admittedly earns Rs 40, 000/- per month cannot be absolved of his obligation to pay interim maintenance, merely because the respondent – wife has chosen to file the application after 36 years of marriage.”

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Transfer Petition


Transfer petition for trial of Salman Khan’s deer hunting case allowed; High Court to take charge

Pushpendra Singh Bhati, J., allowed a transfer petition in the infamous deer hunting case of actor Salman Khan.

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Bail


Economic offender should not be dealt as general offender because economic offenders run parallel economy; bail rejected

Narendra Singh Dhaddha rejected bail and dismissed the petition being devoid of merits.

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Sikkim High Court


Compromise


Handing out punishment is not the sole form of delivering justice; Court allows compromise

Bhaskar Raj Pradhan, J. allowed the compromise to bury the difference between parties and gives them their lives as good citizens.

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Tripura High Court


Disposal of Garbage


Court directs AMC to set up proper slaughterhouses and ensure garbage disposal in scientific manner

Court issued directions to the Corporation to prepare a long-term plan for not only setting up the abattoir/slaughter house but also for ensuring disposal of garbage in an appropriate scientific manner, rendering all authorities including the local police authorities for enforcing/assisting in carrying out its duties, considering application for licenses and disposing of at an early date so that people are not deprived of essential needs, maintaining hygienic conditions and carrying out inspection of all the license premises.

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Divorce


Unable to approve this kind of matrimonial conduct or filing a suit for divorce on such coloured narrative; Court dismisses appeal in matter of divorce

The Division Bench of S. Talapatra and S.G. Chattopadhyay, JJ. dismissed an appeal which was filed under Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 from the judgment by the Additional District Judge declining to grant the divorce and consequently dismissing the suit. It was observed that case did not reflect any such situation which can demand the dissolution of marriage between the petitioner [the appellant and the respondent].

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Uttaranchal High Court


Personal Rights


Irrespective of the personal rights of a person or a community, it can under no set of circumstances, override the rights or need of the defence of the country; Petition dismissed

Sharad Kumar Sharma, J. dismissed a writ petition which involved the issue pertaining to regulating the frontier borders of the country, adjoining to the ‘Line of Actual Control’, which adjoins and shares the boundary lines of our neighbouring country, China, which is approximately about 20 to 25 Kms. only away from the land, in dispute, which is proposed to be acquired for the purposes of meeting out the defence need of the ITBPF, i.e. ITBP.

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Judgment of Acquittal


There have to be very substantial and compelling reasons for setting aside a judgment of acquittal; petition dismissed

The Division Bench of S.K. Mishra and A.K. Verma, JJ., dismissed the appeal for acquittal considering it to be devoid of substantial and compelling reasons.

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Hate Speech


Right to freedom, as granted under the Constitution is not an absolute right; Court rejects bail in Hate Speech matter

Ravindra Maithani, J., rejected a bail application which was filed by the applicant who was in judicial custody under Sections 153A, 298 Penal code, 1860.

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Public Service Commission


Public Service Commission directed to declare result of candidate who submitted late fees

The Division Bench of Sanjaya Kumar Mishra, CJ. and Ramesh Chandra Khulbe, J. allowed a petition which was filed by an aspirant seeking a direction to respondents to allow the petitioner to appear for the mains examination of the Assistant Conservator of Forest.

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Registration of Sikh Marriages


State directed to take steps to frame and notify Rules for Registration of Sikh Marriages

The Division Bench of Sanjaya Kumar Mishra, ACJ. and Ramesh Chandra Khulbe, J. took up a PIL filed by the petitioner commanding the respondent State to notify the Rules under Anand Marriage Act, 1909 and also to issue guidelines to register the marriage of people of Sikh Community under the Anand Marriage Act, 1909.

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Bail


Society has a vital interest in grant or refusal of bail because criminal offence is the offence against the society; Bail applications rejected in fraud case under Epidemic Diseases Act

Alok Kumar Verma, J. rejected three bail applications of the applicants who were in custody for the offence under Sections 188, 269, 270, 420, 467, 468, 471, 120B of IPC, Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and Section 53 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

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Weekly Roundups from March


Stories of sexual assault of a minor, woman travelling in public transport experiencing inappropriate touch and how children below 12 years of age are ‘asexual’ | Read 7 Legal Stories of the week

9 Legal Stories of the Week | Unlicensed transport aggregators to Spanking back of a woman without her consent, read more such stories in this weekly roundup

From Hijab Ban to Bloomberg Privacy Case and more | 7 Legal Stories of the Week

Patiala House Courts, Delhi
Case BriefsDistrict Court

Patiala House Courts, New Delhi: Shreya Arora Mehta, Metropolitan Magistrate, while addressing a matter with regard to Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act stressed the liability of a Director for such offences.

Accused Company through accused 2 – Chairman cum Managing Director along with accused 3 its Managing Director and accused 4 Deputy Managing Director approached the complainant in the year 2006 to engage their services for releasing advertisement of the accused company in various newspapers and publications.

The complainant agreed to extend a credit period of 60 days for payment of the bills with statutory taxes and services charges/commission. The accused persons sent a release order to the complainant for advertisement in various print media. Bills were raised on monthly basis for service provided.

It was stated that till the second quarter of 2008 the complainant received most of the payment but thereafter there was a default by the accused persons in making the time-bound scheduled payment. Later bills of 6 months were kept pending due to which the complainant was forced to ask the Indian Newspaper Society to issue a caution notice to its members regarding the accused company.

The accused company issued 84 cheques with the assurance that on presentation the same would be encashed, but all the cheques were dishonoured and returned unpaid for the reasons either “funds insufficient” and or exceeding arrangement.

Accused persons did not reply to the legal notice under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. Hence the present complaint was filed.

Accused 3 admitted his signatures on all the cheques but stated that the same was done under the pretext of accused 2 who was the chairman cum director of the accused 1. The accused 4 submitted that he had no dealings whatsoever with the complainant company.

Section 141 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, does not say that a Director of a company shall automatically be vicariously liable for commission of an offence on behalf of the company.

“…the complainant has to make specific averments in the complaint that the accused persons were incharge or were responsible to the company or conduct of the business of the company. And prosecution could be launched not only against the company on behalf of which the cheque issued has been dishonoured, but it could also be initiated against every person who at the time the offence was committed, was in charge of and was responsible for the conduct of the business of the company.”

In the present case, specific averments were made against accused 3 and 4 that they are in charge of and responsible to the accused 1 company for the conduct of the business of the company and were looking after the business of the company and the offence under Section 138 NI Act had been committed with the knowledge, consent and connivance of the accused 3 and 4 besides other and was attributable to neglect on their part.

“…under Section 139 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 there is a presumption in favour of the complainant that the cheques in question were issued by the accused in discharge of his lawful liability. It is mandatory for the court to draw a presumption against the drawer/accused. However, the said presumption is rebuttable.” 

Accused persons raised arguments that no work order, release order or publication bill was placed on record nor the complainant produce the details of the newspapers etc. To substantiate the same, the accused person had failed to prove on record any admissible and reliable evidence to discharge their onus of rebutting the initial presumption in favour of the complainant as enshrined under Section 139 NI Act.

In view of the above, the essentials of Section 138 NI Act stand duly established and accused persons failed to rebut the same.[Prominent Advertising Services v. Koutons Retail India Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine Dis Crt (Del) 12, decided on 22-3-2022]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Rajnish Bhatnagar, J., dismissed a matter revolving around the dishonour of cheque under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.

Background


Respondent 2 had filed a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable instruments Act, 1881 against the revisionist stating that he had taken a friendly loan of Rs 4,80,000 from the respondent for a period of one month.

The revisionist had issued a cheque for the above-said amount, but the said cheque was returned with the remark “fund insufficient”. Thereafter, the respondent issued a legal notice, but the revisionist could not make the payment within a stipulated period, hence case under Section 138 NI Act was filed.

Analysis, Law and Decision


High Court expressed that, taking into consideration the various provisions of Cr.P.C. which have been discussed in various judgments time and again demonstrate that the Negotiable Instruments Act, provides sufficient opportunity to a person who issues the cheque.

Further, the Court observed that,

Once a cheque is issued by a person, it must be honored and if it is not honored, the person is given an opportunity to pay the cheque amount by issuance of a notice and if he still does not pay, he is bound to face the criminal trial and consequences.

Trite Law

Once the issuance of a cheque and signature are admitted, the presumption of a legally enforceable debt in favour of the holder of the cheque arises.

Bench stated that while imposing sentence on the accused after his conviction, it is to be kept in mind that sentence for offence under Section 138 NI Act should be of such nature as to give proper effect to the object of the legislation and no drawer of the cheque can be allowed to take dishonour of cheque issued by him light-heartedly.

In the present matter, the revisionist submitted that the cheque was lost and he had filed a complaint of the same as well, but the original complaint was not placed on record.

Bench noted his malafides when it was found that he neither informed the bank concerned about the cheque nor requested the bank to get the payment stopped against the said cheque.

Lastly, while stating that mere statement by revisionist would not be sufficient to raise suspicion with the prosecution’s case, High Court found no infirmity in the decision of the trial court and upheld the same.[Sanjay Gupta v. State, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 822, decided on 24-3-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Revisionist: Mr. Sudhanshu Palo and Mr. Surendra Kr. Roy, Advs.

For the Respondents: Ms. Manjeet Arya, APP for the State. Ms. Seema Sharma, Adv. for complainant.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: While addressing a matter revolving around Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, Subramonium Prasad, J., held that Courts should primarily proceed on the averments in the complaint, and the defence of the accused cannot be looked at the stage of issuing summons unless it can be shown on admitted documents which the Supreme Court described as “unimpeachable in nature and sterling in quality” to substantiate that there was no debt due and payable by the person who has issued the cheque or that the cheque amount is large than the debt due.

Petitioner sought to call for record and quash complaint about the offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

Averments made in the complaint were:

Petitioner had approached the complainant/respondent and requested for a friendly loan of Rs 9,00,000, later after a few months he again approached for a loan of Rs 6,00,000 and in the said amount, Rs 4,90,000 was given through RTGS and Rs 1,10,000 was given in cash.

Further, while returning the amount, the petitioner issued a cheque, which was returned by the bank with the remark “Exceeds Arrangement”. Even after notice, the petitioner did not pay the amount, hence a complaint under Section 138 of the NI Act was registered.

Petitioner submitted that he had given instructions to his nephew who deposited a sum of Rs 2,69,000 through UP in the bank account of the wife of the complainant, hence the cheque of Rs 15,00,000 presented by the complainant was greater than the amount due, hence the complaint shall be quashed.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court expressed that the purpose of inserting Chapter XVII in the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 was to bring out sanctity in commercial transactions.

In the present matter, it was noted the petitioner had issued a cheque for a sum of Rs 15,00,000.

Section 139 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881, creates a presumption that unless contrary is proved, the holder of a cheque has received the cheque for discharge in whole or in part of any debt or other liability.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Bir Singh v. Mukesh Kumar, (2019) 4 SCC 197, was also cited.

Petitioner contended that the cheque deposited by the complainant was for a greater amount as a sum of Rs 2,69,000 had already been paid.

Further, it was stated that the details of the UPI (Unified Payment Interface), which has been filed by the petitioner, show that the amounts deposited in the bank account of the wife of the complainant by the nephew of the petitioner cannot be taken as evidence which is unimpeachable in nature and sterling in quality so as to demolish the case of the respondent and to substantiate the contention of the petitioner that the proceedings initiated under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 is a complete abuse of the process of law.

The Bench stated that the Courts should primarily proceed on the averments in the complaint, and the defence of the accused cannot be looked at the stage of issuing summons unless it can be shown on admitted documents which the Supreme Court described as “unimpeachable in nature and sterling in quality”.

“It is well settled that the inherent powers should be exercised sparingly, with circumspection and in the rarest of rare cases when the Court is convinced, on the basis of material on record, that allowing the proceedings to continue would be an abuse of process of law or if the ends of justice is required that the proceedings ought not to be quashed.”

Hence, High Court denied accepting that the amounts deposited by the nephew of the petitioner in the bank account of the wife of the complainant was towards the debt incurred by the petitioner.

Therefore, no case for quashing the complaint was made out. [Satinderjeet Singh v. Sameer Sondhi, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 635, decided on 28-2-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Deepak Kohli, Advocate

For the Respondent: None

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Subramonium Prasad, J., addressed a matter pertaining to vicarious liability of directors of the company alleged for offences under Section 138 NI Act.

Petitioner sought to quash a criminal complaint which was filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 along with this, he also sought to quash an order passed by the trial court issuing summons to the petitioner.

Respondent 2 had filed a complaint under Section 138 read with Section 142 of the NI Act before the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate, Saket Court.

Respondent 2 was appointed as CFO of India Ahead News Private Ltd. which was engaged in the business of running a TV news channel. Petitioner and accused 2 were the directors of India Ahead News Pvt. Ltd. and they were responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the company.

The complainant was taken in service by respondent 1 at a fixed salary of Rs 10,00,000 per month plus GST less TDS along with monthly expenditure and reimbursement if Rs 1,50,000 per month, along with this a stake of 10% was also assured to the complainant.

In the year 2019, the salaries of the staff along with complainant’s started getting delayed and even the statutory obligations like PF, ESI, etc., were not being fulfilled by the company. Since the dues and the arrears of salary were mounting up at the request of petitioner’s son the complainant offered to take a salary cut.

Further, when the cheques for payment of arrears of salary were presented for encashment the same were returned with remark “insufficient fund”. Hence, a legal notice was issued in compliance with to mandate of Section 138 NI Act demanding payment.

Since there was nothing on record to show that the accused’s 2 & 3 were the directors of the company, the complainant was directed to place on record the Master Data of the company. After the pre-summoning evidence, summons was issued and the said order of the Court has been challenged before this Court.

Despite several attempts to settle the dispute, the parties could not arrive at a settlement.

Supreme Court has in a number of decisions laid down the factors necessary to be kept in mind before making a person vicariously liable for the offences committed by the company under Section 138 of the NI Act:

(i) The primary responsibility is on the complainant to make specific averments as are required under the law in the complaint so as to make the accused vicariously liable. For fastening the criminal liability, there is no presumption that every Director knows about the transaction.

(ii) Section 141 does not make all the Directors liable for the offence. The criminal liability can be fastened only on those who, at the time of the commission of the offence, were in charge of and were responsible for the conduct of the business of the company.

(iii) Vicarious liability can be inferred against a company registered or incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 only if the requisite statements, which are required to be averred in the complaint/petition, are made so as to make the accused therein vicariously liable for offence committed by the company along with averments in the petition containing that accused were in charge of and responsible for the business of the company and by virtue of their position they are liable to be proceeded with.

(iv) Vicarious liability on the part of a person must be pleaded and proved and not inferred.

(v) If the accused is a Managing Director or a Joint Managing Director then it is not necessary to make specific averment in the complaint and by virtue of their position, they are liable to be proceeded with.

(vi) If the accused is a Director or an officer of a company who signed the cheques on behalf of the company then also it is not necessary to make specific averment in complaint.

(vii) The person sought to be made liable should be in charge of and responsible for the conduct of the business of the company at the relevant time. This has to be averred as a fact as there is no deemed liability of a Director in such cases.

[Refer Gunmala Sales Private Limited v. Anu Mehta, (2015) 1 SCC 103; National Small Industries Corpn. Ltd. v. Harmeet Singh Paintal, (2010) 3 SCC 330; S.M.S. Pharmaceuticals Ltd. v. Neeta Bhalla, (2005) 8 SCC 89; S.M.S. Pharmaceuticals Ltd. v. Neeta Bhalla, (2007) 4 SCC 70; Saroj Kumar Poddar v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2007) 3 SCC 693; N.K. Wahi v. Shekhar Singh, (2007) 9 SCC 481; N. Rangachari v. BSNL, (2007) 5 SCC 108; Paresh P. Rajda v. State of Maharashtra, (2008) 7 SCC 442; K.K. Ahuja v. V.K. Vohra, (2009) 10 SCC 48.]

The complaint read as a whole indicated that at the time of cheques being issued by the company and returned by the bank, the son of the petitioner and the petitioner were the only directors of the company and were responsible for the conduct of the business of the company. Hence, this Court was not inclined to interfere with the order issuing summons to the petitioner.

High Court stated that the petitioner should have established in trial that he was not responsible for the conduct of the business of the company owing to his age and the mere ipsi dixit of the petitioner that he was 80 years of age and was unable to manage the affairs of the company and the same cannot be accepted at present stage.

Supreme Court’s decision in Ashutosh Ashok Parasrampuriya v. Gharrkul Industries (P) Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 915 squarely covers the present case.

Lastly, the Court concluded that the observations of this Court are limited to the issue as to whether the complaint should be quashed or not because of the fact that the complaint does not state the exact role of the petitioner in the conduct of the business of the company.

“…it is always open for the petitioner to substantiate his assertion that he was not responsible for the conduct of the business of the company by leading evidence which should be considered on its own merits without being influenced by the observations made in this order.”

Therefore, the petition was dismissed. [Gopala Krishna Mootha v. State Govt of NCT of Delhi, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 530, decided on 21-2-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Neeraj Malhotra, Senior Advocate with Shiv Gupta, Devahuti Tamuli, Advocates

For the Respondents: Neelam Sharma, APP for the State

Kamlesh Mahajan, Advocate for R-2

Tis-hazari
Case BriefsDistrict Court

Tis Hazari Courts, New Delhi: While deciding a matter under Section 138 of the negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, Devanshu Sajlan, MM-05 (NI Act) reiterated the settled position of law that there is no concept of vicarious liability in case of a sole proprietorship concern since a sole proprietorship concern does not have a separate legal identity from its proprietor.

A complaint was filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Acts, 1881.

The complaint proceeded against the accused firm, accused persons 1 and 2. Though, later the proceedings against accused 1 were abated pursuant to her death. Thereafter, the matter proceeded only against an accused firm and accused 2.

It was stated that the accused firm was a partnership firm of which accused 1 was a partner and accused 2 was an authorized signatory/attorney.

The accused partnership firm had purchased Kirana Goods from the complainant and the parties had settled their accounts and pursuant to the said settlement, the accused firm issued two cheques in favour of the complainant and the said cheques were signed by accused 2.

The said cheques were returned dishonoured with remarks ‘Funds Insufficient’. After which, the firm sent a legal demand notice, but the accused persons allegedly failed to pay the cheque amount, due to which the present complaint was filed.

The stance of accused 2 was that the accused firm was a sole proprietorship concern, and he was merely the authorized signatory of accused 1, who was the sole proprietor of the accused firm.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court expressed that in order to establish the offence under Section 138 NI Act, the prosecution must fulfil all the essential ingredients of the offence. In addition to this, the conditions stipulated under Section 142 NI Act have to be fulfilled.

“Liability of authorised signatory of a proprietorship concern.”

The Bench held that the accused 2’s contention that the accused firm was a sole proprietorship concern and he was merely the authorized signatory of accused 1 who was the sole proprietor of the accused firm was indeed correct.

“It is a settled position of law that there is no concept of vicarious liability in case of a sole proprietorship concern since a sole proprietorship concern does not have a separate legal identity from its proprietor and therefore, it does not fall within the ambit and scope of Section 141 NI Act.”

The above-said position of law was laid down by the Supreme Court in Raghu Lakshminarayanan v. Fine Tubes, (2007) 5 SCC 103.

The Court remarked that as far as a sole proprietorship was concerned, it was only the sole proprietor who could be held liable under Section 138 NI Act for dishonour of a cheque drawn on the account of the sole proprietorship.

Adding to the above, Court stated that vicarious liability cannot be fastened on the employees/authorized signatories of a sole partnership firm, by taking aid of Section 141 NI Act. Hence, if the accused firm is proved to be a sole proprietorship concern, accused 2 would have no liability.

Though, in case the accused firm will be proved to be a partnership firm, then accused 2 would be liable under Section 141 NI Act since he is the signatory of the cheques.

“It is a settled position of law that the signatory of the cheque is vicariously liable in terms of 141 of the NI Act in case the accused is a company or a partnership firm.”

  • Who has the burden of proof to establish that the accused firm is a proprietorship concern or a partnership firm?

The Court stated that it needs to be proved by the complainant that the accused firm was a proprietorship concern or a partnership firm because the legal status of a firm is the very identity of the said firm and without establishing the said legal status, the identity of the firm as a “person” cannot be verified/confirmed/established.

Hence, without the proof of the above-said fact, the statutory presumption under Section 139 NI Act cannot be raised in a casual manner. Therefore, the burden of proof to establish that the accused firm is a partnership firm lies upon the complainant.

  • Whether it has been proved that the accused firm is a partnership firm?

The complainant could not conclusively establish that the accused firm was a partnership firm.

Decision

In view of the above discussion, accused 2 was acquitted from the charge of an offence punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.  Hence, accused 2 was directed to furnish bail bond and surety bond in terms of Section 437-A CrPC.

Note: The span of the present case was almost 21 years (beginning from the year 1999). 

[Durga Traders v. Saraswati Trading Co., 7538 of 2016, decided on 24-12-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

Sh. Vikas Aggarwal, Counsel for the complainant.

Sh. Pankaj Chawla, Counsel for the accused.

Case BriefsDistrict Court

Rohini Court, North-West, Delhi: Ritika Kansal, MM(NI) reiterated the settled position of law that,

“…an accused has to prove his defence by preponderance of probabilities, but a defence would be considered probable only if it appeals to the Court as probable and reasonable keeping in mind the natural course of conduct of a prudent human being of reasonable intelligence.”

Present complaint was filed against the accused under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (NI Act).

Complainant on account of good friendly relations advanced a loan of Rs 80,000 to the accused as the latter was in dire need of the money for her parlour with a promise by the latter to repay the same within 6 months.

It was alleged by the complainant that after much insistence in the month of August 2020, the accused sought some time “due to financial crisis” and “lockdown” but thereafter issued two cheques each of Rs 40,000 in the complainant’s favour which were dishonoured due to insufficiency of the funds in her bank account, leading to the complainant issuing a legal demand notice and eventually the present complaint.

Analysis, Law and Discussion

High Court observed the following significant points:

(a) Initially, it is upon the complainant to prove foundational facts.

(b) Once foundational facts are proved, it is mandatory upon the court to raise presumption under Section 118 r/w Section 139 of NI Act i.e., cheque has been issued/drawn for consideration by the accused to discharge a debt or a liability in favour of the holder of cheque. In other words, it shall be presumed that the accused/drawer of the cheques owes any legal liability or debt to the holder of the cheque/complainant.

(c) Accused can rebut the presumption.

(d) The burden of proof upon accused is not to prove his defence beyond all reasonable doubts but raise a probable defence

(e) Accused needn’t examine himself to prove his defence. He can do so with help of material already on record i.e. by cross-examining the complainant and/or his witnesses.

(f) Though, rebuttal does not have to be conclusively established, nevertheless, the evidence must be such that the court either believes the defence to exist or consider its existence to be reasonably probable, the standard of reasonability being that of the prudent man.

In the present matter, the complainant had established by virtue of Sections 118(a) and 139 NI Act, that a presumption arises in his favour and against the accused.

While adjudging whether in a case the presumption of consideration has been rebutted, it becomes important to underscore that a mere denial of liability or vague defence of blank cheque as security, cannot be taken at the mere ipse dixit of the accused. 

In the instant case, the whole defence of the accused was based upon the existence of a document marked as “A” and “B”. She had deposed that the same had been signed by the complainant in her presence. It was on the basis of said document, that the accused claimed that she has made payment in monthly instalments. Thus, clearly the initial burden to prove the alleged factum of issuance of the said documents lied upon the accused.

Cheques Issued as Security cheques

The question of maintainability of complainant under Section 138 in case of security cheque was examined by Delhi High Cout in judgement of Suresh Chandra Goyal v. Amit Singhal Crl.L.P. No. 607.2014.

It was observed: “There is no magic in the word “security cheque”, such that, the moment the accused claims that the dishonoured cheque (in respect whereof a complaint under Section 138 of the Act is preferred) was given as a “security cheque”, the Magistrate would acquit the accused. The expression “security cheque” is not a statutorily defined expression in the NI Act. The NI Act does not per se carve out an exception in respect of a ‘security cheque’ to say that a complaint in respect of such a cheque would not be maintainable…”

The Court opined that, merely because cheques in question were security cheques, would not save accused from clutches of law, latter having admitted taking loan against the cheques.

Decision

The Bench held that the accused failed miserably to prove the alleged factum of repayment.

Accused failed to prove that the documents “A” & “B” purportedly the money lending cards, bear the signature of the complainant/appellant, also no witness was examined by her who may have seen the accused’s husband making payment in installments.

Further, the accused testified in her evidence that she made repayments in monthly instalments in cash. However, to substantiate the same, neither she has placed on record any bank account statement reflecting withdrawals nor examined any witness

With regard to the contention that the complainant was engaged in money lending business without a licence, the accused did not place on record any material to substantiate the same and it is well settled that for an activity to be called money lending, there should be a systematic business of money lending which should be repetitive and continuous, and the loans are granted to a large number of persons. Even if the said contention was accepted, the accused’s sinking ship could not be saved in light of the settled position of law.

Accused in response to the legal notice did not even insist on taking back the cheques in question, rather stated therein that she had returned 80% of the amount and expressed anguish over the cheques being presented without her knowledge.

Bench also noted that,

“…the accused didn’t issue any “stop payment” instructions to the bank. Despite opportunity, she didn’t place on record any police complaint as referred to by her during her evidence. Even if everything is taken out of the purview, I fail to understand how a reasonably prudent person who has paid a sum of money more than she borrowed would wait in silence, and not protest over her cheques not being returned.”

Noting the sheer lack of even an iota of material on the record, lead to the irresistible conclusion that the defence of the accused was a sham and nothing but an implausible story.

Accused had miserably failed to probablise lack of legal liability with respect to the cheques in question. The presumption of legal liability, therefore, has gone unrebutted.

Therefore, accused was convicted of an offence under Section 138 of the NI Act. [Manmohan Bansal v. Saroj Sharma, CC NI Act No. 119 of 2021, decided on 7-2-2022]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Sathish Kumar, J., while addressing a matter with regard to the dishonour of cheques under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, held that the moratorium provision contained in Section 14 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, would apply only to corporate debtor, but the natural persons mentioned in Section 141 of Negotiable Instruments Act continue to be statutorily liable under Chapter XVII of the Negotiable Instrument Act.

Petitioner’s case was that the petitioner was arrayed as one of the accused in cases pending before the lower courts for the offences under Section 138, 141 and 142 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

As per the request of the petitioners ‘company, the complainant company agreed to supply the “Wet Blue Cow Hides” and supplied the same. During the course of business, the accused Company was due and payable to the respondent Company for the supply made. For the said purpose 2nd accused had issued various cheques but the said cheques were dishonoured with an endorsement of “Payment Stopped by the Drawers”. Hence, the respondent had filed the complaints before Judicial Magistrates’ Court.

Petitioners alleged that no legal notice was served by the respondent, hence the complaint under Section 138 NI Act was legally unsustainable and in view of the same while challenging the said complaint present petition was filed.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court reiterated a settled position of law that, the criminal liability of natural persons in case of a complaint filed under Sections 138 and 141 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 would survive, but would not be attracted against the company.

Bench noted that in the present case, the insolvency process was initiated by NCLT, and a moratorium had been declared under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

Therefore, referred to the Supreme Court decision in P. Mohanraj v. Shah Brothers Ispat (P) Ltd., (2021) 6 SCC 258, wherein it was held that the moratorium provision contained in Section 14 of the Insolvency Bankruptcy Code, would apply only to corporate debtor, the natural persons mentioned in Section 141 continuing to be statutorily liable under Chapter XVII of the Negotiable Instrument Act,

High Court expressed that, the moratorium was only in respect of the corporate debtor and not in respect of the directors/management and therefore the petitioners 2 and 3 as natural persons were liable for prosecution. However, in view of the declaration of moratorium by NCLT, the prosecution against the company cannot be allowed to continue.

In view of the above, Court quashed the proceedings in respect of 1st petitioner and with regard to petitioners 2 and 3, Court opined that the issue was triable and required an appreciation of evidence and this Court cannot decide the same in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482 of CrPC.

High Court directed the petitioners and respondent to co-operate with the trial court for the early completion of trial.[Nag Leathers (P) Ltd. v. Muzain Hides, 2022 SCC OnLine Mad 205, decided on 3-1-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For Petitioner in all Crl.O.P.s :  Mr T.P. Prabakaran

For Respondent in all Crl.O.P.s : Mr M. Guruprasad

Saket Court
Case BriefsDistrict Court

Saket District Court, Delhi: Sonam Singh, MM (NI Act) acquitted the accused who was charged with an offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, on finding that he raised sufficient doubt about the existence of a legally sustainable liability.

Factual Background

Complainant was the daughter-in-law of the accused. She alleged that in August 2020, the accused who was her father-in-law promised to pay her maintenance of Rs 45,000 every month for his grandson.

Further, she alleged that in lieu of the promised amount he handed over a cheque. On not receiving the amount in her bank account, she enquired with the bank and got to know that initially the cheque was cleared but due to the accused being hand-in-glove with certain officials from the said bank, the amount of Rs 45,000 which was credited in her account was subsequently debited from her account.

Complainant alleged that since she suspected that the accused had cheated her, she requested the bank to disclose the status of her cheque and after much inconvenience, the bank told her that due to the difference between words and figures written on the cheque, it was wrongly cleared by them initially.

Adding to the above allegations, she also stated that the amount was debited from her account as the accused had conspired with the bank official and alleged that she was appalled when she got to know that the cheque was dishonored on the ground of “CHEQUE IRREGULARLY DRAWN/AMOUNT IN WORDS AND FIGURES DIFFERS” and further on contacting the accused, he refused to pay the amount of cheque in question.

It was also alleged by her that she got to know from the Bank that the accused had personally asked the bank to stop the payment of the cheque in question and he had deliberately written the wrong amount in words on the cheque.

Since the accused did not pay the complainant within 15 days of service of legal notice, the present complaint was filed seeking prosecution of the accused of the offence punishable under Section 138 NI Act.

Analysis, Law and Decision

After referring to the provisions of Negotiable Instruments Act, Bench referred to the Supreme Court decision in Kusum Ingots & Alloys Ltd. v. Pennar Peterson Securities Ltd., (2000) 2 SCC 745, wherein the Court discussed the conditions of Section 138 NI Act which are to be fulfilled for a cause of action to arise in favour of the complainant.

Court expressed that,

The object underlying Section 138 of the NI Act is to promote faith in the efficacy of the banking system and give credibility to negotiable instruments, in business transactions. The intention is to punish those unscrupulous persons, who issued cheques for discharging their liabilities, without really intending to honour the promise.

Issues in the present matter:

  • Service of legal demand notice
  • Cheque being valid and return memo being fabricated
  • Whether the cheque in question can be said to have been issued in discharge of a legally enforceable debt or liability or not

Service of legal demand notice

Court stated that considering the presumption of due service, the accused was under an obligation to lead evidence to prove that the notice was not served on him. However, he has failed to bring any evidence to rebut the presumption of due service of legal demand notice.

Mere denial of not receiving the legal demand notice would not amount to proving his defence.

 Validity of Cheque and genuineness of the return memo

It was proved that the cheque was dishonoured on the instructions of the accused who gave instructions to the bank to reverse the entry, admitted by him in his statement under Section 313 CrPC.

The Court witness brought a letter issued by the bank that erroneously the cheque number mentioned in the return memo dated 11.09.2020 was 682148 instead of 682146. He further explained in his cross-examination conducted by the counsel for the complainant that the typographical mistake of the cheque number in the return memo is a “clerical mistake and should not have occurred.”

 Accused did not bring any evidence to show that there was any conspiracy between the complainant and the bank to issue a fabricated return memo. The Bench stated that it was relevant to note that the accused had admitted having signed the cheque on a bank account maintained in his name and filled all the particulars of the cheque except the name of the complainant.

Question of Liability

It is well-settled position of law that when a negotiable instrument is drawn, two statutory presumptions arise in favour of the complainant, one under Section 139 NI Act and another under Section 118(a) of the NI Act, which is a presumption of the cheque having been issued in discharge of legal liability and drawn for good consideration, arises.

Bench observed that it is explicit that on proof of foundational facts, the Court will presume that cheque was made or drawn for consideration and that it was executed for discharge of debt or liability, once the execution of negotiable instrument is either proved or admitted and the burden of proof lies upon the accused to rebut the said presumption.

This is an example of the rule of ‘reverse onus’ in action, where it is an obligation on the accused to lead what can be called ‘negative evidence’. The accused is not to prove a fact affirmatively, but to lead evidence to demonstrate the non-existence of debt or liability. Since, this rule is against the general principle of the criminal law of ‘presumption of innocence in favour of the accused’ and considering that such negative evidence, by character is difficult to lead, the threshold for the accused to rebut the presumption is on the scale of the preponderance of probabilities.

Court opined that, in the present matter, the accused succeeded in rebutting the presumption of legal liability, by exposing the inherent improbability of the case of the complainant.

Bench stated that, the improbability of the complainant’s story was further manifest from the fact that she had not filed any case for maintenance and only a case under DV Act had been filed. She failed to bring on record any document or court order to show that the accused promised her the maintenance of Rs 45,000 for his grandson.

Further, the accused, in his defence had argued that the cheque was not handed over to the complainant. In his statement under Section 313 CrPC, he stated that only when he received a message from his bank that an amount of Rs 45,000 was debited from his account, then he contacted his bank and told the bank he had not issued any such cheque. Any reasonable man would do as what accused did and direct his bank to stop the payment or reverse the entry.

The reason for not filing a police complaint with respect to misuse of the cheque by the accused was not filed as the complainant was his daughter-in-law and in Court’s opinion the said explanation was believable as the same could have caused him social embarrassment.

Conclusion

Accused raised sufficient doubt about the existence of a legally sustainable liability, which the complainant failed to prove after the onus shifted on her and therefore the end result was that the accused was acquitted of offence under Section 138 NI Act.

In view of the above complaint was dismissed. [Shakun Singh v. Chandeshwar Singh, CC No. 397 of 2020, decided on 24-12-2021]