Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT): Coram of Justice Tarun Agarwala (Presiding Officer), Dr C.K.G. Nair (Member), and Justice M.T. Joshi (Judicial Member) held the appellants responsible for non-compliance of Regulation 33 of SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulation, 2015.

The imposed a fine of Rs 5,54,600 on the appellants for non-compliance of the said regulation. In a meeting of its Board of Directors, unaudited financial results were approved and this had to be uploaded on the Company’s website as well as on the stock exchange platform within 30 minutes of the conclusion of this meeting as well as within 24 hours as a per a circular. In addition to that, Annexure 1 relating to imposition of fine for violation of Regulation 33 stated if the said information is not disseminated in the stock exchange platform and on the Company’s website, a penalty of Rs 5000 per day till the non compliance would be levied and if it continues for more than 15 days then additional fine of 0.1% of paid-up capital would be automatically levied.

The appellant contended that they had uploaded the financial results in XBRL mode within 30 minutes instead of 24 hours but on account of a glitch the appellant could not upload the financial results along with the audit report within 30 minutes on the BSE platform though it was uploaded on the NSE as well as on the Company’s website. These results were published in the leading newspapers too. There was only a technical defect for which the appellant should not be penalised.

The Tribunal held that since the regulations and the circular require the financial results to be disseminated to the public for the desired purpose so that the investors are made aware of the financials of the Company. Thus, the limited audit report along with the financial results was required to be uploaded within 30 minutes of the conclusion of the Board of Directors. The financial results had price sensitive information and could not have remained unpublished and it was not complied with.

The Tribunal also held that the fine imposed was excessive as there was no deliberate intention on the part of the appellant to violate Regulation 33 of the Listing Regulations. The violation was a human error. In the interest of justice, the penalty was reduced to Rs 2,50,000.[SPL Industries Ltd. v. BSE Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine SAT 151, decided on 20-08-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: Shaji P. Chaly, J. allowed a civil writ petition filed by a former student of a CBSE school assailing CBSE officials’ order, rejecting her application seeking correction of particulars in her class X and XII certificate.

Petitioner herein had completed her X and XII standard from the respondent 4 school (Kendriya Vidyalaya CRPF, Pallippuram) under the Central Board of Secondary Education Board (CBSE). The instant petition was filed assailing the order of Regional Officer, CBSE (Respondent 2 and 5 herein) declining to carry out a correction in the certificates issued by CBSE with respect to the name of petitioner’s mother.

The reason for rejection of petitioner’s request was that there was delay on her part in seeking correction in class X certificate in accordance with the provisions of examination bye-laws of the CBSE; and so far as XII standard’s certificate was concerned, it was not in consonance with the school records and therefore, a Gazette notification was required for changing the name.

The Court relied on Subin Mohammed S. v. Union of India, 2015 SCC OnLine Ker 34544 where it was held that in case of delay in seeking correction in a certificate, the said correction can be carried out by imposing a fine of Rs 5000. As far as the class XII certificate was concerned, petitioner’s application was within time, and the change sought by the petitioner was in accordance with her birth certificate in which the name of her mother was shown correctly.

In view of the above, the impugned order was set aside directing the respondent 2 to reconsider the application submitted by the petitioner in accordance with law at the earliest.[Archa Mohan v. Controller of Examinations, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 1161, decided on 01-04-2019]

Business NewsNews

As reported by ANI, Four Public Sector Banks have been fined by Reserve Bank Of India.

The stated banks are Corporate Bank of India, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and Union Bank of India. All the 4 banks breached the RBI directions regarding monitoring of end-use funds, exchange of information with other banks, classification and reporting of frauds and on the restructuring of accounts.

Penalties have been imposed in compliance with provisions of Section 47A (1) (c) read with Section 46 (4) (i) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

[Source: ANI]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-Judge Bench comprising of Madan B. Lokur, Deepak Gupta and Hemant Gupta, JJ. pronounced an order while imposing costs on various States with the primary concern regarding “Mid-Day Meal” Scheme.

The present order specifies the allegations submitted by the petitioner, stating that the food-grains have been disappearing and not reaching the schools and thereby the benefit of Mid-Day Meal Scheme is being denied to children.

For the above-stated allegation, the Court with disappointment stated that States have been asked to render assistance and to upload all the data so that necessary corrective steps can be taken from time to time and even after various orders in that regard, no co-operation has been seen from the States.

Further, the Bench stated that, on 26-10-2018, it was submitted by the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha that they would comply with the requirements of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme, but the Court stated that a month has passed and there has been absolutely no progress by the States, which leaves no option other than imposing costs of Rs 1,00,000 and a direction being given to deposit the amount with Supreme Court Legal Services Committee.

The Court lastly, stated that NCT of Delhi had no representative on the last day of the hearing, and for the present hearing the appearance of the representative serves no purpose as no information is available, therefore, the costs of Rs 2,00,000 are imposed.

The present matter has been asked to be listed after 4 weeks. [Antarrashtriya Manav Adhikaar Nigraani Parishad v. Union of India,2018 SCC OnLine SC 2677, Order dated 04-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of V. Kameswar Rao, J. decided a contempt petition filed by Jawaharlal Nehru University seeking action against the respondent Students Union for disobeying Court’s order dated 9-8-2017 whereby Court directed restriction on any protest within 100 meters of the Administrative building.
According to the facts alleged by the University, the respondents disobeyed the said order of the Court and staged protests against compulsory attendance rule inside the Administrative building. They formed human chains, marched throughout the prohibited area, went all the way to VC’s residence, vandalised the area, held University officials under wrongful confinement, etc. The respondents submitted that the contempt petition was vindictive and vexatious. Further, that they believed in rule of law as a part of the basic structure; that they have a right to peaceful protest; that dissent in dialogue and peaceful demonstration were part of the expression of free speech.

The High Court held that the order mentioned hereinabove stood against the respondents till such time as it was set aside or varied, which wasn’t a case here. The Court observed it as a settled position of law that fundamental right under Article 19(1) does not enable any citizen to exercise the same in a manner which may encroach upon a similar right guaranteed to another citizen. Further, the respondents had a fundamental right of peaceful protest but with certain responsibilities towards fellow students/staff/visitors, etc. The Court observed that the respondents did not express any regret for violating the order. It was not a case of non-compliance by mistake, inadvertence or misunderstanding. In such circumstances, the Court held the respondents guilty of contempt and fined each respondent with Rs 2000. [Jawaharlal Nehru University v. Geeta Kumari,  2018 SCC OnLine Del 9601, decided on 03-07-2018]

Case BriefsEnvironmental LawHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Deciding on the issue of legality and validity of the fee schedule prescribed by the  Delhi Pollution Control Committee, wherein the petitioner Hotel was served with show-cause notices under Section 33-A of the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Section 31-A of the Air (Prevention Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 the learned Single Judge Manmohan, J., observed that a writ petition solely praying for refund of money against the State is not maintainable. The Court held that the present writ petition is liable to be dismissed not only on the grounds of statutory non-compliance of the environmental law, but also since the petitioner did not approach this Court with clean hands.

The petitioner had contended that under the threat of imminent closure and penal actions, it was forced to pay an amount of Rs 41 lakhs as condonation fee under protest, seeking consent to operate and that it was liable to pay Rs. 46,000 only as per the previous fee structure and sought for the refund of the remaining amount. The Court held that, to treat the omission on the part of petitioner to comply with the laws as innocent non-compliance trivializes the statutory provisions which has a vital and direct impact on the lives of the citizens. The petitioner continued to run his hotel without obtaining any “consent to establish” and “consent to operate” and without installation of any anti-pollution equipment for the past twenty years. Since a very important and salutary provision of the environmental law was not complied with by the petitioner, the Court decided not to entertain the writ petition in exercise of equitable jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution. The petition was dismissed. [Krishna Continental Ltd.v. Delhi Pollution Control Committee, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 3629, decided on May 2, 2016]

High Courts

Allahabad High Court: Taking cognizance of the matter on a reference letter sent by ACJM Amit Kumar Prajapati, the Court imposed a punishment of simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 2000 each on the guilty advocates and also barred them from entering the court of Sonbhadra for six months for abusing and misbehaving with the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of Sonbhadra in 2013.

According to the reference letter the ACJM was conducting judicial work, when the contemnor advocates entered the courtroom and enquired as to how the court is working when a strike call had been given by the advocates. When the ACJM told them that the court could never be on strike and those wanting to work cannot be forced to shun the same, the guilty advocates resorted to sloganeering, use of abusive language thus obstructing the functioning of the court. A serious charge was also levelled against the ACJM without any substantial justification in respect of the judicial order passed by him in granting interim bail ignoring the resolution passed by the body of advocates that the order was passed in league and collusion with accused person.

The High Court held that the suggestion that the advocates were on a strike cannot be a justification for alleged misbehaviour. The Court relying on Supreme Court rulings in Common Cause (A Registered Society) vs. Union of India and Others (1995) 5 SCC5, Indian Council of Legal Aid and Advice vs. Bar Council of India (1995) 1 SCC 732 among others held that a call, which has the effect of paralysing judicial function ex facie, amounts to a direct interference in the administration of justice and is a ‘criminal contempt’ under Section 2(c) of the Act, 1971. The Court further held that though it did not intend to lay down any code of conduct for advocates but certainly do not hesitate in observing that no advocate has any business to condemn a judge by abusing etc. If there is any lacking on part of a judicial officer touching his integrity, advocates may not remain silent spectator, but should come forward in appropriate manner before the proper authority. But there cannot be a license to raise finger over competency and integrity etc. of a judicial officer, casually or negligently, or on other irrelevant grounds. In re Sri Mahendra Prasad Shukla Advocate, decided on 02.07.2015