Delhi High Court In Review
Delhi High Court In Review
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The Delhi High Court in Review: December, 2019 [Part II]

Amit George

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 continuation of the judgments discussed in Part I of the column, below are the further judgments from the Delhi High Court for the month of December, segregated as per practice areas.

Intellectual Property Rights

In Ferrero Spa v. Kamco Chew Food Private Limited,[1] the Court reiterated that when a particular trademark has been in use for a long period of time and has gained immense goodwill and reputation on a global scale, then the same would be recognizable as a well-known trademark under Section (1)(zg) read with Section 11(6) of the Trademarks Act, 1999 (‘Trademarks Act’).

In Ferid Allani v. Union of India,[2] the Court held that the bar under Section 3(k) of the Patents Act, 1970 would only extend to simple stand-alone computer programs, and genuine inventions which are developed based on computer programs and demonstrate a ‘technical effect’ or ‘technical contribution’ would be eligible for grant of a patent.

In Dubai Islamic Bank v. Union of India,[3] the Court held that the individual factors governing the parameters for refusal to grant registration of a mark under Section 9 of the Trademarks Act are subjective in nature and do not represent objective mathematical standards. The Court, therefore, held that while adjudicating upon the distinctive nature of the mark, the Registrar should consider a multitude of factors including the composite nature of the mark, any accompanying slogan and the overall customer base.

In B.E.C. Industries v. Union of India,[4] the Court commented adversely on the current procedures being followed by the Registrar of trademarks in processing trademark applications inasmuch as applications filed in all five different offices at Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi & Chennai are all initially transmitted to the Trademark registry in Mumbai, and in case of an objection being raised by an examiner, they are then re-transferred to the respective branch offices for conducting further proceedings.

Labour and Service

In Avtar Singh Arora v. Union of India,[5] the Court reiterated that when it was the admitted position that the entire relevant record, i.e. the comments of the reporting officer, reviewing authority, and accepting authority had not been made available to the departmental promotion committee, then ensuing decision would be unsustainable. The Court further observed that while a selection committee need not mandatorily record reasons, it is desirable that it does so if it disagreed with the ACR grading, and it should also act without malice and not be guided by extraneous or irrelevant considerations.

In GNCTD v. Raut Sunita Nivratirao[6] and Krishna v. Union of India,[7] the Court held that the benefit of reservation for a post falling within the Government of Delhi and local/ autonomous bodies under the Government was also applicable to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe candidates hailing from states/union territories other than Delhi.

In Union of India v. Nilamani Mohanty,[8] the Court reiterated that the grant of special pay in lieu of a separate higher pay scale would not fall within the meaning of Rule 9(25) of the Fundamental Rules inasmuch as in order to fall within the said definition, the ‘special pay’ has to be one which is granted after taking into consideration the special arduous nature of duties or a specific additional responsibility or keeping in mind the personal qualifications of a particular person.

In Union of India v. Dr. Rajendra Prasad,[9] the Court reiterated the impermissibility of communicating a below-benchmark grading to an officer much after they are written and his/her representation against such grading being hereafter considered by officers who had no occasion to actually decide or oversee performance.

In Balram Meena v. Railway Protection Force[10] and Dinesh Yadav v. Union of India,[11] the Court reiterated that suppression of information regarding involvement in a criminal case and subsequent failure to explain such concealment would be a valid ground for termination of employment. However, the Court in Sandeep Singh v. GNCTD[12] reiterated that the involvement of a candidate in a criminal case in the past would not impugn upon his/her suitability if it could be demonstrated that the acquittal was not merely on account of benefit of doubt being extended but was on account of a categorical acquittal on the merits.

In Ritesh Soni v. Union of India,[13] the Court while reiterating the principle of autrefois acquit held that a fresh trial on the same charge was impermissible when the original trial though initiated before the competent court having requisite jurisdiction was quashed on account of subsequent irregularities having vitiated the trial. The Court observed that it is only in a case of total lack of jurisdiction that an earlier trial can be declared to be completely no- est and a de-novo proceeding could be permitted.

In GNCTD v. Shobha Ram,[14] the Court held that a promotion granted on a mistaken premise by treating a general category candidate as belonging to a reserved category could always be corrected by the department and no vested right could be said to accrue to the person concerned to continue in the said post.

In Union of India v. Ritu Chaudhary[15] and Union of India v. Than Singh,[16] the Court observed that even though the strict rigor of the CPC and the Evidence Act would not apply in disciplinary proceedings, there has to be at least a semblance of proof to prove the genuineness of a disputed document and mere reproduction thereof is insufficient. The Court further observed that when there was a complete absence of any possibility of leading evidence to prove a belatedly issued memorandum of charge, then it was permissible to intervene with the proceedings even at the stage of issuance of a show-cause notice.

In Rajesh Rai v. Union of India,[17] the Court reiterated that there was no justification for the assessing officer to arbitrarily reduce the grading of an employee when the assessing officer was otherwise in agreement with both the reviewing officer and the accepting officer who had assessed the employee at a higher grade.

In Commissioner of Police v. Ashwani Kumar,[18] the Court held that in order to dispense with the requirement to hold a disciplinary inquiry, the subjective satisfaction to be arrived at by the disciplinary authority must be based on certain objective criteria and not on whims and fancies or mere surmises and conjectures of the disciplinary authority.

In Mohd. Israr Khan v. Union of India,[19] the Court reiterated that it was impermissible to deny the benefit of pro-rata pension to persons below officer rank/ non-commissioned officers when the said persons were otherwise eligible for the same.

In Niraj Kumar Singh v. Union of India,[20] the Court reiterated that persons who had participated in an examination conducted in 2003 and were appointed consequent thereto would be covered by the old pension scheme under the Pension Rules, 1972 even though the actual letters of appointment may have been issued after 01.01.2004, i.e. when the new contributory pension scheme came in effect.

In All India Railway Accounting Staff Association v. Union of India,[21] the Court observed that though the Government has discretion to give prospective or retrospective effect to a certain benefit, such a decision cannot result in discriminatory treatment among employees who are otherwise identically placed. The Court further held that once there was an in-principle acceptance of the recommendation of the 5th Pay Commission, the relevant date of accrual of the benefit would be when such a benefit actually became available, and not the date on which its applicability was formally notified.

In Union of India v. Manman Singh,[22] the Court deprecated the practice of engaging persons as casual labor for a long period of more than 20 years without even according them temporary status and paying even 1/30th of the minimum pay scale, and held that the same amounts to gross exploitation.

In Airports Authority of India v. Harbhajan Singh,[23] the Court held that an order terminating an employee’s services could not be segregated by treating the punitive portion independently and separately from the non-stigmatic portion inasmuch as the same would permit avoidance of legal consequences of not complying with principles of natural justice. The Court further observed that when the inquiry committee was tasked with finding out the veracity of the allegations of alleged misconduct by the employee, it could not have enhanced its brief and proceeded to render findings on the alleged unsatisfactory performance of the employee concerned.

In Bharat Singh v. Union of India,[24] the Court held that the benefit of its judgment in Dev Sharma v. Indo Tibetan Border Police[25] mandating a uniform age of retirement of central armed police force personnel irrespective of rank, would be extended to all persons who are entitled to the benefit thereof even though they may not have approached the Court or formally made a representation in this regard to the concerned authorities.

In D.C. Mishra v. Union of India,[26] the Court reiterated that communication of ACRs is mandatory, and that an un-communicated ACR could not be relied upon by a departmental promotion committee.

In Ashok Kumar Chaudhary v. GNCTD,[27] the Court held that it was an admitted position that if services of certain persons were being utilized throughout the year, and sanctioned posts were available and the minimum education qualifications were also fulfilled, then discrimination in basic pay could not be countenanced.

In Delhi Transport Corporation v. Jai Kumar Jain,[28] the Court held that not only could no relaxation be granted in the qualifying period for pension, yet further, the period of leave without pay is to be deducted therefrom and the period spent working as a daily wager also could not ordinarily be added.

In Sr. Divisional Manager, LIC Of India v. Renuka Sharma,[29] the Court reiterated that negative right to equality has no place in labor jurisprudence and that a wrong decision issued qua a similarly situated colleague would not entitle an employee to claim parity or equality on the said basis.

While reiterating that a trainee/probationer is not a workman within the meaning of Section 2(s) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (‘ID Act’), the Court in Nitya Nand Sinha v. HL Promoters Private Limited,[30] held that there was no bar on a labor court adjudicating a preliminary issue the question whether the claimant before it was a workman or not.

In Shivam Pandey v. Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.,[31] the Court observed that once an employee has been inducted into service upon him/her having been successfully cleared the requisite medical examination pertaining to eye-sight, he/she could not thereafter be arbitrarily dismissed from service upon the employer purportedly detecting a reduction in the eyesight and the employer would have to follow and adhere to the applicable rules and regulations, including issuance of show-cause and conducting of a formal inquiry, while taking any action against the employee.

In Rashi v. Union of India,[32] the Court held that a complaint which prima-facie discloses allegations of sexual harassment has to be referred by the disciplinary authority to the internal complaints committee, and the proceedings thereon are to be conducted as if they were proceedings which could culminate into major misconduct under Rule 14 of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965 [‘CCS (CCA) Rules’)], as also the complainant would be entitled to the services of a defence assistant.

In Asha Kumari v. Technology Information Forecasting &Assessment Council (TIFAC)[33] and Anuvarsha v. Delhi Cantonment Board,[34] the Court observed that in appropriate circumstances where a statutory body which is extracting work from persons on an ad hoc basis for a long period of time, even though it requires a regular post for the said functions, then in such cases a mandamus could be issued for creation of a regular post. The Court observed that the mere ground of financial constraint would be of no avail once the body has consciously chosen to enter a particular field and employ persons there against.

In Management of M/S. Flood Control & Drainage v. Workman Om Prakash,[35] the Court observed that while computing the period for which the workman was entitled to receive back wages, it would be proper to exclude the period between when the workman refused to join the division to which he had been transferred and upto the period when the said transfer order was admittedly rescinded by the management itself.

In Manveer Singh v. Mohan Nursing Home and Hospital,[36] the Court held that a delay of six months in raising the demand notice by the workman pursuant to illegal termination of services could not be said to be an inordinate one in the background of the facts that neither any appointment letter nor any termination letter was issued to the workman.

In Deepak Kumar v. Dreeshti Aircon (P) Ltd. & Ors.,[37] the Court observed that when the authorities which were required to take steps to enforce a recovery certificate seeking to recover amounts awarded under the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923 were admittedly situated outside its territorial jurisdiction, then the mere fact that the aggrieved petitioner was residing within jurisdiction would not be a ground for the Court to entertain the writ petition.

In Shri Jagdish v. New Delhi Municipal Council,[38] the Court observed that, even though the Limitation Act, 1963 (‘Limitation Act’) does not apply strictly to claims under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (‘ID Act’), a huge unexplained delay of more than 20 years in raising a claim would be fatal to its consideration.

In Airport Authority of India v. Pooran Chand,[39] the Court held that merely because a workman had only been engaged on daily wages for the construction of a particular building, it would not detract from the applicability of Section 25(f) of the ID Act, if it is demonstrated that the said workman has completed 240 days of continuous employment.

In M/S Amcon Construction v. Labour Enforcement Officer,[40] while observing that the core intention underlying Section 20(3) of the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (‘MW Act’) was to ensure equity and not to act as a punitive measure, the Court held that the discretionary power contained under the said provision for granting the maximum compensation permitted should be exercised carefully by balancing the rights of both the claimant and the employer, and by supplying adequate reasoning.

In Andhra Bank v. Dil Bahadur,[41] while reiterating that there is a distinction in status between a daily wager and a permanent regular employee in matters of termination of services, the Court held that in the case of a daily wager, when the termination of services is found to be illegal merely because of a procedural defect, automatic reinstatement would not be the appropriate remedy in such circumstances.

In Union of India v. Madan Lal,[42] the Court observed that an employee would not be entitled to interest on commutation pension when the said pension was withheld till the finalization of departmental or judicial proceedings and released soon thereafter in terms of proviso (b) to Rule 13 of Central Civil Services (Commutation of Pension) Rules, 1981. The Court further held that Rule 9 of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 (‘Pension Rules, 1972’) which encapsulated the right to withhold pension would cover both civil and criminal proceedings within its ambit.

In Anuja Sharma v. Union of India,[43] the Court held that a general qualification requirement in a recruitment process has to be read meaningfully and in the context of the specific field for which the applicant seeks to apply.

In Kavita v. GNCTD,[44] the Court observed that once a candidate had been unsuccessful in a particular examination and had subsequently participated in an ensuing different selection process, the candidate cannot then seek to challenge the result of the first examination.

In L.S. Choudhary v. Union of India,[45] the Court opined that a letter from a Minister merely recommending reinstatement of an employee who had been dismissed from service after a full-fledged inquiry would not have any force of law.

In Abhay Kumar Pandey v. National AIDS Control Organization,[46] the Court noted that when a contractual employment had been put to an end on account of the employee himself expressing a disinterest in continuing in service, and the official communications recorded only this fact, then the employee could not seek to assail or articulate any grievance against an internal note which may have been prepared for the purpose of the record of the department concerned and which may have contained certain adverse comments on the performance of the employee.

In Yashoda Devi v. Union of India,[47] the Court noted that though the pre-requisite for addressing a representation to the concerned authorities before approaching the Central Administrative Tribunal under Section 20(2)(b) of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 (‘AT Act’) was not mandatory in nature, however, it was a requirement which should ordinarily be complied with.

In Punjab National Bank v. S.K. Kardam,[48] the Court held that while it was mandatory to communicate all the Annual Confidential Reports (‘ACRs’) to the employees concerned, once a representation was made by the employee thereagainst and the same were rejected and the rejection orders went unchallenged, then the said ACRs could be taken into account.

In Raghubir Singh v. M/s Kay International,[49] the Court held that the factual finding of the Labor Court that the entire sum under a full and final settlement had not been paid could not sought to be assailed in the absence of any clinching or unassailable evidence to the contrary.

In Satish Kumar v. District & Sessions Judge (HQS),[50] the Court held that once it is an admitted position that repeated attempts to serve a delinquent employee with notices and memorandum of charge by the inquiry officer had failed on account of the employee being on unauthorized leave for a long period of time without any information of his whereabouts, then the said employee could not be heard to contend that failure to serve him with day-to-day orders passed in the inquiry would vitiate the proceedings for non-compliance of Rule 14(18) of the CCS (CCA) Rules.

In Man Singh v. Reliance Integrated Services Pvt. Ltd.,[51] the Court observed that while computing the compensation payable in lieu of reinstatement to workmen who were found to have been illegally retrenched, the net amount which could have been saved by the workmen if they had continued in employment, after deduction of the expenditure likely to be incurred by them for their upkeep, would be a relevant factor to be kept in mind.

In Kanchan Saini v. University of Delhi,[52] the Court held that while construing whether a particular class of persons fell within the meaning of the word ‘teacher’ so as to be eligible for an enhanced retirement age, the meaning ascribed to the said word in the particular scheme has to be taken into account and not the general meaning or definition of the said term in the Delhi University Act, 1922 (‘DU Act’).

In Baban Singh v. Union of India,[53] the Court observed that it is incumbent upon a candidate applying against a public advertisement for recruitment to a post to correctly fill in his / her qualification experience so as to match the eligibility criteria prescribed and on a failure to do so, the candidate could not insist that the public body overseeing the recruitment should be saddled with responsibility to reach out to him/her for clarifications.

In Ran Vijay Singh v. Central Industry Security Force,[54] the Court upheld a punishment of compulsory retirement imposed on a constable who had behaved irresponsibly in public and abused a senior officer in an inebriated condition, and observed that such conduct could not be countenanced from a member of a disciplined paramilitary force.

In Union of India v. Vinod Ashwini Saxena,[55] the Court held that the rule of protection of past service as encapsulated in Rule 26(2) of the CCS (CCA) Rules could not extend to a past service of which complete severance had taken place on account of resignation having been accepted far prior to joining the new position.

In P.N. Tiwari v. Union of India,[56] while reiterating the need to eschew vague remarks in a performance appraisal report, the Court further observed that adverse observations in a pen-picture pertaining to the employee should also be accompanied with a demonstration of the fact that the employee concerned was issued with a warning or given an opportunity to correct the mistake.

In Pankaj Yadav v. Union of India,[57] the Court held that the allotment of the first choice of paramilitary force in an examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission could be on the basis of marks alone.

Land Acquisition

In Jagjeet Singh v. Union of India,[58] the Court reiterated that gross delay in approaching the court will lead to rejection of a petition seeking to challenge the acquisition process.

Limitation

In Sushil Sharma vs. BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd.,[59] the Court reiterated that when an appeal was being rejected on the ground of limitation, then there should ordinarily be no adjudication on the merits of the controversy.

Matrimonial Disputes, Custody and Maintenance

In Ambika Jain v. Ram Prakash Sharma,[60] the Court held that while construing admissions under Order XII Rule 6 of the CPC, the Court could not straight away proceed to decree the suit without taking into consideration the statuary protection afforded to daughters-in-law under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (‘DMV Act’) and the mere statement that the suit premises where standing in the exclusive name of the in-laws could not obliterate the protection granted under Section 17 of the DMV Act. The court proceeded to issue a slew of directions to strike a balance between the provisions of the DMV Act and Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 (‘Senior Citizens Act’).

In Niharika Yadav v. Manish Kumar Yadav,[61] the Court reiterated that the grant of interim maintenance under section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (‘HMA’) does not bar the award of maintenance under other proceedings such as section 125 of the Cr. P.C.

In Arun Vats v. Pallavi Sharma,[62] the Court rejected a challenge to an order granting interim maintenance to a wife under Section 125 of the Cr.P.C. inasmuch as it found that even though she was enrolled as an advocate, her husband had not produced any evidence to demonstrate that she was actually practicing and earning an income therefrom.

In Vipin v. Bhavna Rajput,[63] the Court observed that an adverse influence could validly be drawn against a husband who had clandestinely filed a petition for dissolution of marriage while staying with his wife, without informing her of the same or revealing his intention of putting an end to the marriage.

Media Law, Censorship and Defamation

In Sandeep Kohli v. Tara Helms,[64] the Court observed that when the right or title of a person to any property is challenged, for instance, by the publication of a public notice in a newspaper cautioning the public against dealing with the property in question through the said person, then the appropriate remedy is for the aggrieved person to have his/her right in the property enforced in a court of law and not to sue for defamation against the party challenging the title.

Personal Law & Succession

In Daya Rani v. Chanchal Kumar Chanana,[65] while stressing on the sanctity of a family settlement, the Court held that once a party had taken advantage under such a settlement, he/she could not subsequently seek its revocation.

In Veronica v. Jitendra Pal Singh Sodhi,[66] the Court reiterated that the mere use of words like ‘joint hindu family’, ‘coparceners’ and/or ‘karta’ in a suit would not demonstrate the existence of a coparcenary in the absence of relevant averments regarding inheritance of properties from ancestors or the existence of any coparcenary.

use of words like ‘joint hindu family’, ‘coparceners’ and/or ‘karta’ in a suit would not demonstrate the existence of a coparcenary in the absence of relevant averments regarding inheritance of properties from ancestors or the existence of any coparcenary.

Vernoica v JPSS Sodhi

In Bharati Sharma v. The State,[67] the court reiterated that in a petition under section 276 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 (‘Succession Act’) praying for grant of letters of administration qua a property of which the petitioner himself/herself was a beneficiary under the will, the requirement for furnishing the requisite administration/surety bond can be replaced with a personal bond. In a similar vein, in Ravi Mohan Kaul v. State,[68] while allowing a probate petition filed under Section 276 of the Succession Act, the Court reiterated that if the beneficiary under the will is a natural legal heir, then the requirements of furnishing surety and administration bond can be dispensed with.

In Rohinton Edalji v. Arvind Rai,[69] the Court held that for grant of relief against wrongful possession under Section 192 of the Succession Act, a Court is only required to conduct a summary inquiry as to the person so claiming having a right under succession in the concerned property and as to whether the party in possession has a lawful title coupled with the fact as to whether relegating the petitioner to the ordinary remedy of a suit would materially prejudice him/her.

Rent Control

While holding that mere pendency of a review petition against an order for deposit of rent under Section 15(4) of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 (‘DRC Act’) would not vest a right in the tenant to refuse to comply with the said order, the Court in Ashok Kumar Gupta v. Sanjeev Bansal[70] reiterated that inasmuch as rent control legislations provide special protection and benefits to tenants, they would also correspondingly call for strict compliance.

In Rattan Mehta v. Gayatri Shah,[71] the Court held that inasmuch as a proven sub-tenancy above the minimum threshold provided for under the DRC Act would not bar a suit seeking eviction of a tenant, therefore thediscovery could be validly sought for by the plaintiff.

In Naresh Dass Khanna v. Jiwan Lal Berry & Sons HUF[72], the Court observed that even if a professional, in this case an advocate, was of a very advanced age and not in active practice, it could not be presumed that the said person could not restart active practice and thereby require the tenanted premises for the same.

In Rani Bhatia v. Sadhna Jain,[73] the Court noted that when the need for accommodation was otherwise not disputed to be genuine, then a controversy as to whether a landlord wanted to start a business independently on her own or jointly with her husband and son would not by itself result in a triable issue justifying leave to defend.

In Vikas Jaitly v. Ashok,[74] the Court held that a property which had admittedly been sold several years prior to the filing of the eviction petition cannot be used to contend that the need articulated by the landlord in the eviction petition was artificial or not bona-fide.

In Jag Mohan Sharma v. Gurcharan Kaur,[75] the Court observed that when the son of the landlord was admittedly shown to be dependent on her, then it was not implausible that that the grandson was also similarly dependent on his grandmother.

In Satish Kumar Chhabra v. Vinod Kumar Ahuja,[76] the Court observed that even if a family member might be financially independent, he/she could still be demonstrated to be dependent on the landlord for the specific purpose of accommodation in appropriate circumstances.

In M/S Chet Ram Sanjay Kumar v. Rajender Prakash Gupta,[77] the Court held that there is no such rule that in all cases where the landlord seeks eviction of the tenant on the ground of requirement of additional accommodation, leave to defend would necessarily have to be granted to the tenant.

In Ramesh Sikri v. Rameshwar Gopal,[78] the Court noted that even though a settlement between the parties would bar the subsequent filing of an eviction petition under Section 14(1)(e) of the DRC Act, if it appeared to the Court that the terms of the settlement are of an ambiguous and unclear nature, then the trial would be required to be proceeded with and oral evidence would be required to be led as to the purport and meaning of the said settlement.

In Surender Singh Chadha v. Subhash Chand Saini,[79] the Court held that once it is demonstrated that the son of the tenant had exclusive possession of the premises and was running his own independent business therefrom, then the same would constitute prohibited sub-letting within the meaning of the DRC Act.

In Naushad Khan v. Sir Sobha Singh & Sons (P) Ltd.,[80] the Court held that the son of the original tenant has no legal right to enjoy possession of the tenanted premises when he has not been authorised in any manner by the original tenant and nor has the landlord acquiesced to his occupation.

Right to Information

In Election Commission of India v. Central Information Commission,[81]the Court held in the context of an electronic voting machine that an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (‘RTI Act’) seeking supply of the said machine is actually an application for supply of a product as opposed to any information within the meaning of Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, and is therefore misplaced and non-maintainable.

Specific Relief and Property

In Jasbir Singh v. Pheonix Arc Pvt. Ltd.,[82] the Court observed that even after the 2018 amendment to the Specific Relief Act, 1963 (‘Specific Relief Act’), a pleading in a plaint for specific performance as regards the readiness and willingness of the plaintiff is essential to sustain a claim for specific performance under Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act. The Court further observed that an agreement to enter into a further agreement was not specifically enforceable, when no further agreement was admittedly entered into.

In Bhiku Ram Jain v. Anis Ahmed Rushdie,[83] while noting the difficulty in undertaking a precise determination of the price of an immovable property, the Court further observed that circle rates are not always reflective of actual market price and a change in the circle rates can otherwise result in a huge overnight variation of the price of the property.

In Daulat Ram v. The Govt of NCT of Delhi,[84] the Court reiterated that under the relevant Delhi Panchayat Raj Rules, 1959, no immovable property vested in or belonging to a gaon sabha can be sold or otherwise be alienated without resolution and sanction of the gram panchayat and the chief commissioner.

In Biji Rajesh v. South Delhi Municipal Corporation,[85] the Court held that the removal of the internal walls in a building without modifying the façade in any manner or resulting in additional construction would only amount to ‘repair and renovation’ within the meaning of Section 20A of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 and would not amount to a ‘fresh’ construction.

In Kusum Singhal v. Balwant Rai,[86] the Court reiterated that when an agreement to sell was accompanied by handing over of possession to the purchaser, then the same would have to be compulsorily registered in terms of Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882.

Tax, Excise and Customs

In Ambay Industrial Corporations v. Union of India,[87] the Court held that the retraction of a statement recorded under Section 108 of the Customs Act, 1962 (‘Customs Act’), would not ipso-facto obliterate the evidentiary value of the said statement.

In Sandeep Jain v. Additional Director, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence,[88] the Court reiterated that a person who has been summoned under Section 108 of the Customs Act cannot seek as a matter of right to have an advocate present during the recording of his/her statement unless credible material is produced to indicate a real and live apprehension of the possibility of the use of coercive methods.

In M/s Global Impex Through Its Partner v. Manager, Celebi Import Shed,[89] the Court held that the charging of demurrage by a private entity on the imported goods stored in its premises would not run afoul of Regulation 6(1) of the Handling of Cargo in Customs Areas Regulations, 2009 if it could be demonstrated that the said demurrage was being charged under a contract which was ultimately authorized or sanctified by a statute.

In Raju Sharma v. Union of India,[90] while reiterating that Section 125 of the Customs Act requires redemption to be granted to the owner of the goods, and if the identity of the owner is unknown then to the person from whose possession the goods were seized, the Court further held that whereas redemption in the case of goods which are not prohibited is mandatory, even in the case of prohibited goods a discretion does exist with the authorities to allow redemption thereof.

In Intec Corporation v. Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax,[91] the Court held that a finding in respect of a different year could also be used for the purpose of invoking Section 150 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (‘Income Tax Act’) and for the consequent reopening of the assessment.

In A.B. Pal Electricals Pvt. Ltd. v. Union of India,[92] Triveni Needles Pvt. Ltd. v. Union of India[93] and SRC Aviation Pvt. Ltd. v. Union of India,[94] while reiterating that an opportunity to manually fill the fill the GST TRAN-I Form could be granted in appropriate circumstances, the Court further observed that the credit standing in the assessee’s favor amounted to ‘property’ within the meaning of Article 300(A) under the Constitution of India and, accordingly, an assessee could not be deprived of the same except by authority of law.

The Court in Principal Commissioner of Income Tax v. Akshay Sobti,[95] reiterated that Section 54F of the Income Tax Act should be liberally construed inasmuch as the same is a beneficial provision which is designed to come to the aid of an assessee who intends to replace an original long-term capital asset with a new one.

While rejecting a challenge to a decision rejecting the application of the petitioner for nil deduction of tax at source under Section 197(1) of the Income Tax Act, the Court in National Petroleum Construction Company v. Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax[96] observed that a detailed examination as to the existence of a permanent establishment is not envisaged at the stage of deciding an application for issuance of a certificate under Section 197 considering the time-frame permissible under the said provision, and that a full-fledged investigation in this regard can be undertaken by the assessing officer during the course of assessment.

In Rolls Royce PLC v. Deputy Director of Income Tax,[97] the Court observed that while it is a settled provision that the concept of res-judicata does not have strict application in tax matters and the issues arising in each assessment year have to be considered and examined separately, the onus remains on the assessee to point out the material differences so as to justify the inapplicability of an earlier decision rendered against the assessee on the same issue. In a similar vein, the Court in FIITJEE Ltd. (Successor of Times A&M Pvt. Ltd.) v. Principal Commissioner of Income Tax,[98] observed that an assessee who had in previous assessment years been able to get the benefit of certain expenses and deductions could not claim any vested right in this regard in a future assessment year.

In Vision Distribution Pvt. Ltd. v. Commissioner, State Goods & Services Tax,[99] the Court deprecated the failure of authorities in being unable to ensure the smooth transition to the GST regime and the consequent delays in the refund of Input Tax Credit (‘ITC’) to assessees, thereby causing them significant financial prejudice. The Court in the said case accordingly directed partial refund of the ITC lying in the petitioner’s account.

In Vedanta Ltd. v. Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax,[100] while reiterating that the mere disclosure of a part of the transaction pertaining to an accommodation entry by the assessee in its records is not sufficient to establish genuineness of the transaction, the Court observed that mere production before the Assessing Officer of the account Books, or other evidence, from which material evidence could, with due diligence, have been discovered by the assessing Officer, would not necessarily amount to disclosure within the meaning of the first proviso to Section 147 of the IT Act.

Tender and Blacklisting

In M/s Vaidya Industries v. Union of India,[101] the Court noted that when the period of debarment was not arbitrarily arrived at or shockingly disproportionate in nature, then the mere fact that the Court may be inclined to take a lenient view would not be a ground to set aside the order of debarment.

In Aneuser Busch Inbev India Ltd. v. Commissioner (Excise, Entertainment & Luxury Tax),[102] in the context of a blacklisting order issued under Rule 70 of the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010, the Court observed that though the existence of an alternate remedy would not operate as a bar when it could be conclusively demonstrated that the principles of natural justice have been violated, once the aggrieved party had invoked the alternate remedy, it would be required to prosecute the same to its logical end and would not be entitled to invoke writ jurisdiction in the interregnum.

In Consortium of Siemens Ltd. India, Siemens SA Spain and Siemens AG Germany v. Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd.,[103] the Court held that a bidder who had succeeded in the pre-qualification stage on account of its expertise, skill-set and resource availability in a particular field, could not subsequently insist that the contract be awarded to its subsidiary to which it had transferred its said business as part of a global re-structuring exercise particular when the bidder had not even sought the approval of the authorities for such an exercise prior to the deadline for submission of the bids. The Court held that this was unlike a case of amalgamation or merger in which such a course of action could possibly have been permitted.

In Step Ahead Foundation v. Bureau of Indian Standards,[104] the Court reiterated that though it is easy to make allegations of mala-fide in a tender proceeding, it is difficult to prove the same.

In M/s KRA & Co. v. Union of India,[105] the Court reiterated that when the clauses in a bid so permitted, it was open to the authorities so concerned to seek a clarification from the bidders in respect of the documents already submitted by them, and a response to such a clarification could not be construed as an impermissible fresh filing of documents.

In Global Rescue Foundation v. Union of India,[106] the Court held that the requirement to call for tenders could be sidestepped under Rule 194 of the General Financial Rules, 2017 only in exceptional circumstances and not in a routine manner, particularly when the subject of the tender involved valuable national interest. The Court further noted that mere overall repute and experience of an entity in a field might not be able to substitute a lack of specialized knowledge and experience in a specific subset within the said field.

Amit George
Amit George
Dr Amit George
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 Rishabh Dheer, Amol Acharya, Bharat Rayadurgam and Piyo Harold Jaimon, Advocates, and Rahul Mohan Sharma, Ms. Ibansara Syiemlieh and Mr. Shivam Gupta, Law Interns.

[1] Judgment dated 18.12.19 in C.S. (COMM) 179/2019.

[2] Judgment dated 12.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 7/2014.

[3] Judgment dated 04.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 12749/2019.

[4] Judgment dated 05.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 10040/2019.

[5] Judgment dated 04.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 13147/2018 (DB).

[6] Judgment dated 05.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 5640/2018 (DB).

[7] Judgment dated 17.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 8171/2019 (DB).

[8] Judgment dated 05.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 8705/2014 (DB).

[9] Judgment dated 06.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 8687/2017 (DB).

[10] Judgment dated 06.12.2019 in WP. (C) 10240/2017 (DB).

[11] Judgment dated 13.12.2019 in W.P.(C) 7694/2014 (DB).

[12] Judgment dated 10.12.2019 in W.P.(C) 5675/2017 (DB).

[13] Judgment dated 10.12.2019 in W.P.(C) 5210/2019 (DB).

[14] Judgment dated 10.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 8209/2016 (DB).

[15] Judgment dated 11.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 4471/2014 (DB).

[16] Judgment dated 11.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 3436/2015 (DB).

[17] Judgment dated 11.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 3585/2019 (DB).

[18] Judgment dated 11.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 4078/2017 (DB).

[19] Judgment dated 11.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 5642/2019 (DB).

[20] Judgment dated 13.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 13129/2019 (DB).

[21] Judgment dated 18.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 1523/2016 (DB).

[22] Judgment dated 18.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 9202/2014 (DB).

[23] Judgment dated 18.12.2019 in LPA 928/2013 (DB).

[24] Judgment dated 19.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 13195/2019 (DB).

[25] Judgment dated 31.01.2019 in W.P. (C) 1951/2012 (DB).

[26] Judgment dated 21.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 1302/2013 (DB).

[27] Judgment dated 24.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 12059/2019(DB).

[28] Judgment dated 24.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 5424/2017 (DB).

[29] Judgment dated 04.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 6692/2014.

[30] Judgment dated 04.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 9843/2018.

[31] Judgment dated 11.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 1066/2019.

[32] Judgment dated 06.12.2019 in W.P.(C) 3396/2019.

[33] Judgment dated 06.12.2019 in W.P.(C) 2576/2017.

[34] Judgment dated 18.12.2019 in W.P.(C) 870/2016.

[35] Judgment dated 11.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 4957/2003

[36] Judgment dated 12.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 7185/2018.

[37] Judgment dated 12.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 12995/2019.

[38] Judgment dated 16.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 13239/2019.

[39] Judgment dated 19.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 7186/2003.

[40] Judgment dated 19.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 5558/2016.

[41] Judgment dated 19.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 6347/2016.

[42] Judgment dated 03.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 1884/2019 (DB).

[43] Judgment dated 09.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 12920/2019 (DB).

[44] Judgment dated 13.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 13185/2019 (DB).

[45] Judgment dated 04.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 12771/2019 (DB).

[46] Judgment dated 06.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 12659/2019(DB).

[47] Judgment dated 10.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 12994/2019(DB).

[48] Judgment dated 04.12.2019 in LPA 160/2019 (DB).

[49] Judgment dated 09.12.2019 in LPA 232/2019 (DB).

[50] Judgment dated 03.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 12066/2019(DB).

[51] Judgment dated 05.12.2019 in LPA 685/2019 (DB).

[52] Judgment dated 16.12.2019 in LPA 390/2019 (DB).

[53] Judgment dated 18.12.2019 in LPA 246/2019 (DB).

[54] Judgment dated 02.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 553/2016 (DB).

[55] Judgment dated 02.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 5954/2016 (DB).

[56] Judgment dated 03.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 7327/2018 (DB).

[57] Judgment dated 24.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 11503/2018 (DB).

[58] Judgment dated 20.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 13538/2019 (DB).

[59] Judgment dated 11.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 13002/2019.

[60] Judgment dated 18.12.2019 in RFA 222/2019

[61] Judgment dated 18.12.2019 in CRL. REV. P. 755/2018.

[62] Judgment dated 06.12.2019 in CRL. REV. P. 751/2018.

[63] Judgment dated 03.12.2019 in MAT. APP. (F.C.) 293/2019 (DB).

[64] Judgment dated 09.12.2019 in C.S. (OS) 2455/2013.

[65] Judgment dated 09.12.2019 in C.S. (OS) 1394/2015.

[66] Judgment dated 09.12.2019 in C.S. (OS) 405/2016.

[67] Judgment dated 09.12.2019 in TEST. CAS. 84/2018.

[68] Judgment dated 18.12.2019 in CM (M) 477/2018.

[69] Judgment dated 03.12.2019 in CM (M) 1307/2018.

[70] Judgment dated 06.12.2019 in CM (M) 1732/2019.

[71] Judgment dated 06.12.2019 in CM (M) 1738/2019.

[72] Judgment dated 10.12.2019 in RC. REV. 157/2017.

[73] Judgment dated 10.12.2019 in RC. REV. 10/2019.

[74] Judgment dated 10.12.2019 in RC. REV. 410/2018.

[75] Judgment dated 19.12.2019 in RC. REV. 126/2016.

[76] Judgment dated 20.12.2019 in RC. REV. 276/2018.

[77] Judgment dated 05.12.2019 in RC. REV. 104/2017.

[78] Judgment dated 09.12.2019 in CM (M) 1746/2019.

[79] Judgment dated 23.12.2019 in CM (M) 1462/2017.

[80] Judgment dated 12.12.2019 in CM (M) 1016/2019.

[81] Judgment dated 17.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 2679/2019.

[82] Judgment dated 20.12.2019 in C.S. (COMM) 634/2019

[83] Judgment dated 24.12.2019 in C.S. (OS) 994/1977

[84] Judgment dated 12.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 103/2016.

[85] Judgment dated 11.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 6447/2019.

[86] Judgment dated 16.12.2019 in CM (M) 1014/2018.

[87] Judgment dated 02.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 12679/2019 (DB).

[88] Judgment dated 10.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 9561/2019 (DB).

[89] Judgment dated 20.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 7577/2019 (DB).

[90] Judgment dated 23.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 12110/2019 (DB).

[91] Judgment dated 16.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 11452/2017 (DB).

[92] Judgment dated 17.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 6537/2019 (DB).

[93] Judgment dated 17.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 11105/2019 (DB).

[94] Judgment dated 17.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 12167/2019 (DB).

[95] Judgment dated 19.12.2019 in ITA 991/2019 (DB).

[96] Judgment dated 20.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 8527/2019 (DB).

[97] Judgment dated 02.12.2019 in ITA 969/2019 (DB).

[98] Judgment dated 06.12.2019 in ITA 823/2019 (DB).

[99] Judgment dated 12.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 8317/2019 (DB).

[100] Judgment dated 20.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 13036/2019 (DB).

[101] Judgment dated 02.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 11202/2019.

[102] Judgment dated 19.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 9602/2019.

[103] Judgment dated 06.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 12857/2019 (DB).

[104] Judgment dated 10.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 11036/2019 (DB).

[105] Judgment dated 18.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 10601/2019 (DB).

[106] Judgment dated 24.12.2019 in W.P. (C) 7504/2019 (DB).

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