2018 SCC Vol. 5 June 21, 2018 Part 3

Constitution of India — Art. 32: In this case, there were 9 FIRs and one criminal complaint case between parties closely related to each other. Parties agreed to settle through mediation. As writ petition was dismissed, interim direction regarding deposit by petitioner into Registry of Court of specified amount, recalled. Resultantly, subsequent orders of refund adjustments, recalled. Resultantly petitioner also entitled to any interest accumulated thereon. [Saraswati Singh v. Shailesh Singh, (2018) 5 SCC 370]

Constitution of India — Art. 32 — Maintainability: In this case, there were 9 FIRs and one criminal complaint case between parties closely related to each other. During present proceedings parties referred to mediation but failed. Parties sought investigation by Special Investigation Team (SIT) and other reliefs relating to investigation. Allegedly a similar writ petition was withdrawn and 10 transfer petitions were dismissed. Hence, petition under Art. 32, held, not maintainable. Remedy of quashing of FIRs or such other relief can be addressed before High Court. [Saraswati Singh v. Shailesh Singh, (2018) 5 SCC 373]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — S. 100 — Second appeal — Substantial question of law: In the suit for partition and separate possession, unregistered partition deed (document) was relied on by defendants. Questions relating to admissibility and contents thereof, held, substantial questions of law. [Uma Pandey v. Munna Pandey, (2018) 5 SCC 376]

Advocates — Right to Practise — Right to practise law in India: Foreign law firms/companies or foreign lawyers cannot practise law in India either on litigation or on non-litigation side. [Bar Council of India v. A.K. Balaji, (2018) 5 SCC 379]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 482, 216, 173, 200 and 202 — Directions issued by High Court in petition filed under S. 482 in interest of justice: In this case of offence of attacking petitioner in courtroom in presence of Presiding Officer by Advocates, while several persons were attacked, charge-sheet was submitted by police against three of them only. Prayers were made before High Court in petition filed under S. 482 pertaining inter alia to inclusion of certain provisions of IPC and other Acts in charge-sheet filed against three persons before trial court, framing of proper charges against one and taking cognizance against another person, discovering all accused. High Court directed that if petitioner raises his grievance before trial Magistrate same shall be considered and decided by it in accordance with law expeditiously. Keeping in view manner in which offence was committed by Advocates who are also part of the system, High Court considered it necessary to issue certain directions regarding petitioner’s security. The Supreme Court held that High Court itself was cognizant of seriousness of allegations against persons involved in crime and made it clear that all contentions could be raised and all aspects will have to be considered by trial court on merits. Observation made by High Court will not come in way in pursuing criminal cases and for taking same to its logical end. [Osama Aziz v. State Of U.P., (2018) 5 SCC 415]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 195(1)(b)(ii) — Applicability of: S. 195(1)(b)(ii) is applicable only in case the offences enumerated therein have been committed with respect to a document after that document has been produced or given in evidence in a proceeding in any court i.e. during the time when that document was in custodia legis, and not prior thereto. [Chandru Gaonkar v. N.M. Dessai, (2018) 5 SCC 422]

Labour Law — Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 — S. 2(e) r/w S. 2-A — Gratuity — Entitlement to: Having regularised services of appellant, State had no justifiable reason to deny benefit of gratuity to appellant which was his statutory right. Question as to from which date services were regularised was of no consequence for calculating total length of service for claiming gratuity once services were regularized. 1972 Act being welfare legislation meant for benefit of employees who serve their employer for long time, duty of State to pay gratuity to employee rather than deny benefit on some technical ground and force employee to approach Court to get his genuine claim. [Netram Sahu v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2018) 5 SCC 430]

Criminal Trial — Witnesses — Interested/Partisan witness — Evidence of interested witness — Admissibility: It is settled law that there cannot be any hard-and-fast rule that evidence of interested witness cannot be taken into consideration and they cannot be termed as witnesses but, the only burden that is cast upon courts in such cases is that courts have to be cautious while evaluating evidence to exclude possibility of false implication. Relationship can never be a factor to affect credibility of witness as it is not possible always to get an independent witness. [Sudhakar v. State, (2018) 5 SCC 435]

Consumer Protection — Services — Housing — Non-delivery of flat/house — Damages for price escalation — Reckoning date: Damages become due from time of breach but on facts, courts can deviate. In case of non-delivery of flat/house, and developer refusing alternative equivalent accommodation and buyer lacking means to purchase substitute from market, it would not be reasonable to assess damages from date of breach because of price escalation. [Fortune Infrastructure v. Trevor D’Lima, (2018) 5 SCC 442]

Trusts and Trustees — Religious and Charitable Endowments and Trusts — Administration of institutions — Claim of transfer to particular place based on station seniority and/or service seniority: Station seniority, held, has to be reckoned with reference to last date of the submission of application and not with reference to date of order of transfer. Eligibility must depend on that date, otherwise it would lead to arbitrary exercise of power. [V. Padmakumar v. S. Chandrasekharan Potty, (2018) 5 SCC 454]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 or S. 304 Pt. I [S. 300 Exception 4]: In this case wife was strangulated death by husband. Incident occurred all of a sudden, without any premeditation. Accused did not take undue advantage or acting in cruel or unusual manner. Hence, conviction was rightly altered by High Court from S. 302 to S. 304 Pt. I. [State of M.P. v. Abdul Latif, (2018) 5 SCC 456]

Family and Personal Laws — Family Property, Succession and Inheritance — Will — Suspicious circumstances/Undue influence re making of will/Substance of will if arouses suspicion: In this case estator drew will in his own handwriting, in 1945 in favour of his grandson (respondent-plaintiff). PW 5 grandson-in-law of testator who used to correspond with him and thereby was well acquainted with his handwriting, duly proved said handwriting in will. PW 2 (bank clerk) deposed that respondent secured loan from bank by pledging will in 1964 and since then will kept in bank — PW 2 was cross-examined. On facts, it was held, there were no suspicious circumstances raising doubts about genuineness of will and concurrent findings by court below by reasoned judgments, not disturbed. [Mohan Lal v. Nand Lal, (2018) 5 SCC 459]

Government Contracts and Tenders — Formation of Government Contract — Modes of entering into a Government Contract — Public Auction/Tender: High Court cannot ordinarily interfere with judgment of expert consultant on issues of technical qualifications of a bidder when consultant takes into consideration various factors including basis of non-performance of the bidder. It is not open to Court to independently evaluate technical bids and financial bids of parties as an appellate authority for coming to its conclusion inasmuch as unless thresholds of mala fides, intention to favour someone or bias, arbitrariness, irrationality or perversity are met, where a decision is taken purely on public interest, Court ordinarily should exercise judicial restraint. [Municipal Corpn, Ujjain v. BVG India Ltd., (2018) 5 SCC 462]

Contempt of Court — Art. 129 — Civil Contempt — Contempt of Supreme Court: In this case there were violation of successive orders passed by Supreme Court in Civil Appeal, Contempt Petition and violation of undertakings was given to Supreme Court. In Civil Appeal No. 394 of 2009, while allowing appeal Supreme Court passed an order that Respondent D was to remove entire construction at her own cost and hand over vacant and peaceful possession of land to appellant within 30 days failing which appellant can take assistance of Court to take possession of land and building in which event, D will not be entitled to cost of structure or any other damages. It was held, conduct of Respondent D was contemptuous. She had earlier disobeyed injunction passed by Supreme Court and after filing first Contempt Petition No. 258 of 2010, had demolished construction raised by her and had given a solemn undertaking to Supreme Court that she would not raise any fresh construction nor would she use it for human habitation. Despite earlier order and undertaking, she had not only raised fresh construction but obviously used it for human habitation. Since D got off very lightly in earlier contempt proceedings, she feels that she can take law into her own hands. Reply filed by her virtually aggravates contempt, where she stated that she had not raised any construction in violation to orders of Supreme Court, is obviously false and even her counsel could not enlighten as to how construction, evident from photographs, which are not even denied, does not violate orders of Supreme Court. Not only that, with regard to signboard outside property informing general public that airconditioned and non-airconditioned rooms are were available for rent, explanation given is totally false No material was been placed on record to support averments made by D. Concluding that D had wilfully and knowingly disobeyed the interim order of Supreme Court. Not only that, she had also violated her solemn undertaking given to Supreme Court and the order passed by Supreme Court in earlier contempt proceedings. Therefore, she was held to be guilty of civil contempt. [Dwarika Prasad v. State of U.P., (2018) 5 SCC 491]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21 and 32 — Concept of fair trial, discussed — Transfer of trial when warranted, stated: Court should balance rights of accused and victims and thereafter weigh on scale of fair trial whether shifting is necessary or not. [Mohd. Akhtar v. State of J&K, (2018) 5 SCC 497]

Infrastructure Laws — Maritime Laws — Maritime claim: Maritime claim for charter hire dues i.e. a right in rem to proceed against the ship/cargo is not maintainable against a vessel/ship owned by a person not responsible for payment of such dues. [Sunil B. Naik v. Geowave Commander, (2018) 5 SCC 505]

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