2016 SCC Vol. 10 December 21, 2016 Part 4

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 — S. 138 — Post-dated cheque described as ‘security’ towards repayment of instalment of already disbursed loan amount: Proceedings under S. 138, maintainable in case of dishonour of post-dated cheque described as ‘security’ towards repayment of instalment of already disbursed loan amount such Cheque. Crucial point is whether cheque represents discharge of existing enforceable debt or liability or whether it represents advance payment without there being any subsisting liability. Once loan amount was disbursed and as per agreement, instalments had fallen due on date of issuance of cheque, dishonour of such cheque would fall under S. 138. Such issuance of cheque undoubtedly represents outstanding liability. [Sampelly Satyanarayana Rao v. Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd., (2016) 10 SCC 458]

Municipalities — Cantonment Boards — Electoral roll — Qualification for enrolment: Requirement under R. 10(3) to arrange names of electors according to house numbers is indicative of legally constructed houses. R. 10(3) is thus in conformity with S. 28 of Cantonments Act, 2006 which provides that person to be qualified for enrolment must be resident of house constructed legally i.e. with prior sanction of Board under S. 234, as illegal erection constitutes offence under S. 247 and liable to be demolished under S. 248. Word “resident” as defined under S. 2(zt) should receive narrow construction in comparison to wide definition of “inhabitant” under S. 2(zc) which would include persons residing illegal constructions also. Hence, persons living in illegally constructed houses in cantonment Area, not eligible to be included in electoral roll prepared under R. 10 of Cantonment Electoral Rules, 2007. [Sunil Kumar Kori v. Gopal Das Kabra, (2016) 10 SCC 467]

Service Law — Recruitment Process — Fixation of benchmark: In light of disagreement at the Bench issue that prescribing 40% marks as minimum qualifying marks for interview after holding written exam but before conducting interview/viva voce examination, whether amounts to change in criteria of selection in midst of selection, referred to larger Bench. [Salam Samarjeet Singh v. High Court of Manipur at Imphal, (2016) 10 SCC 484]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 376(2)(g)/366/392 r/w S. 34 — Gang rape after abduction — Appreciation of evidence: As there was inconsistent testimony of prosecutrix and her conduct after alleged rape, dubious, also medical opinion belies allegation of gang rape, hence, plea of false implication cannot be discarded. Seizures effected by investigating agency also do not inspire confidence and charge also not proved beyond reasonable doubt, accused entitled to benefit of doubt. Therefore, reversal of acquittal by High Court, set aside and all accused acquitted. [Raja v. State of Karnataka, (2016) 10 SCC 506]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 — Murder trial — Circumstantial evidence: In this case where was wife allegedly strangulated to death by husband and then hanged, in his house, as links in the chain of circumstantial evidence, not established, accused entitled to benefit of doubt. Hence, conviction reversed. [Jose v. Sub-Inspector of Police, (2016) 10 SCC 519]

Criminal Trial — Proof — Proof beyond reasonable doubt: Burden of proof is always on prosecution and accused is presumed to be innocent unless proved guilty. Prosecution has to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and accused is entitled to benefit of reasonable doubt. The reasonable doubt is one which occurs to a prudent and reasonable man. S. 3, Evidence Act, refers to two situations in which a fact is said to be proved: (i) when a person feels absolutely certain of a fact i.e. “believes it to exist”, and (ii) when he is not absolutely certain and thinks it so extremely probable that a prudent man would, under the circumstances, act on the assumption of its existence. The doubt which the law contemplates is not of a confused mind but of prudent man who is assumed to possess the capacity to separate the chaff from the grain. The degree of proof need not reach certainty but must carry a high degree of probability. [Bhagwan Jagannath Markad v. State of Maharashtra, (2016) 10 SCC 537]

Constitution of India — Arts. 19(1)(g) & (6) — Right to practise law — Fundamental right as to — Scope of: Challenge to constitutional validity of Rr. 3 and 3-A of Ch. XXIV of Allahabad High Court Rules, 1952 on ground of unreasonable violation of right to practise law, rejected. [Jamshed Ansari v. High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, (2016) 10 SCC 554]

Contract and Specific Relief — Contractual Obligations and Rights — Variation clauses — Scope of work: As per the terms of the contract in the present case, when the contract period was extended obliged the contractor to fulfil all the contractual stipulations under the original agreement including to complete the assigned quantity of work, be it original quantity or extra quantity. [Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd. v. Dhansar Engg. Co. (P) Ltd., (2016) 10 SCC 571]

Bengal Finance (Sales Tax) Act, 1941 (6 of 1941) — Ss. 4(6)(iii) and 5(6a) — Transfer/return of Replenishment (REP) licence/Exim scrip for cancellation to bank in terms of RBI directions — Exigibility of: When the initial issue or grant of scrips was not treated as transfer of title or ownership in the goods, as a natural corollary, it must follow that when RBI acquires and seeks the return of REP licences or Exim scrips with the intention to cancel and destroy them, the REP licences or Exim scrips would not be treated as marketable commodity purchased by the grantor. Thus, REP licences or Exim scrips, which are “goods”, when transferred or assigned by the holder/owner to a third person for consideration, would attract sales tax but not when the same are returned to the grantor or the sovereign authority for cancellation or extinction, they would not attract sales or purchase tax. [CTO v. SBI, (2016) 10 SCC 595]

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