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Measures needed for expeditious disposal of criminal appeals in which appellants are still in custody: Orissa High Court

The court has very rightly expressed its grave concerns pertaining to the inordinate delay in the disposal of the appeals. What is most pleasing to see is that the two-judge bench of the Orissa High Court has not dithered from holding all the stakeholders responsible for the delay in the disposal of the appeal which includes not just the state but also the judiciary.

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It is a matter of grave concern that the Orissa High Court in a latest, learned, landmark and laudable judgment titled Shyam Sundar Jena vs State of Orissa in JCRLA No. 73 of 2006 has expressed its mounting concern regarding the inordinate delay in disposal of the appeals. The Bench of Justice SK Mishra and Justice Savitri Ratho hoped that appropriate measures would be taken by the State of Odisha and the High Court of Orissa “for expeditious disposal of the Criminal Appeals in which the appellants are still in custody.” Very rightly so!

To start with, Justice SK Mishra who has authored this notable judgment for himself and Justice Savitri Ratho sets the ball rolling by first and foremost pointing out in para 1 that, “In this appeal, the appellant-convict, Shyam Sundar Jena, has assailed his conviction under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860(hereinafter referred to as the “Penal Code” for brevity) and sentence of imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of Rs.1000/- (rupees one thousand), in default to pay the fine, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one month, passed by learned Addl. Sessions Judge, Jajpur in S.T. Case No.660/2003 (arising out G.R. Case No.370/2003 of the court of learned S.D.J.M., Jajpur corresponding to Binjharpur P.S. Case No.50/2003).”

While stating in brief the prosecution case, the Bench then discloses in para 2 that, “Shorn of unnecessary details, the prosecution case in brief is that the deceased-Urmila had married the appellant-accused sometime in the year 1994. At the time of marriage, a sum of Rs.20,000/-, gold chain, ring etc., were given as per the demand made from the side of the appellant. After the marriage, the appellant further demanded a sum of Rs.10,000/- and he used to assault Urmila and force her to bring the said amount as dowry. The matter was settled on a number of occasions by the village gentries. It is alleged that on 7.7.2003 night the appellant forcibly opened the door of the room where Urmila had slept with her son. The appellant poured kerosene and set her on fire with a match stick. Thereafter Urmila screamed and her brother-in-law came. He abused and slapped the appellant. Urmila had sustained extensive burn injuries and implicated the appellant in the said manner before others who arrived at the spot. She was shifted to District Headquarters Hospital, Jajpur in a trekker. In the same night one Lalu Jena @ Babaji came and informed Ghanashyam(brother of Urmila) about the shifting of Urmila to the said Hospital. Thereafter after advice of the Doctor, Urmila was shifted to S.C.B. Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack.”

To be sure, the Bench then states in para 3 that, “On 10.4.2003 Ghanashyam submitted F.I.R. before the Officer-in-charge, Binjharpur Police Station. In pursuance of the F.I.R. lodged, one Basanta Kumar Jena, Officer-in-charge of Binjharpur P.S. rushed to S.C.B. Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack and found Urmila to have sustained extensive burn injuries on her body. He took steps for recording the dying declaration of Urmila and Urmila expired on 13.4.2003.”

To put things in perspective, the Bench then reveals in para 4 that, “During course of investigation, the Investigating Officer issued requisition for medical examination of the appellant and his son. He seized the wearing apparels of the deceased Urmila and a pillow. Sarat Kumar Nathasharma, S.I. of Police, Bijnjharpur P.S. (another Investigating Officer) took step for examination of those articles by the Director, State Forensic Science Laboratory, Rasulgarh. After completion of investigation, the Investigation Officer submitted charge sheet against the appellant.”

Quite significantly, the Bench then envisages in para 13 that, “In this case, the evidence of P.W.26- Nigamananda Panda, the Executive Magistrate, is of much importance. He has categorically stated on oath that he proceeded to the S.C.B. Medical College and Hospital on being directed by the Collector, Cuttack. He consulted Dr. P.K.Mallik-P.W.25, who informed the Magistrate that the deceased-Urmila is mentally and physically fit to give dying declaration. Thereafter the Executive Magistrate put questions to the deceased about her name, her father’s name, her native village, the marital village, her age and as to when her marriage was performed. The Magistrate further stated that she gave rational answers to the questions. Therefore, he was satisfied that the deceased was in fit state of mind. Thereafter, the Magistrate started questioning the deceased about the occurrence as to how she got the burn injuries and then recorded verbatim, the answer given by the deceased in his own hand. He read over the contents of the dying declaration recorded by him and had questioned the deceased if it was correctly written to which she had replied in affirmative. She was not in a position to append signature on the statement and her left hand palm was burnt. So he took the right hand thumb impression of the deceased on the statement, i.e. Ext.4. Though cross examined at length, in our opinion, no major contradiction has been pointed out by the defence. Though, it appears that there are some difference between the evidence of P.Ws.25 and 26 as to when the opinion of the Doctor was given, it is a very hyper technical argument, which cannot be given much weightage.”

Be it noted, the Bench then also makes it clear in para 15 that, “The submissions of the learned counsel for the appellant that the dying declaration is not in question answer form and hence it is not properly recorded are also of no value. The ratio laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court is that there is no format prescribed for recording of dying declaration and it depends on facts of each case whether the dying declaration has been properly recorded or not and whether it can be relied upon as the sole basis for conviction. We are of the opinion that the evidence of P.Ws.6,7,22,25 and 26 read together leaves no doubt in the mind of the Court that the dying declaration is true and voluntary and these five witnesses have not been cross examined to show that they have faulted while recording the declaration by P.W.26 or that these witnesses are not reliable. P.W.26, the Executive Magistrate recorded the dying declaration of the deceased on 10.4.2003 on the requisition made by P.W.22, the I.O., on being certified regarding the mental and physical fitness of the deceased-declarant by P.W.25 Dr. P.K.Mallik in presence of P.Ws.6 and 7, namely Pramila Jena and Prasant Kumar Parida, who are also signatories to the dying declaration. So in all fitness of things, we do not think this is a case where the dying declaration should be viewed with suspicious and the conviction should be over turned into a judgment of acquittal.”

Going forward, the Bench then also makes it clear further in para 16 that, “Moreover, this dying declaration has been relied upon by the learned Addl. Sessions Judge, who had the opportunity of observing the demeanor of the witnesses when he recorded the evidence of those witnesses. His subjective findings of reliability on P.Ws.6,7,22,25 and 26 should not be lightly brushed aside by the appellate court.”

It is worth noting that it is then observed in para 17 that, “The learned counsel for the appellant submitted that P.W.1 is the informant in this case. He has stated in the F.I.R. that on 09.4.2003 when the condition of her sister became better he could learn from her that the above mentioned accused (named in the FIR) has tortured her both physically and mentally and then put kerosene on her body and set her on fire. In the F.I.R. he referred the names of six accused persons including the present appellant. He has admitted in the cross examination that he has mentioned the name of the appellant along with five others of his family members, but he denied the suggestion that he has done it deliberately to harass the accused persons.”

What’s more, the Bench then says with consummate ease in para 18 that, “In our considered opinion this will not adversely effect the probative value of the dying declaration as admittedly P.W.1 was not present at time of recording of the dying declaration. Secondly, he had talked to the deceased on 10th and from whatever impression he has got he lodged the F.I.R. So it cannot be taken as a major lacuna in the prosecution evidence to throw out the dying declaration, which has been recorded by an Executive Magistrate, with a medical certificate regarding the mental and physical fitness of the declarant and which has been accepted as good evidence of the murder of the deceased by the learned Addl. Sessions Judge. In that view of the matter, we are not inclined to allow the appeal.”

Moving on, the Bench then notes in para 19 that, “The alternative submission that the appellant is in custody for more than 17 years and six months and, therefore, the sentence should be remitted to the period undergone. In the case of UNION OF INDIA VS. V.SRIHARAN ALIAS MURUGAN AND OTHERS (supra), the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that the sentence of imprisonment for life in terms of Section 53 read with Section 45 of the Penal Code only means imprisonment for rest of the life of the prisoner subject, however, to the right to claim remission etc. as provided under Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution of India to be exercised by the President and the Governor of the State and also as provided under Section 432 of the Cr.P.C.”

While explaining the types of remissions, the Bench then observes in para 20 that, “As far as remissions are concerned, it consists of two types. One type of remission is what is earned by a prisoner under the Prison Rules or other relevant rules based on his/her good behaviour or such other stipulations prescribed therein. The other remission is the grant of it by the appropriate Government in exercise of its power under Section 432 of the Cr.P.C. Therefore, in the latter case when a remission of the substantive sentence is granted under Section 432 Cr.P.C., then and then only giving credit to the earned remission can take place and not otherwise. Similarly in the case of a life imprisonment, meaning thereby the entirety of one’s life, unless there is a commutation of such sentence for any specific period, there would be no scope to count the earned remission. In either case, it will again depend upon an answer to the second part of the first question based on the principles laid in Swamy Sraddananda (2) Vs. State of Karnataka; (2008) 13 SCC 767. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has further held that convict undergoing the life imprisonment can always apply to the authority concerned for obtaining remission either under Articles 72 or 161 of the Constitution or under Section 432 of the Cr.P.C. and the authority would be obliged to consider the same reasonably subject to the principles laid down in the case of Swamy Sraddananda (2) (supra). The right to apply and invoke the powers under these provisions does not mean that he can claim such benefit as a matter of right based on any arithmetical calculation. All that he can claim is a right that his case be considered. Ultimate decision whether remissions be granted or not is entirely left to the discretion of the authorities concerned, which discretion ought to be exercised in a manner known to law. The only right of the convict i.e. recognized is a right to apply to the competent authority and have his case considered in a fair and reasonable manner.”

For the sake of clarity, the Bench then elucidates in para 21 that, “We examined the notification issued by the State Government in this regard. The Government of Odisha in Law Department issued a notification bearing No.4817/L./IVJ.7/08(pt) Dt.5.5.10 regarding resolution of reconstituting the Board to review of sentence awarded to a prisoner and to recommend his premature release. The State Sentence Review Board has been constituted which is to meet at least once in a quarter at Bhubaneswar. The eligibility for premature release is quoted here in below:

“Every convicted prisoner whether male or female undergoing sentence of life imprisonment and covered by the provisions of Section 433A Cr.P.C. shall be eligible to be considered for premature release from the prison immediately after serving out the sentence of 14 years of actual imprisonment i.e. without the remissions.

It is, therefore, clarified that completion of 14 years in prison by itself would not entitle a convict to automatic release from the prison and the State Sentence Review Board shall have the discretion to release a convict at an appropriate time in all cases considering the circumstances in which the crime was committed and other relevant factors like;

(a) Whether the convict has lost his potential for committing crime considering his overall conduct in jail during the 14 years incarceration;

(b) The possibility of reclaiming the convict as a useful member of the society; and

(c) Socio-economic condition of the convicts family. Section 433A was enacted to deny premature release before completing 14 years of actual incarceration to such convicts as stand convicted of a capital offence.xxx””

For the sake of further clarification, the Bench then observes in para 22 that, “However, certain categories are mentioned in the said notification by way of the exceptions to the 14 years rule, in such cases, their cases shall be considered only after 20 years including remission. The period of incarceration inclusive of remission even in such cases should not exceed 25 years. These cases include cases of convicts imprisoned for life for murder with rape, murder with dacoity, murder involving an offence under the Protection of Civil Rights Act, murder of a child below 14 years of age, multiple murder, cases of gangsters, contract killers, smugglers and convicts whose sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment.”

As a corollary, it is then stated in para 23 that, “Thus, we are of the opinion that though the Courts do not have jurisdiction to pass an order for a remission of imprisonment of life to any other kind of sentence, but it is open for appellant to make an application to the proper authority in the State of Odisha, the Principal Secretary, Department of Home, Government of Odisha. So, we give liberty to the appellant to make an application to that effect to the concerned authority for remission of his sentence to the period already undergone. In this connection, the correctional authorities, more particularly the Prison Welfare Officer, shall render effective service to the appellant to make a proper representation before the proper authority designated by the State of Odisha. We also hope and trust that if any such application is made by the appellant, the authority shall take a decision as early as possible preferably within a period of sixty days of the receipt of the application regarding remission in terms of the principles laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Swamy Sraddananda (2) (supra) and in the case of UNION OF INDIA VS. V.SRIHARAN ALIAS MURUGAN AND OTHERS (supra) and the notification issued by the State Government.”

While dwelling on the delay, the Bench then quite forthrightly states in para 24 that, “As regarding the delay in disposal of the appeal is concerned, we are constraint to observe that because of things or matters not in the hands of the judiciary, the appeals are being taken up at a belated stage for which we consider all the stake holders including the judiciary responsible for the same. But at the same time we do not say that judiciary is alone responsible for delay in disposal of the cases. We also rely upon the observations made by brother Hon’ble Shri Justice Sangam Kumar Sahoo in the case of Managobinda Mohapatra Vs. State of Odisha; (2020) 79 OCR 787 (Para-1) and in the case of Nitya @ Nityananda Behera Vs. State of Odisha; (2020) 80 OCR 89 (para-15).”

Now coming to the concluding paras. Para 25 states that, “With such observation, the JCRLA is dismissed.” Finally, para 26 then concludes this notable judgment on an optimistic note by observing that, “However, we hope and trust that appropriate measures should be taken by the State of Odisha and the High Court of Orissa for expeditious disposal of the Criminal Appeals in which the appellants are still in custody.”

On a concluding note, it must be said that the Orissa High Court has very rightly expressed its grave concerns pertaining to the inordinate delay in the disposal of the appeals. What is really most pleasing to see is that the two Judge Bench of Orissa High Court comprising of Justice SK Mishra and Justice Savitri Ratho have not dithered from holding all the stakeholders responsible for the delay in the disposal of the appeal which includes not just the State but the judiciary also even though it has conceded that judiciary alone is not responsible for the delay in the disposal of the cases.

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Legally Speaking

No need for a NOC to transfer flats built on land leased to the developer: SC

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Supreme Court

The Maharashtra government cannot require a “no objection certificate” from the collector in order to register the transfer of flats in cooperative societies built on land not provided directly by the state, the Supreme Court ruled last week.

The Court was hearing a petition filed by the state government challenging a decision issued by the Bombay High Court on September 29, 2009, which held that the state could not insist on payment of a premium and the issuance of a NOC for registering the transfer of plots when there is clear evidence that the land was allotted first to builders who built flats and then sold it to purchasers. Following that, the owners formed a cooperative society.

The HC decision was based on a petition filed by Aspi Chinoy, a senior advocate in Mumbai, and the Cuffe Parade Residents Association, who were residents of the 22-story Jolly Maker Apartments.

The top court bench of justices BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna dismissed the state’s appeal on Friday, “Since the land was not allotted to a society but to a builder on lease, who has constructed flats for private individuals, who have subsequently formed a Cooperative Society, the 1983 Resolution and 1999 Resolution would not be applicable to the members of such a society.”

The state had relied on two resolutions, dated May 12, 1983 and July 9, 1999, to levy a premium as a condition for granting permission for flat transfers.

The Resolution of 1983 provided for the grant of land at reduced rates to various categories of co-operative societies.

Following the 1983 Resolution, the government issued a modified resolution in 1999 that applied to co-operative societies to whom government lands were sanctioned at reduced rates.

Chinoy had approached the HC, questioning the resolutions’ relevance to their plot. He had challenged the collector’s letter of June 27, 2000 to the sub-registrar, Bombay City, Old Custom House, directing him not to register any transaction involving the transfer of flats in the buildings located in B.B.R. Block Nos. 3 and 5, Nariman Point and Cuffe Parade, Bombay, without first obtaining a NOC from the collector.

According to the residents, their building dates back to 1971, when the state government solicited bids for the lease of Plot Nos.93, 94, 99, 100, and 121 from Block V Back Bay Reclamation Estate. In response to the notice, M/s. Aesthetic Builders Pvt. Ltd. successfully won the bid and completed the construction of flats. On December 12, 1975, the building’s occupancy certificate was issued. Two years later, the owners established the Varuna Premises Cooperative Society Limited.

The bench said, “The present case is not a case where the land is allotted to a co-operative society by the government. The land was leased out to the builder, who was the successful bidder and after the ownership of flats was transferred to the private individuals, a society of the flat owners was formed.” The judges also lifted the stay on the refund order issued by the Supreme Court.

Chinoy claimed that the flat in which he lives was first sold to A Madhavan in 1972 and then to Reshmidevi Agarwal in 1978.

Chinoy then entered the picture by signing an agreement with Agarwal in December 2020 in exchange for five shares in the society.

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Seeking centre’s response on plea for digitisation of medico-legal documents: Madras High Court

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The Madras High Court in the case Dr. Mohamed Khader Meeran A.S v. State of Tamil Nadu observed and has recently sought the response of the Central and the State government on a plea seeking computerisation of medical records having legal importance, including postmortem report, injury report/ accident, etc.
The bench comprising of Chief Justice T Raja and Justice D Krishnakumar heard the case.
It was submitted by the petitioner, Dr Mohammed Khader Meeran that Medico Legal Examination and Postmortem Reporting (MedLeaPR) is a software developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to issue various medico-legal reports and certificates digitally and to store the data in cloud storage in the encrypted form. Presently, the software is being used by many states and union territories in the country.
It was also directed by Madras High Court to implement this software in the state of Tamil Nadu by January 1st 2021. Thus, even though more than an year has passed, no effort has been made by any authority to implement the same, it was averred. The petitioner added that there is no standard proforma that exists in the State.
It was also contended by him that the present proforma is not at all at par with the standards prescribed by the Supreme Court in the case Samira Kohli Vs Dr. Prabha Manchanda And Anr., Civil Appeal No.1949 of 2004.
Further, the petitioner also submitted that documents like Injury Report, Post-Mortem Report (including viscera/chemical analysis report), report of examination after Sexual assault, age estimation reports have legal importance. However, if these are computerised, it would increase the efficiency of hospital administration, governments and the judiciary also.
The petitioner seek directions from the court to implement this software in all the Government hospitals.

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Bail can’t be cancelled without giving notice to accused, giving him an opportunity of being heard: Allahabad High Court

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The Allahabad High Court in the case Rajendra Kumar and 2 Others v. State Of U.P. Thru Prin Secy Home And Another observed that the cancellation of bail cannot be done without giving notice to the accused and giving him an opportunity of being heard.
The bench comprising of Justice Ajai Kumar Srivastava-I observed and has set aside the order of the Sessions Judge, Raebareli cancelling the bail granted earlier to Rajendra Kumar and 2 others in connection with a criminal case.
It was noted by the High Court that the impugned order cancelling the bail was passed without issuing notice to the accused/applicants and without affording them a reasonable and sufficient opportunity of hearing and the same was patently illegal being in flagrant violation of the rulings of the Supreme Court.
With this regard, it was also referred by the court to Apex Court’s rulings in the cases of Samarendra Nath Bhattacharjee vs. State of W.B. and another case of (2004) 11 SCC 165, Mehboob Dawood Shaikh vs. State of Maharashtra (2004) 2 SCC 362, and the case P.K. Shaji alias Thammanam Shaji vs. State of Kerala.
In the present case the accused/applicants were granted bail vide by the Sessions Judge, Raebareli on November 22, 2021. Later, the court was informed that the accused allegedly threatened the witnesses and the complainant to desist from prosecuting the case after being granted bail.
The court finds that the aforesaid conduct of the applicants was violative of the conditions of bail subject to which they were enlarged on bail, it has been directed by the trial court that the applicants be taken into custody and also passed the impugned order cancelling the bail granted to the applicants.
The Applicant challenging the order, moved the Court arguing that in this case and their bail was cancelled without giving them any opportunity of being heard.
The court noted that it is a settled law that once bail has been granted by a competent court after due consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case and the same should not be cancelled in a mechanical manner without there being any supervening circumstance(s) which are not conducive to the fair trial.
However, it was not made clear by the court that trial court would be at liberty to issue notice to the applicants stating therein the grounds which are to be considered by it for cancellation of bail being granted to the applicants.

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Dispute Of Unregistered Partnership Firm Can Be Referred To Arbitration, Bar U/S 69 Partnership Act Not Applicable

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The Calcutta High Court in the case Md. Wasim and Another v. M/S Bengal Refrigeration and Company and Others observed while hearing an application filed under Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (‘Arbitration Act’) for appointment of an arbitrator to resolve the dispute between the parties, wherein it was held that the bars for instituting a suit or any other proceeding under Section 69 of the Indian Partnership Act, 1932 (‘Partnership Act’) shall not be applicable to arbitral proceedings under Section 11 of the Arbitration Act.
The present case of the applicants was that, although unregistered, a partnership deed was executed between the applicants and the respondents containing an Arbitration Clause mandating the referral of all disputes and questions to a person who ahs been appointed unanimously to act as an arbitrator.
However, a dispute arose between the parties, subsequent to which, the applicants sent a notice to the respondents invoking the arbitration clause and proposing the name of an advocate as sole arbitrator to resolve the dispute. The respondent denied the appointment of an arbitrator alleging that the allegations raised by the applicants in their initial notice were false. The applicants filed the application under Section 11 of the Arbitration Act for appointment of an arbitrator, aggrieved in these circumstances,
The application was filled by the applicants and it was argued by the respondents that since the partnership firm was ‘unregistered,’ the dispute could not be referred to an arbitrator in view of the application of and the bar created by Section 69 of the Partnership Act, 1932. Further, their case was that since sub-sections (1) and (2) read with sub-section (3) of Section 69 of the Partnership Act restrict the filing of suit by any person as a partner of an unregistered firm including by means of a claim under ‘other proceedings,’ the appointment of an arbitrator could not be seek by the applicant, the partnership deed in their case being ‘unregistered.’
It was observed that Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava relied on the Supreme Court decision in Umesh Goel v. Himachal Pradesh Cooperative Group Housing Society Limited and on the Madras High Court decision in the case M/s. Jayamurugan Granite Exports v. M/s. SQNY Granites, wherein both of which held that arbitral proceedings shall not come under the expression ‘other proceedings’ of Section 69(3) of the Partnership Act, 1932 and that the ban imposed under Section 69 can have no application to arbitration proceedings and as well of the arbitral award under Section 11 of the Arbitration Act.
Accordingly, it was held by the Calcutta High Court that non-registration of the partnership firm would not attract the bar under Section 69 of the Partnership Act, so far as institution of proceedings as stated under the provision of Section 11 of the Arbitration Act is concerned.

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Supreme Court: Terms Of Invitation To Tender Are Not Open To Judiciary Scrutiny Unless They Are Arbitrary, Discriminatory Or Mala Fide

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Supreme Court

The Supreme Court in the case Airports Authority of India versus Centre for Aviation Policy observed that the terms of invitation to tender are not open to judicial scrutiny, the top court has set aside a Delhi High Court’s order which had quashed the Airport Authority of India’s tender conditions for selecting Ground Handling Agencies (GHA) agencies at Group D Airports.
The bench comprising of Justice MR Shah and the Justice Krishna Murari observed and has stated that the Delhi High Court committed a “serious error” by entertaining a writ petition at the instance of a third party- an group of advocacy called Centre For Aviation Policy -when none of the GHAs challenging the tender conditions. Thus, the writ petition should have been dismissed on the ground of locus standi (Airports Authority of India versus Centre for Aviation Policy).
The court observed that in view of the matter, it is not appreciable how respondent No.1 (CAPSR) – original writ petitioner being an NGO would have any locus standi to maintain the writ petition, wherein challenging the tender conditions in the respective RFPs. Respondent No.1 cannot be said to be an aggrieved party in the case.
The Court stated that the even on merits, the High Court should not have interfered with the tender conditions, observed the Supreme Court. While referring to various precedents regarding limited scope of judicial interference in tender conditions
Further, the court stated that as per the settled position of law, the terms and conditions of the Invitation to Tender are within the domain of the tenderer/tender making authority and are not open to judicial scrutiny, unless they are arbitrary, discriminatory or mala fide and as per the settled position of law, the terms of the Invitation to Tender are not being open to judicial scrutiny and the same being in the realm of the contract. The Government/tender/tenderer making authority must have a free hand in setting the terms of the tender.
The bench observed and has stated that the court cannot interfere with the terms of the tender prescribed by the Government because it feels that some other terms in the tender would have been wiser, fair, or logical.
It was observed that the AAI approached the Supreme Court against the order of the High Court dated July 14, 2021, by which it has allowed the said writ petition of the NGO and has struck down the decision to carry out region-wise sub-categorisation of the 49 airports falling under Group D-1 and the stipulation that only the previous work experience in respect of providing the GHS to scheduled aircrafts shall be considered and will be acceptable. It was also found by the High Court that the revised minimum Annual Turnover criteria of INR 18 crores as discriminatory and arbitrary.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court noted that the AAI explained before the High Court the rationale behind the respective conditions, namely, clustering of 49 airports into 4 region-wise sub-categories/clusters; criteria for evaluation of 36 months having experience in the past 7 years in providing 3 out of 7 Core GHS and the financial capacity and an Annual Turnover of Rs. 30 crores (modified as Rs. 18 crores) in any of the one of last three financial years.
The court stated that while having gone through the respective clauses/conditions which are held to be arbitrary and illegal by the High Court, the court is of the opinion that the same cannot be said to be malafide or/ arbitrary and/or actuated by bias. However, it was for the AAI to decide its own terms and fix the eligibility criteria.

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Court sends Waqf Board scam co-accused to 14 day judicial custody

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A Delhi court on Monday remanded Kausar Imran Siddiqui alias Laddan, co-accused in Delhi Waqf board scam case, to 14 days custody.  

AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan is the primary accused in the case and is out on bail. The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has stated that Laddan is a fund manager for Khan. The Duty Sessions Judge at Rouse Avenue Court also expressed its displeasure over the non-presence of ACB on the previous date.  

ACB had submitted to the court Ladan’s “handwriting sample” and sought 7 days of custody for him.

The court observed that the agency had not given any reasonable answer for its absence on previous occasion. Thereafter, he was sent to 14 day judicial custody.

AAP MLA was arrested for alleged irregularities in appointment in Delhi Waqf Board during his chairmanship.
Accused Kausar Imran Siddiqui alias Laddan was produced on a production warrant before the court on 27th September. He was interrogated and arrested with the permission of the court.

Laddan’s name came into the frame, when additional public prosecutor Anil Srivastava opposed Khan’s bail plea. He stated that a diary was recovered from Ladan’s house.  It was alleged that he was Khan’s fund manager.  Earlier, the (ACB) had said that money was sent to Dubai and other money transactions need to be investigated. It also stated that a large amount of money was transferred to a party via Dubai. There were 100 people who either received or paid money to Laddan. Out of these 37 people have transactions of crores of rupees.                                                                                                                                                                          

This diary also has an entry about one Zeeshan Haider, who received crores of rupees. He is also a close associate of the accused, ACB had argued. The ACB has also submitted that Laddan is a nominated functionary of a political party. He has photographs with the accused during an iftar party. Additionally, 14 crores sale deed is recovered, which is said to be a ‘Benami property’.

Previously, Ladan was in judicial custody in another case lodged at Jamia Nagar police station. He was arrested from Telangana.

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