Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Pradeep Nandrajog, CJ. and G R Moolchandani, J., disposed of writ petitions against the misuse of public money for political agendas.

A PIL was filed to spouse a public cause claiming the misuse of public money by the respondent in order to cater their political motives during the Gaurav Yatra i.e direct contact with the voters by means of road-shows during which the Hon’ble Chief Minister would address public meetings for which tent, sound system and stage would be provided by the Public Works Department.

The respondents contended that whenever the Chief Minister travels (official/personal) protocol and security arrangements were to be borne by the State and thus it cannot be given the colour of expenditure incurred towards a political rally and additionally taking advantage of the presence of the Chief Minister, the respondent was organizing exhibitions to educate the general mass regarding social welfare schemes of the respondent.

Taking into consideration Common Cause v. Union of India, (2014) 6 SCC 552 and Common Cause v. Union of India, W.P (Civil) No.13 of 2003, order dated 13-05-2015 wherein it was held that, “Under the garb of communicating with the people, undue political advantage and mileage was sought to be achieved by personifying individuals and crediting them as being responsible for various Government achievements”; the High Court concluded by saying that, so intermingled are the State-sponsored d State-financed programmes with the Gaurav Yatra that it would be impossible to segregate one from the other. It is trite that the impact of an act was to be understood from the viewpoint of a mythical common man because to him if during the Gaurav Yatra, the Chief Minister inaugurates public functions, the understanding would be the glorification of the political party and not of the respondent.

It was declared by the Court that henceforth no public functions sponsored and financed by the state funds would be held during Gaurav Yatra. [Sawai Singh v. State of Rajasthan, 2018 SCC OnLine Raj 1746, order dated 05-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Sanjay Kumar Gupta, J., dismissed a writ petition against the order of Respondent 5. The said order directed the petitioner to vacate the government accommodation given to him, by or before 08.08.2018.

The main issue, in this case, was whether Respondent 5 was justified in issuing an order for vacating the said premises without adopting the due course of law.

The Court, in this case, observed that it is an accepted fact that the petitioner was an unauthorized occupant of the said government premises because he ceased to hold the official status/position and the allottee of a Government accommodation, may it be a Government Servant, Minister or a Legislator, is required to vacate the accommodation allotted to him, after he ceases to hold the official status/position. The Court further applied the ‘useless formality theory’ according to which if there is no possibility of change or improvement in a situation even after hearing the person against whom the order is passed, then such a formality can be avoided.

The Court held that since petitioner was an unauthorized occupant of the said government accommodation for a long time now, hence he has no indefeasible right to be heard before issuing the order of eviction of public premises. Concluding that the petitioner has failed to show any valid and reasonable cause to retain the Government Accommodation in question after the petitioner ceased to be Minister or Member of State Legislative Assembly, hence his petition was dismissed.[Thakur Randhir Singh v. State of J&K,2018 SCC OnLine J&K 505, order dated 13-08-2018]

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

G.S.R. 681(E).- In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (3) of Section 11 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (12 of 2017), the Central Government, on the recommendations of the Council, and on being satisfied that it is necessary so to do for the purpose of clarifying the scope and applicability of the notification of the Government of India, in the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) No. 11/2017- Central Tax (Rate), dated the 28th June, 2017, published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3, sub-section (i), vide number G.S.R. 690(E), dated the 28th June, 2017, hereby inserts following Explanation in the said notification, in the Table, against serial number 3, in column (3), in item (vi), namely:

Explanation. – For the purposes of this item, the term ‘business’ shall not include any activity or transaction undertaken by the Central Government, a State Government or any local authority in which they are engaged as public authorities.”.

2. This notification shall come into force with effect from 27th of July, 2018.

[F. No.354/13/2018-TRU]

Note: The Principal Notification No. 11/2017-Central Tax (Rate), dated 28th June, 2017, was published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, vide number G.S.R. 690 (E), dated 28th June, 2017 and was last amended by notification No. 1/2018- Central Tax (Rate), dated 25th January, 2018 vide number G.S.R. 64(E), dated 25th January, 2018.

[Notification No. 17/2018-Central Tax (Rate)]

Ministry of Finance

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of Dipak Misra, CJ and A.M. Khanwilkar and Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, JJ. sat to decide an appeal filed by the Wild Life Warden. The Hon’ble Bench held that elephant tusk is a Government property and declaration to that effect is to be found under Section 39(1)(c) of Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972.

It was alleged against the respondent that he had unauthorizedly collected and stored elephant tusks and unlicensed gun and other accessories. Consequently, criminal proceedings were initiated against him under Kerala Forest Act, 1961. However, the respondent was acquitted in the case. Assistant Wild Life Warden ordered confiscation of the above-mentioned items along with the jeep of the respondent. The order was appealed against by the respondent and the matter finally reached  Kerala High Court, wherein the learned Single Judge held that elephant tusk was not a forest produce as it was not mentioned as such in the Act of 1961. Feeling aggrieved the Wild Life Warden approached the Apex Court.

The Supreme Court limited its decision on the issue as to whether elephant tusk is the property of the Government. The Hon’ble Bench referred to Section 39(1)(c) of the Wild Life Act 1972 which inter alia declares that any article related to an animal hunted in a sanctuary or a National park, is a property of the Central Government. In accordance with the stated provision, the Court held that there was not an iota of doubt that elephant tusk is the property of the Government. Having concluded thus, the Court found it immaterial to decide whether elephant tusk is a forest produce under the Act of 1961. [Wild Life Warden v.  Komarrikal Elias, Civil Appeal No. 4952 of  2008, dated 08-05-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: Hearing an anticipatory bail application, a bench comprising of AB Chaudhary, J observed that to eradicate the cancer of corruption, taxpayers may resort to refuse to pay taxes by ‘non­ -cooperation movement’. The Court made these observations in a case relating to misappropriation and embezzlement of Rs. 385 crore meant for uplift of the ‘‘Matang’ community.

Terming corruption a ‘hydra headed monster’, the Court remarked  that it is high time the citizens  come together to tell their Governments that they have had enough. The Court asked how this huge amount of Rs. 385 crore will come back and further observed that for the last  two decades, corruption has become the order of the day and sordid state of affairs; whereas the taxpayers’ are merely looking at this grim situation. The Court asked whether the taxpayers pay the money to the Government for such kind of acrobatics being played.

The single bench further opined that  was surprising that the Unions of Central or State Government employees, whether politically affiliated or otherwise, make demonstrations for demanding  the application of VII Pay Commission, but they do not condemn, outcast or demonstrate against their counterpart bureaucracy indulging in corruption. On the contrary, they provide support. The Court finally dismissed the anticipatory bail application of the applicant. [Pralhad  vs. State of Maharashtra, 2016 SCC OnLine Bom 115, decided on 27-01-2016]