Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Suresh Kumar Kait, J., dismissed a criminal revision petition filed by the State against the order of the trial court whereby the accused-respondent discharged from the offence punishable under Section 12 (prevention from sexual harassment) of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

An FIR was registered against the accused on the complaint of the mother of the minor victim. It was alleged that while the victim was playing with her friends, the accused came to them and said: “do rupees doonga, mere ghar chal, panch minute ki baat hai”. However, none of the girls went with him. The accused was tried and discharged as aforesaid. Aggrieved thereby, the State (represented by Hirein Sharma, APP) preferred the instant revision petition.

The High Court noted that the observations of the trial court that statement of the victim and the complainant, recorded under Section 164 CrPC did not reflect that the accused committed any offensive act upon the victim or he had any sexual intent. It was further observed that the main ingredient of Section 12 of the POCSO Act, i.e., sexual intent, was missing in the entire act of the accused and, therefore, the prima facie offence of sexual harassment was not made out against him and he was accordingly discharged.

The High Court noted that the victim, in her statement, had not stated anything regarding any sexual intent or sexual assault; the FIR was registered on the statement made by her mother, wherein she had made some allegations against the accused.

The High Court was of the opinion that the fact remains that the victim did not mention any act of sexual assault or sexual intent, therefore, there was no illegality or perversity in the order passed by the trial court thereby discharging the accused. Finding no merits in the instant petition, the Court dismissed the same. [State v. Anil, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 10995, decided on 06-11-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

‘Vigilantibus, non-dermientibus, jura subveniunt’

(the law helps those who are watchful and not those who are asleep)

Delhi High Court: Vinod Goel, J., dismissed Delhi Waqf Board’s applications for condoning the delay of 21 years and restoring a revision petition.

Hashmat Nabi and Swathi, Advocates for the Waqf Board submitted that on 15-05-2018, the newly constituted management took notice of the disposal of the present petition after instructing its standing counsel to prepare a list of matters which have been disposed of. The petition was originally filed though Raman Kapur, Advocate; and B.D. Sharma, Advocate appeared for the Board from 1989 till 1994. However, after that, no appearance was made o behalf of the Board and therefore, the petition was dismissed for non-prosecution. In such background of the case, the application for condonation of 21 years’ delay along with the application for restoration of revision petition was filed.

At the outset, the High Court observed, “it is a well-settled principle of law that a litigant, whether it is an individual or a government body or any legal entity, it owes a duty to be vigilant of its rights and is also expected to be equally vigilant about the judicial proceedings pending in the court of law against it or initiated at its instance.”Holding that the Board could not be permitted to blame the previous counsel after 21 years for not providing the case record, the Court stated, “it appears that the blame is being attributed to the previous counsel with a view to get the delay condoned. After filing the revision petition, the applicant cannot go off to sleep and wake up from a deep slumber after the passage of a long period of 21 years as if the court is a storage of the petitions filed by such negligent litigants. Simply because there is a change in the management cannot give sufficient cause to the applicant to file such an application for restoration after a long period of 21 years has elapsed.” Relying on N. Balakrishnan v. M. Krishnamurthy, (1998) 7 SCC 123, the court reiterated, “the object of the law of limitation is to compel a person to exercise his right of action within a reasonable time as also to discourage and suppress stale, fake or fraudulent claims.” In such view of the matter, the court did not find any merit in the applications and therefore dismissed them. [Delhi Wakf Board v. Mohd. Bi, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 7178, dated 25-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: Petitioner preferred this civil revision before a Single Judge Bench of Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava, J., under Section 115 of Civil Procedure Code, against the order passed by 3rd Civil Judge, Class-II, whereby the objection raised by the petitioner under Section 47 read with Section 151 was rejected.

Facts of the case were such that respondent had purchased a shop which is in question, from a person Khusro who is the power of attorney holder of late Jahan. It was alleged that petitioner occupied the shop and failed to pay rent to respondent to whom the shop actually belong by virtue of a sale deed. Petitioner had submitted that they have no relation with the respondent and all the construction done on the shop had been done by them. Trial Court affirmed eviction of petitioner from the shop in question. Later an execution case was filed which was objected under Section 47 read with Section 151 praying for stay of the execution proceedings but the same was denied. Hence, this revision. Petitioner contended that the executing Court should have allowed petitioner to give evidence in order to substantiate and prove his objection, therefore, the impugned order was bad in law and should be set aside.

High Court was of the view that this revision petition should be dismissed. On the basis of facts and circumstances of the case, it was found that decree of eviction was affirmed by the first appellate Court and second appellate Court. The objection raised were not sustainable due to the well-settled principle that Executing Court cannot go beyond the decree. Therefore, this revision petition was dismissed. [Mohasin Ulla Khan v. Nabila Rahil, 2018 SCC OnLine MP 949, Order dated 13-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Court recently dismissed a revision petition assailing the order of Addl. District Judge noting that in supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court, over subordinate Courts, the scope of judicial review is very limited and narrow. The order assailed by the petitioner was a consented order and the counsel on behalf of the petitioner could not point out any error apparent on the face of record in the impugned orders so as to justify interference by the Court.

The Bench of Mahesh Chandra Tripathi, J. observed that the supervisory jurisdiction of a High Court involves a duty on the High Court to keep the inferior courts and tribunals within the bounds of their authority and to see that they do what their duty requires and that they do it in a legal manner. At the same time, he cautioned its use stating that this power does not vest the High Court with any unlimited prerogative to correct all species of hardship or wrong decisions made within the limits of the jurisdiction of the Court or Tribunal and therefore, it must be restricted to grave derelictions of duty and flagrant abuse of fundamental principle of law or justice.

The court further referred to various Apex Court judgments stating the same and relied on the case of Mohd. Yunus v. Mohd. Mustaqim,  (1983) 4 SCC 566 in which the Supreme Court observed that the supervisory jurisdiction conferred on the High Courts under Article 227 of the Constitution is limited “to seeing that an inferior Court or Tribunal functions within the limits of its authority,” and not to correct an error apparent on the face of the record, or anything that is much less than an error of law. Accordingly, the petition stood dismissed for the reason that there was no error of law much less an error apparent on the face of the record in the assailed orders. [Brij Kishor Trivedi v. Kanpur Development Authority Thru Secy,  2017 SCC OnLine All 2513, decided on 5.12.2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Recently before the High Court, a revision petition was filed against the order passed by Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division), Meham, District Rohtak, dismissing the application for appointment of the Local Commissioner. The lower court had appointed the Local Commissioner to demarcate the suit property for plaintiff and defendant, but it was told to the commissioner by the applicant that a compromise. The court had rejected the application because she herself refused for demarcation and therefore, was not allowed to take advantage of her own wrong.

However, in the Court, petitioner contended that she was defrauded by the other party for they did not honour the settlement. On considering this contention, the Bench of Anil Kshetrapal, J. said that as far as settlement is concerned, the same could not be the subject- matter in the revision petition before him.

The petitioner further argued that the demarcation in their case was absolutely necessary to lead evidence for both the parties in the case further. To this, the Court responded that the Local commissioner was already appointed for the purpose but because she herself did not allow him to demarcate, it was now petitioner’s responsibility to lead the evidence.

Finally, the Court relying on its earlier decisions held that revision petition against the order dismissing the application for appointment of the Local Commissioner is not maintainable and for the very same reason, present revision petition was liable to be dismissed. [Geeta Devi v. Vinod Kumar,  2017 SCC OnLine P&H 2887, decided on 5.09.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Deciding an important question of law as to whether provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 are applicable in respect of revision petition filed in the High Court under Section 81 of the Assam Value Added Tax Act, 2003 (VAT Act), the Court held that the court cannot interpret the law in such a manner so as to read into the Act an inherent power of condoning the delay by invoking Section 5 of the Limitation Act so as to supplement the provisions of the VAT Act which excludes the operation of Section 5 of the Limitation Act by necessary implications.

Taking note of the fact that Section 84 of the VAT Act made only Sections 4 and 12 of the Limitation Act applicable to the proceedings under the VAT Act, the Court noticed that the legislative intent behind the same was to exclude other provisions, including Section 5 of the Limitation Act. Section 29(2) stipulates that in the absence of any express provision in a special law, provisions of Sections 4 to 24 of the Limitation Act would apply. If the intention of the legislature was to make Section 5, or for that matter, other provisions of the Limitation Act applicable to the proceedings under the VAT Act, there was no necessity to make specific provision like Section 84 thereby making only Sections 4 and 12 of the Limitation Act applicable to such proceedings, in as much as these two Sections would also have become applicable by virtue of Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act.

The bench of Dr. A.K. Sikri and Abhay Manohar Sapre, JJ said that the VAT Act is a complete code not only laying down the forum but also prescribing the time limit within which each forum would be competent to entertain the appeal or revision. The underlying object of the Act appears to be not only to shorten the length of the proceedings initiated under the different provisions contained therein, but also to ensure finality of the decision made there under. Hence, the application of Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 to a proceeding under Section 81(1) of the VAT Act stands excluded by necessary implication, by virtue of the language employed in section 84. [Patel Brothers v. State of Assam, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 19, decided on 04.01.2017]