- Apprentice Lawyer
With its vast and varied case-docket, the High Court of Delhi has occasion to pronounce verdicts on diverse subjects and myriad areas of law. This two-part monthly column attempts to offer a brief over-view of the important pronouncements of the High Court of Delhi over the period of the relevant month in review. While an attempt has been made to ensure the widest possible coverage of the various judgments rendered, comprehensive analysis and critique of the individual judgments is eschewed for the sake of brevity.
In M/s Prestress Wire Industries v. Uppal Builders Private Limited, the Court reiterated that in exercise of jurisdiction under Section 37 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (‘Arbitration Act’), it is not the remit of the Court to dissect each and every contractual provision or to minutely examine the arithmetic behind every claim.
In Glencore International AG v. M/s Shree Ganesh Metals, while examining the aspect of the incorporation of an arbitration clause contained in an earlier contract to a subsequent contract, the Court held that while incorporation is usually accepted in case of a ‘Standard Form Contract’, a contract could be said to fall within the said definition only if it did not leave scope for any negotiation in relation to its terms and conditions, and if the record demonstrated extensive negotiations between the parties before the eventual execution of the contract, then the contract in question could not be said to be a ‘Standard Form Contract’ and incorporation could not be established in the absence of an express specific assent for the same.
In Gail Gas Ltd. v. Palak Construction Pvt. Ltd., the Court held that a stray statement in the record of cross-examination of a witness could not be permitted to be utilized to find fault within the impugned award by equating it to the level of an estoppel against, or admission of fact by, the successful party. The Court further held that an argument was not raised before the arbitrator cannot be sought to be urged before the Court, particularly when the plea involves disputed questions of facts.
In Counsel of Scientific Research & Industrial Research v. Godavari Biorefineries Limited, the Court held that once a party had consented to refer disputes to arbitration in response to a legal demand in this regard by party seeking reference to arbitration, then it was permissible for the party seeking arbitration to contend that the limitation for filing an application under Section 11 of the Arbitration Act should be reckoned from the date of the letter agreeing to refer disputes to arbitration.
In Ritika Diwan v. M/s. Supertech Limited, the Court rejected an argument that the termination of an allotment letter issued in relation to an apartment would mean that the arbitration clause contained therein would also perish inasmuch as the Court found that there were existing disputes in relation to the non-allotment of the flat under the said allotment letter as also the alternative flat that was agreed to be allotted in replacement thereof.
In AVM Oil Field Services v. Gail Gas Limited, the Court held that when the contract between the parties specifically provided that the arbitration clause would not be applicable to any claim relating to banning of the aggrieved party or any matter consequential thereto, then a petition under Section 11 of the Arbitration Act would not be maintainable in relation to the aforesaid claims.
In Metro Builders v. Indian Oil Corporation, the Court held that when the original petition filed under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act was lying in defects and was never re-filed and an altogether fresh petition under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act was filed thereafter, then the benefit of the first filing would not accrue to the party. If the second filing was beyond the time stipulated under Section 34(3) of the Arbitration Act, then the same would merit summary rejection.
In Bhubaneshwar Express Pvt. Ltd. v. National Highways Authority of India, the Court reiterated that in appropriate circumstances, the power under Section 9 of the Arbitration Act extends to passing mandatory interlocutory orders directing payments to be made to the aggrieved party.
In Gogoal Hydro Private Limited v. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, the Court reiterated that a clause which required either a superior authority of one of the parties or his/her nominee to act as an arbitrator would be contrary to Section 12(5) of the Arbitration Act and the Court would be entitled to appoint an independent arbitrator.
In M/s Western Constructions v. Eden Buildcon Pvt. Ltd., the Court held that when the claims which were sought to be referred to arbitration could be conclusively demonstrated to fall outside the ambit of the arbitration clause, then the Court would be entitled to refuse reference to arbitration while considering a petition under Section 11 of the Arbitration Act.
In M/s Avnish Kumar & Associates v. Northern Railway Through its General Manager, the Court held that an arbitrator was empowered to summarily reject all claims premised upon an allegation of duress and coercion, if he/she came to a conclusion that the Claimant had been unable to establish the aforesaid aspects during the course of the proceedings.
In IRB Tumkur Chitradurga Tollway Limited v. National Highways Authority of India, the Court reiterated that pending the final resolution of disputes through arbitration, a Court is entitled to balance the equities between the parties when it is approached under Section 9 of the Arbitration Act.
In National Highways Authority of India v. Ssangyong Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd., the Court held that the incorrect filing of a non-maintainable appeal under Section 37 of the Arbitration Act against an arbitral award at the initial stage, which was subsequently withdrawn with liberty to file a correct petition under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act, would not extend the period of limitation, and if a subsequent petition under Section 34 of the Act was beyond the period of limitation as stipulated under Section 34(3), then the petition would be liable to be rejected.
In Dipankar Singh v. Union of India, the Court reiterated that in the absence of any contrary indication in the agreement, the designation of a seat would mean that the competent court which was approached would be the one within whose jurisdiction the arbitration proceedings were held.
Banking and Finance
In Neeraj Syal v. State Bank of India, the Court reiterated that the Debt Recovery Tribunal (‘DRT’) or the Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal (‘DRAT’) is not empowered to refuse to take on record and accept the settlement agreed at between the parties and also deprecated the failure of the DRT to follow the settled law in this regard despite various pronouncements of the Court on this issue.
In Zakir Ali Rana v. Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company Limited, the Court reiterated that an appeal against an order passed by a Recovery Officer under Section 30(1) of the Recovery of Debts and Bankruptcy, 1993 (‘RDB Act’) shall lie only before the DRT, and the DRAT could not be approached directly against the same by invocation of Section 17A(1) of the RDB Act.
In Rajan Malhotra v. Union Bank of India, the Court held that the principle of novation of contract would also apply to a loan transaction and that it was therefore permissible for the parties to an original loan agreement to either enter into a new agreement of debt or to substitute the debtors with a new set of debtors, and once such novation is effected, the earlier obligations would stand discharged and the new agreement would define the relationship between the parties.
In Madhucon Projects Ltd. v. National Highways Authority of India, the Court reiterated that an injunction against encashment of an unconditional bank guarantee can only be issued in specific exceptional circumstances.
In Guljhari Lal v. Allahabad Bank, the Court observed that when there was an express reservation of its right to do so in the notice to sale, a bank was entitled to cancel a sale even after accepting the highest bid.
In Allahabad Bank v. Malayan Banking Limited, the Court reiterated that it was only in a case where knowledge of fraud in relation to the underlying transaction had been communicated to the confirming bank before the negotiation of the letters of credit, could the issuing bank seek to raise a triable issue as to any element of fraud.
In Bank of India v. Pradeep Jain, the Court directed collection of data on various parameters to determine the feasibility of framing general guidelines / rules in respect of the fee payable to court commissioners appointed under the provisions of the Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (‘SARFESI Act’).
In IDBI Bank Ltd v. Government of NCT of Delhi, the Court extended the protection under Section 32 of the SARFESI Act to the bank which was being accused of criminality by the auction purchaser in dealing with a property despite an attachment there-against by the Income Tax Department inasmuch as the Court found that the bank had not received confirmation in relation to the said attachment on the date of dealing with the auction purchaser.
In Punjab & Sindh Bank v. Indo Foreign Commercial Agency Products Private Limited, the Court held that the DRAT was empowered in terms of Section 19(20) of the RDB Act to reduce the rate of interest in appropriate circumstances taking into account the relevant factors including a massive ballooning of the interest component on account of the length of time over which the litigation had stretched
In Devinder Kumar Diwan v. Rajni Kapur, the Court held that it was not open for a court to foreclose contentious issues in a partition suit at an initial stage without framing issues and without setting the matter down to trial, and the said approach would be contrary to Order XIV Rule 1 of the CPC, particularly when there were disputed questions of fact.
In Dharampal Satyapal Sons Pvt. Ltd. v. IFB Agro Industries Ltd., the Court held that during the pendency of a suit, an application under Section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (‘CrPC’) cannot be dealt with at the interim stage and consideration thereof would occasioned only at the final stage. The Court reiterated that an unambiguous and clear admission made in the pleadings in a previous litigation can be used against a party unless the said admission is explained.
In Atlanta Limited v. National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited, the Court reiterated that the outer limit for filing a rejoinder was sacrosanct and any delay could not be condoned even on the ground that proceedings were pending for rejection of the written statement.
In Steelcase Inc. v. Mr. K.J. Bhuta, the Court noted that mere delay in moving an application for amendment of the plaint under Order 6 Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (‘CPC’), when the suit was admittedly at a pre-trial stage, would not create prejudice of a kind which would not be compensated through imposition of costs and, accordingly, allowed the application for amendment moved by the plaintiff.
In Asha Srivastava v. Arun Srivastava, the Court held that when the recording of evidence in a civil suit is conducted through a commissioner, the adjudicatory powers of the court are not delegated, and if there was a dispute as to whether rebuttal evidence was to be led or not, the same could only be decided by the court and not by the commissioner. The Court further held that a party should not be permitted to suffer injustice on account of an error committed by the court while framing issues in the suit.
In Ujjwal Kapoor v. State and Ors., the Court observed that while seeking to prove a document through the examination of a witness, it was necessary to specifically identify and endorse points relating to the signatures appearing on the said document and the identification thereof by the witness in order for the said document to be proved.
In Aditi Wasan v. Surinder Singh Pahwa, the Court reiterated that Order 7 Rule 11 of the CPC would have no application where it emerges that the plaint could be proceeded with at least in part.
In Atul Kumar Singh v. Nitish Kumar, the Court held that though it was permissible in principle to summon or examine an opposite Party in a suit as a witness, such a prayer must be allowed only in very rare cases, when the need thereof can be demonstrated to be unavoidable or in the interests of justice.
In Jagjit Singh (Deceased) now represented by his LRs. v. Amrik Singh, the Court reiterated that parties cannot be allowed to reagitate issue or engage in the exercise of proving or disproving a fact in two different proceedings.
In S.S. Thapar v. L.R. Verma, the Court held that when a summary suit under Order XXXVII had been decreed on the ground that the defendant had failed to deposit the sum which was directed by the trial court as a condition for granting leave to defend, then in appeal against such a decree, the defendant could not be permitted to agitate issues on merits, and the only recourse for the defendant was to try and demonstrate as to what prevented him/her from depositing such amount in terms of Order XXXVII Rule 3 (6) (3) of CPC.
In Parag Tripathi v. Mukesh Kapil, the Court clarified that the drawing up of a decree sheet is a procedural task, and the absence thereof for any reason would not obliterate the existence of the decree itself which has been passed by the court.
In Braham Prakash Dhalla v. Shanta Nagpal, the Court reiterated that even when the relationship of landlord and tenant has been categorically denied in the written statement by the alleged tenant, then the court was competent to fix monthly use and occupation charges and direct the deposit thereof in court, and the filing of an earlier eviction petition by the plaintiff under the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, which was subsequently withdrawn, will not be a bar to the said relief.
In Pure Milk Products Pvt. Ltd. v. M/s Ramsons, in the context of a suit where the plaintiff sought certain outstanding amounts towards supply of ghee to the defendant and the defense of the defendant was that the goods were defective, the direction by the trial court that the defendant would lead evidence first so as to demonstrate the said defects, was set aside by the Court in appeal inasmuch it found that the primary onus remained on the plaintiff to demonstrate that satisfactory delivery took place and it is only thereafter that the onus would shift to the defendant.
In Zile Singh v. Santhosh @ Santra and Ganga Ram v. Shekhar Kumar, the Court while issuing a slew of directions to trial courts in relation to the manner of examination of witnesses and marking of exhibits, observed that considering the critical importance of a list of witnesses in a civil suit, it is imperative that the verification of the same takes place prior to the commencement of evidence and not at the stage thereafter when the witnesses are present at the court.
In Surender Kumar v. M/s Khandelwal Jain Society, the Court observed that the trial court had ample discretion to record a finding of sub-letting on an overall appreciation of the relevant circumstances, even in the absence of voluminous documentary evidence attesting to the said fact, inasmuch as it is a well settled position that on account of sub-letting always taking place without the knowledge of the landlord, such evidence is difficult to come by.
In Jasbir Kaur Sohal v. Flight Lt. Gurcharan Singh Sohal, the Court observed that when certified copies of certain documents can be directly procured from the income tax department or a bank, then the unnecessary delay that would be occasioned to the proceedings by summoning witnesses from these departments should be avoided.
In Subhash Agarwal v. Abhishek Andley, the Court observed that the mere filing of an application, though prior to the passing of the decree, by a judgment debtor seeking to be declared as an insolvent would not ipso-facto lead to a stay of execution proceedings till the decision in the said insolvency petition.
In Mohammed Iqbal v. Najma (Deceased) through LR’s, the Court reiterated that as per the scheme of order XXII rule 4A of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 a court may appoint an administrator under the Administrators General Act, 1963 to represent a party to the lis only if there is no legal heir for the said person. The Court noted that even though absent such a situation, the appointment of an administrator is normally uncalled for, however the administrator can always be called upon to facilitate or assist the court in giving effect to the orders being passed.
In Loh Vanizya Udyog Pvt. Ltd. v. Richie Khosla, the Court reiterated that right to lead rebuttal evidence could not be granted to the plaintiff in respect of issues where the onus of proof was upon the plaintiff, and only if the onus was on the defendants could the plaintiff lead rebuttal evidence.
In Nitika Gupta v. Sudha Gupta, the Court reiterated that junior counsels who belong to the office of the counsel on record are entitled to appear and conduct proceedings before the courts and this entitlement extends to cross examination of witnesses.
In Rambhool Singh v. Manjeet Singh, the Court while rejecting an appeal against a judgment decreeing a summary suit under Order XXXVII noted that it was difficult to believe that the defendant would sign a blank promissory note or any blank documents in favor of the plaintiff if there was no oral understanding between them for the extending of a loan by the plaintiff.
In Citicorp Finance (India) Ltd. v. Mathan Joseph, the Court observed that even where a judgment may not have specified the exact quantum of relief to be awarded to the successful party on account of certain circumstances, this would not mean that the entitlement of the said party could be set at naught, and an appropriate methodology was required to be devised in order to give effect to the said judgment in execution proceedings.
In Pushpa Sharma v. Gopal Das, the Court held that the question of whether a plaintiff was in possession of a property or not for the purposes of ascertaining the Court fee payable, could not be gone into at the preliminary stage itself. The Court held that the proper course would be to frame an issue in this regard, if necessary, and at a later stage, depending on the finding on the said issue, direct the plaintiff to pay the necessary court fee.
In Harwant Singh v. Govind Singh, the Court observed that unless the Court specifically records that costs are directed to be paid to a particular person, then the general rule would be that the costs are to be paid in the name of the party in whose favor they are awarded.
In Meena Sharma v. Seema, the Court held that when the vested right of a particular party in a litigation had already been recognized by the High Court in previous orders, then it was improper on the part of the MCD Appellate Tribunal to rely on the generally limited definition of the term ‘person aggrieved’ under the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 and deny impleadment in proceedings before it.
In Ramo Devi v. Lt. Chela Ram Chopra through his LRs, the Court strongly deprecated the emerging practice of moving an application for recall of witnesses or leading of further evidence after the evidence had formally stood concluded and the matter was listed for final arguments, purely to stymie timely disposal of suits.
In Praveen Kumar v. Dinesh Arora, the Court reiterated that a defendant could not be insisted upon to first file a written statement prior to considering an application under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC.
In Geeta @ Geeta Devi v. Mohammed Raza, in the context of ultimately allowing an application under Order 12 Rule 6 of the CPC preferred by the plaintiff/landlord, the Court observed that the mere fact that the respondent/tenant had filed a separate suit seeking specific performance of an alleged agreement to sell between him/ her and the landlord would by itself amount to admission of the relationship of landlord and tenant in the subject suit.
In NBCC (India) Ltd. v. Jadumani Singh, while elaborating on the rationale behind Order XXI of the CPC, the Court noted that there would be no illegality in an order directing production of documents, particularly when the party so directed is a public sector undertaking and the documents in question are official communications and records.
In Krishan Kumar v. Shanti Devi, the Court held that it was imperative that issues are framed in a suit only after the filing of a replication inasmuch as otherwise there was a danger of issues being premature and half-baked.
In Basant Verma v. M/s Namdhari Seeds, the Court noted that the lease deed between the parties, even if not renewed, was undoubtedly the most cogent factor to determine the rate of mesne profits in the absence of any other evidence.
In Rampat (Deceased) through LRs v. Versatile Commotrade Pvt. Ltd., the Court held that a summary suit under Order XXXVII of the CPC for recovery of amounts advanced under an agreement to sell is maintainable. The Court further noted that when the amount paid by the prospective buyer was not specifically termed as ‘earnest money’ in the agreement, and if the said amount is huge in nature then it would normally be construed as being in the nature of an ‘advance’.
In Kailash Chand Dixit v. Madhu Bhojwani, the Court reiterated that where a plaintiff has filed a civil suit for permanent injunction without including a claim of specific performance, then despite leave having been sought to file a separate suit, a subsequent suit for specific performance and injunction in respect of the same immovable property would be barred under Order II Rule 2 of the CPC.
In Shree Colonizers & Developers Private Limited v. Felicia Realcon India Private Limited, the Court reiterated that unconditional leave to defend a summary suit can only be granted if the applicant raises a cogent and bona fide defense, and the failure on the part of the applicant to have denied the entitlement of the plaintiff in various communications prior to the filing of the suit would be demonstrative of a sham defense.
In Universal Contractors & Engineers Pvt. Ltd. v. National Projects Constructions Corporation Ltd., the Court reiterated that suits which can be ex-facie demonstrated as unmeritorious on the basis of pleadings and undisputed documents, and which no amount of evidence can resuscitate, can be summarily rejected under the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 (‘Commercial Courts Act’), without setting the same down for trial.
Company Law and Insolvency
In Mukut Pathak v. Union of India, the Court held that no provisions of the Companies Act, 2013 (‘Companies Act’) or the rules framed thereunder permit cancellation of the Director Identification Number of a Director on account of him/her having suffered the disqualification under Section 164(2) of the Companies Act. The Court, however, held that for the purpose of ascertaining default under Section 164(2) of the Companies Act, even though the Act applied prospectively, it would still take into account the failure to file the financial statement pertaining to the Financial Year ending 31.03.2014 on or before 30.10.2014. The Delhi High Court in this regard disagreed with the contrary opinions expressed by the Madras High Court, the Karnataka High Court, and the Gujarat High Court.
In Sunil Kumar Dahiya v. Union of India, the Court observed that when long drawn proceedings had occurred before the Company Court in the Delhi High Court and judgment had reserved in relation to a revival scheme which had been formulated after deliberation for several years, then it was impermissible for the National Company Law Tribunal (“NCLT”) to have initiated the insolvency process and issued a moratorium in terms of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, 2016. While so observing, the Court noted that even though it would usually not exercise jurisdiction under Article 227 against an order passed by NCLT, in the aforesaid circumstances when conflicting orders might possibly be come to be passed, it was imperative to stay the order of the NCLT till the pronouncement of judgment by the High Court.
In Kamala Chamoli v. M/s Pre Press Machinery & Services Pvt. Ltd., the Court relied on Section 560 of the Companies Act, 1956 to dismiss a suit filed by a company after its name had been struck off by the office of the registrar of companies.
CONSUMER PROTECTION AND REAL ESTATE REGULATION
In Zee Turner Ltd. v. Society of Catalysts, the Court reiterated that inasmuch as there was a statutory remedy of appeal under Consumer Protection Act, 1986 against the order passed by the State Disputes Redressal Commission, it would not be appropriate to entertain a writ proceeding there against.
In M/s D S S Buildtech Pvt. Ltd. v. Manoj Kayal, the Court expressed concern at the passing of identical orders by the NCDRC in disparate matters with entirely different factual scenarios inasmuch as it seemed to reflect a patent non-application of mind.
In Khandwala Enterprise Private Limited v. Union of India, the Court quashed an executive direction issued by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and held that an executive or administrative authority could not seek to control the adjudicatory process by issuing self-serving office memoranda or instructions contrary to what had been decided by the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (‘CESTAT’). The Court further observed that no adjudicating authority could be directed to decide a lis in violation of the law.
In Kamal Kumar Kalia v. Union of India, the Court rejected a challenge to Section 10(10AA) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (‘ITA’) on the ground that it discriminated between the employees of the central government and the state government on one hand and retired employees of public sector undertakings and nationalized banks on the other hand. The Court held that the former classes of employees enjoyed a distinct status and were governed by different terms and conditions of employment. It was further held that merely because public sector undertakings and nationalized banks may be categorized as ‘State’ under Article 12 of the Constitution of India, it would not follow that their employees would achieve the same status as central government and state government employees
In Inder Lal Marwah v. Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Court observed that a decision by the concerned authorities to revamp an existing beneficial scheme by putting in further safeguards and stringent provisions to prevent misuse could not be said to be arbitrary and further noted that if the misuse continued, then the authorities were well within their right to even close down the said scheme.
In Saurabh Bindal v. Union of India, the Court held that a public interest litigation (‘PIL’) seeking to espouse the commercial interest of entities which are resourceful and competent to approach the Court to safeguard their interests would not be maintainable.
In Pratibha Chauhan v. State Election Commission, the Court observed that a Letters Patent Appeal against an order passed by a Single Judge in writ proceedings merely adjourning the matter to another date would not be maintainable.
In Vandana Kaushik v. Union of India, the Court opined that a PIL could not be used as a substitute for lodging a complaint or a First Information Report (‘FIR’) under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
In Suraj Parkash Manchanda v. Government of NCT of Delhi, the Court observed that the fixation of circle rates was an extremely complex exercise requiring an examination of various factors such as the market value, and in such complex exercises no direction could be issued in a PIL that the same should be carried out in a hurried manner.
In Dr. K.S. Jawatkar v. The Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Court held that a writ petition seeking to declare an earlier judgment passed by a Single Judge in a writ proceeding initiated by the petitioner as being a nullity would not be maintainable when the said order had been upheld by the Division Bench of the High Court in appeal and thereafter by the Supreme Court.
In Godwin Odinkpo Ogugua v. Union of India, while rejecting a habeas corpus petition filed by a foreign national seeking restraint against his deportation, the Court held that a foreign national whose visa had expired and who had not even applied for extension of the same was not entitled to stay in India as a matter of right.
In Jogesh Batra v. Young Women’s Christian Association of Delhi, the Court opined that the receiving of a project-specific grant by a private entity to perform certain public functions would not be enough to bring the said entity within the meaning of ‘State’ under Article 12 of the Constitution of India.
In Khan Paan Vendors Welfare Association (Regd.) v. Union of India, the Court reiterated that policy matters falling within the remit of the concerned authorities are not to be lightly interfered with, particularly when the same seemed to be geared towards protecting the public interest at large.
In Alkem Laboratories Ltd. v. Union of India, the Court while rejecting a challenge to a notification issued under Section 26 A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 prohibiting manufacture sale and distribution for human use of a certain drug Fixed Dose Combination, held that a reference to general academic articles would not be sufficient to dislodge the report of an expert committee on the issue and it was particularly impermissible for the aggrieved party to rely on such articles in the writ proceedings when the same where not presented by the said party before the course of proceedings before the expert committee.
In Ms. Sneha Vats v. University of Delhi, the Court reiterated that even in the absence of a provision of Article 141 in relation to the High Courts, the width and amplitude of the power under Article 226 also encompasses the power to do complete justice in all matters before it.
In Poonam Jaiswal v. DDA, the Court reiterated that the strict law of limitation would not apply to writ proceedings and the Court was only required to examine the aspect of laches.
In M/s Sanjay Agrawal v. Union of India, the Court reiterated that an entity which would fall within the definition of ‘State’ under Article 12 of the Constitution of India has a duty to act reasonably even in matters of contract, and there is nothing in Indian law that prohibits such a party from reconsidering its decision to terminate a contract when unimpeachable reasons for doing so are brought to its attention by the other party. The Court held that the mere absence of a provision under the contract allowing such a revocation would not be a ground to deny the same.
In R. P. Sarthy (Through SPA Holder Sh. Varun K R Jain) v. Delhi Development Authority, while reiterating that reasons other than in the impugned order cannot be sought to be furnished as a defense to a writ proceeding impugning the same, the Court noted that in the absence of a provision in a housing scheme empowering the authority concerned to forfeit an amount deposited by the petitioner for allotment of a flat, when the undertaking of the petitioner in regard to certain material aspects was found to be false, then such a forfeiture could not be sustained.
In Pink City Expressway Private Limited v. National Highways Authority of India, the Court observed that the duty of the State to act reasonably and fairly is even more important in cases where public money is involved, and where a contractual action of the State would in effect lead to dissipation of public funds then the general obligation to minimize losses could be invoked to injunct such action.
In Court of its Own Motion v. Aman Lohia, while convicting a person for flagrantly violating the orders of the Court and taking his minor daughter out of the country in defiance thereto, the Court observed that the aforesaid actions would not be covered within the limited immunity available to diplomats under Sections 11 & 12 of the Schedule to the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, 1946. The Court further observed that in the case of a diplomat, it could at the highest be said that the sentencing order would not be given effect to till the said person continues to be a diplomat, however, the protection would not continue thereafter.
In Ravi Sharma v. Omway Buildestate Pvt. Ltd. & Ors. the Court held that when an undertaking is not unequivocal and unconditional, and yet further does not specifically set out the consequence of breach of the said undertaking, no proceedings for contempt would lie against the breach of such an undertaking.
In Mrs. Mayadevi v. Ritika, the Court observed that making scurrilous allegations in a raised voice and usage of derogatory language against a judge in the court during the course of hearing of a matter would undoubtedly constitute contempt and such contempt, either by the litigant or the counsel, could not be countenanced.
In Kashyapi Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. v. National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited, the Court held that merely because an entity had disclosed in an agreement that it was getting the work done from a contractor on behalf of another third entity, then as long as it had entered into the contract on a principal-to-principal basis and not as an agent of the said third party, it could not contend that it was the said third party which would be mulcted with liability in respect of undisputed dues owed under the agreement.
In Sheela Gahlot v. The Registrar Cooperative Societies, the Court reiterated that a Society’s by-law which proscribed a subsequent transferee of a property from further selling the said property to a person who was not a member of the Society would be contrary to the Delhi Cooperative Societies Act, 2003 (‘DCS Act’) and that the provisions of the DCS Act would prevail.
Criminal Law and Procedure
In State v. Sonu, the Court explained the difference between ‘plea bargaining’ and ‘pleading guilty’ and held that there is no bar under Indian law to an accused pleading guilty on his or her own volition. The Court further observed that considering the over-burdened judicial system and comparatively limited resources, an accused who pleads guilty merits some consideration on account of this fact, and cannot be put on the same pedestal as someone who is convicted after a full-fledged trial.
In Hopeson Ningshen v. CBI, the Court held that there is no specific provision against recording a statement of an accused under Section 164 of the CrPC by the Magistrate concerned in chambers, and he/she is entitled to use discretion to avoid the presence of any person who may create any pressure upon the accused. The Court further noted that there was no flouting of the safeguards provided under Sections 164 & 281 of the CrPC if it could be established that the accused was not persuaded or coerced to make a confession and was, on the other hand, given sufficient time to ruminate over his decision to make a confession and having been specifically warned of its consequences by the Magistrate.
In Anil Kumar v. State, while rejecting the prayer of a person convicted under Sections 363/376(2)(f)/457 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) for reduction of sentence, the Court noted that in cases of child rape, the Court must bear in mind the affect such a crime has on the psyche of the child which lasts for a lifetime and violates not only the dignity of the child victim but also the safeguard provided to children under Article 39 of the Constitution of India.
In Salek Ram v. State Government, the Court observed that in order to bring home a charge under Section 304-B of the IPC, it is essential to demonstrate that the cruelty or harassment which had occasioned on account of a demand for dowry must have occurred ‘soon before’ the death of the victim, and if it was established from the sequence of events that there was no interaction between the deceased and the husband and his family members for several months before the date of death then the accused were entitled to an acquittal. However, the Court further noted that when on the day of the victim’s death she was in the matrimonial home in the company of her husband, then the failure of the husband to discharge the onus to rebut the presumption under Section 113B of the Evidence Act would result in his conviction.
In State v. Sushil, the Court reiterated that mere conjectures or suspicion, howsoever strong, could not take the position of proof.
In Vinay v. State, after a review of various divergent precedent in this regard, the Court held that a conviction under Section 397 of the IPC could be sustained notwithstanding the fact that the weapon in question was not recovered, as long as the use of the said weapon could be conclusively established. On a related note in Sonu v. State, the Court held that a knife, irrespective of its categorization as kitchen knife or a butcher knife, would qualify as a deadly weapon under Section 397 of the IPC.
In Abhilasha Dvivedi v. Department of Women & Child Development, the Court noted that a mere allegation of being shouted at by a supervisor would not amount to sexual harassment within the meaning of ‘sexual harassment’ under Section 2(n) of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
In Vivek Chuakar v. State, the Court quashed the proceedings under Section 376 of the IPC inter-alia on the ground that the prosecutrix had engaged in physical relations with the accused over a long period of time when the prosecutrix was admittedly married to another person, which would reveal that she could not be under any false impression that there was a possibility of her and the accused getting married and, therefore, there was no question of any false promise in this regard by the accused.
In State v. Akram, one of the factors which prevailed with the Court in not interfering with an order of acquittal passed by the trial court was that the complainant/eye-witness had actively concealed the fact of his relationship with the prosecutrix.
In Ram Niwas Mohar v. Union of India, while rejecting a challenge to a detention order issued under Section 3 of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974 (‘COFEPOSA Act’),the Court held that the very fact that smuggled gold had been found in the consignment of fresh fruits imported by the accused would reflect that the allegations were not inconclusive, as also establish the propensity as well as potentiality of the accused indulging in similar acts of smuggling as also proving existence of a live-link.
In Parvinder Kansal v. State, and in Ashok Malhotra v. State (Govt. of NCT Delhi) & Anr., the Court held that the proviso to Section 372 of the CrPC provided a limited right of appeal to a victim and did not permit an appeal against on the order imposing inadequate sentence.
In State v. Sharmila @ Nanhi, the Court reiterated that Section 307 of the IPC does not prescribe a minimum sentence and the trial court can award any sentence up to the maximum provided therein after taking into account the relevant circumstances.
In Ramanpreet Kaur v, Union of India, while rejecting a challenge to a detention order issued under Section 3 of the COFEPOSA Act, the Court held the mere fact that the passport of the accused had allegedly been confiscated would not lead to the conclusion that the accused would not be able to repeat the offence complained of in the future inasmuch as when it was demonstrated that when the accused had multiple associates who had been smuggling goods into India at his behest, his inability to personally travel abroad would not foreclose his ability to continue to commit the offence of smuggling.
In State v. Om Prakash @ Fufaji and State v. Talib, the Court upheld acquittals in proceedings under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (‘POCSO Act’) inasmuch as it found that the testimony of the prosecutrix was riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions.
In Akash @ Bhole v. State, while elaborating upon the scope of a defense of alibi, the Court observed that though the initial onus is always on the prosecution to prove the presence of the accused at the spot of the alleged offence, however, once the onus has been discharged, it is for the accused who puts up a defense premised on an alibi to demonstrate the absolute impossibility of his/her presence at the place of occurrence.
In Neeraj @ Sagar v. State, the Court reiterated that a mere failure to determine the blood group on the weapon of offence is not always fatal to the case of the prosecution.
In Ravinder @ Shati v. State, while upholding a conviction under Section 12 of the POCSO Act, the Court refused to reduce the sentence of the convict despite the fact that he was the only earning member in the family and had an ailing mother to look after inasmuch as the Court found that the commission of sexual harassment and inflicting of injuries on a minor child demonstrated un-condonable mental depravity.
In Sanjeev Kumar v. State, the Court reiterated the importance of evolving a reformative program for convicts to ensure the prospect of rehabilitation after release and directed inter-alia that the convict in the said case be put through an appropriate program including meditational therapy, vocational training and skill development, and adequate counseling.
In Ananda D.V. v. State, the Court held that even if the accused who was charged with rape on the pretext of the marriage had subsequently settled the matter with the prosecutrix, the proceedings would still not be quashed by the Court inasmuch as the nature of the allegations would require that the trial should continue in the public interest.
In D. K. Chopra v. South Delhi Municipal Corporation, the Court refused to grant a prayer for issuance of an FIR against the alleged illegal actions carried out by certain police officials in exercise of jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India read with Section 482 of the CrPC inasmuch as the Court observed that the petitioner has an equally efficacious alternate remedy under Section 156(3) of the CrPC.
The Court in Irfan Javed Qurasi v. State refused to entertain a challenge to a notice issued under Section 50 of the Delhi Police Act, 1978 on the ground that an equally efficacious remedy was available to the petitioner to file an appeal under Section 51 of the said Act.
In Mohd. Yunus v. State, the Court rejected a plea to quash criminal proceedings initiated against the accused in relation to forgery of documents with a view to avoiding payment of the component of unearned increase, despite the said unearned increase having been paid to the Delhi Development Authority (‘DDA’) at a subsequent date. The Court held that the mere payment of the money would not absolve the criminal acts complained of, which reflected offences against the society at large.
In Sudhir Kumar Aggarwal v. Directorate General of GST Intelligence, the Court held that while it needs no gainsaying that no investigating officer has the right to use methods not approved by law to extract information from a suspect during his/her examination, there is no inherent right for an accused to have his lawyer present at the time of examination by officials under the Goods and Services Act, 2017.
In Vashisht Infratech Pvt. Ltd. v. State, the Court held that the mere settlement of civil liability owed to the bank under a one-time settlement scheme would not ipso-facto result in an entitlement for quashing of the corresponding criminal proceedings inasmuch as there were serious allegations of cheating and forgery resulting inter-alia in the invocation of Section 467 of the IPC.
In Vikash Kumar Sharma v. State, the Court reiterated that an accused could not be prima-facie heard to contend that he was inadvertently in possession of certain counterfeit currency, particularly when he was in possession of two wads of fake Indian currency notes (‘FICN’), inasmuch as it is a settled position that possession of a large amount of FICN would amount to active transportation of such notes.
In Anil Sharma v. State, the Court reiterated that the scope of Section 50 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (‘NDPS Act’) is only confined to a personal search of the accused and does not extend to the search of a vehicle or container or a premises.
In Assistant Director of Enforcement v. Sunil Godhwani, while reiterating that it was imperative for the Magistrate concerned to apply his/her mind to the relevant facts and circumstances before deciding to extend or refuse further police remand, the Court observed that the voluminous documentation on record and the fact that the money laundering operation in question was being carried out for almost a decade necessitated the extended custodial interrogation of the accused persons.
In Muktaben M. Mashru v. State of NCT of Delhi, the Court reiterated that the procedure provided under Section 102 of the CrPC was mandatory and non-compliance of the same would vitiate the freezing of bank accounts.
In Ajeet Singh v. State, the Court observed that even if the accused could demonstrate that the sexual relations between him and the prosecutrix during the initial period of their relationship were consensual in nature, albeit premised on the promise to marry, when there were clear allegations that the accused had subsequently forced himself on the prosecutrix, no ground was made out to quash the proceedings at the stage of framing of the charge under Section 376 of the IPC in exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482 of the CrPC.
In Amit Luhach v. State of Delhi, the Court held that though a court may not be required to give detailed reasons at the stage of framing of charge, there has still to be basic application of mind by the court concerned, and an order bereft of the same and containing no factual deliberation whatsoever, would be unsustainable.
In Amit Yadav v. State, the Court held that with the offence under Section 377/511 of the IPC being a minor offence as compared to the one under Section 377 of IPC, when upon the accused having being convicted of the offence under Section 376 of the IPC, he/she could be convicted of the offence under Section 377 of the IPC even if no specific charges have been framed in terms of Section 222 of the CrPC.
In Kuldeep v. State, while elaborating upon how common intention to commit an offence could always develop on the spot during the commission of the offence and at the spur of the moment, the Court held that the fact that the accused had caught hold of the injured thus preventing him from escaping, while the co-accused brandished the weapon which ultimately was used to inflict the injury on the injured, reflected a clear common intention. The Court further observed that when a witness becomes hostile during the course of cross-examination which takes place after a significant period of time from the date of the examination-in-chief, an inference could be made that the witness had been won over.
In Jyothi Dubey v. State, while elaborating upon the scope of Section 386 of the CrPC, it was held that the appellate court was not justified in simply dismissing a criminal appeal on the ground of non-appearance of the counsel, and should in fact have decided the case on the merits after appointing an amicus-curie and considering the appeal on merits.
In Liyakat Ali v. State, the Court held that a criminal appeal could not be disposed of merely by recording the concession of the counsel for the accused that the appeal was not being pressed, and that the Court was required to independently apply its mind to the merits of the matter.
In Nitin Gupta v. Aakash Metal Industrial, in the context of proceedings under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (‘NIA’), the Court held that non-framing of formal notice under Section 251 of the CrPC would not vitiate the entire trial and it would be sufficient if the substance of the accusation was clearly stated when the accused was asked whether he/she pleads guilty or intends to lead evidence.
In State v. Amit Goswami, the Court upheld an order of discharge inter-alia on the ground that the verification by the agencies unequivocally demonstrated that the person concerned was in a different city all together on the date of the alleged offence.
In Vipin Jain v. State, the Court held in a case involving conviction for having committed an acid attack under Section 326(a) of the IPC that the mere payment of compensation awarded to the victim would not vest any right with the accused for seeking a reduction of the sentence imposed on him.
In Anil Kaura v. State, the Court observed that mere non-mentioning of the name of the accused in the medico-legal report could not, by itself, lead to an inference that the case of the prosecution was false inasmuch as it is a trite proposition that the doctor would have been more interested in treating the victim rather than in ascertaining the identity of the assailant.
In Sunit Rohela v. State, the Court observed that an application seeking permission to go abroad during the pendency of the trial should not be rejected mechanically in all cases unless it becomes evident that the said permission was sought for oblique reasons.
In Sushila v. State, the Court reiterated that a strong suspicion in the mind of the Court was sufficient to frame a charge against the accused and an exhaustive deliberation upon the evidence was not required at that stage.
In Anil Narang v. State, while setting aside an order transferring the trial of a case to another court on the ground of allegations having been made by the prosecutrix as regards the impartiality of the Judge concerned, the Court noted that mere unsubstantiated allegations of bias were of no avail and no litigant could be permitted to have a case tried by a particular court.
In Ashok Khanna v. Central Bureau of Investigation, the Court distinguished between reissuance of a passport and renewal of a passport and held that in the case of the latter, the requirement of seeking prior permission from the Court under Section 6 of the Passport Act, 1967 would not apply.
In Col. Ram Kishan Budhwar v. Swift Securities, the Court reiterated that when it was established that an accused Director had resigned from the company before the cheque in question was issued, then in the absence of specific allegations against him in the complaint, allegations under Section 138 of the NIA could not be said to have been established.
In Employees Welfare Fund v. KRA Infrastructure Developers Pvt. Ltd., the Court observed that the Society which had advanced certain cheques to a developer for constructing houses for its constituent members would not be liable for dishonor thereof under Section 138/142 of the NIA inasmuch it was found that the cheques had been dishonored on account of the failure of the individual members to deposit the monies with the Society on account of their suspicion about the ability of the developer to complete the flats, and that the society had no role to play in this regard as it was merely facilitating the transaction between its individual members and the developer.
In Enforcement Directorate v. Tilak Raj Arora, the Court reiterated that it was impermissible for a court to direct an investigating agency to issue a notice to the accused prior to his/her proposed arrest.
In Kirti Vashisht v. State, the Court directed departmental action against a Station House Officer who had failed to register a zero-FIR despite a clear cognizable offence having been made out. The Court further directed the issuance of instructions to all police stations in this regard.
In Krishan Goel v. State, the Court reiterated that requisite sanction under Section of 140 of the Delhi Police Act, 1978 was sacrosanct to sue or prosecute an erring police officer and no criminal proceedings could not initiated against police officials in the absence thereof.
In Maya Devi v. State, the Court opined that instead of keeping the opinion as regards the caused of death pending the viscera report, the forensic expert should render an initial opinion immediately on the likely cause of death so that a definitive direction can be given to the future course of investigation.
In Narcotics Control Bureau v. Gaurav Kumar, the Court upheld a direction to preserve call records even prior to framing of charge inasmuch as it noted that Section 91 of the CrPC indeed vested such power with the Court.
In National Fertilizers Ltd. v. CBI, the Court observed that under Section 357 of the CrPC, a complainant/aggrieved person is entitled to such amount which is determined to be reasonable by the Court after taking into account the relevant facts and circumstances and it could not be insisted that the said provision entitled the complainant to an exact reimbursement of the loss estimated by it.
In State v. Anil, the Court upheld an order of discharge of the accused in proceedings under the POCSO Act inasmuch as the statement under Section 164 of the CrPC of the victim did not contain any allegation of sexual intent or sexual assault.
In Syed Ashraf v. CBI, the Court held that merely exhibiting a statement under Section 162 of the CrPC by the investigating officer is not illegal inasmuch as the mere exhibition thereof would not prove the statements and would thus not cause any prejudice to the accused.
In Tarun Sadana v. State, the Court held that prosecution of the accused for the same offences simultaneously under the IPC and the Information Technology Act, 2000 would amount to double jeopardy and, therefore, were impermissible in law.
In Ashish Bhalla v. State, the Court cautioned against coming to a hasty conclusion about the falsity of certain statements and consequently initiating action under Section 340 of the CrPC when no such ex-facie falsity was evident and the allegations made remained to be tested during the course of the trial.
In Asif Hussain v. State, the Court observed that merely because the documents in controversy were not specifically labeled as ‘restricted’, and if an examination of the documents revealed that the information contained in them concerned the defense of the country as also inter-alia the usage and storage of arms and ammunition, then it could not be argued that the said documents were meant for free dissemination or publication and a case under Section 3 of Official Secrets Act, 1923 could be said to have been established.
In Kailash Mehto v. State, the accused was acquitted of the offences under Section 392/394/397 of the IPC inasmuch as the Court found that the case of the prosecution was riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies not only regarding the recovery of the weapon but even the place and time of the alleged incident.
In Narcotics Control Bureau v. Lee Wei Qi, the Court held that a failure to draw samples of the narcotic in question at the spot was fatal to the prosecution’s case and a subsequent sampling at the office of the Narcotics Control Bureau would not suffice.
In Neetu Bhandari v. Deputy Commissioner of Police, the Court while observing that the essential ingredients of Sections 324 & 326 of IPC were the same apart from the nature of hurt contemplated therein, held that human teeth would not fall within the scope or description of an ‘instrument for cutting’ under Section 324 of the IPC.
In State v. Fakar, the Court upheld an order of acquittal inasmuch as the testimony of the sole eye-witness who had deposed in favor of the prosecution was directly contradicted by the testimonies of other injured eye-witnesses to the incident.
In Yogesh Kumar v. State the Court while reiterating the merely corroborative nature of the report of a handwriting expert, further noted that at the stage of framing of charge, the said report cannot be presumed to be a gospel truth.
In X Minor (through his Elder Brother) v. State, while construing the relevant rules framed under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children), 2000, the Court held that the rule which provided for an automatic termination of an enquiry if the same remained inconclusive for a period of 6 months or more was directory in nature and not mandatory. The Court therefore held that there would not be an automatic termination of enquiry on account of delay and the Juvenile Justice board would have to apply its mind to the relevant considerations, including whether the juvenile himself / herself has contributed to the said delay, before taking a decision in this regard.
In Salman Khurshid v. State NCT of Delhi, the Court deprecated the non-consideration of a supplementary charge sheet by the trial court while considering the question of charge.
Disability Law and Mental Health
In Rakshit Yadav v. University College of Medical Sciences, the Court held that the regulations of the Medical Council of India which deny admission to persons suffering from certain disabilities above a particular threshold would fall within the exception as engrafted in Section 3(3) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 inasmuch as it would amount to a proportionate means of securing the larger public interest in ensuring a minimum threshold for medical education, particularly when the regulations concerned were framed by experts.
In Dr. Rajat Duhan v. AIIMS, the Court held that the provision for extremely high standards and stringent conditions for admission cannot be termed as a discriminatory practice and the Court would not interfere and direct dilution of these standards which have been prescribed by academics who are experts in the field.
In Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University v. Naincy Sagar, while quashing the relief granted to certain students who had not achieved the required minimum attendance in terms of the applicable regulations to be eligible for promotion to the next academic year, the Court held that attendance of the minimum percentage of classes prescribed in professional courses was non-negotiable. The Court further noted that mere reading of literature prescribed in the syllabus could never be a substitute for engaging in discourse and debate in a classroom.
In Sahil v. University of Delhi, the Court held that when the university launched a special drive to fill in vacant seats and permitted fresh applications by those who had never applied for a seat or had cancelled their admission for whatsoever reason, it could not exclude candidates who had obtained admission and not sought cancellation thereof. In this regard the Court observed that such an exclusion was illegal and unfair inasmuch as candidates, particularly those from modest backgrounds, are loathe to let go off what they have already attained in terms of admission in the hope of a better prospect which may or may not materialize.
In Ms. Sanchi Dilavari v. University of Delhi, the Court held that once a candidate has chosen a particular subject based on the representation of the Central Board of Secondary Education (‘CBSE’) that the said subject would be given equal weightage with other subjects, thereafter it would be impermissible for the university to abruptly scale down the weightage given to the said subjects without consulting the concerned board.
In Abhishek Singh v. Union of India, the Court elaborated on the requirement of the concerned authorities to take into account situations where students, who otherwise demonstrate a good track record, were unable to attend classes on account of contracting serious diseases, particularly those which may require confinement, and were consequently denied promotion to the next year. The Court noted that with advancements in technology, requirement of physical presence in classrooms can be overcome during periods of necessity, and that a robotic and one-size-fits-all approach should be eschewed.
In Himanshu v. University of Delhi, Faculty of Law through Registrar, the Court noted that while the rules formulated by the Bar Council of India in relation to minimum attendance are required to be adhered to, the university cannot be permitted to rely upon the same to deny admission to otherwise meritorious students when the purported breach of the minimum attendance rules was a direct result of the university’s unsustainable delay in granting admission on account of an erroneous interpretation which is found to be incorrect by the Court.
In Umang Bharadwaj v. University of Delhi, the Court reiterated that the result of a supplementary exam would relate to the main result unless the prospectus makes it clear to the contrary.
In Shingying Kristy v. Delhi University through Vice Chancellor, the Court observed that in the light of a delayed adjudication of a writ petition which ultimately culminates in an order granting admission to a student, and when classes have commenced in the meantime, then the university is duty bound to make suitable adjustments to accommodate the student concerned, including by arranging extra classes.
In Jyoti v. Central Board of Secondary Education, the Court held that when there was a distinct possibility emerging from the record that an erroneous date of birth of a student was forwarded to the CBSE by the school concerned, then the student could not be made to suffer and a direction to the CBSE to correct the anomaly in question was warranted.
In Manav Garg through Sanjay Kumar Garg v. Delhi University, the Court held that admissions to educational institutions under the extra-curricular activities category should be encouraged.
In State v. Vinod Kumar, the Court noted that the essential ingredient for attracting Section 27 of the Evidence Act, which makes admissible the confessional statement of the accused, is that it leads to the discovery of a fact connected with the crime, and that non-discovery of such a fact would render the confessional statement inadmissible. In a similar vein, in Meera Devi v. State of NCT of Delhi, the Court reiterated that when a recovery had been effected at the instance of the accused having personal knowledge of the same, then Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (‘Evidence Act’) would kick in.
In Mohammed Aziz v. Riyazuddin, the Court reiterated that Section 91 of the Evidence Act would proscribe the raising of an oral plea in contradiction to the terms of the written agreement.
In Tahaljeet v. Jagdish Kumar, in the context of a Central Forensic Science Laboratory report examining the veracity of certain signatures on a receipt, the Court observed that such reports which are prepared in the usual course by government servants should not be treated with unnecessary pessimism or doubt by the trial courts.
Insurance and Motor Vehicles Act
In Shahana v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd., the Court held that mere discharge of the driver of the offending vehicle in question in criminal proceedings pertaining to rash and negligent driving would not ipso-facto exclude the applicability of Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (‘MV Act’)in the parallel Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal (‘MACT’) proceedings. The Court noted in this regard that the nature of proof in the two proceedings is materially different with criminal proceedings adopting a more exacting standard of ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt’ whereas the proceedings under Section 166 of the MV Act adopted the relatively less stringent ‘preponderance of probabilities’ test.
In Geeta Devi v. Union of India, the Court directed various banks to extend the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal Annuity Deposit Scheme for disbursement of the compensation amount to victims of road accidents, to streamline the process for payment of compensation.
In IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Kishan Lal Sharma, the Court approved the deduction of the amount received by the deceased under a personal accident policy from the amount awarded by the MACT.
In United India Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Parveen Sharma, the Court set aside grant of an amount towards ‘loss of expectancy of life’ where injury was occasioned, inasmuch as it noted that in a case of injury there can be no loss of expectancy of life.
In United India Insurance Co. Ltd v. Abdul Satar, the Court deprecated the supposition that a homemaker makes no contribution of economic value to the family.
In Poonam Devi v. Shriram General Insurance Company Limited, the Court approved the grant of compensation under Section 163A of the MV Act instead of Section 166, inasmuch as it noted that for entitlement to be established under the latter section it was necessary to prove that the injury or fatality complained of was on account of rash and negligent driving of the offending vehicle in question.
In Sriram General Insurance Co. v. Poonam Devi, the Court refused to interfere with an order passed by the MACT suo-moto converting a claim petition filed under Section 166A of the MV Act into a petition under Section 163A and allowing the same inasmuch as the Court found that the MACT had provided cogent reasons for granting the relief and structuring it within the scope of Section 163A.
In Subhash Chand @ Subhash Chandra v. Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd., the Court observed that for the purpose of computing the compensation payable, a person carrying on stitching and knitting work would be entitled to be placed in the category of a skilled person and therefore the minimum wages applicable to skilled workmen would be apposite to be utilized in this regard.
In Reena v. Amit Kumar (United India Assurance Co. Ltd.), the Court disapproved reliance on a witness in MACT proceedings when the said witness had suddenly appeared to depose in favor of the claimants, though no mention of him was found in any of the records of the case or the pleadings, nor did he have any knowledge of the deceased, or the spot of the accident, or the general details of the scene.
In Bharati AXA General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Indu Gupta, the Court observed that when a claim of dependency was never questioned before the MACT and no questions in relation to the same where put in cross-examination, then it was not permissible to rake up the said issue in appeal.
In UP State Road Transport Corporation v. Ram Abhilakh, the Court while rejecting a challenge to an assessment of functional disability observed that a handicapped person in the labor market would be at an obvious disadvantage because while choosing an unskilled workman, the fittest person is usually preferred.
In UP State Road Transport Corporation v. Rama Chugh, the Court held that in MACT proceedings, the quantum of money paid by the mediclaim insurer would have to be deducted from the amount awarded towards reimbursement of medical bills.
Dr. Amit George is an Advocate practicing before the High Court of Delhi. The author would like to place on record his appreciation for the assistance provided by Mr. Rishabh Dheer, Mr. Amol Acharya, Mr. Bharat Rayadurgam and Mr. Piyo Harold Jaimon, Advocates.
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in F.A.O. (OS) (COMM.) 211/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in F.A.O. (OS) (COMM.) 195/2017 (DB).
 Judgment dated 27.11.2019 in O.M.P. (COMM.) 73/2018.
 Judgment dated 01.11.2019 in Arb. P. 178/2019.
 Judgment dated 13.11.2019 in Arb. P. 585/2019.
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in Arb. P. 559/2019.
 Judgment dated 20.11.2019 in O.M.P. (COMM.) 259/2019.
 Judgment dated 25.11.2019 in O.M.P. (I) (COMM.) 218/2019.
 Judgment dated 29.11.2019 in Arb. P. 6/2019.
 Judgment dated 18.11.2019 in Arb. P. 447/2019.
 Judgment dated 06.11.2019 in O.M.P. (COMM.) 254/2019.
 Judgment dated 25.11.2019 in O.M.P. (I) (COMM.) 270/2019.
 Judgment dated 25.11.2019 in O.M.P. (COMM.) 473/2019.
 Judgment dated 15.11.2019 in O.M.P. (I) 7/2019.
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 414/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 08.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 11880/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 18.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 4802/2015 (DB).
 Judgment dated 29.11.2019 in O.M.P. (I) (COMM.) 428/2019.
 Judgment dated 28.11.2019 in L.P.A. 672/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 25.11.2019 in R.F.A. (OS) 27/2017 (DB).
 Judgment dated 13.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 93/2019.
 Judgment dated 05.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 3721/2017.
 Judgment dated 21.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 6446/2016 (DB)
 Judgment dated 28.11.2019 in F.A.O. (OS) 221/2019.
 Judgment dated 20.11.2019 in C.S. (COMM.) 80/2016
 Judgment dated 06.11.2019 in C.S. (COMM.) 1231/2018.
 Judgment dated 18.11.2019 in C.S. (COMM.) 1180/2018.
 Judgment dated 20.11.2019 in C.S. (OS) 270/2016.
 Judgment dated 25.11.2019 in TEST. CAS. 84/2016.
 Judgment dated 13.11.2019 in C.S. (OS) 338/2019.
 Judgment dated 13.11.2019 in C.S. (COMM.) 258/2018.
 Judgment dated 13.11.2019 in R.F.A. 469/2013.
 Judgment dated 18.11.2019 in R.F.A. 965/2019.
 Judgment dated 05.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 461/2019.
 Judgment dated 05.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1481/2019.
 Judgment dated 06.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1054/2019.
 Judgment dated 06.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1296/2018.
 Judgment dated 22.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1656/2018.
 Judgment dated 07.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1491/2019.
 Judgment dated 05.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1589/2019.
 Judgment dated 08.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1524/2019.
 Judgment dated 08.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1600/2019.
 Judgment dated 13.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 388/2019.
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1644/2019.
 Judgment dated 20.11.2019 in R.F.A. 186/2019.
 Judgment dated 20.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 583/2019.
 Judgment dated 22.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1489/2019.
 Judgment dated 22.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1662/2019.
 Judgment dated 28.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 589/2017.
 Judgment dated 28.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1499/2019.
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in C.R.P. 133/2018.
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in C.R.P. 175/2019.
 Judgment dated 20.11.2019 in C.R.P. 265/2019.
 Judgment dated 29.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1694/2019.
 Judgment dated 21.11.2019 in R.F.A. 314/2013.
 Judgment dated 28.11.2019 in R.F.A. 815/2019.
 Judgment dated 25.11.2019 in R.F.A. 917/2018.
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in F.A.O. (OS) (COMM.) 207/2018 (DB).
 Judgment dated 28.11.2019 in C.S. (COMM.) 1000/2018.
 Judgment dated 04.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 9088/2018.
 Yashodhara Shroff v. Union of India (Judgment dated 12.06.2019 in W.P. No. 52911/2017).
 Bhagavan Das Dhananjaya Das v. Union of India & Ors. (Judgment dated 03.8.2018 in W.P. Nos. 25455/2018).
 Gaurang Balvantlal Shah v. Union of India MANU/GJ/1278/2018.
 Judgment dated 08.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 11706/2019.
 Judgment dated 29.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 25/2018.
 Judgment dated 05.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 8779/2007.
 Judgment dated 29.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1701/2019.
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 9225/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 08.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 11846/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 05.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 3254/2018 (DB).
 Judgment dated 26.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 9793/2018 (DB).
 Judgment dated 26.11.2019 in L.P.A. 739/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 05.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 11596/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 27.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 5185/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 21.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 5071/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 08.11.2019 in W.P. (Crl.) 3144/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 18.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 2061/2018.
 Judgment dated 04.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 10134/2017.
 Judgment dated 05.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 10111/2018.
 Judgment dated 18.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 7854/2019.
 Judgment dated 06.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 952/2012.
 Judgment dated 27.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 11256/2019.
 Judgment dated 07.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 1887/2019.
 Judgment dated 28.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 12491/2019.
 Judgment dated 25.11.2019 in CONT. CAS. (CRL.) 10/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 18.11.2019 in Ex. P. 142/2013
 Judgment dated 01.11.2019 in C.M. (M) 1572/2019.
 Judgment dated 01.11.2019 in C.S. (COMM.) 1280/2016.
 Judgment dated 21.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 5854/2014 (DB).
 Judgment dated 21.11.2019 in Crl. A. 1256/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 20.11.2019 in Crl. A. 1131/2014 (DB).
 Judgment dated 20.11.2019 in Crl. A. 258/2014 (DB).
 Judgment dated 27.11.2019 in Crl. A. 549/2013 (DB).
 Judgment dated 20.11.2019 in Crl. A. 731/2007 (DB).
 Judgment dated 18.11.2019 in Crl. A. 45/2016.
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in Crl. A. 1141/2017.
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in W.P. (Crl.) 1639/2019.
 Judgment dated 18.11.2019 in W.P. (Crl.) 1577/2019.
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in Crl. L.P. 615/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 26.11.2019 in W.P. (Crl.) 1826/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 27.11.2019 in Crl. A. 1284/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 01.11.2019 in W.P. (CRL) 2576/2018.
 Judgment dated 28.11.2019 in Crl. A. 1276/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 29.11.2019 in W.P. (Crl.) 1843/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 05.11.2019 in Crl. L.P. 687/2018 (DB).
 Judgment dated 05.11.2019 in Crl. L.P. 48/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 06.11.2019 in Crl. A. 379/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in Crl. A. 88/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 26.11.2019 in CRL. A. 1046/2019.
 Judgment dated 13.11.2019 in CRL. A. 643/2019.
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in W.P. (Crl.) 2382/2019.
 Judgment dated 27.11.2019 in W.P. (Crl.) 2078/2019.
 Judgment dated 01.11.2019 in W.P. (Crl.) 3038/2019.
 Judgment dated 08.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 3861/2010.
 Judgment dated 06.11.2019 in W.P. (Crl.) 2686/2019.
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in W.P. (Crl.) 1280/2019.
 Judgment dated 27.11.2019 in BAIL APPLN. 1607/2019.
 Judgment dated 08.11.2019 in BAIL APPN. 127/2019.
 Judgment dated 27.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 6018/2019.
 Judgment dated 29.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 4206/2018.
 Judgment dated 20.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 1474/2018.
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in Crl. Rev. P. 642/2016.
 Judgment dated 13.11.2019 in Crl. A. 1174/2015.
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in Crl. A. 28/2013.
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in Crl. Rev. P. 198/2019.
 Judgment dated 18.11.2019 in Crl. Rev. P. 958/2019.
 Judgment dated 04.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 4320/2019.
 Judgment dated 25.11.2019 in Crl. Rev. P. 583-2016.
 Judgment dated 13.11.2019 in Crl. Rev. P. 357/2018.
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in BAIL APPLN. 46/2019.
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 3990/2019.
 Judgment dated 28.11.2019 in Crl. Rev. P. 234/2019.
 Judgment dated 25.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 5872/2019.
 Judgment dated 07.11.2019 in Crl. A. 686/2018.
 Judgment dated 26.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 1249/2017.
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 746/2017.
 Judgment dated 21.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 1659/2017.
 Judgment dated 29.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 5933/2019.
 Judgment dated 08.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 1614/2017.
 Judgment dated 06.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 536/2017.
 Judgment dated 05.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 3161/2019.
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in Crl. A. 895/2019.
 Judgment dated 06.11.2019 in Crl. Rev. P. 1058/2019.
 Judgment dated 28.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 4459/2019.
 Judgment dated 18.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 5833/2019.
 Judgment dated 18.11.2019 in Crl. A. 1049/2019.
 Judgment dated 07.11.2019 in Crl. A. 428/2017.
 Judgment dated 15.11.2019 in Crl. A. 828/2019.
 Judgment dated 25.11.2019 in Crl. A. 31/2016.
 Judgment dated 26.11.2019 in W.P. (Crl.) 3582/2018.
 Judgment dated 18.11.2019 in Crl. L.P. 555/2019.
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in Crl. Rev. P. 610/2016.
 Judgment dated 15.11.2019 in Crl. Rev. P. 24/2017.
 Judgment dated 27.11.2019 in Crl. M.C. 45551/2018
 Judgment dated 07.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 8572/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 22.11.2019 in L.P.A. 655/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in L.P.A. 713/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 8623/2019.
 Judgment dated 05.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 9347/2019.
 Judgment dated 21.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 12252/2008.
 Judgment dated 22.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 11177/2019.
 Judgment dated 08.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 10629/2019.
 Judgment dated 08.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 10655/2019.
 Judgment dated 15.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 1479/2019.
 Judgment dated 15.11.2019 in W.P. (C) 7763/2019.
 Judgment dated 05.11.2019 in Crl. L.P. 505/2019 (DB).
 Judgment dated 22.11.2019 in Crl. A. 521/2018 (DB).
 Judgment dated 05.11.2019 in R.F.A 191/2019.
 Judgment dated 27.11.2019 in R.F.A. 92/2018.
 Judgment dated 15.11.2019 in MAC. APP. 870/2019.
 Judgment dated 06.11.2019 in F.A.O. 22/2015.
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in MAC. APP. 1102/2018.
 Judgment dated 13.11.2019 in MAC. APP. 130/2016.
 Judgment dated 13.11.2019 in MAC. APP. 551/2019.
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in MAC. APP. 522/2019.
 Judgment dated 14.11.2019 in MAC. APP. 522/2019.
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in MAC. APP. 600/2016.
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in MAC. APP. 887/2019.
 Judgment dated 19.11.2019 in MAC. APP. 513/2015.
 Judgment dated 06.11.2019 in MAC. APP. 637/2018.
 Judgment dated 20.11.2019 in MAC. APP. 885/2017.