In an interesting, refreshing and fresh development, the Madhya Pradesh High Court Bench at Gwalior in a notable judgment titled Tilakraj Rajoriya Vs State of M.P. in M.Cr.C. No. 11643/2020 that was delivered on June 24, 2020 has in its recent order while granting bail to a person accused of assaulting a minor girl with intent to outrage her modesty has directed him to plant saplings along with tree guard, as one of the conditions for bail. The accused had been booked under Sections 354 of the IPC and 7/8 of POSCO Act. The court allowed his bail application in view of the Covid-19 situation, on his furnishing a personal bond of Rs 50,000/- in addition to the condition to plant saplings.
To start with, this latest, landmark and extremely laudable judgment authored by Justice Anand Pathak of Gwalior Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court sets the ball rolling after noting that the matter is heard through video conferencing that, “The applicant has filed this second bail application u/S. 439 Cr.P.C for grant of bail. Applicant has been arrested on 22.01.2020 by Police Station Dehat, District Ashoknagar in connection with Crime No. 27/2020 registered for offence under Sections 354 of IPC and 7/8 of POSCO Act. His earlier bail application was dismissed as withdrawn vide order dated 12.02.2020 passed in MCRC.No.6214/2020.”
To put things in perspective, it is then brought out that, “It is the submission of learned counsel for the applicant that false case has been registered against him and he is suffering confinement since 22.01.2020 whereas charge-sheet has already been filed. Now, applicant learnt the lesson hard way and would not commit the same nature of offence in future and would not involve in any criminal activity and become a better citizen. He undertakes to cooperate in trial and would not be a source of embarrassment or harassment to her and her family in any manner and would not move in the vicinity of prosecutrix. Applicant who is young/middle aged/able bodied responsible citizen undertakes to become corona warrior for social cause looking to the Covid-19 Pandemic situation. He further undertakes to perform community service and serve the national cause by making contribution in PM Care Fund and install Arogya Setu App. On these grounds, prayer for bail has been made.”
As anticipated, the counsel for the State opposed the prayer and prayed for dismissal of bail application as pointed out also in this judgment. After hearing the learned counsel for the parties at length through video conferencing and considering the arguments advanced by them, it is then pointed out that, “Considering the facts of the case in detail, however, considering the fact that in view of Covid-19 pandemic, without commenting on the merits of the case, it is hereby directed that the applicant shall be released on bail on his furnishing personal bond of Rs. 50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand only) with one solvent surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of trial Court and that he will have to install Arogya Setu App, if not already installed. He will not move in the vicinity of prosecutrix and would not extend any threat, intimidation or allurement to the victim or her family. He will not involve in any criminal activity otherwise benefit of this bail application shall be immediately withdrawn.”
As it turned out, it is then envisaged that, “In view of COVID-19 pandemic, the jail authorities are directed that before releasing the applicant, his preliminary Corona Virus test shall be conducted and if he is found negative, then the concerned local administration shall make necessary arrangements for sending the applicant to his house, and if he is found positive then the applicant shall be immediately sent to concerned hospital for his treatment as per medical norms. If the applicant is fit for release and if he is in a position to make his personal arrangements, then he shall be released only after taking due travel permission from local administration. After release, the applicant is further directed to strictly follow all the instructions which may be issued by the Central Govt./State Govt. or Local Administration for combating the Covid-19. If it is found that the applicant has violated any of the instructions (whether general or specific) issued by the Central Govt./State Govt. or Local Administration, then this order shall automatically lose its effect, and the Local Administration/Police Authorities shall immediately take him in custody and would send him to the same jail from where he was released.”
Be it noted, it is then laid down explicitly and elegantly that, “This order will remain operative subject to compliance of the following conditions by the applicant:-
1. The applicant will comply with all the terms and conditions of the bond executed by him;
2. The applicant will cooperate in the investigation/trial, as the case may be;
3. The applicant will not indulge himself in extending inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him/her from disclosing such facts to the Court or to the Police Officer, as the case may be;
4. The applicant shall not commit an offence similar to the offence of which he is accused;
5. The applicant will not seek unnecessary adjournments during the trial; and
6. The applicant will not leave India without previous permission of the trial Court/Investigating Officer, as the case may be.
7. The applicant will inform the SHO of concerned police station about his residential address in the said area and it would be the duty of the Public Prosecutor to send E-copy of this order to SHO of concerned police station for information.
8. Applicant shall deposit Rs. 2500/- within a month in PM CARES Fund having Account Number : 2121PM20202, IFSC Code: SBIN0000691, SWIFT Code : SBININBB104, Name of Bank & Branch : State Bank of India, New Delhi Main Branch from the date of release of applicant.
9. The applicant through his counsel undertakes that applicant shall register himself with the District Magistrate concerned [Ashoknagar] as “Covid-19 Warriors” by entering his name in a Register named as COVID-19 WARRIOR REGISTER to be maintained in the o/o the concerned DM who in turn shall assign work to applicant of Covid-19 disaster management at the discretion of District Magistrate, by taking all prescribed precautions. The nature, quantum and duration of the work assigned is left to the wisdom of District Magistrate, concerned. This Court expects that the applicant shall rise to the occasion to serve the society in this time of crises to discharge his fundamental duty of rendering national service when called upon to do so, as per Article 51-A(d) of the Constitution.
10. As per the undertaking given by learned counsel on behalf of the applicant, it is hereby directed that appellant shall plant 1 sapling (either fruit bearing trees or Neem and Peepal) alongwith tree guards or has to make arrangement for fencing for protection of the trees because it is the duty of the appellant not only to plant the saplings but also to nurture them. He shall plant saplings/trees preferably of 6-8 ft., so that they would grow into full fledged trees at an early time. For ensuring the compliance, he shall have to submit all the photographs of plantation of trees/saplings before the concerned trial Court alongwith a report within 30 days from the date of release of the applicant. The report shall be submitted by the appellant before the trial Court concerned on 1st of every month.”
Importantly, it is then directed by the Court that, “It is the duty of the trial Court to monitor the progress of the trees because human existence is at stake because of the environmental degradation and Court cannot put a blind fold over any casualness shown by the appellant regarding progress of the trees and the compliance made by the appellant by placing a short report before this Court every quarterly (every three months), which shall be placed under the caption “Direction” before this Court. Any default shall disentitle the appellant from benefit of bail.”
More importantly, it is then further directed that, “The appellant is directed to plant these saplings/trees at the place of his choice, if he intends to protect the trees on his own cost by providing tree guards or fencing, for which appellant shall have to bear necessary expenses for plantation of the trees and their measures for safeguard.”
Most importantly, it is then also made clear that, “This direction is made by this Court as a test case to address the Anatomy of Violence and Evil by process of Creation and a step towards Alignment with Nature. The natural instinct of compassion, service, love and mercy needs to be rekindled for human existence as they are innately engrained attributes of human existence. It is not the question of Plantation of a Tree but the Germination of a Thought.”
Furthermore, it is then held that, “The District Magistrate concerned is directed to intimate this Court in case condition No. 9 is not complied with and on receipt of any such intimation, Registry is directed to list the matter before appropriate bench as PUD.”
Finally, it is then held that, “E-copy of this order be sent to the trial Court concerned for compliance, if possible, for the office of this Court. Certified copy/e-copy as per rules/directions.”
In conclusion, it may well be said that the exemplary condition imposed for bail of planting saplings along with tree guard is quite laudable and must be applauded in no uncertain terms. Just recently, we also saw the Orissa High Court imposing similar condition of planting hundred saplings as a condition of bail. This itself proves that it is a good, bold and innovative way of imposing conditions for bail by which our environment also will gain immeasurably! No denying it!
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TELANGANA HIGH COURT: PLACE OF RESIDENCE OF THE ARBITRATOR WOULD NOT BE THE SEAT OF ARBITRATION
The High Court of Telangana in the case M/s S. Square Infra v. Garneni Chalapathi Rao observed and held that the place of residence of the arbitrator would not determine the seat of arbitration.
The Single bench comprising of Justice P. Sree Sudha observed and held that merely because an arbitrator residing in Hyderabad has been appointed, it does not mean that only the Courts at Hyderabad would have the jurisdiction to decide all the matters arising out of arbitration agreement.
Facts of the Case:
In the present case, after the dispute arouse between the parties, the respondent sent a letter to the petitioner for nomination an arbitrator who is residing in Hyderabad. To its said notice, petitioner replied and declined the appointment of the arbitrator for the reason that there was no dispute which required the appointment of an arbitrator.
A suit was filled by the respondent before the VII Additional District Judge Sangareddy, seeking for relief of permanent injunction. An application was filled by the petitioner under Section 8 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act and the parties referred to the arbitration.
An application was filled by the respondent under section 9 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act before the Principal District Judge, Sangareddy, Subsequently, an application was filled by the petitioner for transferring the application from the Court at Sangareddy to Court at Hyderabad.
Contentions made by Parties:
On the following grounds, the petitioner sought the transfer of application.
An arbitrator residing in Hyderabad was nominated to respondent. However, only the courts in Hyderabad would have the jurisdiction to decide all the matters arising out of the arbitration.
It was stated that the nomination of an arbitrator residing in Hyderabad amounted to designating Hyderabad as the Seat of Arbitration.
On the following grounds, the respondent countered the submissions of the petitioner:
An application was filled by the petitioner under Section 8 of the A&C Act before the Court at Sangareddy. However, in terms of Section 42 of the A&C Act, only the court at Sangareddy would have the jurisdiction to decide all the matters arising out of arbitration.
The Court held that the seat of arbitration would not be decide by the place of residence of the arbitrator.
The argument of the petitioner was rejected by the court that since the respondent had initially nominated an arbitrator residing in Hyderabad, the Hyderabad Court would have the jurisdiction.
The court stated that merely because a party has nominated an arbitrator who resides in Hyderabad, the same would not designate Hyderabad as the Seat of arbitration in absence of any designation of the seat under the arbitration agreement.
It was further stated by the court that the application filled by the petitioner filled under Section 8 application before the Court at Sangareddy consequent to which the parties were referred to arbitration. Therefore, the Court would have the jurisdiction, in terms of Section 42 of the A&C Act.
The Transfer petition was dismissed by the Court.
DELHI HIGH COURT REMANDS IN THE MATTER BACK TO ASSESSING OFFICER AFTER SETTING ASIDE: JUST 3 DAYS’ TIME GRANTED TO RESPOND TO THE INCOME TAX NOTICE
The Delhi High Court in the case Shubham Thakral Vs ITO, the Delhi bench comprising of Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora observed and remanded the matter back to the assessing officer as just 3 days’ time was granted to respond to the income tax notice.
In the present case, the petitioner/assessee assailed the notice under Section 148A (b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 and the order passed under Section 148A (d) for the Assessment Year 2018–19.
It was contended by the assessee that only three days’ time was granted to the assessee to respond, as against the mandatory statutory period of at least seven days. However, despite of the fact that the annexure attached to the notice gave the petitioner eight days to respond, the e-filing submission portal was closed earlier, in violation of Section 148A (b) of the Income Tax Act.
Furthermore, the petitioner relied on the decision of Delhi High Court, in the case of Shri Sai Co-operative Thrift and Credit Society Ltd versus ITO, the Delhi High Court in the case held that under Section 148A (b), a minimum time of seven days has to be granted to the assessee to file its reply to the show cause notice.
No objections were raised by the department/respondent to the matter being returned to the Assessing Officer for a fresh decision in accordance with the law. Accordingly, the court set aside the order passed under Section 148A (d) for the Assessment Year 2018-19. The Assessing officer was directed by the court to pass a fresh reasoned order in accordance with the law after considering the reply of the petitioner, which was directed to be filed within a week.
ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT: ADVOCATES SHOULDN’T ADVISE CLIENTS TO REAGITATE MATTERS IF THERE IS NO ERROR APPARENT ON FACE OF RECORD
The Allahabad High Court in the case Malhan and 17 Others Vs. State Of U.P. And Another observed and stated that an advocate should be given such a piece of advice when there is no error apparent on the face of the record nor was there any reason why the matter be re-agitated it was finally decided.
The bench comprising of Justice Dr. Kaushal Jayendra Thaker and Justice Vivek Varma observed while dealing with the civil review application wherein the bench observed the concerned advised his client to make a chance by filling the instant review application after a period of six year.
In the present case, a civil review petition was filled along with the application under section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963., the application was filled for seeking condonation of delay in filling the application, the application was filled with a delay of six years i.e., 1900 days.
It was stated by the applicant that the review application could not be filled due to the blockage of public transportation on account of the COVID-19 guidelines.
Moreover, the court observed that the appeals were disposed of by the Apex Court in the year 2016 and only in 2020-2021, the pandemic struck India and furthermore, it cannot be said that due to the COVID guidelines the public transportation was blocked and however, the applicant could not come to Allahabad Court to file review.
Further, it was stated that the court asked the counsel for the review applicants to explain the delay in filling the review application, to which the council gave a strange reply that the counsel had advised the clients that they must take a chance by filling this review application after a period of six years.
Following this, the Court observed:
The court noted that an advocate should not give such an advice when there is no error apparent on the face of record nor was there any other reason that when the matter was finally decided, why the matter be re-agitated.
It was stated that the court has no reason to condone the delay of six years as the same was not explained as to why this review application is filed after such an inordinate delay.
The Court opined that the lapse in approaching the court within the time is understandable but a total inaction for long period of delay without any explanation whatsoever and that too in absence of showing any sincere attempt on the part of suiter, this would add to his negligence and the relevant factor going against him.
The court observed that careless and reckless is shown by the review applicant in approaching the court and due to the condemnation of delay in the application with a token cost of Rs.10,000/, the court dismissed the application.
SUPREME COURT CRITICISES HIGH COURT: POSTING ANTICIPATORY BAIL PLEA AFTER TWO MONTHS CAN’T BE APPRECIATED
The Supreme Court in the case Sanjay versus The State (NCT of Delhi) & ANR observed and stated that in the case where personal liberty is involved, the court is expected to pass orders at the earliest while taking into account the merits of the matter in one way or other. Further, the top court observed that posting of an application for anticipatory bail after a couple of months cannot be appreciated by the court.
The bench comprising of Justice C. T. Ravikumar and the Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia was hearing a June 2 SLP against the Delhi High Court in a petition filed under section 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B, 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 for seeking anticipatory bail in a 2022 FIR, a notice is issued. It was stated that the learned APP for the state is present and accepts the notice and seeks time to file status report. The High Court in the impugned order stated that Let the status report be filed by the state prior to the next date with an advance copy to the learned counsel for the petitioner. The matter is to be list on 31.08.2022.
It was noted by the bench comprising of Justice Ravikumar and the Justice Dhulia that in the captioned Special Leave Petition, the grievance of the petitioner is that the application for anticipatory bail moved by the petitioner, being Crl. M.A. No. 11480 of 2022 in Bail Application No. 1751 of 2022 without granting any interim protection, was posted to 31.08.2022. on 24.05.2022, the bail application was moved on.
However, the bench asserted that the bench is of the considered view that in a matter involving personal liberty, the Court is expected to to pass orders at the earliest while taking into account the merits of the matter in one way or other.
It was declared by the bench that at any rate posting an application for anticipatory bail after a couple of months cannot be appreciated by the court.
Further, the bench requested to the High Court to dispose off the application for anticipatory bail on its own merits and in accordance with law expeditiously, preferably within a period of three weeks after reopening of the Court. Adding to it, the bench stated that if the main application could not be disposed off, for any reason, within the stipulated time, relief sought for in the interlocutory and on and on its own merits, the application shall be considered.
While disposing of the SLP, the bench directed in its order that we grant interim protection from arrest to the petitioner herein, Till such time.
IN THE CIRP OF BOMBAY RAYON FASHIONS LTD, NATIONAL COMPANY APPELLATE TRIBUNAL (NCLT) STAYS THE CONSTITUTION OF COC
The National Company Appellate Tribunal (NCLT) in the case National Company Appellate Tribunal (NCLT), comprising of the bench of Justice M. Venugopal (Judicial Member) and the technical member, Shri Kanthi Narahari observed while adjudicating an appeal filed in Prashant Agarwal v Vikash Parasprampuria, has stayed in the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) the constitution of the Committee of Creditors (COC) of Bombay Rayon Fashions Ltd. on 15.06.2022, the order was passed.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The Operational Creditor or the Respondent, Vikash Parasprampuria is the sole Proprietor of Chiranjilal Yarn Traders and the respondent had supplied goods to a public listed company i.e., Bombay Rayon Fashions Limited (“Corporate Debtor”). The Operational Creditor raised nine invoices which was accepted by the Corporate Debtor without any demur and it was noted that the dispute, protest and part payments were also made towards certain invoices.
The reminder letter was sent by the Operational Creditor when the Corporate Debtor failed to release balance payments letters followed by a Demand Notice under Section 8 of the IBC dated 05.11.2020, which was delivered to the Corporate Debtor but no response was received from the Corporate Debtor.
MUMBAI NCLT PROCEEDINGS
An application under section 9 of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, 2016 was filled by the Operational Creditor before the NCLT Mumbai Bench, seeking to initiation of CIRP against the Corporate Debtor, for defaulting in payment of Rs.1,60,87,838/-, wherein the principal amount was Rs. 97,87,220/- and remaining was interest. 01.11.2020, was the default date.
the Operational Creditor placed reliance so as to justify the compliance of Rs. 1 Crore threshold for initiating CIRP of the NCLT judgement in the case Pavan Enterprises v. Gammon India, it was held in the case that interest is payable to the Operational of Financial Creditor then the debt will include interest, in terms of any agreement. However, by including the interest component the threshold of Rs. 1 Crore was being me and no reply has been filled by the Corporate Debtor.
An order dated 07.06.2022, the NCLT Mumbai Bench observed that the Corporate Debtor had time and again by its letter, invoices and by making part payment acknowledged its liability.
It was stated by the bench that the application under Section 9 was complete in all respects as required by law and there was a default in the payment of debt amount by the Corporate Debtor. The bench accepted the application and the CIRP was initiated against the Corporate Debtor, Mr. Santanu T Ray, Interim Resolution Professional was appointed.
An application was filled by the appellant, Prashant Agarwal before the NCLT against the order dated 07.06.2022.
The settlement was proposed by the Respondent by submitting that if it would be satisfied if the Appellant pays the principal amount along with the CIRP cost towards settlement and on the settlement proposal, the appellant is yet to seek instructions.
Accordingly, the bench in the CIRP of the Corporate Debtor stayed the constitution of CoC and the CIRP process would otherwise continue.
The Appellant to accept or reject the settlement proposal of the Respondent, the bench listed the matter on 07.07.2022.
ESTOPPEL CANNOT OVERRIDE LAW: SUPREME COURT ACCEPTS UNSUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES’ CHALLENGES TO SELECTION PROCESS HELD AGAINST REGULATIONS
The Supreme Court in the case Krishna Rai (Dead) Through LRs versus The Benarus Hindu University & Others observed and held that the principle of estoppel or acquiescence would not be applied in a selection process when the principle of estoppel is held contrary to the relevant rules.
The bench comprising of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Vikram Nath observed and reiterated that that the procedure in the relevant service manual will prevail over the principle of estoppel and the principle of estoppel cannot override in the eye of law.
An appeal was considered by bench relating to the filling up of 14 posts in Class III (Junior Clerk) in the Benarus Hindu University by way of promotion. However, the notification inviting the applications from Class IV employees for promotion to Class III had not prescribed that interview will be conducted in addition to the typing test. It was also stated that the The service rules also did not mention interview for promotion to Class III. However, it finalized 14 candidates, the Board of Examiners conducted an interview as well.
Before the Allahabad High Court, some of the candidates challenged the selection process by some candidates, who did not get selected. The candidates alleging that through the manual did not prescribe an interview and the Board of Examiners conducted the interview by “changing the rules of the game”. The Selection process was set aside by the Single bench of the High Court by holding that a grave error was committed by preparing the merit list on the basis of the interview as well.
on appeal by the BHU, the division bench of the High Court set aside the judgement of the Single bench on the ground that the petitioners without protest after having participated in the interview, the petitioners are estopped from challenging the selection process after becoming unsuccessful. The appellants approached the Supreme Court challenging the order of division bench.
The Court noted that the Supreme Court held that the division bench fell in error by applying the principle of estoppel. the Manual duly approved by the Executive Council, According to para 6.4, all Class-IV employees who had put in five years’ service and passed matriculation examination or equivalent, those employees were eligible for the promotion to the post of Junior Clerk Grade.
the departmental written test of simple English, Hindi, and Arithmetic, but could not pass the typing test, was passed by the eligible candidates and still the candidates would be eligible for promotion.
It was observed by the Court that the Board on their own changed the criteria and by introducing an interview it made it purely merit based and the merit list was also prepared on the basis of marks awarded in the type test, the written test and interview.
The Top Court said that it is settled principle that the principle of estoppel cannot override the law and the manual duly approved by the Executive Council will prevail over any such principle of estoppel or acquiescence.
The Court remarked, while referring to the precents that If the law requires something to be done in a particular manner, there can be no estoppel against law, then it must be done in that particular manner, and if it is not done in that particular manner, then in the eye of the law, it would have no existence.
It was stated that the case laws relied upon by the Division bench had no application in the facts of the present case as none of those judgments laid down states that the principle of estoppel would be above in the eye of law.
Accordingly, The judgement of the Single bench was restored and the appeal was allowed, the judgement of the division bench was set aside.
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