2019 SCC Vol. 7 August 14, 2019 Part 2

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — S. 96 and Or. 41 R. 33 — First appeal: Principles summarised regarding mode of disposal of first appeal, especially where first appellate court agree with view taken by trial court. [R.S. Anjayya Gupta v. Thippaiah Setty,(2019) 7 SCC 300]

Constitution of India — Arts. 227 and 226 — Judicial Review — Scope of High Court’s Jurisdiction — Interference in findings of Rent Control Authorities — If warranted: In Vidarbha part of Maharashtra, before enactment of Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1989, there had to be two rounds of litigation to seek eviction of a tenant. First round had to be before Rent Controller seeking permission to issue a quit notice under S. 108 of TP Act. On such permission being granted, landlord issued notice of termination of tenancy and filed a civil suit seeking eviction of tenant. In this case first round before Rent Controller was gone into. Bona fide need with additional facet of comparative hardship and availability of alternative accommodation had attained finality. After permission was granted by Rent Controller and civil suit was filed in which an objection was taken that as premises were governed by the provisions of Slum Act, requisite permission of Slum Authority was mandatory.  Slum Authority granted that permission in appeal and requirements under S. 22(4) of Slum Act stood satisfied or not was also considered by appellate authority in sufficient detail. Civil suit seeking eviction also attained finality. View that weighed with High Court was not correct as respondent had opportunity at every stage to present his case and before appellate authority as well. No reason was there for High Court to interfere in its jurisdiction under Art. 227 of the Constitution. Judgment and order dt. 19-6-2014 passed by High Court set aside and order dt. 31-10-2002 passed by appellate authority restored. [Kumud v. Pandurang Narayan Gandhewar, (2019) 7 SCC 287]

Contract and Specific Relief — Contractual Obligations and Rights — Price/Escalation Clauses: In this case a Coal Mining and Delivery Agreement (CMDA) was executed between appellant and respondent on 16-7-2008 for supply of coal and the supply was to commence at the earliest within 42 months, or within 48 months from date of allotment of coal blocks i.e. by 25-6-2011. Initial date of commencement i.e. 25-6-2011 came to be extended to 25-3-2013 by mutual agreement due to force majeure as there was a delay of 21 months in obtaining the forest clearance and environmental clearance. Arbitrator interpreted the relevant clauses of the contract and held that the date of commencement of the first operating year would be 25-6-2011 and accordingly the zero year for the purpose of price escalation would be 2011-2012 and therefore appellant shall be entitled to the enhanced amount as is applicable in the year 2013-2014 (the price escalation). It was held by the Supreme Court that in this case, the interpretation by Arbitrator was both possible as well as plausible, therefore, merely because some other view could have been taken, High Court was not justified in interfering with the interpretation made by Arbitrator. Further held, it was pure and simple case of interpretation of the relevant clauses of the agreement which does not involve any public policy. Therefore, quashing and setting aside the award passed by Arbitrator with respect to Claim 1 relating to price adjustment/escalation, held unsustainable and set aside. [Parsa Kente Collieries Ltd. v. Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut  Utpadan Nigam Ltd., (2019) 7 SCC 236]

 Environment Law — Environmental/Ecological Disasters — Endosulfan disaster — Compensation to victims: Affected individuals entitled to compensation as per directions of Court in Democratic Youth Federation of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 1901. Persons categorised as “Others” by expert medical panel for free treatment scheme for lifelong health issues and undergoing such treatment, held, are also affected individuals entitled to said compensation of Rs 5 lakhs each as determined by National Human Rights Commission. Accordingly, directions issued for release of said compensation to 4 contempt petitioners. [Remya P. v. K.M. Abraham, (2019) 7 SCC 233]

Environment Law — Water/River/Coastal Pollution — Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) — Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ) — Critically vulnerable notified CRZ-III areas: As construction activities in this case were found to be in violation of CRZ, and hence demolition/removal directed. [Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority v. State of Kerala, (2019) 7 SCC 248]

Family and Personal Laws — Hindu Law — Ancestral property/Joint family property: Property inherited from father (prior to coming into effect of Hindu Succession Act, 1956) becomes joint family property in hands of sons and grandsons, and all male issue, even the unborn upon their taking birth. Any conveyance or compromise regarding inherited property by some coparceners/shareholders would not affect and bind the shares of the coparceners/shareholders not a party to the conveyance/compromise in question. Further held, ancestral/joint family property which had lost this character upon a valid conveyance to stranger(s) would reacquire character of ancestral/joint family property if reconveyed back to the family/coparceners, and would thus revest in all the coparceners, including those who had been born in the meantime. [Doddamuniyappa v. Muniswamy, (2019) 7 SCC 193]

Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 — S. 9: Jurisdiction of Family Court qua petition for custody of minor children is not existent, when children are foreign citizens not ordinarily residing within jurisdiction of Family Court. Application of principle that return of child to foreign jurisdiction cannot be directed unless the same is in the best interest and welfare of the child. [Lahari Sakhamuri v. Sobhan Kodali, (2019) 7 SCC 311]

Infrastructure Laws — Acquisition for Infrastructure Projects: In case of land acquisition for development of railway project and not for purpose of development of urban area or for providing a housing scheme to residents of urban area, private respondents, held, have no right to rehabilitation or allotment of alternative site in absence of any such scheme framed by State Government. [State of T.N. v. Vasanthi Veerasekaran, (2019) 7 SCC 342]

Infrastructure Laws — Energy and Power — Alternative/Non-conventional/Renewable Energy Sources — Renewable energy projects — Determination of generic tariff: In this case there was challenge to HERC (Terms and Conditions for Determination of Tariff from Renewable Energy Sources, Renewable Purchase Obligation and Renewable Energy Certificate) Regulations, 2010 revising tariff. It was held by the Supreme Court that validity of the Regulations can be decided only in judicial review proceedings before the courts and not by way of appeal or review. High Court should have adjudicated all contentions raised by appellant but High Court adjudicated only two out of almost thirty contentions, that too, in a cryptic and cavalier manner. High Court did not analyse grounds of challenge regarding validity of the impugned amended Regulations and competency to frame such a regulation appropriately. Hence, matter was remanded for proper adjudication of all issues without expressing any opinion on merits of matter. [Star Wire (India) Vidyut (P) Ltd. v. Haryana ERC, (2019) 7 SCC 207]

Land Acquisition Act, 1894 — Ss. 18 and 23 — Determination of market value: Every reference proceeding must be decided on evidence produced and issues raised therein. Dispute regarding competency, capability of expert to prepare valuation report and procedure adopted by him in preparing valuation report. Under such condition, mechanical acceptance of valuation report submitted by expert merely on ground that his valuation was accepted by courts in proceedings relating to some other parcel(s) of land, not permissible. [Executive Engineer, Minor Irrigation Works, Jalgaon v. Vitthal Damodar Patil, (2019) 7 SCC 225]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — Ss. 166, 168 and 173 — Permanent disability: Principles summarised regarding determination of compensation on the basis of functional disability. Step-wise inquiry to be made by Tribunal, delineated. As driver of offending vehicle was driving in breach of policy conditions, Insurance company absolved of its liability but principle of “pay and recover” applied. On facts of the case, compensation enhanced. [Parminder Singh v. New India Assurance Co. Ltd., (2019) 7 SCC 217]

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 — Ss. 142 and 138 — Cognizance after prescribed period upon showing sufficient cause: Under S. 142(1), complaint has to be instituted within one month of cause of action under S. 138 proviso (c), which however stipulates that cognizance may be taken after prescribed period, if complainant satisfies court about sufficient cause. In this case, both in Paras 7 and 8 of complaint, appellant complainant, held, indicated adequate and sufficient reasons for not being able to institute complaint within stipulated period and CJM, held, rightly condoned delay. High Court had merely adverted to presumption that first notice would be deemed to have been served if it was dispatched in ordinary course. Even if that presumption applies, sufficient cause was shown by appellant for condoning delay in instituting complaint taking basis of complaint as issuance of first legal notice dt. 31-12-2015, hence, quashment of proceedings, held, was erroneous. [Birendra Prasad Sah v. State of Bihar, (2019) 7 SCC 273]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/149 or S. 302 simpliciter — Murder: In this case, eyewitness account found to be detailed, cogent and reliable and there was recovery of bloodstained weapon and clothes, hence concurrent conviction of main assailant, appellant herein, alone under S. 302 simpliciter while all other accused were acquitted, confirmed. [Kamlakar v. State of Maharashtra, (2019) 7 SCC 260]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/34: In this case, as there was reasonable doubt as to identity of one of the accused, acquittal of such accused on said basis (while the other accused stood convicted), held, proper in this case. [State of Gujarat v. Kalusinh,(2019) 7 SCC 264]

Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 — Ss. 13(1)(d) and 13(2) r/w Ss. 120-B, 420, 467, 468, 471, 477-A and 201 IPC — Conspiracy by public servant to commit forgery, etc.: In this case of banking fraud, merely because investigation may not have been proper, cannot enure to the benefit of appellants in view of nature of evidence available against them, hence conviction confirmed. [Ram Gopal v. CBI, (2019) 7 SCC 204]

Service Law — Penalty/Punishment — Effect of acquittal in/pendency of criminal proceedings: In this case, order of compulsory retirement passed against respondents for having indulged in corrupt practices causing loss to State Exchequer, even while prosecution for the same was pending, held, justified in present case. [State of J&K v. Farid Ahmad Tak, (2019) 7 SCC 278]

Service Law — Promotion — Departmental examination: In this case, for the post of Sub-Inspector (Civil Police), there was recruitment through limited departmental examination. There was eligibility criteria in terms of U.P. Sub-Inspector and Inspector (Civil Police) Service Rules, 2008 stipulating requirement of obtaining 50% marks in each subject. Contention that requirement of securing 50% marks was to be reckoned paperwise and not subjectwise was rejected in view of express language of Rules which do not permit such interpretation. It was held that in limited departmental examination, regardless of seniority more meritorious candidate is given opportunity to reach higher levels. [Raj Bahadur v. State of U.P., (2019) 7 SCC 291]

Transfer of Property Act, 1882 — Ss. 126, 122 and 123 and S. 118 — Revocation of gift/Interference with donee property by donor after gift, including interference with further transactions as to gifted property: S. 126 Pt. II says “A gift may also be revoked in any of the cases (save want or failure of consideration) in which, if it were a contract, it might be rescinded”. In case of frustration/substantial failure of purpose of gift by donees/person(s) having control over donee property, donor may take steps to ensure proper fulfillment of purpose of gift. [Randhir Kaur v. Balwinder Kaur, (2019) 7 SCC 267]

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