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Statutes must be interpreted in a just, reasonable and sensible manner: Supreme Court

The two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Sanjiv Khanna observed so while dismissing a Special Leave Petition against a Rajasthan High Court judgement. Very rightly so.

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It has been most rightly held by the Apex Court in a latest, landmark, laudable and learned judgement titled Commercial Taxes Officer, Circle-B, Bharatpur vs M/s Bhagat Singh in Special Leave Petition (C) No. 15870/2020 delivered just recently on January 21, 2021 in exercise of its extraordinary appellate jurisdiction that a statute must be interpreted in a just, reasonable and sensible manner. The two Judge Bench of the Apex Court comprising of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Sanjiv Khanna observed so while dismissing a Special Leave Petition against a Rajasthan High Court judgment. Very rightly so!

To start with, in this judgement authored by Justice Indira Banerjee for herself and Justice Sanjiv Khanna sets the ball rolling by first and foremost observing in para 1 that, “This SLP is against a judgment and order dated 9.7.2020 passed by the High Court of Judicature of Rajasthan at Jaipur dismissing the Revision Petition being SB Sales Tax Revision/Reference No. 165/2019, filed by the Petitioner, against an order dated 08.10.2018 passed by the Rajasthan Tax Board, whereby Appeal No. 1132/2017/Bharatpur filed by the Petitioner against reversal by the Appellate Authority of a Tax Assessment Order dated 9.10.2012 of the Assistant Commissioner, Commercial Tax Department, Circle B, Bharatpur, had been rejected by the Rajasthan Tax Board.”

While laying the background, the Bench then observes in para 2 that, “The Respondent had purchased a truck/trailer (hereinafter referred to as ‘said vehicle’) from one M/s Ashok Auto Sales Ltd of Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, for consideration of Rs. 16,20,000/- vide Invoice No. C1273/09 dated 26.12.2009. The said vehicle was registered in Bharatpur in Rajasthan and given the Registration No. RJ-05-GA-5299.”

To say the least, the Bench then states in para 3 that, “On 11th July 2012, that is, almost three years after the date of purchase of the said vehicle, summons were issued to the Respondent under Sections 3, 6 and 7 of the Rajasthan Tax on Entry of Motor Vehicle into Local Areas Act 1988, hereinafter referred to as the Entry Tax Act of 1988.”

Frankly speaking, the Bench then observes in para 4 that, “It appears that the Respondent failed to appear pursuant to the summons, whereupon an Assessment Order dated 9.10.2012 was passed by the Assistant Commissioner Commercial Taxes Department, Circle – B, Bharatpur, levying on the Respondent, tax of Rs.2,26,800/-, that is, 14% of the purchase value under Sections 3, 6 and 7 of the Entry Tax Act of 1988, alongwith penalty of Rs.1,000/- and interest of Rs. 72,576/-, the total demand being Rs. 3,00,376/-.”

To put things in perspective, the Bench then brings out in para 5 that, “Being aggrieved, the Respondent filed an appeal before the Appellate Authority, Commercial Tax Department, Bharatpur being Appeal No. 134/RET/2016 – 17/A.A./Bharatpur, inter alia, contending that (i) the summons issued for 9.10.2012 was received by the Respondent after that date, after which no further notice was issued and (ii) the Assessment Order was barred by limitation, the same having been passed beyond the period of 2 years from the date of purchase of the said vehicle. Even otherwise, the liability of the Respondent to Entry Tax in respect of the said vehicle was disputed.”

To be sure, the Bench then states in para 6 that, “By an order dated 4.1.2017, the Appellate Authority allowed the appeal of the said Respondent and set aside the Assessment Order impugned, holding that the Respondent was a “Casual Trader” and, therefore, the limitation for passing an Assessment Order against him was only 2 years from the date of the transaction.”

As a corollary, the Bench then points out in para 7 that, “Being aggrieved by the aforesaid Order dated 4.1.2017 passed by the Appellate Authority in Appeal No. 134/RET/2016-17/A.A./Bharatpur, the petitioner filed Appeal No. 1132/2017/Bharatpur before the Rajasthan Tax Board. The said appeal was rejected by the Rajasthan Tax Board, by a judgment and order dated 8.10.2018.”

Moving on, the Bench then further discloses in para 8 that, “The petitioner filed a revision petition in the High Court being S.B. Sales Tax Revision/Reference No. 165/2019, against the aforesaid order dated 8.10.2018 of the Rajasthan Tax Board, which has been dismissed by the order dated 9.7.2020 of the High Court, impugned in this Special Leave Petition.”

Be it noted, it is then enunciated in para 9 that, “Some provisions of the Entry Tax Act, 1988, relevant to the issues involved in this case, are set out hereinbelow for convenience:-

“3. Incidence of Tax. – (1) There shall be levied and collected a tax on the purchase value of a motor vehicle, an entry of which is effected into a local area for use or sale therein and which is liable for registration in the State under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (Central Act 4 of 1939), at such rate or rates as may be notified by the State Government from time to time but not exceeding the rates notified for motor vehicles under section 5 of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, 1954 (Rajasthan Act 29 of 1954) or fifteen per cent of the purchase value of a motor vehicle, whichever is less:

Provided that no tax shall be levied and collected in respect of a motor vehicle which was registered in any Union Territory or any other State under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 (Central Act 4 of 1939) for a period of fifteen months or more before the date on which it is liable to be registered in the State under the said Act.

(2) The Tax shall be payable by an importer, –

(a) if he is a dealer registered or liable to be registered under the provisions of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, 1954 (Act No, 29 of 1954), in the manner and within the time as tax on sales is payable by him under the said Act; and

(b) if he is a person not covered by clause (a), on the date of entry of the motor vehicle into the local area, to the incharge of the entry check – post or the Commercial Taxes officer of the area where he ordinarily resides or carries on any business or provides any service, and the provisions of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, 1954 (Act No, 29 of 1954) as applicable to a registered dealer or casual trader shall, mutatis mutandis, apply to such dealer or, as the case may be, such person.

(3) The Tax shall be in addition to the tax levied and collected as Octroi by any local authority within its local area.

6. Offences and penalties. – (1) Where any person liable to pay tax under this Act fails to comply with any of the provisions of the Act or rules made thereunder, then the Assessing Authority may, after giving such persons a reasonable opportunity of being heard, by order in writing impose on him in addition to any tax payable, a sum by way of penalty not exceeding fifty per cent of the amount of tax.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, all the provisions relating to offences and penalties, including interest, of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, 1954 (Act No. 29 of 1954) shall, mutatis mutandis apply in relation to the assessment, reassessment, collection and enforcement of payment of tax required to be collected under this Act or in relation to any process connected with such assessment, reassessment, collection or enforcement of payment as if the tax under this Act were a tax under the said Act.

7. Applicability of the provisions of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, 1954 (Act No. 29 of 1954) and the rules made thereunder. – Subject to the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder, the authorities empowered to asses, reassess, collect and enforce payment of tax under the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, 1954 (Act No. 29 of 1954) shall assess, reassess, collect and enforce payment of tax including penalty or interest payable by an importer under this Act as if the tax, penalty or interest were payable under the said Act, and for this purpose they may exercise all or any of the powers assigned to them under the said Act and all the provisions of the said Act and the rules made thereunder for the time being in force including the provisions relating to returns, advance, payment of tax, provisional assessments, recover of tax, appeals, rebates, penalties, interest, compounding of offences and other miscellaneous matters shall, mutatis mutandis, apply.”

It is worth noting that para 10 then mentions that, “Under Section 2(ccc) of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, 1994 “Casual Trader” means a person who has, whether as principal, agent or in any capacity, occasional transaction of business nature involving the buying, selling, supply or distribution of such goods as may be specified by the State Government by notification in the official gazette whether for cash, or for deferred payment, or for commission, remuneration or other valuable consideration.”

Going forward, the Bench then brings out in para 11 that, “Sections 10A and 10B of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act pertain to assessment and the time limit for assessment in the case of a Casual Trader. Section 10A(1) read with Section 10A(2) of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, 1954 provides that every “Casual Trader”, on completion of a transaction of sale or purchase, for which he is liable to pay tax, shall make a report to the Assessing Officer or to the Officer-in-charge of a Check Post, of the sale or purchase price, tax payable thereon, etc. and deposit the tax with such officer. Subsection (3) of Section 10 enables the Assessing Officer to assess the tax payable by a “Casual Trader” on his failure to make a report.”

What’s more, the Bench then states in para 12 that, “Section 10B(1) (iii) of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act, 1954, which stipulates the time limit for assessment, is set out hereinbelow for convenience: “10B. TIME LIMIT FOR ASSESSMENT – (1) No assessment shall be made –

(i) …..

(ii) …..

(iii) in cases falling under section 10A after expiry of one year from the date of filing the report, and in the absence of any such report, after the expiry of two years from the date of the transaction.”

For the sake of clarity, the Bench then makes it clear in para 13 that, “In the case of a “Casual Trader”, the time limit for assessment is one year from the date of making the report, and if no report is made, within two years from the date of the transaction. The date of transaction in this case is 26.12.2009. The question is whether assessment was barred upon expiry of two years from the date of transaction, and/or in other words after 25/26.12.2011.”

Needless to say, the Bench then specifies in para 14 that, “In this Special Leave Petition, the main contention of the Petitioner is that a single transaction of purchase of a motor vehicle does not bring a person within the definition of “Casual Trader”. “Casual Trader” envisages occasional transactions of business involving buying and selling of goods. The plurality of transactions is a condition precedent for treating a trader as a “Casual Trader”. It is contended that there was only a single transaction in this case. The Respondent could not, therefore, be held a “Casual Trader.”

Furthermore, the Bench then notes in para 15 that, “The Appellate Authority, the Rajasthan Tax Board and the High Court have concurred in arriving at the finding that the assessment of the Respondent was barred by limitation as the Respondent was a “Casual Trader”. A perusal of the definition of “Casual Trader” makes it amply clear that a person with occasional transactions of buying/selling are to be treated as casual traders, for whom a shorter time limit for assessment has been imposed under Section 10B(iii) read with Section 10A of the Rajasthan Sales Tax Act 1954. The Legislature could not, possibly, have intended that a person making 2 or 3 transactions should be treated as a “Casual Trader”, but a person making only one transaction should be treated at par with regular traders.”

As we see, it is then reiterated in para 16 that, “It is well settled that in construing a statutory provision, words in the singular are to include the plural and vice versa, unless repugnant to the context in which the expression has been used, as provided in Section 13(2) of the General Clauses Act, 1897 and provisions identical thereto in State enactments pertaining to General Clauses.”

Going ahead, the Bench then brings out in para 17 that, “Relying on Section 13(b) of the Bombay General Clauses Act, 1904, which states that words in the singular shall include the plural, and vice versa, this Court has held that the expression “any bodies or persons” in Section 43-A(1)(b) of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948, will include a singular person, in the same way as the expression “leases” in the provision will include a single lease (Govinda Bala Patil v. Ganpati Ramchandra Naikwade, (2013) 5 SCC 644).”

Most remarkably, the Bench then makes it crystal clear in para 18 which forms the cornerstone of this notable judgment that, “The Court must interpret a statute in a manner which is just, reasonable and sensible. If the grammatical construction leads to some absurdity or some repugnancy or inconsistency with the legislative intent, as may be deduced by reading the provisions of the statute as a whole, the grammatical construction may be departed from to avoid anomaly, absurdity or inconsistency. To quote Venkatarama Aiyar, J. in Tirath Singh v. Bachittar Singh. AIR 1955 SC 830 (at 833), “where the language of a statute, in its ordinary meaning and grammatical construction, leads to a manifest contradiction of the apparent purpose of the enactment, or to some inconvenience or absurdity, hardship or injustice, presumably not intended, a construction may be put upon it which modifies the meaning of the words, and even the structure of the sentence.” This view has been reiterated by this Court.”

Now coming to the concluding paras. Para 19 states that, “We, therefore, find no grounds to interfere with judgment and order impugned, under Article 136 of the Constitution of India in a catena of subsequent decisions.” Finally, it is then stated in the last para 20 that, “The Special Leave Petition is, therefore, dismissed.”

To conclude, the bedrock of this commendable judgement is stated in para 18 which merits no reiteration and which we have already discussed above. The Apex Court observations have to be adhered to in totality and a statute must always be interpreted in a just, reasonable and sensible manner as pointed out in para 18. There can certainly be no denying it!

If the grammatical construction leads to some absurdity or some repugnancy or inconsistency with the legislative intent, as may be deduced by reading the provisions of the statute as a whole, the grammatical construction may be departed from to avoid anomaly, absurdity or inconsistency.

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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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