SCC Online Weekly Rewind Episode 52 ft. Nilufer Bhateja, Associate Editor is out now. The written episode along with the video episode can be watched and read below. 

Supreme Court 

‘Business to business’ dispute not a consumer dispute 

Are you someone who has availed Banking Services to expand your Business and planning to seek relief against the Bank under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986? As per a recent Supreme Court ruling, you cannot do so. The Court has held that the ‘business to business’ disputes cannot be construed as consumer disputes as the Consumer Protection Act revolves around “business-to-consumer” disputes and not for “business-to-business” disputes. 

The Court was deciding the case where a person had opened an account with the Punjab National Bank, took overdraft facility to expand his business profits, and subsequently from time to time the overdraft facility was enhanced so as to further expand his business and increase his profits.  

In such circumstances, the Court held that this relation was purely “business to business” relationship. As such, transactions would clearly come within the ambit of ‘commercial purpose’. It cannot be said that the services were availed “exclusively for the purposes of earning his livelihood” “by means of self-employment”. 

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Can State discriminate between persons having experience in home State from those having experience in other States? Is there any intelligible differentia? 

In an interesting ruling, the Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal challenging the decision of State of Rajasthan to place persons having experience in Rajasthan and those having experience in other States on different footings for extending benefits of State notification proving bonus marks. 

The case relates to “discrimination” between candidates with experience in National Health Mission and National Rural Health Mission in Rajasthan as against those working outside of Rajasthan. Noticeably, the Government of Rajasthan had conducted several training programmes for the persons working with, pertaining to the peculiar working pattern in the rural areas of the State of Rajasthan including tribal and arid zones and such a training is mandatory and non-joining of the same would result in non-renewal of service contracts. It had been held by the High Court that persons having special knowledge in working in the State of Rajasthan form a class different than the persons not having such experience of working in the State. 

Approving the findings of Rajasthan High Court, the Bench held, 

“…every State has its own problems and issues and the persons trained to meet such circumstances, stand on a different pedestal.” 

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High Courts

Kerala High Court: At odd hours, if wife continues making discreet phone calls with another man even after a warning by husband, would it constitute matrimonial cruelty? Ker HC decides 

While addressing holding that making discreet phone calls frequently by the wife with another man disregarding the warning of the husband, that too at odd hours, would amount to matrimonial cruelty, High Court also made another significant observation that normally matrimonial cruelty takes place within the four walls of the matrimonial home and therefore independent witness may not be available, hence the Court can even act upon the sole testimony of the spouse if found convincing and reliable. 

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P&H HC :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: P&H HC 

While dealing with a matter regarding protection to live-in relationship, P&H HC 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. 

In this matter, the couple was in a live-in relationship and were fearing for their lives and liberty, hence they had approached the Court. 

High Court observed that,  “We are governed by the rule of law and follow the Constitutional dharma. In the ever-evolving society, evolving the law with it, the time is to shift perspective from didactics of the orthodox society, shackled with the strong strings of morality supported by religions to one that values an individual’s life above all.” 

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Allahabad High Court: 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: All HC 

While dealing with a case wherein as per the allegations levelled in the FIR, a a morphed photo showing Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi shaking hands with dreaded and wanted terrorist Hafiz Saeed was posted on Facebook in the name of Anil Sharma and said objectionable post in question was shared by the applicant, Allahabad HC observed 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.” 

Further the Court also expressed that, 

“Posting & sharing unhealthy materials with unparliamentary language and remarks, etc. on social media without any solid basis cause a deleterious effect on society at large, ergo in order to protect reputation and character of individuals, it should be completely stopped.” 

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Chhattisgarh High Court: If husband brings home concubine due to which wife leaves house, would that lead to desertion by wife? 

Chhattisgarh High Court while addressing a case of divorce, expressed that, “If the husband keeps another lady; gives shelter to her; and proceeds to have child with the said lady and for that reason if the first wife has to leave the matrimonial home because of physical and mental torture meted out to her it cannot be presumed as a desertion on the part of wife.” 

In this case, the wife was subjected to mental and physical cruelty and was forced to leave her matrimonial home as the husband had kept one concubine. 

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Legislation Updates 

 Central Motor Vehicles (fifth Amendment) Rules, 2022 

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued notification to mandate the procedure for detailed investigation of road accidents, the Detailed Accident Report (DAR) and its reporting, along with timelines for different stakeholders, for quick settlements of claims by the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal ( MACT). 

Further, it has also mandated incorporation of  validated mobile number in the Certificate of Insurance. 

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Central Motor Vehicles (Motor Vehicle Accident Fund) Rules, 2022 

Central Government has notified Central Motor Vehicles (Motor Vehicle Accident Fund) Rules, 2022 which will come into force on April 1, 2022. The Rules provides for  

  • Establishment of Motor Vehicle Accident Fund and  
  • Disbursement of fund for hit and run compensation under Section 161 

Section 161 of the Motor Vehicles Act provides for enhanced compensation for hit-and-run cases of death and injuries. Section 161 (effective April, 2022), as amended by the Motor Vehicles Act 2019, increased the compensation for death  in hit-and-run cases from Rs 25,000 to Rs. 2 Lakhs; in cases of grievous injuries, the compensation was enhanced from Rs.12,500 to Rs 50,000. 

On February 25, 2022, the Central Government notified the Compensation to Victims of Hit and Run Motor Accidents Scheme, 2022 which will come into force from April 01, 2022. The Scheme is issued in supersession of the Solatium Scheme, 1989. The Scheme provides for  

  • Constitution of Standing Committee and District Level Committee  
  • Procedure for making claim application
  • Payment of Compensation 

To read the detailed report, refer SCC Online Blog 

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e-Filing Rules of the High Court of Delhi, 2021 

Delhi High Court announced to make electronic filing compulsory and e-filing rules have been notified with the motive to reduce physical appearances in the Courts due to Covid and will continue to be applicable even after physical filing is resumed. 

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National Financial Reporting Authority (Manner of Appointment and other Terms and Conditions of Service of Chairperson and Members) Amendment Rules, 2022 

MCA has modified NFRA Rules relating to salary and various allowances for Chairperson and members of authority.  Among other changes, the Rules are modified to increase the consolidated monthly salary of Chairperson from two lakhs fifty thousand rupees to four lakh fifty thousand rupees.  

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