Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Dhiraj Singh Thakur J., dismissed the petition filed under Article 104 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, and upheld the order passed by the 1st Additional District Judge.

The respondents, in this case, were owners and in possession of the land which was situated in Beli Azmat, Jammu. They agreed to alienate the land, and in furtherance of this, an agreement to sell was entered into. The petitioners contended that despite the said agreement being in force, the respondents did not execute the sale deed, as a result of which a suit for specific performance was filed.

After the order for specific performance was passed, it was challenged by one of the respondents by a suit of declaration. The previous order for specific performance was stayed till the time that the suit for declaration was adjudicated.

Rent was being paid to the respondents by the Department of Agriculture, and the petitioners argued that the same should not be paid till the time the suit for specific performance of the sale deed was settled. The 1st Additional District Judge rejected the argument on the ground that the sale deed was obtained by collusion and that there was no valid document for transfer of title to the petitioners.

Aggrieved by the order, the petitioner filed contempt proceedings, claiming that even though rent was only to be paid to respondent 1 to the extent of his share, yet the rental compensation was being distributed with regard to property. The contempt proceedings were also dismissed by the 1st Additional Judge.

In the present petition, the Court held that the order given did not suffer from any illegality, as whatever rights they claimed were as a result of the suit for specific performance, which had been stayed. Consequently, the petitioners had lost all rights to question the dispensation of rental compensation to the respondents. [Bansi Lal v. Vijay Chand Katoch,2018 SCC OnLine J&K 802, Order dated 03-11-2018]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Supreme Court of Singapore: A Single Judge Bench of Choo Han Teck, J., dismissed appeals filed against the order of the Assistant Registrar, whereby the application for stay filed by the appellants on account of an arbitration clause, was dismissed.

The main issue that arose before the Court was whether a stay should be granted in favour of three defendants (appellants) on the ground of effective case management, even though they were not parties to arbitration.

The Court observed that effective case management is not a legal principle, it is rather an administrative term used to denote the administrative functions of the courts such as placing cases in order of priority, fixing the dates for hearing, no. of days for hearing etc. Although there is a possibility of conflicting findings by the arbitrator and the Court that should not be the only ground to stop the plaintiff from proceeding against all the four defendants collectively especially when the plaintiff claims that all the four defendants had conspired to cause him harm. The order of stay was granted in favour of defendant no.1 because it was a party to the arbitration while the rest of the defendants were not.

The Court held that whatever might be the outcome of the arbitration, it will not bind the plaintiff or the three defendants in an action before the Court. Further, there was no good reason to grant a stay in favour of the three defendants, who were not even parties to the arbitration, so that they can take their seats as spectators to the arbitration proceedings. Hence, the assistant registrar had rightly rejected the application of all the other defendants apart from defendant no.1. Resultantly, the appeals filed by the appellants were dismissed by the Court. [Epoch Minerals Pte Ltd. v. Raffles Asset Management (S) Pte Ltd., [2018] SGHC 223, order dated 08-10-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A Bench comprising of Abhay Manohar Sapre and Uday U. Lalit, JJ. allowed an appeal filed against the order of Punjab and Haryana High Court wherein the application for stay as filed by the appellants herein was rejected.

The appellants had filed a writ petition against the State in the High Court, and during the pendency of the same, application was filed for grant of ad-interim stay in relation to the subject matter of the land in question. By the order impugned, the High Court declined to grant the ad-interim stay. Against the said order, the appellants filed the instant appeal by way of special leave.

The Supreme Court, on perusing the record of the case, observed that no adequate reason was given in the order impugned for not granting stay. The reason given did not justify the rejection, having regard to the nature of the controversy involved. In short, justifiable reasons to support either grant or rejection need to be stated, keeping in view the facts and the law applicable to the controversy involved. It was not so found in the order impugned. Resultantly, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal; set aside the order impugned, and remanded the case to the High Court to decide the matter afresh. [Birwati Chaudhary v. State of Haryana,2018 SCC OnLine SC 1020, dated 20-08-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Dr. A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, JJ, upholding the validity of Section 139AA of Income Tax Act, 1961 that makes the linking of Aadhaar Card to the Permanent Account Number (PAN) mandatory, said that the provision is neither discriminatory nor it offends equality clause enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution. The bench also said that Section 139AA is also not violative of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution insofar as it mandates giving of Aadhaar enrollment number for applying PAN cards in the income tax returns or notified Aadhaar enrollment number to the designated authorities.

Rejecting the contention that since enrollment under Aadhaar Act, 2016 is voluntary, it cannot be compulsory under the Income Tax Act, the Court said that in order to curb blackmoney, money laundering and tax evasion etc., if the Parliament chooses to make the provision mandatory under the Income Tax Act, the competence of the Parliament cannot be questioned on the ground that it is impermissible only because under Aadhaar Act, the provision is directory in nature. The Court also noticed that one of the main objectives of Aadhaar-PAN linkage is to de-duplicate PAN cards and to bring a situation where one person is not having more than one PAN card or a person is not able to get PAN cards in assumed/fictitious names and it is the prerogative of the Legislature to make penal provisions for violation of any law made by it.

The Court, however, clarified that the validity of the provision is upheld subject to the decision of the Constitution bench where the issue relating to Right to Privacy and data leakage due to Aadhaar-PAN linkage is under consideration. The Court said that till the said issue is decided there will be a partial stay on the operation of proviso to sub-section (2) of Section 139AA of the Act, that says that the PAN allotted to the person will be deemed to be invalid in case of failure to intimate the Aadhaar number.

Stating that the proviso to Section 139AA(2) cannot be read retrospectively, the Court said that if failure to intimate the Aadhaar number renders PAN void ab initio with the deeming provision that the PAN allotted would be invalid as if the person had not applied for allotment of PAN would have rippling effect of unsettling settled rights of the parties. It has the effect of undoing all the acts done by a person on the basis of such a PAN. It may have even the effect of incurring other penal consequences under the Act for earlier period on the ground that there was no PAN registration by a particular assessee. The Court also said that the Parliament may consider as to whether there is a need to tone down the effect of the said proviso by limiting the consequences.

As per the order of the Court, those who have already enrolled themselves under Aadhaar scheme would comply with the requirement of sub-section (2) of Section 139AA of the Act. Those who still want to enrol are free to do so. However, those assessees who are not Aadhaar card holders and do not comply with the provision of Section 139(2), their PAN cards be not treated as invalid for the time being. [Binoy Viswam v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 647, decided on 09.06.2017]