It cannot be just glossed over that none other than the Supreme Court has in a latest, learned, laudable and landmark judgment titled Sudipta Chakrobarty & Anr. Vs. Ranaghat S.D. Hospital & Ors. in Civil Appeal No. 9404/2019 delivered as recently as on 15 February 2021 while criticising the practice of ‘reasons to follow’ orders has directed the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) to pass reasoned judgement along with the operative order. The two-judge Bench of Apex Court comprising Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Ajay Rastogi observed in no uncertain terms that in all matters before NCDRC where reasons are yet to be delivered, it must be ensured that the same are made available to the litigating parties positively within a period of two months. It merits no reiteration that the Apex Court has rightly espoused in this leading case the right of the litigants to know the reasons for the judgment for without the same it can be arbitrary, whimsical and unaccountable not serving the ends of justice which cannot under any circumstances be justified! Very rightly so!
To start with, the ball is set rolling in this commendable, composed and cogent judgment by first and foremost observing in the opening para that, “In the present case, the reasoned order was passed on 20.12.2019 by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (“National Commission” for short) in C.A. No. 9404 of 2019. Afresh civil appeal was filed before this Court being C.A. No. 6476 of 2020, which has been dismissed vide Order dated 06.3.2020.”
In hindsight, the Bench then recalls in para 2 that, “This Court had vide Order dated 08.1.2020 directed the Registrar of the National Commission to submit a Report stating the number of cases in which reasoned judgments had not been passed, even though the operative order had been pronounced in Court. By the report dated 27.7.2020, we have been informed that as on 20.12.2019, there were 85 such cases in which the operative order had been pronounced, but reasoned judgments were not delivered so far.”
Significantly, the Bench then goes on to add in the next para that, “The fact which has been brought to our notice by the Registrar of the Commission can, in no manner, be countenanced that between the date of operative portion of the order and the reasons are yet to be provided, or the hiatus period is much more than what has been observed to be the maximum time period for even pronouncement of reserved judgments. In State of Punjab & Ors. Vs. Jagdev Singh Talwandi 1984 (1) SCC 596 in para 30, the Constitution Bench of this Court, as far back in 1983, drew the attention of the Courts/Tribunal of the serious difficulties which were caused on account of a practice which was being adopted by the adjudicating authorities including High Courts/Commissions, that of pronouncing the final operative part of the orders without supporting reasons. This was later again discussed by this Court in Anil Rai Vs. State of Bihar 2001(7) SCC 318.”
More significantly, what all the Judges must always remember is what is then stated by the Bench in the next para that, “Undisputedly, the rights of the aggrieved parties are being prejudiced if the reasons are not available to them to avail of the legal remedy of approaching the Court where the reasons can be scrutinized. It indeed amounts to defeating the rights of the party aggrieved to challenge the impugned judgment on merits and even the succeeding party is unable to obtain the fruits of success of the litigation.”
Most significantly and most remarkably, while continuing in a similar vein what really forms the cornerstone of this brilliant, brief, balanced and bold judgment is then stated in the next para along with relevant and landmark judgments and which cannot be just glossed over is that, “The aforementioned principle has been emphatically restated by this Court on several occasions including in Zahira Habibulla M. Sheikh & Ors. Vs. State of Gujarat & Ors. [AIR 2004 SC 3467 paras 80-82]; Mangat Ram Vs. State of Haryana [2008 (7) SCC 96 paras 510]; Ajay Singh & Anr. Etc. Vs. State of Chhattisgarh & Anr. [AIR 2017 SC 310] and more recently in Balaji Baliram Mupade & Anr. Vs. The State of Maharashtra & Ors. (Civil Appeal No. 3564 of 2020 pronounced on 29.10.2020), Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Zaixhu Xie & Ors. (Civil Appeal No. 4022 of 2020 pronounced on 11.12.2020) and SJVNL Vs. M/s CCC HIM JV & Anr. (Civil Appeal No. 494 of 2021 pronounced on 12.02.2021) wherein the delay in delivery of judgments has been observed to be in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the problems gets aggravated when the operative portion is made available early, and the reasons follow much later, or are not made available for an indefinite period.”
Be it noted, the Bench then goes on to add in the next para that, “In the instant case, the operative order was pronounced on 26.04.2019, and in the reasons disclosed, there is a hiatus period of eight months.” Such a prolonged delay in disclosing the reasons does not inspire confidence among the litigants and is not a good practice which needs to be shunned forthwith! There can be no denying it!
Going forward, the Bench then goes on to add in the next para that, “Let this Order be placed before the President of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to look into the matter, and take necessary steps so that this practice is discontinued, and the reasoned Judgment is passed alongwith the operative order. We would like to observe that in all matters where reasons are yet to be delivered, it must be ensured that the same are made available to the litigating parties positively within a period of two months.
Finally, it is then held in the concluding paras that, “With these observations, the Appeal stands disposed of. Pending application(s), if any, stand disposed of.”
No doubt, it is certainly beyond the capacity of my pen to express in words how much happy one feels to see that the two Judge Bench of Apex Court comprising of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Ajay Rastogi expresses their extremely commendable, composed and cogent judgment so briefly, boldly and brilliantly in just 5 pages thus making the task of the litigants much easier while they go through it without spending too much time just reading it and understanding the intricacies involved by stretching each and every nerve of the brain! It cannot be disputed that the Apex Court has very rightly, remarkably and reasonably held that reasoned judgments must be passed while deprecating the reprehensible practice of ‘reasons to follow’ orders which befuddles the litigants as they don’t comprehend as to what are the reasons for passing such a judgment. This alone explains why the Apex Court has not lost this opportunity to make it amply clear in no uncertain terms that in all matters before NCDRC where reasons are yet to be delivered, it must be ensured that the same are made available to the litigating parties positively within a period of two months.
Unquestionably, it is the bounden duty of the NCDRC to implement it in letter and spirit and ensure that it is not observed in the breach! At the cost of repetition, it has to be reiterated yet again that the Apex Court has rightly, remarkably and reasonably espoused in this leading case the right of the litigants to know the reasons for the judgment for without the same it can be arbitrary, whimsical and unaccountable not serving the ends of justice which cannot under any circumstances be justified! Very rightly so!
It goes without saying that there is no reasons why not just the NCDRC but each and every court not implement the gist of this judgment which shall benefit the litigants immensely as they shall come to know the exact reasons for the judgment which in this modern age of right to information must be made available also to the litigants along with the judgment as early as possible.
This alone explains why the Apex Court in this case has set a time limit of two months for the NCDRC also which must be strictly implemented also! We need to understand that where reasons are not disclosed in the judgment, it serves as the biggest handicap of the aggrieved party to challenge the impugned judgment in time on merits and not just this even the succeeding party too suffers as he/she is unable to obtain the fruits of the success of the litigation as has been observed by the Apex Court in this noteworthy judgment also as has been stated above in detail!
On a concluding note, it must be said that we have also discussed the relevant judgments also pertaining to this as stated above! There is no reason why this extremely learned, laudable and landmark judgment is not implemented in totality not just by the NCDRC but by each and every Court in India! There can certainly be just no denying or disputing it! Very rightly so!
More significantly, what all the judges must always remember is what is then stated by the bench in the next para: “Undisputedly, the rights of the aggrieved parties are being prejudiced if the reasons are not available to them to avail of the legal remedy of approaching the Court where the reasons can be scrutinised. It indeed amounts to defeating the rights of the party aggrieved to challenge the impugned judgment on merits and even the succeeding party is unable to obtain the fruits of success of the litigation.”
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GAUHATI HIGH COURT QUASHES NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION AGAINST GRAM PANCHAYAT PRESIDENT CITING PARTICIPATION OF MEMBER DISQUALIFIED FOR HAVING THREE CHILDREN
The Gauhati High Court in the case Jugitawali Pawe v State of Assam and 15 ors observed and quashed a resolution expressing no-confidence in the petitioner – the President of a Gram Panchayat, as a result of which she as removed from office. It was stated that it is as per the citing no compliance with Assam Panchayat Act, 1994, reading with Rule 62 of the Assam Panchayat (Constitution) Rules, 1995.
It was preferred by the petitioner to the materials available on record to argue that one of the members of the Gaon Panchayat, the respondent. The respondent voted against the petitioner and had given birth to her third child the previous year. Moreover, by virtue of Section 111(2)(a) of the Assam Panchayat Act, 1994, reading with Rule 62 of the Assam Panchayat (Constitution) Rules, 1995, the petitioner stood automatically disqualified on the date of voting. Following, which her vote was taken by passing No-confidence motion.
It was prayed by the petitioner in the plea for setting aside the impugned resolution and for issuance of a direction to restore his client back in the office. Thereafter, to initiate fresh proceedings, liberty should be granted to the respondent, following the due process.
It was agreed by the Counsel representing for the respondent that the said member of the panchayat had been disqualified but retained on the ground that the disqualification would have no bearing on the petitioner’s case, as the impugned resolution was passed before the declaration of petitioner disqualification.
In the present case, It was noticed by Justice Suman Shyam the member had voted against the petitioner and without her vote. The petitioner would not have been ousted from office. Justice Shyam also found no dispute about the fact that the member had incurred disqualification under the law prior the date of adoption of the impugned resolution. Justice Shyam found it unnecessary to delve into other aspects of the matter which includes the procedural formalities for declaring the member a disqualified candidate.
It is observed that the impugned resolution was declared to be vitiated and liable to be set aside. Further, the Court restored the petitioner to the office of the President of the Bongalmara Gaon Panchayat with immediate effect and it was stated by the court that the order will not stand in the way should the authorities or any member of the Gaon Panchayat propose a fresh motion of “no-confidence” against the petitioner and the due process of law needs to be followed.
Halt DDA’s demolition action against jhuggis in Nizamuddin’s Gyaspur area, orders Delhi High Court
As per the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015 and the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, the residents who can establish their residence prior to 01.01.2015 are eligible for rehabilitation under the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015.
The Delhi High Court in the case Manoj Gupta & Ors. v. DDA & Ors observed and has ordered status quo on the Delhi Development Authority’s proposal to demolish jhuggi clusters in city’s Gyaspur area in Hazrat Nizamuddin. The vacation bench comprising of Justice Neena Bansal Krishna observed in the petition filled by the residents and the court granted an interim relief.
It was ordered by the court status quo till July 11, the next date of hearing.
The bench orally remarked that a ten-day delay in demolition won’t make a difference but if today it is demolished and later, we come to know that they were entitled, who’s going to… the bench will consider it on July 11, 2022 but in the Meanwhile, some protections are entitled them. Adding this, Status quo be maintained. If since 1995, they have been there, heavens won’t come down if for 10 more days they are protected.
In the plea the petitioner stated that the T-Huts settlement in the area, which was stated by the authorities to vacate. It has been in existence for almost two decades and compromise of 32 jhuggis or households.
In the plea it was alleged that the bulldozers have been parked around the camp and a DDA official has orally asked them to vacate the area and it is noted that till date no proper notice have been sent to them nor has DDA conducted any survey of the area.
Furthermore, the DDA did not provide any alternate arrangement for their rehabilitation which resulted in extreme distress among the residents.
Moreover, it was admitted by the petitioner that the land in question belongs to DDA and they may seek that status-quo to be maintained at the site. It was urged that the residents should not be physically dispose or evicted from the demolition site until the survey is conducted and rehabilitation is provided to the residents as per the DUSIB policy of 2015.
As per the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015 and the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board. The residents who can establish their residence prior to 01.01.2015 are eligible for rehabilitation under the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015.
It is observed that in the case Ajay Maken v. Union of India, Reliance is placed on the Supreme Court decision and the High Court decision in the case Sudama Singh & Ors. v. Government of Delhi & Anr, it was held in the case that that removal of jhuggis without ensuring relocation would amount of gross violation of Fundamental Rights under Article 21 of the Constitution. Further, it was held that the agencies conducting the demolitions ought to conduct survey before undertaking any demolition.
It is submitted that these observations would apply across the board, in the entire NCT of Delhi.
Advocates Vrinda Bhandari, Shiyaz Razaq, Kaoliangpou Kamei, Jepi Y Chisho and Paul Kumar Kalai, represented the petitioner.
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.
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