Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: Hitesh Kumar Sarma, J. dismissed a revision petition filed against the order of the family court whereby the petitioner was directed to pay a monthly sum of Rs 2000 each to his wife and child towards their maintenance under Section 125 CrPC.

The wife had left petitioner’s home due to alleged torture inflicted upon her and thereafter she filed an application under Section 125 claiming maintenance which was allowed by the family court in the terms above. The petitioner was a Government Servant earning a monthly salary of about Rs 22,000.

The High Court noted that while the wife was staying at her parental house, she was not provided maintenance which amounted to negligence in the sense that the petitioner was bound to maintain the wife and the child, which is a settled legal position. It was also noted that the allegation that the wife was working in a school and earning money could not be established by the petitioner and no specific evidence to that effect was laid by him. It was observed: “In the absence of any specific evidence, it cannot be held that the wife/respondent was earning sufficient amount to maintain herself. That being so, in the absence of any specific evidence as to the income of the respondent/wife, the petitioner/husband is bound to maintain his wife and the child fathered by him.”

In that view of the matter, the Court did not find any reason to interfere with the order of the family court. The revision petition was accordingly dismissed. [Jotirmoy Kalita v. Jonamoni Kalita, 2019 SCC OnLine Gau 2245, Order dated 07-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: This Jail Appeal was filed before the Division Bench of Sudhir Agarwal and Vivek Varma, JJ., under Section 383 CrPC which prescribed the procedure to be followed when an appellant is in jail.

The facts of the case were such that the appellant was alleged for commission of crime of murder under Section 302 of Penal Code, which the Trial Court found to be proven beyond reasonable doubt and had sentenced him to undergo life imprisonment with six months simple imprisonment for default in payment of fine on the basis of ocular evidence of material witnesses and medical evidence. Hence, this appeal before this Court.

Ravi Chandra Srivastava, learned Amicus Curiae on behalf of the appellant submitted that witnesses of prosecution were interested witness who were in close relationship with the deceased thus were not independent. Further, prosecution had failed to show motive behind the alleged crime in addition to the non-supported ocular version of events by witness. Whereas Rishi Chaddha, learned Additional Government Advocate for State submitted that FIR was corroborated by the medical evidence brought before Court. The instrument used to commit the crime was found with the accused and accused had a strong motive to kill the deceased.

High Court was of the view that the argument advanced by accused that the eye witness’s version of the events cannot be accepted as they were closely in relationship with the deceased i.e. wife, cannot be accepted in view of the evidence presented before the Court. If the evidence provided by eye-witness inspires confidence then the same cannot be discarded on the ground of their relationship with the deceased. Therefore, this appeal was dismissed. [Shishu Pal v. State of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 2112, decided on 19-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: The Bench of Tarlok Singh Chauhan, J. allowed an appeal challenging the judgment of first appellate court whereby the trial court’s order was set aside without taking the findings of trial court into consideration.

Appellant herein was a defendant in a suit for possession filed by the respondent (plaintiff before trial court), which was dismissed by the trial court. In an appeal by the respondent-plaintiff, the first appellate court set aside the trial court’s order. Aggrieved thereby, the instant regular second appeal was filed. 

The sole issue pertained to the scope, ambit and power of first appellate court while deciding first appeal. It was opined that the right to file first appeal against a decree under Section 96 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 is a valuable legal right of the litigant. The jurisdiction of first appellate court while hearing first appeal is very wide like that of trial court and it is open to the appellant to attack all findings of fact or/and of law in the first appeal. It is the duty of first appellate court to appreciate the entire evidence, and then it may come to a different conclusion. While doing so, the judgment of first appellate court must reflect its conscious application of mind and record findings supported by reasons, on all issues along with the contentions put forth, and pressed by the parties. While reversing a finding of fact, the first appellate court must come into close quarters with the reasoning assigned by the trial court and then assign its own reasons for arriving at a different finding.

The Court noted that in the instant case, the first appellate court had not at all adverted to findings and reasons recorded by the trial court and had simply chosen to write a separate judgment without taking into consideration any of the facts and circumstances that prevailed upon the trial court to dismiss the suit.

In view of the above, the impugned order of the first appellate court was set aside, and the matter was remanded to it for a fresh decision.[Sunder Singh v. Roop Singh, 2019 SCC OnLine HP 550, decided on 26-04-2019]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Supreme Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: The Three-Judge Bench of Vijith K. Malalgoda, M.N.B. Fernando and E.A.G.R. Amarasekara, JJ. allowed an appeal filed against the Judgment of the High Court whereby it was held that the Labour Tribunal had failed to correctly analyse the evidence placed before it.

Appellant herein had instituted proceedings before the Labour Tribunal of Galle against the respondent alleging that they had wrongfully and unlawfully terminated his services as Superintendent of a cinnamon plantation called ‘Punchimalakanda’. Respondents denied the employment of the appellant and in an inquiry before the Labour Tribunal, he was granted a compensation of Rs 3,75,000 for wrongful termination. Being aggrieved, respondent appealed to the Provincial High Court of Galle which set aside the findings of Labour Tribunal. Hence, the present appeal. 

The Court opined that it is well settled legal principle that it is not open for an Appellate Court to re-examine and re-appraise evidence analyzed by the Labour Tribunal unless there is a question of law on the face of the record. Further, Section 31 D of the Industrial Dispute Act No. 43 of 1950 states that the order of a Labour Tribunal shall be final and shall not be called in question in any court except on a question of law. Reliance was placed on Ceylon Cinema and Film Studio Employees’ Union v. Liberty Cinema Ltd., 1993 SCC OnLine SL SC 19 where it was held that “it may be possible that the Appellate Court may come to a different finding on facts but the evaluation of the facts is a matter for the tribunal.”

In view of the above, it was opined that the High Court Judge had misdirected himself when it concluded that the President of the Labour Tribunal had failed to give due consideration to evidence placed before him. Thus, the impugned judgment was set aside.[Shanthi Sagara Gunawardena v. Ranjith Kumudusena Gunawardena, SC Appeal 89 of 2016, decided on 02-04- 2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: The Bench of H.C. Mishra and Sanjay Kumar Dwivedi, JJ. allowed the appeals while setting aside the judgment of conviction and order of sentence convicting and sentencing the appellants.

In the pertinent case, the dispute was over land and its illegal possession wherein the accused were held guilty of murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code and the Trial Court even sentenced the accused accordingly. The Court was approached because there were discrepancies in the FIR and the statements provided by the prosecution witnesses, where they first stated that the occurrence had taken place in the hut and they could not see which accused was armed with what weapon. Subsequently, in evidence, the place was changed to the land in question and improvements were made on the details as to which accused was armed with what weapon and the person who assaulted. Also, the Investigation Officer (IO) was not examined because of which the necessary implications could not be taken from the IO. Even the Doctor conducting the post-mortem examination was not examined in the case.

The Court in the interest of justice looked into the case diary with the help of the learned senior counsel, Mr V.P. Singh, where it became apparent that the non-examination of the IO has vitally prejudiced the defence in the case and even the place of occurrence has not been properly proved in the case. The Court further believed that, the benefit of doubt should be extended to the appellants in the absence of the evidence of the IO and the Doctor. Therefore, the Court set aside the conviction and sentence ordered by the 1st Additional Sessions Judge and discharged the appellants from their respective liabilities.[Manik Singh v. State of Jharkhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Jhar 244, Order dated 11-03-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): Justice V.K. Jain (Presiding Member) set aside the order of District Forum and State Commission and set aside their orders holding a national bank liable for returning educational certificates of the complainant.

Respondent herein had taken a loan from the petitioner bank under Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Yojana (PMRY) Scheme in 1984. He stated that he had deposited his educational certificates with the bank on the assurance that after repayment of the loan, the said documents would be returned to him. After repayment of the loan, respondent approached the bank for return of his original documents; but the same were not returned to him. Being aggrieved, he approached District Forum by way of a consumer complaint. District Forum allowed the complaint, and the bank’s appeal against the said order was dismissed. Thus, the bank approached filed the instant revision petition.

The Commission noted that no documentary proof of the alleged deposit had been filed by the respondent. Petitioner, being a nationalized bank and respondent being an educated person, it was difficult to accept that he deposited such important documents with the bank, without even taking an acknowledgment from it. Moreover, no evidence had been led by the respondent to prove that the submission of such documents was necessary under rules of the bank or PMRY Scheme.

In the absence of any evidence, it was opined that the view taken by the fora was perverse, and therefore the impugned orders could not be sustained.[Allahabad Bank v. Subhash Kumar Mittal, 2019 SCC OnLine NCDRC 25, Order dated 01-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Bench of Prabhat Kumar Jha, J. dismissed a petition filed against an order allowing production of additional documents.

Petitioner herein filed an eviction suit against one Rajendra Mistri, which was decreed in his favour. Respondents herein (who are widow and sons of Rajendra Mistri) filed an appeal against the said decree along with an application under Order 41 Rule 27 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 for bringing additional documents on record. The said application was allowed by the learned District Judge. Aggrieved thereby, the instant petition was filed.

The Court noted that respondents were not aware of the pendency of the eviction suit filed by the petitioner. Rajendra Mistri, who was contesting the suit, became traceless in the middle of hearing, and the suit was decided without allowing the defendant to produce any documentary evidence as the fact of him being traceless could not be brought to the knowledge of the court. When the suit was decreed, his legal heirs got knowledge about this fact and filed an appeal along with a petition stating that they had no knowledge about the pendency of the suit. They also filed an application for adducing additional documents which had a bearing on merits of the case. On consideration of these facts, the learned District Judge allowed their petition for adducing additional evidence

Order 41 Rule 27(1)(b) of CPC clearly envisages that party seeking to produce additional evidence, must establish that notwithstanding the exercise of due diligence, such evidence was not within his knowledge or could not, after the exercise of due diligence, be produced by him at the time when the decree appealed against was passed. It was held that respondents’ case clearly fell within the purview of said provision and thus there was no infirmity in the impugned order.[Vijay Kumar Singh v. Soni Kuer, 2018 SCC OnLine Pat 2292, Order dated 06-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Division Bench of Karuna Nand Bajpayee and Ifaqat Ali Khan, JJ. dismissed a petition seeking quashing of a First Information Report filed against the petitioner for offences committed under Sections 148, 307, 353 and 504 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, and Section 7 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

The Court observed that grounds for quashing of FIR are well-settled, and thus in such cases court must refrain itself from embarking upon a roving enquiry into details of the case. It was noted that all the contentions raised by the petitioner’s counsel related to the determination of disputed questions of fact which may be adequately discerned either through proper investigation or adjudicated by the trial court. The ambit of an investigation into the alleged offence is an independent area of operation and does not call for interference except in rarest of rare cases. Relying on Ajit Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2006 SCC OnLine All 1409 it was opined that operational liberty to collect sufficient material, if any, cannot be scuttled prematurely by any uncalled for overstepping of the Court. 

The Court held that perusal of the case records, prima facie, made out the offence alleged and there appeared to be sufficient ground for investigation in the case. In view thereof, prayer for quashing FIR was refused. However, it was directed that the petitioner shall not be arrested unless credible evidence against him is collected by the Investigating Officer.[Umar Mohd. v. State of U.P, Criminal Misc. Writ Petition No. 330 of 2019, Order dated 08-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A Bench of S.G. Shah, J. partly allowed an appeal which confirmed the conviction of the appellants but reduced the sentence.

In the present case the Sessions Court had convicted the appellants for abetment of suicide and subjecting the victim to cruelty respectively, in different appeals. The deceased had succumbed to the pressure from her in-laws and husband, as alleged in the petition, which was later challenged by the appellants.

The Court while not agreeing fully with the impugned judgment in appreciation of evidence, partly allowed the appeal where the conviction of the appellants was confirmed but the sentence was reduced to the period for which they have already undergone judicial custody, pending trial and appeal. Moreover, the Court also held that when it is possible to take a different view from the same set of evidence and offense, the benefit of doubt can be extended.[Bharatbhai Jamnadas Ramavat v. State of Gujarat, 2018 SCC OnLine Guj 3059, Order dated 05-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: The Bench of Sanjeev Sachdeva, J. without expressing any opinion on merits of the case, directed the trial court to relook at the evidence in order to ascertain whether any ground is made out under Section 319 CrPC to summon any person other than the accused.

Petitioner (accused) had filed an application under Section 319 which gives power to the trial court to proceed against any other person appearing to be guilty of offence. Application was for proceeding against one Ranbir Khatri, Suman, Sahab Singh and Balwan Singh. Petitioner was represented by K. Singhal and Shilpa Goel, Advocates who contended that there was sufficient evidence available on record to show that these persons had committed the offence in the present case. Several submissions were made to show that they were liable to be summoned in the case. Furthermore, it was submitted that the petitioner was innocent and had been falsely implicated. However, the trial court rejected petitioner’s application. Aggrieved thereby, he filed the present revision petition.

The High Court noted that the impugned order was very cryptic and did not advert to any of the allegations raised or submissions made by the petitioner. Notice was also taken of the fact that prosecution as well as defence evidence was over and matter was at final stage of hearing before the trial court. In High Court’s opinion there was need to relook at evidence by the trial court as mentioned above. Therefore, the impugned order was set aside and the matter was remitted back to the trial court. [Pardeep Kumar v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 6497, dated 14-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Bench of S.C. Gupte, J. while addressing an arbitration petition challenging the award passed by a sole arbitrator, noted the points of evidence asserted by the sole arbitrator and dismissed the petition.

In the present petition, the crux of the issue involved an agreement for manufacturing of the petitioner’s liquor products. The particular agreement was between the petitioner (who was the respondent to the reference) and the respondent (who was the claimant before the arbitral forum) inter alia engaging services of respondent for manufacture, on a priority basis of various liquor products of the petitioner in the State of Maharashtra.

Respondent stated in his points of contentions that in a meeting held between the representatives of the parties, it was agreed that bottling charges would be increased by Rs 10 per case. Claimant had sent out an e-mail with a letter requesting the petitioner to confirm the minutes of the meeting held for which no response from the petitioner was received. Further, it was stated that though respondent did not receive any written communication from the petitioner, respondent, with consent from the petitioner, went on adjusting from jointly operated account payments towards bottling charges at the rate of Rs 40 per case.

Petitioner in his behalf placed that, a sum of Rs 40,46,165.87 was due and payable by the petitioner to the respondent after the payments adjusted. Further, for the said amount, it was agreed between the petitioner and the respondent that the petitioner would pay the same in four installments which never got fulfilled.

A legal notice was sent to the petitioner regarding the above stated and thereafter present reference was filed.

Learned sole arbitrator while giving its award held that the petitioner had failed to pay the agreed amount and as a result, awarded a sum of Rs 64,08,685.82, comprising of the principal amount as stated above along with interest. The said award has been challenged under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

While concluding the decision, the bench stated that the oral agreement was consistently acted upon by the parties for a long period of time. “Whatever view the Court may take of an oral modification clause generally or in the particular case we are concerned with, the mandate of challenge to the court under Section 34 of the Act is to see whether the view taken by the arbitrator, even if it be on a question of law or its application to the facts of the case, is a possible view or view which a fair and judiciously minded person could well take.” Therefore, the view taken by the arbitrator could well be said to be a possible view and supported by evidence. The view must pass muster under Section 34 of the Act.

Thus, the challenge to the impugned award had no merit and the petition was accordingly dismissed. [John Distilleries (P) Ltd. v. Brihan Maharashtra Sugar Syndicate Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 67, dated 14-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: A Bench of Dhiraj Singh Thakur, J. allowed a petition involving suit for pre-emption.  The controversy arose from a suit for pre-emption filed by the respondent who was the plaintiff before the Trial Court. The suit was dismissed by the Trial Court, however, in the first appeal, the plaintiff/appellant succeeded. The miscellaneous appeal thus came to be filed by defendants/petitioners in terms of Order 43, Rule 1(U) of the Code of Civil Procedure, which was also dismissed.

The facts of the case revolve around the compliance of Section 18 of the Jammu & Kashmir Right of Prior Purchase Act, 1993 where it is provided that if any person proposes to sell any agricultural land or village immovable property or urban immovable property, or to foreclose the right to redeem any village immovable property, or urban immovable property, in respect of which any person have a right of prior purchase, he may give notice to all such persons of the price at which he proposes to sell such land or property, or of the amount due in respect of mortgage, as the case may be. The aforesaid section further envisaged that notice shall be given through any Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction such land or property is situated.

A coordinate Bench of this Court came to the conclusion that the provisions of Section 18 of the Act had not been complied with. The appellate court held that any offer made by the seller without the offered price would be a failure on the part of the seller to comply with the requirement of the service in terms of Section 18 of the Act.

Counsel for the petitioners urged that the right of pre-emption was a weak right, as a universally accepted principle of law in the jurisprudence of the pre-emption laws.

The Court allowed the petition.  [Mohd. Amin v. Krishan Lal, 2018 SCC OnLine J&K 1043, Order dated 27-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Karuna Nand Bajpayee, J., dismissed an application filed seeking the quashing of summoning order and the entire complaint which was pending in the court of Special Judge.

The question under determination was the testimonial worth of prosecution evidence. The veracity and credibility of material furnished on behalf of the prosecution was questioned and false implication had been pleaded.

The High Court relying on a plethora of cases observed that the cases where the allegations made against the accused or the evidence collected by the Investigating Officer do not constitute any offence or where the allegations are absurd or extremely improbable impossible to believe or where prosecution is legally barred or where criminal proceeding is malicious and malafide instituted with ulterior motive of grudge and vengeance alone may be the fit cases for the High Court in which the criminal proceedings may be quashed. However, in the present case on perusal of record, the Court found a prima facie case established against the accused and therefore declined to quash the complaint. [Anil v. State of U.P., 2018 SCC OnLine All 3366, decided on 01-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench comprising of V.K. Tahilramani, Acting CJ (as he then was) and M.S. Sonak, J. declined bail to the applicant who was a convict for an offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.

The applicant was convicted for murdering her husband. The murder occurred as the applicant was having an illicit affair with the co-accused. She was before the Court seeking bail. It is pertinent to note that earlier as well the applicant had preferred a bail application which was rejected.

Priyal G. Sarda, Advocate for the applicant submitted that there was no eyewitness to the incident and only evidence against her was of recovery. However, during recovery, the applicant was handcuffed and therefore such recovery can’t be taken into consideration. This was opposed by G.P. Mulekar, Additional Public Prosecutor for the State.

The High Court relied on Putlabai Bhimashankar Pattan v. State of Maharashtra, 2010 SCC OnLine Bom 685 wherein it was observed, “…handcuffing a person by itself cannot be a reason to generalize the hypothesis that such a discovery cannot be reliable”. In view thereof, the Court held that there was no substance in applicant’s submission. Furthermore, no fresh ground was brought before the Court to necessitate reconsideration of applicant’s prayer for bail. Therefore, the application was rejected. [Poonam Bhagwatiprasad Gandhi v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine Bom 7283, decided on 30-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Orissa High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of A.K. Rath, J., dismissed the petition under Article 227 of the Constitution which challenged the order by the Addl. Senior Civil Judge, Puri whereby the trial court allowed the application of the plaintiff under Order 18 Rule 1 CPC and directed the defendants to begin first.

The plaintiff instituted the suit for partition. The defendants filed a written statement stating that the said property was renovated and developed by their father and after the death of their father, they became the exclusive owners of the suit property. The plaintiff thereafter filed an application under Order 18 Rule 1 CPC for a direction to the defendants to begin first. Defendants filed an objection to the same. The trial court allowed the application. This gave rise to the question that hinged for consideration that as to whether the defendants shall begin first?

The Court, while relying on the case of Rama Krushna Mohanty v. Bala Krushna Mohanty,2017 SCC OnLine Ori 450, and on Order 18 Rule 1 CPC, held that the defendants should begin first. Only when the defendants lead some evidence in proof of their case, the plaintiff shall be obliged to lead evidence in rebuttal. [Shradhamani Panda v. Chintamani Panda,2018 SCC OnLine Ori 420, decided on 19-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of R.K. Gauba, J. directed partial retrial of a case while disposing of an appeal filed against the order of conviction and sentence awarded to the appellant by the trial court.

The appellant was alleged to have committed an offence of penetrative sexual assault on a ten-year-old child. He was sentenced and convicted by the trial court under Section 376(i)(2) IPC and Section of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. This was challenged by the appellant pleading that he was falsely implicated in the case and the charge against him was not proved.

The High Court perused the record and noted that a crucial witness in the case—- Dr Pallavi, the medical examiner who prepared MLC report of the victim– was not examined by the prosecution. It was noted that summons were sent for Dr Pallavi to appear in Court as a witness but in the summons, the court itself gave liberty to the hospital concerned to send some other doctor in place of Dr Pallavi in case she had left services of the hospital. Subsequently, some other doctor appeared before the court only for the purpose of proving Dr Pallavi’s handwriting and signature. As a matter of fact, there was no examination or cross-examination of the crucial witness. This course was not approved by the High Court as it may lead to a serious miscarriage of justice. It was held,

“No doubt, the prosecution may rely on the evidence of an alternative witness if the witness earlier cited has become unavailable or her presence cannot be secured without unreasonable delay. But the suggestion for alternative witness cannot come from the Court on assumption that the witness may not be readily available, not the least without an attempt being made to reach out to such witness.”

Consequently, the conviction and sentence awarded to the appellant was set aside and the case was remanded back to the trial court directing that Dr Pallavi shall be summoned for examination. [Santosh Kumar v. State, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 12727, decided on 19-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Vimla Singh Kapoor, J. dismissed a revision petition on account of it lacking substance.

The complainant had accused the respondent of harassing her for not bringing sufficient dowry after some time of the marriage for which she was deprived of food and clothing by the respondents even though household items were given at the time of marriage. Further after the birth of their child a new list altogether was demanded dowry. Subsequently, the case was brought before the High Court but finding no force in the complaint, the respondent was acquitted for which the present revision petition lies.

After analyzing the facts and evidences, it wasn’t clear as to after how many years the harassment started rather from the statement of the mother of the complainant she seemed to spent the initial years happily at her matrimonial home along with the fact that the cousin of the complainant was married in the same family yet she showed no similar signs. Also in order to settle the dispute, a village meeting was called but none of the witnesses was examined on record and what was pertinent to note was the fact that first an application for maintenance was made followed by a complaint for cruelty and harassment about a month thereafter which further weakened her case. Accordingly, the revision petition was dismissed for being exaggerated.[Sangeeta Bai Nishad v. Manoj Kumar,2018 SCC OnLine Chh 659, order dated 27-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Judge Bench comprising of Sharad Kumar Sharma and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ. declared that denial of cruelty by the lower court was erred on illogical interpretations.

The appellant has appealed against the orders of the family court on the denial for the grant of divorce and permanent alimony under Section 25 of the of Hindu Marriage Act. She has claimed that respondent under the influence of alcohol misbehaved with her by inflicting mental cruelty along with his absence both as a husband and father with the appellant and her child. She also pleaded an attempt to force sodomy upon her by the respondent.

The Court stated that inferences were drawn from facts which in itself cannot be taken as a proof against the statements of the appellant and thus was not an analogical and judicial inference rendered by the lower court. Also in the written statement the respondent had not specifically denied his act of misbehaving in an intoxicated condition. The most important point for consideration was that sodomy was something a wife would never plead against the husband to allege cruelty and therefore shall be weighed substantially. Accordingly, the act of cruelty stood established plus the appellant was also granted the permanent alimony.[Suman Lata Panwar v. Ajay Singh, F.A. No. 77 of 2013, order dated 15-11-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

“Motor Vehicles Act is a beneficial piece of legislation enacted to give solace to the victims of the motor accident who suffer bodily injury or die untimely.”

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of A.M. Sapre and Indu Malhotra, JJ. allowed the present appeal filed against the decision of Rajasthan High Court whereby the appeal of the claimants was dismissed and award  by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (Jaipur) was affirmed.

In the present case, the deceased was travelling in a passenger bus to a place called ‘Chomu’ and when the bus reached Chomu, a truck which was going towards Jaipur came on a high speed and dashed against the bus. Deceased sustained grevious injuries resulting in instant death which led to the filing of an FIR. Further, the incident gave rise to initiation of criminal and civil proceedings.

Proceeding were initiated before the civil court, filed by the appellants (claimants) against the Insurance Company (Respondent 1), driver (Respondent 2) and owner of the offending truck (Respondent 3) under Section 166 Motor Vehicles Act before MACT claiming to award reasonable compensation for loss on account of untimely death of the deceased, their only bread earner. Appellants along with the claim petition had filed all the requisite documents against the driver. Tribunal had dismissed the appellants claim petition stating that claimants failed to prove the accident for want of evidence and the one adduced was not exhibited and hence was of no use. Aggrieved by the same, the claimants approached the Rajasthan High Court wherein their appeal was dismissed and therefore filing of the present appeal in Supreme Court arose.

The Bench gave a seven pointer reasoning on the issue by adding that the High Court while dismissing the appeal simply affirmed the award of the Tribunal without assigning any reason. In Court’s opinion, “ non-exhibition of the said document was nothing but a procedural lapse, which could not be made basis to reject the claim petition.” Thus, the Court while stating that “if the Court did not exhibit the documents despite the appellants referring them at the time of recording evidence then in such event, the appellants cannot be denied of their right to claim compensation on such ground.” Appellants were held entitled to claim Rs 11,27,920 by way of compensation from the respondents jointly and severally. [Vimla Devi v. National Insurance Co. Ltd.,2018 SCC OnLine SC 2458, decided on 16-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sanjay Kumar, J. while hearing an appeal against dismissal of application for setting aside decree of trial court in a title suit, ruled that consideration of a case and rendering of a decision must be based on appreciation of all the facts, materials and evidence on record.

Petitioner had filed a title suit against respondent for specific performance of the contract which was decreed ex-parte. Respondent’s application to set aside the said decree was dismissed in default. Thereafter, she filed a miscellaneous case for the restoration of her application on the ground that she could not appear before the trial court for several months on account of her illness. A medical certificate in support of her contention was annexed with her pleadings.

The petitioner contended that the parties were litigating in another case where the respondent was appearing continuously and as such her claim of illness was false and the medical certificate had been procured fraudulently from the doctor.

The High Court noted that the trial court had not considered the witness accounts and the documents filed by appellant and respondent and the case had been allowed without proper appreciation of materials on record. The only document considered by court was the medical certificate which showed that the respondent was suffering from jaundice. The trial court had neither discussed the oral evidence of parties nor the other relevant documents on record for deciding the issues involved in the matter.

In view of the above, the instant petition was allowed and trial court’s order dismissing respondent’s application was set aside. The matter was remitted to trial court for disposing of the application after due consideration of oral and documentary evidence adduced on behalf of both the parties. [Gopal Mahto v. Shyama Devi,2018 SCC OnLine Pat 1907, decided on 11-09-2018]