Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Sunil Gaur, J. allowed a petition filed against the order of the trial court whereby it had passed summoning orders against the petitioners in a complaint filed for committing of an offence under Section 138 (dishonour of cheque) of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

The petitioners, represented by Senior Advocate N. Hariharan with Ashwani Kr. Dhatwalia, Iti Sharma and Kuljeet Rawal, Advocates, prayed for quashing the summoning orders as well as the complaint filed under Section 138. They relied on Indus Airways (P) Ltd. v. Magnum Aviation (P) Ltd.,(2014) 12 SCC 539 for submitting that the cheques in question were security cheques, they disputed that there was no existing debt or liability. Per contra, Ashish Pratap Singh and Deepa Sharma, Advocates appearing for the complainant submitted that the cheques in question were towards an existing liability and were not security cheques.

The High Court referred to Pepsi Foods Ltd. v. Special Judicial Magistrate, (1998) 5 SCC 749 quashed the complaint and the summoning order, as it was found that there were no averments in the complaint on the basis of which a complaint could be maintained. Further, in SMS Pharmaceuticals Ltd. v. Neeta Bhalla, (2005) 8 SCC 89 reiterated that in the case of Section 138, the essential averments are to be made in the complaint. Again, in Omniplast (P) Ltd. v. Standard Chartered Bank, (2015) 15 SCC 693, it was declared that in the absence of requisite pleadings in respect of the transaction concerned, quashing of the complaint of Section 138 NI Act is justified.

In the present matter, after perusing the record, the Court was of the opinion that the necessary ingredients to maintain the complaints in question were lacking, thereby rendering the impugned order unsustainable and so, the continuance of proceedings arising out of the complaints in question would be an exercise in futility. Resultantly, the impugned complaints and the summoning orders were quashed.[Shivom Minerals Ltd., v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 9329, decided on 17-07-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Competition Commission of India (CCI):  The present case was filed by Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association under Section 19(1)(a) of the Competition Act (hereinafter ‘the Act’) against Federation of Western India Cine Employees (OP-1) and its affiliates (OP-2 to OP-21) alleging contravention of the provisions of Sections 3 and 4 of the Act.

Primarily, the allegations related to directing the Informant and its members through frequent diktats on multiple issues such as observing mandatory holidays on second Sunday of every month in addition to a list of holidays for the year 2017 on religious occasions; directives on wage hike of 22% in the wage rate of craftsmen; and non-cooperation directives against members of the Informant for non-payment of dues etc.

The Commission referred to its case Vipul A. Shah v. All India Film Employee Federation, 2017 SCC OnLine CCI 53 which was disposed of while this matter was under consideration of the Commission and the Commission had already passed cease and desist order against the OPs except OP-21 of the present case under Section 27 of the Act in Vipul A. Shah Case on issues overlapping with this case.

Commission clarified that its orders are in rem and not in personam. If an order was issued for market correction, the Commission was of the view that it was not obligated to take cognizance of successive informations brought by different parties’ agitating the same issue. To order investigation repeatedly on the same issues would result in sub- optimal utilisation of the resources of the Commission, and the same would cause wastage of public money besides being a futile exercise. Thus, the Commission concluded that no further deliberation upon the allegations was required as they have been dealt with in the aforesaid decision of the Commission.

However, it was made clear that if the alleged conduct of the OPs still continues in defiance of the order dated 31.10.2017 passed in Vipul A. Shah Case, the Informant is at liberty to approach the Commission under the appropriate provisions of the Act. [In Re: Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association v. Federation of Western India Cine Employees, 2018 SCC OnLine CCI 4, order dated 18-04-2018]