2018 SCC Vol. 9 October 21, 2018 Part 1

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 34 and S. 13(6) — Practice and procedure qua applications made for setting aside an award under S. 34: An application for setting aside an arbitral award will not ordinarily require anything beyond the record that was before the arbitrator. However, if there are matters not contained in such record, and are relevant to the determination of issues arising under S. 34(2)(a), they may be brought to the notice of the Court by way of affidavits filed by both parties. Further, cross-examination of persons swearing to the affidavits should not be allowed unless absolutely necessary. [Emkay Global Financial Services Ltd. v. Girdhar Sondhi, (2018) 9 SCC 49]

Armed Forces — Appointment — Criteria/Eligibility — Post of DGMS (Army): Word “inter se” in Para (i) of Administrative Instructions dt. 10-7-1992, issued by Government of India, Ministry of Defence, inter alia, stipulating “inter se seniority and suitability of officers in rank of Lieutenant General (and equivalent) … shall be assessed in light of their earlier experience of serving in particular services …” applies both to seniority as well as suitability. As far as inter se seniority is concerned, person who is senior gets precedence. Further held, while assessing “suitability” fitness of the incumbent to post is to be measured and “inter se suitability” has reference to assessing suitability of all eligible officers. Respondent was senior-most Lieutenant General fulfilling eligibility criteria for appointment to post of DGMS (Army). Finding in Para 7 of Note dt. 23-1-2018 issued by DGAFMS that since respondent was newly promoted from rank of Major General, he did not have “previous exposure to working and environs of IHQ of MoD” and hence proposing him to be appointed as DGMS (AF) instead of DGMS (Army) not fair and objective consideration of his suitability to post as it is not necessary to have work experience in IHQ alone. While affirming conclusion of AFT quashing appointment one S as DGMS (Army), but disagreeing with its direction to appoint respondent straightaway to said post, matter remitted to Raksha Mantri for fair, dispassionate and objective consideration. [Union of India v. Manomoy Ganguly, (2018) 9 SCC 65]

Bangalore Development Authority Act, 1976 (12 of 1976) — Ss. 27, 17, 36, 52, 18, 19 and 15 — Benevolent development scheme in public interest — Delay in implementation of, after issuance of preliminary notification under S. 17, BDA Act: Time constraints under S. 11-A, LA Act not applicable to scheme under BDA Act. Shock expressed at non-consideration of precise law required to adjudicate matter, laid down by Constitution Bench in Offshore Holdings (P) Ltd., (2011) 3 SCC 139. With regard to limitation of 5 years under S. 27 of BDA Act, it was clarified that there is a vast difference between provisions and action taken pursuant to preliminary notification (S. 17) and final notification (S. 19) under BDA Act. [BDA v. State of Karnataka, (2018) 9 SCC 122]

Constitution of India — Art. 136: Permission to file SLPs against High Court order was granted to informant. Subsequently, petitions for withdrawal of SLPs filed by informant. It was held that proceedings of criminal case, specially of instant nature i.e. case under S. 396 IPC, cannot depend on whims of informant, hence, prayer for withdrawal of SLPs rejected. [Amar Nath Jha v. Nand Kishore Singh, (2018) 9 SCC 144]

Constitution of India — Art. 21 — Right to Proper Legal Representation on part of accused lodged in jail: To facilitate dialogue between counsel and his client, which would further cause of justice and make legal aid meaningful, videoconferencing between counsel for accused on one hand and accused lodged in jail or anybody knowing the matter on the other, was made mandatory as per directions of Supreme Court Legal Services Committee (SCLSC). Said directions affirmed, and directed to be extended nationwide. [Imtiyaz Ramzan Khan v. State of Maharashtra, (2018) 9 SCC 160]

Constitution of India — Arts. 233 to 235 and 32 — Public Interest Litigation (PIL): Directions were sought for immediate filling of unfilled vacancies in subordinate judiciary leading to pendency of matters but Supreme Court declined to interfere as steps to fill up vacancies had already been taken by High Courts. [Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India, (2018) 9 SCC 64]

Constitution of India — Arts. 80(4), 81, 158 and 171 — Elections to Council of States (Rajya Sabha): Introduction of NOTA in election to Council of States (Rajya Sabha) by Election Commission is not permissible, as it is in opposition to discipline of political parties. Votes polled in election to Council of States being of transferable nature, NOTA would alter value of vote. Introduction of NOTA is anathema to free and fair election to Rajya Sabha and brings in likelihood of promoting defection. Distinctions between elections to Council of States (Rajya Sabha)/Legislative Council and House of People (Lok Sabha)/Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha), summarized. [Shailesh Manubhai Parmar v. Election Commission of India, (2018) 9 SCC 100]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — S. 166 — Compensation — Computation of income: Deceased was aged 38 yrs at the time of death and in business of selling desi ghee and namkin bhujia, with monthly income of Rs 3500. Tribunal however, held that deceased had an unnamed shop in a small village not paying tax, assessed income at Rs 1200 p.m. and awarded Rs 1,15,200 after applying a multiplier of 12, with interest at 15 per cent p.a. It was held by the Supreme Court that income should have been assessed at Rs 2500 p.m. having due regard to nature of business, date of accident and all circumstances of case. Following Pranay Sethi, (2017) 16 SCC 680, quantum of compensation recomputed as monthly income: Rs 2500, and annual income: Rs 30,000, deduction of one-third for personal expenses: Rs 10,000, net annual income: Rs 20,000, future prospects at 40 per cent: Rs 8000, total income: Rs 28,000, using appropriate multiplier 16, total compensation for loss of dependency: Rs 4,48,000. For conventional heads Rs 75,000, total compensation: Rs 5,23,000, appellants entitled to interest @ 9 per cent p.a. from date of petition until payment. [Santosh Devi v. Mahaveer Singh, (2018) 9 SCC 146]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 363 and 366 — Conviction under: Appellant-accused was sentenced to 7 years’ imprisonment with Rs 1000 fine but there was subsequent compromise between parties. De facto complainant, since married to another person and living happily, had no complaint against appellant. In such circumstances, conviction confirmed, but, sentence modified, being limited to period already undergone. [Sajid v. State of Uttarakhand, (2018) 9 SCC 159]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 396 and 412 — Dacoity with murder: High Court appreciated every aspect of matter on facts and considered entire material on record, while acquitting two accused and remanded appeal of third accused for consideration by Juvenile Justice Board on finding arrived at by High Court, that he was a juvenile at the time of commission of said offence and as no material was present, to disagree with reasons assigned and conclusions arrived at by High Court, High Court judgment affirmed. [Amar Nath Jha v. Nand Kishore Singh, (2018) 9 SCC 137]

Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 — Ss. 3(b), 4 and 7(3) — Jurisdiction of Estate Officer with respect to proceedings relating to public premises: An Estate Officer has to exercise his jurisdiction in relation to public premises falling in local limits specified in notification issued under S. 3 of PP Act, 1971 for exercise of that jurisdiction. [Savatram Rampratap Mills v. Radheyshyam, (2018) 9 SCC 154]

SCs, STs OBCs and Minorities — Caste/Tribe Certificate — Remand — When warranted — Non-consideration of entire evidence: When a party relies upon any evidence in support of his case, the Court/Committee/authority, as the case may be, especially original court is under obligation to apply its mind to entire evidence produced and record its reasoned findings. Consideration of entire evidence in accordance with law is important. [Vilas Dinkar Bhat v. State of Maharashtra, (2018) 9 SCC 89]

Service Law — Pay — Pay fixation — Pay protection — Entitlement to — Resolution dt. 27-11-1991 granting benefit of pay scale of Rs 700-1600 from their initial appointment date in Senior College to “rest category” Teachers: Security of tenure for teacher, who dedicates her life for education of students is of utmost importance and insecurity should not be created, more so when they are through a process of really subterfuge of giving artificial breaks. But for artificial break of one day which was due to change in curriculum, appellant was in continuous service for two decades and that was how it was really understood by the college as well as the State Government since they had given pension to her which is admissible only after 20 years of service. Appellant is entitled to be treated in pay scale of Rs 700-1600 and all benefits of Resolution dt. 27-11-1991. Respondents directed to calculate emoluments due to appellant and disburse the same within stipulated time failing which it would carry simple interest @ 12% p.a. [Ahalya A. Samtaney v. State of Maharashtra, (2018) 9 SCC 92]

Taxation — Concession/Exemption/Incentive/Rebate/Subsidy — Exemption notification or exemption clause: General principle that in case of ambiguity, a taxing statute should be construed in favour of the assessee, is not applicable to an exempting provision. Every taxing statute including, charging, computation and exemption clauses, at the threshold stage should be interpreted strictly. Further, though in case of ambiguity in charging provisions, the benefit necessarily goes in favour of assessee, but for an exemption notification or exemption clause the benefit of ambiguity must be strictly interpreted in favour of the Revenue/State. [Commr. of Customs v. Dilip Kumar & Co., (2018) 9 SCC 1]

W.B. Premises Tenancy Act, 1997 (37 of 1997) — S. 5(8) (as incorporated by Amendment Act 14 of 2001) — Statutory liability to pay municipal taxes on tenants as occupiers, post amendment — Supersession of contractual liability to pay municipal taxes and enhancements in municipal taxes as part of rent — Effect of: Liability to pay enhanced municipal taxes by tenant as occupier, held, having become a statutory liability, there was no requirement on part of landlord of obtaining formal order of enhancement of rent from Rent Controller. [Popat & Kotecha Property v. Ashim Kumar Dey, (2018) 9 SCC 149]

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