Standard of proof in motor accident claim cases is one of preponderance of probabilities: SC - The Daily Guardian
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Standard of proof in motor accident claim cases is one of preponderance of probabilities: SC

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In a realistic, robust and rational judgment titled Anita Sharma & Ors. vs. The New India Assurance Co. Ltd. & Anr. in Civil Appeal Nos. 4010-4011 of 2011 [Arising out of Special Leave Petition (C) Nos. 32011-32012 of 2018] delivered by a two Judge Bench of the Apex Court comprising of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Aniruddha Bose on December 8, 2020 has observed clearly, cogently and convincingly that the standard of proof in Motor Accident Claim Cases is one of preponderance of probabilities, rather than beyond reasonable doubt. The Bench also very rightly observed that, “One needs to be mindful that the approach and role of Courts while examining evidence in accident claim cases ought not to be to find fault with non-examination of some best eyewitnesses, as may happen in a criminal trial; but, instead should be only to analyze the material placed on record by the parties to ascertain whether the claimant’s version is more likely than not true.” The Bench observed thus while allowing an appeal against Rajasthan High Court judgment which had rejected the claim petition (by setting aside the Tribunal order allowing it).

To start with, this latest, learned, laudable, logical and landmark judgment sets the ball rolling after granting leave in para 1 and then observing in para 2 that, “These two appeals, which have been heard through video conferencing, are directed against the judgment dated 23.07.2018 passed by the High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan, Bench at Jaipur whereby the first appeal preferred by the New India Assurance Co. Ltd. (Respondent No. 1) against the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal’s (hereinafter, “Tribunal”) award dated 01.09.2012 was allowed and the Claim Petition was rejected, whereas the appeal filed by the appellant-claimants for enhancement of compensation was consequently dismissed.”

While dwelling on the facts of the case, the Bench then observes in para 3 that, “Sandeep Sharma (deceased), was a resident of District Sikar in Rajasthan. He was travelling in a car bearing registration no. UP 65 AA 7100 from Ghazipur to Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) on the night of 25.03.2009 along with his friend Sanjeev Kapoor (Respondent No. 2) and two other occupants. Sanjeev Kapoor, who was also its owner, was driving the car when at about 10:20 PM near village Atroli, a truck coming from the opposite side struck the car as a result of which all the occupants suffered injuries. Sandeep along with the other injured occupants was rushed to the District Hospital in Ghazipur at around 11:55 PM, but was subsequently referred to the Institute of Medical Sciences and S.S. Hospital, BHU, Varanasi on 26.03.2009 considering the severity and multiplicity of his injuries. Although he was discharged on 16.04.2009 and brought back to Rajasthan, it appears that Sandeep kept experiencing one after another medical complications, and remained hospitalized at the Jain Hospital in Jaipur and later the Joshi Nursing Home at Sikar. His injuries eventually got the better of him and Sandeep Sharma passed away on 10.12.2009.”  

To put things in perspective, the Bench then makes it known in para 4 that, “At the time of death, the deceased was aged 34 years and was an income tax assessee with an Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account. He was employed in Mumbai at Kelvin Ess Vee Textiles as a Sales Officer on regular basis. He left behind a widow, two minor children and a mother; all of whom were dependent on him.”

As it turned out, it is then brought out in para 5 that, “Sandeep’s dependents filed a claim petition for Rs 60,94,000 (Rupees sixty lakhs and ninety four thousand) on 26.08.2010 alleging, inter alia, that he died as a result of the injuries suffered in the above mentioned accident of 25.03.2009, which occurred due to the rash and negligent driving of Sanjeev Kapoor who was the owner-cum-driver of the car in which Sandeep was travelling (hereinafter, “owner-cum-driver”) and the insurer of the car New India Assurance Co. Ltd. (hereinafter “insurance company”) were impleaded as party respondents.”   

Be it noted, it is then stated in para 11 that, “At the outset, it may be mentioned that some material facts which have a direct bearing on the fate of this case, have escaped notice of the High Court. The FIR was not registered by Sanjeev Kapoor (owner-cum-driver of the car) as assumed by the High Court. Instead, as a matter of fact, the FIR No. 120/09 (Exh1) was registered on the basis of information furnished by one, Pradeep Kumar Aggarwal, son of Bal Krishna Das Aggarwal – a resident of District Varanasi. The contents of this report reveal that Sanjeev Kapoor was travelling in the Wagon R Car No. UP65AA-7100 along with three other occupants. While returning from Ghazipur to Varanasi, a truck which was being driven rashly and at a fast speed, struck against the car and then sped away towards Ghazipur. The number of the truck could not be noticed as it was dark. The car was badly damaged. Various people gathered at the spot who took out the injured from the car. It is specifically mentioned that all the injured were taken to the hospital for treatment where Rahul Singh @ Chottu Singh passed away whereas Sandeep Sharma was referred to BHU Varanasi for treatment. The FIR was lodged on 27.03.2009 and a slightly illegible part thereof indicates that Sanjeev Kapoor and the informant were known to each other. The informant himself had not witnessed the accident and apparently lodged the FIR based on hearsay information.”   

               Simply put, the Bench then notes in para 12 that, “Importantly, the owner-cum-driver though denied responsibility of the accident through his written statement but chose not to enter the witness box in his defence. The insurance company, on the other hand, relied upon the contents of the FIR and the ‘Investigation Report’ to aver that the accident took place due to rash and negligent driving of the truck driver alone. But we find that the ‘investigation report’ (Exh.2) dated 05.05.2009 merely recites that the registration number of the offending truck could not be ascertained despite best efforts.”

Truth be told, it is then revealed in para 13 that, “At this juncture, we may refer to the statement of Ritesh Pandey (AW-3). This witness is a resident of Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh. He is neither related to the deceased nor was he remotely connected to the family of the deceased. He hailed from a different State and lived in a faraway place. There is nothing to suggest that the witness had any business dealings with the deceased or his family. He has deposed that he was travelling in his own car on the date of the incident on the same route when the owner-cum-driver of the Wagon R car carelessly overtook him at a very high speed. He has further deposed that a truck coming from the opposite side collided with the car. Various persons gathered at the place of accident and four persons trapped inside the car were taken out, three of whom were unconscious and the fourth was its driver – Sanjeev Kapoor. The witness has further deposed that he took all the four injured persons to the District Hospital, Ghazipur where some of them were referred to Institute of Medical Sciences and S.S. Hospital, BHU, Varanasi.”    

What’s worth noting is that para 14 unequivocally says that, “Most importantly, the only question asked to this witness in cross-examination is whether the truck could be spotted and whether he was able to note the registration number of the truck. The witness has candidly admitted that he could not see the registration number of the truck. No other question was asked to this witness in the crossexamination. While the Tribunal believed Ritesh Pandey (AW3) and accepted the claim petition in part, the High Court, for the reasons which are already briefly noticed, has disbelieved him on the premise that the deceased was brought to the hospital by SI Sah Mohammed and not by Ritesh Pandey (AW-3). The entire case, thus, effectively hinges upon the trustworthiness of the statement of this witness.”

No doubt, the Bench then rightly hastens to add in para 15 that, “It is not in dispute that the accident took place near Ghazipur and that numerous people had assembled at the spot. Some bystander would obviously have informed the police also. While the contents of the FIR as well as the statement of Ritesh Pandey (AW3) leave no room to doubt that the injured were taken to the Hospital by private persons (and not by the police), it is quite natural that the police would also have reached the Government hospital at Ghazipur and therefore, it was mentioned that Sandeep Sharma was brought in by SI Sah Mohammad.”

Needless to say, it is also then rightly added in para 16 that, “It is commonplace for most people to be hesitant about being involved in legal proceedings and they therefore do not volunteer to become witnesses. Hence, it is highly likely that the name of Ritesh Pandey or other persons who accompanied the injured to the hospital did not find mention in the medical record. There is nothing on record to suggest that the police reached the site of the accident or carried the injured to the hospital. The statement of AW3, therefore, acquires significance as, according to him, he brought the injured in his car to the hospital. Ritesh Pandey (AW3) acted as a good samaritan and a responsible citizen, and the High Court ought not to have disbelieved his testimony based merely on a conjecture. It is necessary to reiterate the independence and benevolence of AW3. Without any personal interest or motive, he assisted both the deceased by taking him to the hospital and later his family by expending time and effort to depose before the Tribunal.”     

Without mincing any words, the Bench then while airing its unhappiness over the Rajasthan High Court’s judgment in this matter goes on to observe in para 17 that, “It is quite natural that such a person who had accompanied the injured to the hospital for immediate medical aid, could not have simultaneously gone to the police station to lodge the FIR. The High Court ought not to have drawn any adverse inference against the witness for his failure to report the matter to Police. Further, as the police had themselves reached the hospital upon having received information about the accident, there was perhaps no occasion for AW-3 to lodge a report once again to the police at a later stage either.”

While taking potshots on the decision of Rajasthan High Court, the Bench then goes on to add in para 18 that, “Unfortunately, the approach of the High Court was not sensitive enough to appreciate the turn of events at the spot, or the appellant-claimants’ hardship in tracing witnesses and collecting information for an accident which took place many hundreds of kilometers away in an altogether different State. Close to the facts of the case in hand, this Court in Parmeshwari v. Amir Chand (2011) 11 SCC 635, viewed that:

“12. The other ground on which the High Court dismissed the case was by way of disbelieving the testimony of Umed Singh, PW1. Such disbelief of the High Court is totally conjectural. Umed Singh is not related to the appellant but as a good citizen, Umed Singh extended his help to the appellant by helping her to reach the doctor’s chamber in order to ensure that an injured woman gets medical treatment. The evidence of Umed Singh cannot be disbelieved just because he did not file a complaint himself. We are constrained to repeat our observation that the total approach of the High Court, unfortunately, was not sensitized enough to appreciate the plight of the victim.

15. In a situation of this nature, the Tribunal has rightly taken a holistic view of the matter. It was necessary to be borne in mind that strict proof of an accident caused by a particular bus in a particular manner may not be possible to be done by the claimants. The claimants were merely to establish their case on the touchstone of preponderance of probability. The standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt could not have been applied.”emphasis supplied).”

While continuing in the same vein, the Bench then further points out in para 19 that, “The failure of the respondents to cross examine the solitary eyewitness or confront him with their version, despite adequate opportunity, must lead to an inference of tacit admission on their part. They did not even suggest the witness that he was siding with the claimants. The High Court has failed to appreciate the legal effects of this absence of cross examination of a crucial witness.”

What’s more, the Bench then most significantly further adds very rightly in para 22 that, “Equally, we are concerned over the failure of the High Court to be cognizant of the fact that strict principles of evidence and standards of proof like in a criminal trial are inapplicable in MACT claim cases. The standard of proof in such like matters is one of preponderance of probabilities, rather than beyond reasonable doubt. One needs to be mindful that the approach and role of Courts while examining evidence in accident claim cases ought not to be to find fault with non-examination of some best eyewitnesses, as may happen in a criminal trial; but, instead should be only to analyze the material placed on record by the parties to ascertain whether the claimant’s version is more likely than not true. A somewhat similar situation arose in Dulcina Fernandes v. Joaquim Xavier Cruz (2013) 10 SCC 646 wherein this Court reiterated that:

“7. It would hardly need a mention that the plea of negligence on the part of the first respondent who was driving the pickup van as set up by the claimants was required to be decided by the learned Tribunal on the touchstone of preponderance of probabilities and certainly not on the basis of proof beyond reasonable doubt. (Bimla Devi v. Himachal RTC [(2009) 13 SCC 530 : (2009) 5 SCC (Civ) 189 : (2010) 1 SCC (Cri) 1101])  (emphasis supplied).”  

Most damningly, the Bench then minces no words to say bluntly, boldly and brilliantly in para 23 that, “The observation of the High Court that the author of the FIR (as per its judgment, the owner-cum-driver) had not been examined as a witness, and hence adverse inference ought to be drawn against the appellant-claimants, is wholly misconceived and misdirected. Not only is the owner-cum-driver not the author of the FIR, but instead he is one of the contesting respondents in the Claim Petition who, along with insurance company, is an interested party with a pecuniary stake in the result of the case. If the owner-cum-driver of the car were setting up a defence plea that the accident was a result of not his but the truck driver’s carelessness or rashness, then the onus was on him to step into the witness box and explain as to how the accident had taken place. The fact that Sanjeev Kapoor chose not to depose in support of what he has pleaded in his written statement, further suggests that he was himself at fault. The High Court, therefore, ought not to have shifted the burden of proof.”    

Not stopping here, the Bench then also adds in para 24 that, “Further, little reliance can be placed on the contents of the FIR (Exh.-1), and it is liable to be discarded for more than one reasons. First, the author of the FIR that is, Praveen Kumar Aggarwal does not claim to have witnessed the accident himself. His version is hearsay and cannot be relied upon. Second, it appears from the illegible part of the FIR that the informant had some closeness with the owner-cum-driver of the car and there is thus a strong possibility that his version was influenced or at the behest of Sanjeev Kapoor. Third, the FIR was lodged two days after the accident, on 27.03.2009. The FIR recites that some of the injured including Sandeep Sharma were referred to BHU, Varanasi for treatment, even though as per the medical report this took place only on 26.03.2009, the day after the accident. Therefore the belated FIR appears to be an afterthought attempt to absolve Sanjeev Kapoor from his criminal or civil liabilities. Contrarily, the statement of AW3 does not suffer from any evil of suspicion and is worthy of reliance. The Tribunal rightly relied upon his statement and decided issue No. 1 in favour of the claimants. The reasoning given by the High Court to disbelieve Ritesh Pandey AW3, on the other hand, cannot sustain and is liable to be overturned. We hold accordingly.”  

Finally, it is then held in para 26 that, “In light of the above discussion, the judgment under appeal of the High Court is set aside and the appellants are held entitled to compensation as awarded by the Tribunal, besides 40% addition in the annual income of the deceased towards ‘future prospects’. The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Sikar (Rajasthan) is directed to recalculate the compensation amount accordingly. The appellants are held entitled to interest @ 8.5%, as per the Tribunal’s award, on the entire amount of compensation. The Tribunal shall recalculate the compensation within one month and the insurance company shall deposit the same within one month thereafter. No order as to costs.”

Nothing more remains to be said. The Apex Court Bench has very rightly pointed out the reasons for setting aside the judgment of the Rajasthan High Court as already discussed above in detail. We thus see that the Supreme Court has once again reiterated like earlier that the standard of proof in motor accident claims cases is one of preponderance of probabilities rather than beyond reasonable doubt. All the courts must certainly adhere to what has been laid down once again so explicitly by the top court!

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GAUHATI HIGH COURT QUASHES NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION AGAINST GRAM PANCHAYAT PRESIDENT CITING PARTICIPATION OF MEMBER DISQUALIFIED FOR HAVING THREE CHILDREN

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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.

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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.

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plea in Delhi High Court seeking repatriation of 56 pregnant nurses

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.

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TELANGANA HIGH COURT: PLACE OF RESIDENCE OF THE ARBITRATOR WOULD NOT BE THE SEAT OF ARBITRATION

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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.

Court Analysis:

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.

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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

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plea in Delhi High Court seeking repatriation of 56 pregnant nurses

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.

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ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT: ADVOCATES SHOULDN’T ADVISE CLIENTS TO REAGITATE MATTERS IF THERE IS NO ERROR APPARENT ON FACE OF RECORD

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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.

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SUPREME COURT CRITICISES HIGH COURT: POSTING ANTICIPATORY BAIL PLEA AFTER TWO MONTHS CAN’T BE APPRECIATED

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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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