Bombay High Court Judgment Tracker: October 2020

A review of judgments and orders passed by the Principal Bench of the Bombay High Court in the month of October.
Bombay High Court Judgment Tracker: October 2020
Judgment Tracker

While sources concerning specific subject matters exist, there exist few sources that allow practitioners to be aware of developments with respect to specific forums. The Bombay High Court Judgment Tracker intends to fill this gap by providing a monthly gist of all decisions of the Principal Bench of the Bombay High Court.

Since the purpose of the column is to provide a brief snapshot of all decisions to practitioners, the authors have avoided undertaking an analytical critique of the decisions.

Here is a summary of all decisions of the Principal Bench of the Bombay High Court for the month of October.

Representation of People Act, 1951

In Dr. Kangasbapathy Sundaram Pillai v. Shri Bansi Gawali and Anr, the Court held that it is mandatory for a petitioner to strictly adhere to the requirements of Section 82 of the Act. In case the petitioner is claiming a declaration that he is the duly elected candidate, he needs to add all other candidates as respondents to his petition. The Court further held that in the event that the petitioner does not comply with the requirements of Section 82, the Court cannot be permitted to order an amendment to the petition under Order 6 Rule 17 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC). Additionally, the Court also held that an election officer cannot be added as a party to such a petition and only the parties specified under Section 82 can be arrayed as respondents.

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996

In Reliable Spaces Pvt. Ltd v. Evonik India Pvt. Ltd, the Court was dealing with a challenge to an arbitrator’s award under Section 34 of the Act. The challenge was on the ground that the arbitrator’s interpretation of a force majeure clause in the contract was perverse and thus patently illegal, and also that the arbitrator had ignored vital evidence before him which also constituted perversity.

The Court reiterated that in such cases, it is only empowered to interfere when the arbitrator’s view is so thoroughly implausible and irrational that no reasonable person could have ever come to the conclusion. In this case, the Court held that the arbitrator’s reading of the force majeure clause was very much plausible. With respect to the second challenge, the Court held that the evidence was not produced before the arbitrator in the first place, and thus the award cannot be challenged on this ground.

The Court thus dismissed the petition, and since the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division & Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 applied to the case, it proceeded to impose costs as per the mandate of the revised Section 35(2) of the CPC.

In Union of India, through Chief Administrative Officer (construction) v. Maharashtra Steel Fabricators & Erectors, the Court, following the Supreme Court decision in M/s. Deep Industries Limited v. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. & Anr, held that interference by High Courts in the exercise of jurisdiction under Article 226 and Article 227 with respect to arbitral awards is warranted only in case the arbitrator patently lacked jurisdiction to pass the same. It was clarified that the connotation of the expressions ‘inherent lack of jurisdiction’ and ‘nullity of arbitral awards’ is limited to scenarios involving ‘non-existence of arbitration agreement’ and ‘non-arbitrability of disputes’.

Moreover, the Court followed the Supreme Court decision in Assistant Commissioner (CT) LTU, Kakinada & Ors. v. M/s. Glaxo Smith Kline Consumer Health Care Ltd to hold that writ petitions filed under Article 226 and 227 challenging an arbitral award after the stipulated time limit under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 is over, cannot be entertained.

Maharashtra Stamp Act, 1958

In Goisu Realty Pvt. Ltd v. State of Maharashtra & Ors., the Court held that the stamp duty to be levied on a long term/perpetual lease deed would be different from the stamp duty to be levied on an instrument of conveyance. In this case, the Court relied on a decision of the Nagpur Bench of the Court in M/s. Ambuja Cements Ltd v. State of Maharashtra and held that for long term lease deeds, Article 36 of the Schedule would apply.

Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992 r/w the Target Plus Scheme notified under this Act

In Ram Ratna Intenational v. Union of India & Ors, the Court, relying on the Supreme Court’s judgment in Reliance Industries Ltd v. UOI, reiterated that all that is required to claim benefit of duty credit under the Target Plus Scheme is for the eligible exporter to produce a no dues certificate. The Court further held that for the purpose of claiming benefit under this Scheme, the no dues certificate is only in relation to the dues pending to the government only, and ‘government dues’ would mean something which is payable to and enforceable by the government on account of a legal obligation or a contract.

Thus, the Court held that the non-submission of Bank Realization Certificate after receipt of foreign currency/remittance on successful completion of an export would not qualify as a ‘government due’ so as to prevent an eligible exporter from claiming the benefit under the Target Plus Scheme.

Indian Evidence Act, 1872

In Ramdas s/o Baban Marne v. State of Maharashtra along with State of Maharashtra v. Baban Chapaji Marne, the Court held that the statement of a defence witness cannot be discarded solely because he was a defence witness. In this case, the defence witness was a stranger to the accused and his statement had been recorded on the date of the incident itself, thus the Court held that his statement could not be discarded.

In this case, the Court was also faced with dealing with the admissibility of an oral dying declaration of the deceased under Section 32 of the Act. It held that as a rule of prudence, corroboration of the dying declaration is necessary to determine whether an oral declaration is truthful or not. In this case, since the statement of the defence witness was contradicting the account of the prosecution witnesses, and because the prosecution could not establish that the deceased was in fit medical condition to make the dying declaration, it was held that the oral dying declaration was not enough to convict the accused.

In Gopal Shankarappa Rathod v. State of Maharashtra, the Court reiterated that for convicting a person on the basis of circumstantial evidence by applying the ‘last seen theory’, it is the duty of the Court to see that the circumstances which lead towards the guilt of the accused have been fully established and they must lead to a singular conclusion that the accused is guilty of the offence and rule out the possibilities which are likely to allow the presumption of innocence of the accused.

In this case, since there were discrepancies in the statements of the prosecution witnesses, the Court held that the prosecution had failed to establish the guilt of the accused. The Court also reiterated that motive, however strong, by itself cannot establish the guilt of the accused. Lastly, the Court held that when the FIR registered is not dispatched to the concerned magistrate forthwith, it raises suspicion that the FIR was registered later than shown by the police.

In Sachin Subhash Londhe v. State of Maharashtra, the Court relied on the judgment of the Apex Court in Kanhaiyalal v. State of Rajasthan and held that the mere circumstance of being last seen together does not by itself lead to the inference that it was the accused who committed the crime, and there needs to be a chain of circumstances to establish the guilt of the accused. In the present case, the case of the prosecution was not supported by credible evidence to form a complete chain pointing to the guilt of the accused to convict him under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, and hence he was acquitted.

In State of Maharashtra v. Mohan Raghunath Gavade & Anr., the Court held that each dying declaration has to be considered independently on its own merit so as to appreciate its evidentiary value and one cannot be rejected because of the contents of the other. In the present case, apart from three written dying declarations and one oral one, there was an eye witness also to the incident. On account of contradicting versions of the dying declarations and the testimony, the Court held that the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Indian Penal Code, 1860

In State of Maharashtra v. Satish Pabalkar, the Court held that for an offence concerning Sections 494 and 495 of the Code, the first wife can file a complaint and she would qualify as an aggrieved person under Section 198 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). The Court also held that a marriage certificate would not be sufficient to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the respondent was already married at the time of his second marriage.

In State of Maharashtra v. Anand Roopchand Gajbhiye & Ors., the Court observed that the essential ingredient for an offence under Section 307 was that the act should be committed with the intention to cause the victim’s death. The Court considered factors such as the nature of the injury, the weapon used, the injured part of the body, and the force with which the injury was caused to determine that the offence under Section 307 has not been made out. It was held that the injury sustained would fall under Section 320 instead, thereby making another accused liable under Section 326 of the Code.

In Sudam Ramnath Shelke v. State of Maharashtra, the Court clarified that a delay in lodging an FIR for sexual offences would not be fatal to the case by relying upon the Supreme Court judgment in State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh. Further, the Court stated that there is no prerequisite of ‘complete penetration’ to attract the provisions of Section 376 of the Code and no benefit can be given to the accused merely because he has not sustained injuries. In light of this, the Court upheld the order of the Additional Sessions Judge, convicting the accused under Section 376(2)(f) of the Code.

In Subhash Ramji Kumbhar v. State of Maharashtra, the Court held that in order to hold an accused guilty for an offence punishable under Section 302 of the Code, ‘intention’ and ‘knowledge’ both are determining factors. Bare awareness of ‘knowledge’ of gravity of the act would not be construed as ‘intention’. As compared to 'knowledge', 'intention' would require something more than mere foresight of the consequences, namely purposefully doing a thing to achieve a particular end.

In State of Maharashtra v. Smt. Dattatraya Gaikwad, it was held that where the prosecution is not able to prove entrustment of property, coupled with either (a) dishonest misappropriation or conversion, (b) dishonest use or disposal in violation of law, or (c) dishonest use in violation of contract; then in such circumstance, the charge of criminal breach of trust cannot be sustained.

In Somnath Virbhadrayya Vijapure v State of Maharashtra, the Court held that to qualify under Exception 4 to Section 300 of the Code, the following four ingredients need to be satisfied: (i) it should be a sudden fight; (ii) there should be no premeditation; (iii) the act should be done in a heat of passion; and (iv) the assailant should not have taken an undue advantage or acted in a cruel manner.

The Court refused to overturn an order of conviction under Section 302 of the Code since the facts did not qualify under Exception 4 of Section 300 of the Code. In this case, the appellant had got into a verbal quarrel with the deceased over a land dispute which ultimately resulted in the appellant giving several blows of an axe to the deceased’s body. It was the appellant's contention that since the injuries suffered by the deceased were in a fit of an anger caused in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel, and that such an act would amount to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

In Rajendra Eknath Apugade v. The State of Maharashtra, the Court followed the Supreme Court decisions in Sharad Birdhichand Sarda v. State of Maharashtra and C Chenga Reddy and others v. State of AP to hold that while convictions under the Code can be based on circumstantial evidence, the circumstances from which the conclusion of guilt is drawn should be fully proved, and should be conclusive in nature. Furthermore, where the case of the prosecution rests entirely on circumstantial evidence, establishing of motive would be even more important for the prosecution’s case, although the failure to prove motive would not by itself be fatal to the prosecution’s case.

The Companies Act, 2013

In Shankar Assana Gaddam v. Achanak Associates Realtors Private Limited and Ors, the Court held that a matter such as transfer of property by a company based on board resolution(s) would be subject of challenge before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the civil courts would have no jurisdiction over the same. The Court relied on the bar under Sections 241, 242 read with S. 430 of the Companies Act, 2013 for coming to its conclusion.

Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988

In State of Maharashtra v. Shridhar Madhavrao Murti, the Court upheld the trial court order acquitting the accused for offences punishable under Section 7 and 13(1)(d) and 13(2) of the Act. The Court relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in B Jayaraj v. State of Andhra Pradesh, where it was held that demand of illegal gratification was a sine qua non for offences punishable under Sections 7 and 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Court thus held that the mere recovery of currency notes from the accused would not constitute an offence under the Act.

In State of Maharashtra v. Avinash Sadashiv Khristi And Anr. the Court, relying on the Supreme Court’s judgment of Vinod Kumar Garg V/s. State (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, held that the presumption under Section 20 of the Act is rebuttable presumption, and the accused can rebut the presumption by showing that the money was acknowledged other than for the motive or reward under Section 7 of the Act. The Court also iterated that the standard needed for rebutting the presumption would be determined on the prevalence of probabilities.

Furthermore, the Court reiterated that sanction order under the Act needed to be a reasoned order, and that the competent authority signing the draft order submitted by the Anti-Corruption Bureau would not be valid. Lastly, the Court reiterated that if the appellate court finds that there was nothing wrong or manifestly erroneous with the order of the trial court, it would not need to reassess the evidence. The appellate court should have "very substantial and compelling reasons" to discard the trial court's decision, and unless conclusions reached by the trial court are found to be palpably wrong or based on erroneous view of the law, or if such conclusions are allowed to stand, they are likely to result in grave injustice, the appellate court should not interfere with the conclusions of the trial court.

In State of Maharashtra v. Anil Ramchandra Dhumase the Court held that the mere act of forcibly putting money in a government officer’s pocket in front of officers of the Anti-Corruption Bureau will not amount to an offence of accepting bribe under the Act. Here, the Court refused to overturn an order of acquittal in favour of the respondent under Section 7, and Section 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the Act. The respondent was a police officer who was alleged to have demanded and accepted a bribe for not initiating chapter proceedings under the CrPC against one of the prosecution witnesses. The respondent was allegedly caught by the members of the Anti-Corruption Bureau while accepting a bribe from the prosecution witness.

The Court. after appreciating the evidence brought on record by the respondent, agreed that there was no commission of any offence by him. It was found that the respondent was successful in rebutting the presumption under Section 20 of the Act.

Customs Act, 1962

In Supreme Industries Ltd v. Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and Ors, the Court held that a Revenue authority cannot pass an order in two parts - first pass the operative part of the order without any reasons and then pass the speaking order with reasons and also conveniently choose the dates of the orders. The Court held that a good order must speak for itself and must also stand the test of legality, fairness and reasons along with all the details of the issue and clear findings.

The Court relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court in State of Punjab v/s Bandip Singh and Ors, which laid down guidelines that Revenue authorities have to follow while passing orders. The Supreme Court held that the government did not have carte blanche to pass arbitrary or prejudiced decisions and that orders of an administrative or executive nature should be composite, self-sustaining and well-reasoned.

In M/s. Harihar Collections v. Union of India and Ors. with Raj Grow Impex v. Union of India and Ors. the Court held that the power of the adjudicating authority under Section 125(1) of the Act of giving an option to the owner or person concerned to pay fine in lieu of confiscation, is discretionary in respect of goods, the importation or exportation whereof is prohibited, but in respect of other goods, it is mandatory. The Court also held that when a High Court is in seisin of a matter, an administrative or executive authority cannot start a parallel proceeding on the very same subject matter at its own ipse dixit and record a finding, and that the same would amount to interfering with the dispensation of justice by the courts.

Here, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Department of Commerce) under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act 1992 and Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020 ,amended the import policy in relation of peas. By the function of this notification, the import of peas wa put under the restricted category. The petitioners had imported a large quantity of peas, which had been confiscated by the customs department in lieu of the said notification. Due to this the petitioners were forced to shift their entire consignment of peas to a customs warehouse facility under Section 49 of the Act, which resulted in huge costs.

The petitioners thereafter approached the adjudicating authority, which passed an order-in-original imposing a penalty on the petitioners for being in violation of the notification, however giving an option to the petitioners to redeem their confiscated consignment of peas on payment of a redemption fine. In pursuance of the said order, the petitioners paid the custom duty, the redemption amount, as well as the penalty amount. However, despite making all payments, the respondents did not release the shipment of peas from their possession. The respondents contended that the AA order was marred with deficiencies and was not good in law, as peas were a restricted item and could not be released to the petitioner despite the payment of the redemption amount.

The Court, after analysing the power of the adjudicating authority under the Act, did not find the AA order to be illegal, and ordered the respondents to release the consignment of peas.

Maharashtra Police Act, 1951

In Dinesh Santlal Yadav v. Divisional Commissioner and Ors., an order of externment under Section 56 (1) (a) (b) of the Act was passed against the petitioner and he was externed from the limits of Thane District for a period of one year because his presence was held to be harmful to the society. The petitioner contended that even though the offences were registered against him within the limits of Manpada Police Station, he was externed from Thane District. The Court held that the approach of the externing authority was not arbitrary, as considering the geographical proximity and transport available, the possibility of the petitioner entering the area easily could not be ruled out.

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012

In Sayyad Shabbir Shaikh v. State of Maharashtra, the Court observed that minor discrepancies and variations which do not affect the core of the prosecution case should not be given undue importance to take away from otherwise reliable testimony. In light of this, the Court referred to the case of Vijay alias Chinee v. State of Madhya Pradesh, wherein the legal position was made clear that the Court may convict the accused on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix, and the statement of such prosecutrix, if found reliable, requires no corroboration. In lieu of this, the Court upheld the decision of the Additional Sessions Judge, convicting the accused under Sections 376(2)(i), 323 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Constitution of India, 1950

In Prathmesh S/o Ganesh Pedamkar v. The Director, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and Others, the Court relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court in Dental Council of India v. Pravina & Ors. to hold that it is not open to the Court to make a decision for the creation of a supernumerary post. In the present case, the petitioner claimed to be deprived of a seat in the Scheduled Caste category that was earned on merit since the intimation of his selection was not received by him on his email. However, the Court also noted that the institute should have been more vigilant in its approach so as to not infringe the valuable right of the candidate under Article 15(4). The Court, however, did not make any binding order, and merely allowed the director of IIT Bombay to have the discretion to either add a supernumerary seat in this academic year or grant the petitioner a seat of admission in the next academic year.

In Shri Vikram Vilas Mane v. State of Maharashtra the Court held that government-aided schools cannot be made to suffer due to inaction of the State in filling vacant teaching positions. The Court also held that in matters of appointment to positions in government-aided schools, general category candidates can be appointed to reserved category seats, provided no reserved category candidates apply for such positions.

Here, the Court was dealing with challenge to theappointment of a general category candidate who had been appointed to an Other Backward Classes/Scheduled Tribe (OBC/ST) category seat in a school which had a vacancy for the post of an art teacher. Towards the fulfilment of the same, the school had written to the State for permission to fill the position.

In Mahadev Rama Kaikadi v. The State of Maharashtra and Ors, the Court, relying on relying on its full bench judgment in St. Francis De Sales Education Society, Nagpur v. State of Maharashtra, held that government GRs would not apply to minority institutions protected under Article 30 of Constitution of India. In this case, the District Education Officer, citing a government GR order, had rejected the appointment of the petitioner on “compassionate grounds” in a minority institute (which is entitled to protection under Article 30 of Constitution).

The Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Denotified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Special Backward Category (Regulation of Issuance and Verification of) Caste Certificate Act, 2000

In Vilas Dinkar Bhat v. The State Of Maharashtra Through Secretary Tribal Developmeent Dept. And Ors, the Court had to assess if the petitioner belonged to the Schedule Tribe. For this, it relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in Anand Katole v. Committee for Scrutiny and Verification of Tribe Claims and Ors, where it was held that when the question is about pre-independence and post-independence documentary evidence, greater reliance is to be placed on the former as compared to the latter, as they have a higher degree of probative value for declaration of the status of the caste.

The Court also reiterated the affinity test, wherein the Apex Court stated that a cautious approach was to be adopted as due to migration, modernization and contact with other communities, the tribal communities could develop new traits which may not match their traditional characteristics and hence the affinity test could not be used as a litmus test for establishing the caste. In the present matter, the Court directed the Scheduled Tribe Scrutiny Committee to decide the claim of the petitioner.

Maharashtra Village Panchayat Act, 1958

In Mandakini Kachru Kokane v. State of Maharashtra & Ors., the Court ordered the Caste Scrutiny Committee to dispose of matters which are covered under a mandatory period of 12 months, within 8 months to enable the matter to be resolved before the expiry of one year from the date of election. In the present case, the petitioner was elected for the post of Sarpanch in the elections, whereby she was required to submit a caste certificate and validity certificate showing her to be of the ‘Kumbi’ caste along with her nomination papers within a year from such election. As per the Act, if such papers are not available with the candidate, then the relevant documents need to be placed before the Committee, which shall then decide on the matter. However, in the present case, since the date on which the decision of the Committee was given was the day on which the one-year period expired, the petitioner was disqualified from the post without having an opportunity to approach the courts for challenging the order of the Committee. In this regard, the Court partially upheld the order of the Committee.

Cantonments Act, 2006

In Meher Pheroze Sethna & Ors. v. Pune Cantonment Board & Anr., the Court held that the consideration of the views of the Local Military Authority by the Defence Estates Board was unlawful under Section 238 of the Act. In this regard, the Court allowed the writ petition stating that the Board had to refer an application in relation to sanctioning the erection/re-erection of a building which is on a land managed by a Defence Estates Officer to the Defence Estates Board. The Defence Estates Board’s decision in this regard was to be regarded as the view of the Central government. Therefore, the Court directed the Board and its Chief Executive Officer to afford sanction to the petitioners' application to carry out repair works within four weeks.

Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972

In Chairman / Chief Executive Officer, Sangli District Primay Teachers Co-Operative Bank Ltd. Sangli v. Shri. Babasaheb Mahadev Patil, it washeld that the employer could not hold back the gratuity from the employee without complying with the principles of natural justice and without initiating proceedings for forfeiture of gratuity. Here, the Court was dealing with the issue of release of gratuity after termination of an employee for misappropriating the funds of the employer.

Maharashtra Municipals Councils, Nagar Panchayat and Industrial Townships Act, 1965

In KIPL Vistacore Infra Projects J.V v. Ichalkaranjee Municipal Council & Ors, it was observed that suo motu power of the District Collector under Section 308(1) of the Act to suspend executions of resolutions passed by the Municipal Council, has been omitted post the Maharashtra Municipal Councils, Nagar Panchyats and Industrial Townships (Amendment) Act, 2018. It was further observed that the amendment was undertaken to prevent possible misuse of the Collector’s erstwhile powers, and to prevent unnecessary interference in the business of the Municipal Council.

In view of the intent behind the amendment, it was held that the conditions inserted in Section 308 for the exercise of power by the Collector could not be construed to be directory. Further, the Court followed its own previous decisions, to hold that under the amended Section 308, it could not exercise jurisdiction on the basis of a complaint by a private person. Finally, the Court relied on Supreme Court decisions of State of Madhya Pradesh and Anr. v. M/s G.S. Dall and Flour Mills, and Pune Municipal Corporation and Anr. v. Kausarbag Cooperative Housing Society Limited and Anr to decide that government circulars could not contravene or override statutory provisions. On this basis, it was held that a government circular relaxing the conditions prescribed under Section 308 of the Act, for exercise of power by the Collector, could not be understood to be binding.

Maharashtra Local Authority Members’ Disqualification Act, 1986

In Mangal Kiran Waghmore & Ors v. The State of Maharashtra & Ors, the Court held that proceedings instituted on the basis of a petition under Section 7 of the Act seeking disqualification due to defection, are not adversarial in nature, with there being no lis between the person who (a) moves the petition, and (b) the councillor sought to be disqualified. To arrive at this conclusion, the Court followed the Supreme Court decision in Kedar Shashikant Deshpande v. Bhor Municipal Council and Others. It was held that the purpose behind Section 7 is merely to bring the relevant information concerning a possible disqualification to the notice of the Collector, who is bound to decide the petition, and that such determination would remain unaffected even if the said petition is defective or is withdrawn.

Bombay Police Act 1951

In Ganesh Murgesh Bajantri v. State of Maharashtra, the Court held that externment orders need to provide cogent reasons for externment of an individual from a particular geographical area and such orders can be quashed for non-application of mind by the externment authorities.The Court also held that the individuals cannot be removed from geographical areas where there are no criminal cases registered against such individuals. Here, the Court was dealing with externment powers of Mumbai Police under S.55 to S.59 of the Act.

Externment authorities under the Act had passed an externment order against the petitioner from the areas of Mumbai, Mumbai Suburban Districts and Thane District. The Court took issue with the fact that the externment authority did not apply its mind in issuing the externment order. The Court also found the externment order to be excessive in nature as all pending criminal cases against the p.etitioner were registered in the Mulund Police Station and there was no need to for the externment order to mechanically extend its application to vast areas of Mumbai and its suburban areas.

Securities and Exchange Board of India (Share Based Employee Benefits) Regulations, 2014

In JK Paper Limited v Securities and Exchange Board of India, the Court held that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) does not have an obligation to grant a personal hearing while considering an exemption application under the Regulations. The petitioners had sought certain clarification regarding the applicability of the Regulations to them. SEBI in reply had confirmed the application. Thereafter, the petitioners had applied to SEBI from being exempted from the applicability of the Regulations under Regulation 29, which empowers SEBI to grant exemption from the strict compliance of the Regulations.

The petitioners had made several representations to SEBI for a personal hearing before it could make a final decision on the petitioners' application. However, SEBI refused to grant a personal hearing. The Court came to the conclusion that when opportunity for personal hearing is to be given, the Regulations will specify so, and since there was no such requirement or an obligation on the part of SEBI under the Regulations, there was no right of a personal hearing to be granted to the petitioners.

Rahul Sibal is a law clerk at the Supreme Court of India, Pranav Narsaria, Khushwant Pawar and Anusha Pradhan are advocates based in Mumbai. Radhika Vijayaraghavan is an associate with MZM Legal. Milind Rai is a lawyer in Mumbai

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